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THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION,
11. G. WOOD THORPE,
LIEUT. EOYAL ENGINEEBS.
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,
13, GREAT MAKLBOEOUGH STEEET.
All rights reserved.
THE NORTH EASTERN FRONTIER HISTORICAL RETROSPECT-
POLICY OF CONCILIATION FORMER EXPEDITIONS ANNEXA-
TION OF CACHAR PROPER TEA-GARDENS THE KOOKIE
TRIBE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE LUSHAIS CHIEF LALAL
HIS FOUR SONS RAIDS IN SYLHET, CACHAR, &C. COLONEL
LISTER'S EXPEDITION. ..... 1
GNURSHAILON'S RAID CAPTAIN STEWART TREATY WITH
SUKPILAL RENEWAL OF COMPLICATIONS CAPTIVES DE-
TAINED REPEATED INROADS OF THE LUSHAI MR. BAKER'S
EXPEDITION HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY DEATHS
OF SOME OF THE CHIEFS ATTACKS ON VARIOUS TEA-
GARDENS - 19
EXPEDITION OF 1871 COLONEL BABAN'S RECOMMENDATIONS-
GENERAL BOURCHIER THE ROUTE RELATIONS WITH THE
RAJAH OF MUNIPUR BURMESE INVASIONS VICISSITUDES
OF MUNIPUR MAJOR-GENERAL NUTHALL INROADS OF
THE EASTERN LUSHAI CHIEFS . . . .37
THE TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY OF INDIA COOLIES CACHAR
MUNIPUR HORSE-DEALERS HOCKEY-PLAYERS UNCOM-
FORTABLE MODE OF RIDING PRESENT FOR A CHIEF TEA-
GARDENSNATIVE IDOLS THE MONIERKHAL STOCKADE
RUMOURS OF A THREATENED ATTACK CURIOUS DIS-
COVERY . . . . . . .50
THE LUSHAIS CHARACTERISTICS OF THREE PRINCIPAL TRIBES
FEATURES AND COMPLEXION MUSCULAR STRENGTH IN-
TELLECTUAL APTITUDE COSTUME PERSONAL ADORNMENT
A LUSHAI EXQUISITE PRACTICE OF SMOKING TOBACCO
WATER WEAPONS GUNPOWDER . . . .69
LUSHAI VILLAGES CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOUSES INTERNAL
ARRANGEMENTS WINDOWS STOCKADES NATIVE WINE
1 BASKET-MAKING DOMESTIC ANIMALS CURIOUS MACHINE
FOR ENTRAPPING GAME AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS A SMITH'S FORGE . 81
LEFT COLUMN OF THE EXPEDITION THE COMMISSARIAT DE-
PARTMENT POLITICAL OFFICER SILCHAR THE ARTILLERY
AND SAPPERS FIRST CASUALTY OF THE CAMPAIGN ROUTE
FROM SILCHAR TO MYNADHUR APPEARANCE OF THE
COUNTRY DIFFICULTIES OF THE MARCH . . 95
MYNADHUR THE TELEGRAPH A DAILY POST ESTABLISHED
ROUTE TO TIPAI MUKH SCENERY ON THE BARAK TRIAL
OF ELEPHANTS ENCAMPMENT THE GOORKHAS VARIOUS
STATIONS TIPAI MUKH - BRIDGE BUILT BY KOOKIES A
NATIVE SAPPER THE COMMISSARIAT FLEET OF BOATS A
LUSHAI IDEA . . x . . . 109
VILLAGE SITES RUMOURS DARPONG THE SENVONG RANGE
FIRST VIEW OF THE LUSHAI COUNTRY EXTRAORDINARY HILL
SYMBOLIC WARNINGS TO THE TROOPS WEIR FOR CATCHING
FISH ATTEMPTS TO STOP THE ADVANCE A SKIRMISH
CHRISTMAS DAY. . . . . . .127
TEMPORARY CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES THE LUSHAI AC-
COUNT OF THE KHOLEL AFFAIR DIFFICULTY OF COMMUNI-
CATING WITH THE NATIVES A GUIDE FOR THE SURVEY
OFFICERS THE MUNIPUR CONTINGENT POIBOl'S PRESENTS
EVENTS AT TIPAI MUKH LUSHAI ATTACK. 145
PROGRESS OF THE HEAD-QUARTERS AT. WORK ON THE ROAD
A DESERTED VILLAGE UNCOMFORTABLE NIGHT AN EMIS-
SARY FROM SUKPILAL THE CAMP AT CHEPUI POIBOIS
THE SENIVAI GUARD VILLAGES THE KHOLEL RANGE 163
SITE OF THE VILLAGE OF KHOLEL VOUPILAL'S TOMB ENGLOOM
THE HEAD-MAN OF CHEPUI SWEARING ETERNAL FRIEND-
SHIP ARTISTIC JUDGMENT DISTRIBUTION OF TROOPS
MIDNIGHT PARLEYS ATTEMPTED DECEPTION LUSHAI WINE
APPRECIATED VILLAGE LIFE. . . . .177
MORE SYMBOLIC WARNINGS DESIGNS OF THE LUSHAI CHIEFS
RECONNOITERING DARPONG ORDER OF MARCH FIGHT WITH
THE LUSHAIS SMALL BUT FORMIDABLE STOCKADE THE
LUSHAIS TAKEN IN FLANK CASUALTIES NARROW ESCAPE
OF THE GENERAL ... . 195
COUNCIL OF THE CHIEFS OUR WEAK POINT KUNGNUNG THE
LENGTENG RANGE ADVANCE OF THE TROOPS A STRONG
STOCKADE A DETOUR ARTILLERY PRACTICE EFFECT OF
SHELLS STRIKING SCENE A CURIOUS GRAVE . . 211
TELEGRAM FROM CACHAR RESCUE OF MARY WINCHESTER
FIGHT OF LUSHAIS AND CLASSIS ESCAPE OF A LUSHAI
PRISONER A DISTURBER OF THE CAMP TOUCHING SCENE
THE SAIVAR POIBOl'S STRONGHOLD A CURIOUS HUNT-
ALARM OF FIRE A THOUGHTFUL BOY. . . . 227
THE TROOPS ENCAMPED LALBOORA'S GATE A VISIT TO NATIVE
VILLAGERS TELESCOPES DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING PHOTO-
GRAPHSCAPTIVES PLACED UNDER OUR PROTECTION THE
MUNIPUR CONTINGENT POIBOl'S VACILLATION LUSHAI
FORTIFICATIONS A LUSHAI TODTLEBEN . . . 245
THE TRUE POIBOI DEFENCES OF THE VILLAGE OF TULCHENG
SCARCITY OF WATER ROMANTIC STORY OF TWO CHILDREN
VALLEY OF THE LUI-TAO HEAVY FIRING HEARD LETTER-
WRITING UNDER DIFFICULTIES INGENIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED
GATE . . . . . . ... 263
VONOLEL'S VILLAGE VONOLEL'S TOMB - PLEASING TRAIT IN A
DOCTOR BUILDING OPERATIONS CONDITIONS OF PEACE
FRATERNISING MADAME RACHEL'S WIDELY SPREAD REPU-
TATION OUR INTERCOURSE WITH THE LUSHAIS LIGHTING
PIPES EXPERIMENTS WITH THE BURNING GLASS . 279
VI CONTENTS. .
DELIVERY OF THE FINE DIFFICULTY IN COLLECTING THE
MUSKETS ACCEPTABLE CHANGE OF DIET THE COMMISSA-
RIAT AUSTRALIAN MUTTON A COOLIE TRICK LUSHAI
RAIDS THE TRAGEDY AT BLAIR RETURN MARCH . 295
WITHDRAWAL OF THE TROOPS SECOND HALT DISTRIBUTION
OF PRESENTS DARPONG'S WATCH CABULI FRUIT-SELLERS
LUSHAI ENTERTAINMENT APPEARANCE OF THE COUNTRY
DAK ARRANGEMENTS THE RESCUED CAPTIVES COOLIE
ENTERTAINMENTS RETURN TO TIPAI MUKH PROFITABLE
COMMERCE ....... 307
HARDSHIPS OF THE CAMPAIGN DEATH OF TWO OFFICERS
INDISPOSITION OF THE GENERAL RAVAGES OF CHOLERA
THE MUNIPUR CONTINGENT CONFERENCE PRECAUTIONS
AGAINST TREACHERY SEIZURE OF CHIEFS FALSE PRE-
DICTION ORDER TO THE TROOPS CONCLUD^ >a REMARKS o^l
The Author's Route.
Mr. Edgar's Route, 1869.
Col. Lister's Route, 1849.
General Nuthall's Route, 1869.
Mr. Baker's Route, 1869.
MAP showing the country passed through by the LEFT COLUMN OF THE LTJSHAI
EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, 1871-72, and the Routes taken in former Expeditions.
THE NORTH-EASTERN FRONTIER HISTORICAL RETROSPECT
POLICY OF CONCILIATION FORMER EXPEDITIONS ANNEXA-
TION OF CACHAR PROPER TEA-GARDENS THE KOOKIE TRIBE
FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE LUSHAIS CHIEF LALAL HIS
FOUR SONS RAIDS IN SYLHET, CACHAR, &C. COLONEL
rPHE North-eastern frontier of India has
ever been a fruitful source of trouble and
expense to the Government of this Empire.
The history of each district on this frontier,
whether prior or subsequent to its annex-
ation as a portion of British territory, is
almost the same. Bordered by, or forming part
of hill districts, inhabited by fierce and predatory
tribes for ever making raids on their neighbours'
villages, burning and plundering them, and
carrying off the inhabitants it was not to be
supposed that those under our protection should
When, in consequence of outrages on British
subjects, the Indian Government has been forced
THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
to take steps for their protection, its policy
towards the offenders lias generally been one of
conciliation rather than retaliation. The success
which has usually followed the adoption of this
policy seems to be the best argument in its
While, at the same time, establishing and
maintaining frontier guards to check any out-
rage as far as possible, annual payments are
made to the chiefs of tribes, or, in the case
of a democracy to the community not in order
to enable them to organize among themselves a
force for the preservation of order, but that the
well-disposed among them may influence the
more turbulent spirits to the prevention of any
infringement of the treaties or agreements made
with them on granting the annual allowances.
On the annexation of a district, the rights of
the Hill men are always scrupulously respected,
any losses they sustain being made good to them ;
and by opening up fresh avenues of trade and
commerce to them, they are led to see that a
peaceable attitude towards us is more profitable
for themselves than one of aggression.
UNCIVILIZED TRIBES. 5
The allowances to those over whom we do
not assume government, are supposed, in the
words of the Indian Government itself, " to
be sufficient to compensate the tribes, in their
own estimation, for the advantage they might
gain by the occasional plunder of a border
village an advantage which they well know is
materially qualified by the risk of reprisals."
It appears that in the last century some fierce
tribes, who had been the terror of the surround-
ing country, and whom successive military
expeditions had failed to subdue, were induced
by an annual payment, conditional on good
conduct, to become quiet and peaceable neigh-
" What is of the utmost importance in dealing
with uncivilized tribes is patience. No one
supposes that their civilization is to be effected
in a few years, and no one expects that, in
endeavouring to conciliate them, the Govern-
ment will not meet with occasional disappoint-
ment ; but the policy is none the less on this
account sound and intelligible."
Thus spoke Government in 1865, and the
6 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION
policy thus indicated will be carried out with
reference to the Lushais. Of course, a policy
of conciliation would be ineffectual, without im-
pressing on the tribes a conviction of our power
to punish them if necessary; and in many
cases, as in the present instance, we have been
obliged to do so before adopting this policy
The Government does not wish to extermi-
nate these frontier tribes, but by converting
them into our allies to raise a barrier between
our frontier districts and other more distant
races. Supposing a tribe to be utterly crushed
or exterminated, we should find ourselves no
better off than before probably much worse,
having merely removed obstacles to the assaults
of a fiercer and more formidable foe, whose
very remoteness would render it difficult for us
to conciliate or punish him.
I do not propose to enter into an account
of the raids or consequent expeditions which
have been made at various times in the different
districts of our North-eastern frontier, but con-
fine myself to a brief narrative of those which
CACHAR PKOPER. /
have taken place in Cachar since its annexation ;
as to avenge the late raids there, and by securing
the peace of that frontier, to enable the tea-
planters, on Government grants, and their
labourers, to follow their occupation in safety,
were the objects proposed by Government to
the Commanders of the Lushai Expedition of
The district of Cachar Proper, as it is called,
was annexed to the British dominions about
1832, after the death of its legitimate rajah,
Gobind Chundra. It is bounded on the north
by the hills known as the North Cachar Hills;
on the west by the British district of Sylhet;
on the east by the western bank of the Jiri
River to its junction with the Barak, near
Luckipur, and thence by the western bank of
the Barak as far as Tipai Mukh, where a stone
pillar, erected by the Revenue Survey, marks
the tri-junction of Munipur, Cachar, and the
Lushai hillls. The coast boundary line on the
south is still rather indefinite.
The whole of the Northern half of Cachar is
more or less under cultivation at present, and
8 THE LUSHA1 EXPEDITION.
well populated. The country is tolerably
level, broken here and there by low tilas (small
hills) of about two hundred feet in height, and
intersected by the Sonai, Hukni, and Dullesur
rivers, which, rising in- the southern hills, flow
through Cachar to join the Barak. Large bheels,
or swamps, high grass jungle, and bad roads,
however, render communication between the
different gardens a matter of some diffi-
To the East rises the great Buban range,
which, commencing a little south of Luckipur,
and running nearly parallel to the general course
of the Barak towards the southern boundary
of Cachar, attains at several points an eleva-
tion of four thousand feet, and is clothed
throughout with thick forest jungle.
A few of the Lushai ranges rise in the south
of Cachar. These are the Noonvai and Reng-
tipahar, and on the western boundary the lofty
range of the Chatarchara; but between these
the whole of South Cachar is a succession of
dangerous swamps and low broken ranges,
covered with the densest jungle.
The tea-gardens, which were originally con-
fined to the northern part of the district, have
of late years been sweeping further and further
south, as enterprising individuals have been
found to take grants from Government for the
cultivation of the tea-plant.
These isolated gardens, small clearings in
the heart of the jungles, possessing few means
of communication with the outer world, offer
peculiar temptations to raiders ; especially as in
the bungalows of many of the planters are
kept large stands of ancient guns, to inspire
confidence in the labourers in the gardens, but
to obtain possession of which the Lushais would
think few efforts and sacrifices too great; and
it is in these gardens, as we shall see, that the
principal outrages have of late years been com-
The lofty hills to the south of Munipur,
Cachar, and a portion of the territory to the
south-west of Cachar, known as Independent or
Hill Tipperah, have been held by various families
of the Kookie tribe from the earliest times of
which we have any record.
10 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The name Kookie has been given to this great
tribe, as Mr. Edgar tells us, by the Bengalis,
and is not recognized by the Hillmen them-
selves. He says :
" I have never found any trace of a common
name for the tribe among them, although they
seem to consider different families as belonging
to a single group, which is certainly coex-
tensive with what we call the Kookie tribe."
The principal families with whom we first
came in contact, were the Tangune, Chausels,
Ladoe", and Poitoo Kookies. All authorities
agree in stating that from a very early period,
the tribes to the south have been gradually
driving one another in a northern direction ;
formerly the Buban Hills and a portion of South
Cachar were occupied by some members of a
race called JNagas ; but these were obliged, by the
Tangunes, to withdraw to the North Cachar hills.
The Tangunes, occupying their ground, were
in their turn dispossessed and driven to the
northern hills by the Chausels and Ladoes.
These have likewise been compelled to retire
northward by the Lushais.
THE LUSHAIS. 11
The Poitoo Kookies inhabited the hills on
each side of the valley of the Gootur river, and
were supposed to be more or less subject to
the Rajah of Tipperah. The relations existing
between the Poitoo chief and the Rajah were,
however, repudiated on occasion by each.
The Lushais first appeared on the scene
about the year 1840, the first chief of whom
we had any knowledge being Lalal ; from whom
are descended the chiefs who have lately been
the cause of so much anxiety to the Indian
He had four sons. Of these, when we first
hear of them, Mongpir was struggling in the
west against the Poitoos, to establish himself on
the Chatarchara range; Lalingvoom was ruling
the villages south of the hill known as Peak Z,
in the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India;
while Lalsavoong was striving with the Ladoes
in the east for possession of the Chumfai valley
and range to the north of it.
In 1844, an attack was made on a village of
Sylhet by some Poitoo Kookies, under a chief
named Lalchokla, when twenty human heads
12 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
and six live captives were carried off. It was
said that the raid was made to procure heads
to bury with a chief who had lately died.
The Rajah of Tipperah was called upon by
the Government to assist in punishing Lalchokla,
and recovering the captives ; but as his co-
operation was very unsatisfactory, and the steps
he took manifestly inadequate to accomplish their
object, a party of troops, under Captain Black-
wood, proceeded via Koilashur, on the 1st of
December, to attack Lalchokla' s village.
Assisted by a Kookie chief, our troops ar-
rived at the village and surrounded it, and by
destroying the grain in the country around a the
Poitoo chief was speedily reduced to submission,
and surrendered on the 4th. He confessed to
the raid, but professed ignorance of the fact
that it had been made on British subjects. This
plea of ignorance was not admitted, and he
was eventually transported for life.
It has been said that one of the conditions
of his surrender was that his life would be
spared. This he took to mean a free pardon ;
consequently the Kookies looked upon his trans-
EXPEDITION ORGANIZED. 13
portation as a breach of faith on our part. This
is alleged as one reason for the difficulty ex-
perienced during the late Expedition in inducing
chiefs to come in personally to make their sub-
We next hear, in November, 1849, of some
raids made simultaneously in Sylhet, Tipperah,
and Cachar. The raid in the latter district was
made by Lalingvoom's son, Mora, on some
Ladoe villages not far from the station ; and
to punish these outrages an Expedition was
organized, and the command entrusted to
Colonel Lister, Political Agent in the Khasia
Hills, and Commandant of the Sylhet Light
The Expedition started from Cachar on the
4th of January, 1850, and marching nearly due
south, on the 14th, arrived at the large village
of Mora or Moolla, which Colonel Lister at once at-
tacked and destroyed. Most of the inhabitants
managed to escape, but about four hundred
captives were released ; and proofs were found
identifying the villagers with the Sylhet raiders.
Colonel Lister remained a short time on the
THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
range, but deeming his force too small for any
further operations, he returned to Cachar on
The Lushais, during his stay, annoyed him
by firing into his camp, endeavouring to cut
off his communications, and when he retired,
followed him, killing any straggling coolies they
Colonel Lister considered that, in order to
make a permanent impression on the tribes, a
force of not less than three thousand men would
be required, " and to command their villages,
a road would have to be carried into the heart
of the country, along one of the ridges of hills
which ran north and south. As a protective
measure, the establishment of armed outposts
of friendly Kookies along the frontier was
This question of opening a road through from
end to end of the country, is again being urged
upon Government as one of the first things
necessary, in order to reap permanent ad-
vantages from the success of this last expedition
COLONEL LISTER'S RECOMMENDATIONS. 15
Colonel Lister also recommended the forma-
tion of a Kookie levy to be employed as scouts
in the southern jungles, to collect information
concerning the Lushais, and the events which
were occurring on the other side of our frontier,
as well as to keep a watch over the Kookies in
our own territory and Munipur.
Government approved of all Colonel Lister's
recommendations, and suggested opening up ne-
gotiations with the Lushai Chief. The Kookie
levy was raised in June, 1850.
The special objects for which it was raised
seem to have soon been lost sight of, as we find
the establishment of the Kookie scouts abolished
in 1860, and the levy handed over to the police.
In the endeavour to make them well drilled
soldiers, they gradually lost their special quali-
fications as scouts and trackers, and the Kookie
constables who accompanied the left column,
proved utterly useless for the work which should
have been theirs, and for which they were ex-
The consequence of the abolition of a body of
scouts was the increasing ignorance on the part
10 THE LUSH AT EXPEDITION.
of the authorities of what was going on among
the Kookies and Lushais for information con-
cerning whom they were obliged to rely upon
one man, a Kookie, named Maujihow, who, as it
has since been discovered, deceived them on
several important occasions.
The results, nevertheless, of Colonel Lister's
Expedition were very great, as no raids occurred
either in Sylhet or Cachar till 1862 ; and in the
meantime negotiations had been conducted be-
tween the Cachar authorities and the Lushai
In October, 1850, five Lushai chiefs sent de-
puties into Cachar with friendly overtures to the
Superintendent, who sent a party down to meet
the Lushais. This party returned, accompanied
by the Muntri (ambassador) of Sukpilal, the
great chief of the Western Lushais.
When the Lushais returned to their own country,
the Superintendent sent an emissary with them,
with friendly messages to the chief, and as-
surances that if he went into Cachar he should
not be injured nor detained.
Sukpilal was supposed to have visited Cachar
in December, but Mr. Edgar thinks, as this visit
is denied by all the Kookies, that finding that
presents would only be given to Sukpilal himself
some one was got to personate that chief. The
result, however, was the establishment of trading
relations between the natives of Hyrapandy and
In 1855, Sukpilal sent in to the Superin-
tendent for assistance against some neighbour-
ing chiefs. Government, however, refused to
interfere in the quarrels of tribes living beyond
Mora also sent in a deputation for help to
secure the exchange of prisoners between himself
and the Munipuris, on whom some raids had been
committed; and this help we were ready to
GNURSHAILON'S RAID CAPTAIN STEWART TREATY WITH
SUKPILAL RENEWAL OF COMPLICATIONS CAPTIVES DE-
TAINEDREPEATED INROADS OP THE LTJSHAI MR. BAKER'S
EXPEDITION HIS DESCRIPTION OP THE COUNTRY DEATHS
OP SOME OP THE CHIEFS ATTACKS ON VARIOUS TEA-
ClINCE this time nothing seems to have
occurred till January, 1862, when three
villages were plundered and burnt in the neigh-
bourhood of Adumpur, and evidence went to
show that the leader in this outrage was
Gnurshailon, son of Lalchokla, who had married
a sister of Sukpilal.
No steps were taken by Government till 1864,
when four captives made their escape from
Cachar, and from their statements it appeared
that Sukpilal, and two other Poitoo chiefs,
Rungboom and Lalltolien, were also implicated,
and that many of the captives were living at
that time in the villages of these chiefs.
The local authorities desired an Expedition
22 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
to be sent against them, but it was feared that this
might bring down the Kookies on the tea-gardens,
which are rapidly spreading south, and, before
attempting force, Captain Stewart, the Deputy
Commissioner was desired to open negotiations
with Sukpilal to induce him to give up the
captives in his possession.
The latter sent his muntri to Captain Stewart.
He admitted his guilt in the Adumpur matter,
but said that some of the captives had been sold
to the Pois, a powerful tribe to the south-east
of Sukpilal's territory.
Captain Stewart required the chief to come to
him, bringing with him the captives, and swear
friendship, on doing which he would receive fifty
rupees a month, subject to a small annual tribute
of certain specified articles.
The muntri said that Sukpilal's son should go
in, as the chief was too ill to move, and agreed
to the other conditions.
About the same time Captain Stewart con-
cluded a similar treaty with Youpilal, son of Mora,
who had succeeded his father as chief of the
Kholal villages, whither the latter had removed
CAPTAIN STEWAET. 23
after the destruction of his village by Colonel
Lister in 1850.
A new rajah had in the meantime assumed
the reigns of government in Tipperah, and to
strengthen his position he offered to do all in
his power to seize Gnurshailon and Sukpilal.
His offer was, however, refused, as the negotia-
tion with the latter seemed to promise fairly.
In December, 1865, however, it was reported
that Sukpilal had not given up the captives, and
no satisfactory reason being given for this non-
compliance with the terms of his agreement, an
Expedition was organised to compel their re-
The rainy season setting in before it could
start, the operations were postponed. During
the rains, Captain Stewart was employed in in-
quiring into the accessibility and position of Suk-
pilal's villages. He considered that no approach
could be made from the Chittagong side (this has
since been proved to be a mistaken notion),
and that at least four hundred men should be sent
from Cachar. The idea of an Expedition was
24 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Shortly after Sukpilal opened negotiations again,
by sending in the annual presents, but no captives;
but after much trouble four were at length sent in.
Gnurshailon, it was said, through whom Sukpilal
obtained muskets from Tipperah, prevented his
sending in the others. Many of the captives
were said to be married to Lushais, and unwilling
to leave them. There was probably some truth
in this statement, as we shall see from an incident
which occurred during the late Expedition.
Towards the close of ] 868, attacks were made
on some Naga villages in Munipur, and Rung-
boom's villages in Hill Tipperah. In the
latter Sukpilal was supposed to be concerned;
and at the same time the tea-gardens in South
Cachar were threatened.
On the 10th January, 1869, the Lushais, under
a chief named Lalroom, Voupilal's brother-in-
law, burnt the tea-garden of Nowarbund and
killed some of the coolies, and another party
under Deouti, on the 14th, attacked the Monir-
khal garden, where there was a stockade and a
police-guard; he succeeded in destroying the
buildings and plundering the garden.
PLAN OF OPERATIONS. 25
Early in February an attack was made on
the Kala JSTaga stockade by Lushais, under
Lenkom. The stockade was taken, and a
Munipur officer and some Sepoys killed.
Voupilal and Sukpilal were suspected from
the first, though the actual raiders were not
discovered till afterwards, and an attempt was
made to punish them.
A large Expedition was set on foot, consist-
ing of two forces of Military and Police, one
intended to proceed up the Sonai to punish
Voupilal, the other to reach Sukpilal by the
Dullesur River. Th Rajah of Munipur was also
to have co-operated from his side.
These plans were altered considerably, and
the Expedition was unsuccessful. The plan of
operations to be carried out was this : Simul-
taneously with the advance of the columns
from Cachar, one composed principally of police
under Mr. Baker, Deputy Inspector- General,
was to march on Sukpilal from Koilashur
through Rungboom's villages.
The Cachar column, under General Nuthall,
which proceeded up the Dullesur, was obliged
26 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
by rain, to turn back, before reaching the
enemy's country, having only proceeded three
marches from the furthest tea-garden.
Mr. Baker, whose orders were to effect a
junction with the Dullesur column at Sukpilal's
villages if possible, or if not to return by
the shortest route to Sylhet, marched, from
Koilashur towards the middle of February.
Notwithstanding the failure of the Tipperah
Eajah's Minister to assist him with carriage
and food, in accordance with the orders re-
ceived from the Eajah, notwithstanding also
the heavy rains which delayed him several
days, Mr. Baker succeeded in reaching the
On the way there, he passed the place
where Eungboom's people had been treacher-
ously killed by Lushais in December, and saw
eleven skeletons in one spot. Rungboom him-
self had escaped, but was pursued by the
Lushais, who burnt his villages. They were
repulsed by the police of the Adumpur
guard, and compelled to retire, having killed
about eighty or ninety persons.
ME. BAKER'S COLUMN. 27
On the 17th March, Mr. Baker's column
arrived in sight of the Lushai villages, and
there being no signs of the approach of that
under General Nuthall, he determined, after
consultation with his officers, to hold on for
another day, and in the meantime to make a
reconnaissance, to try to pick up some food,
there being none then in camp.
A brush with Lushais took place, and our
men returned to camp in the evening. It
being evident that the Dullesur column had not
advanced for some reason or other, and that
with the small force at his disposal, he could
not hope to cope successfully with the whole
tribe, Mr. Baker determined to fall back on
the Depot in rear, and the retreat com-
menced the next day.
On the 21st, a telegram from Cachar informed
him that General Nuthall and his column were
back in Cachar, so there was nothing to do
but to return with all speed to Sylhet.
Mr. Baker describes the country passed
through by his column, thus :
" The country traversed by us was alto-
28 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
gether hilly, we passed no morasses, and ex-
cepting the forest lying between the Karruntah
range and the banks of the Deo, the country
was found to be high, dry, and free from
malaria at this season.*
" Small streams were met with at the bases
of all the higher hills, and occasionally springs
on the hill-sides not far from the tops of
the ridges. The rivers crossed, the Munneo,
Deo, Pakwa, &c., were from twenty to thirty
yards wide, and about two or three feet
deep, having firm sandy beds, easily forded;
but in the rainy season they must become
exceedingly deep and rapid streams.
" Judging by their high steep banks, they are
liable to great rises and sudden falls, and
they are much blocked up with fallen timbers.
On some of the ranges are sites of old Kookie
villages, now overgrown with high grass, but
there are still some fine trees left, among
them a few lemon.
" Game seemed to be abundant along the
course of the rivers. Elephants are extremely
numerous in these valleys, and there are
APPEARANCE OP THE COUNTRY. 29
deer, wild hogs, porcupines, and in the
Langai valley rhinoceros are said to be found.
" The principal ranges of hills run north
and south, but between these the smaller
ranges are innumerable ; in fact, the entire
country is a jumble of hills. The main fea-
tures are, therefore, mountain ranges of one
thousand to two thousand feet in height, at
intervals of ten or twelve miles, trending
north and south ; of confused lines of hills
and spurs running down to the bottom of
these intervening spaces ; and lastly of deep
and narrow streams flowing along the lowest
levels from north to south, over sandy or
rocky beds, and in very winding courses,
often under high and precipitous banks. This
very well describes the character also of the
country south and west of Tipai Mukh."
Mr. Baker submitted among others the follow-
ing suggestions as the results of his experience,
and as likely to be useful in the case of a
future expedition. Several of these were adopted,
and it would have been better if some of the
others had also been followed.
30 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
" In expeditions of this nature the carriage of
supplies and the clearing of a sufficiently con-
venient path, are of course, the chief points to
be alluded to. I believe the Lushais will fight
on their own ground, and in their own desultory
manner .... I would recommend
" For carriage :
" Boats to the furthest point they can go up in
November and December, afterwards coolies and
" To open roads :
" A company of pioneers, and attached to them
a body of one hundred Kookie jungle-cutters.
" Half a battery of mountain guns, carried on
mules in preference to elephants, would prove
serviceable, and would save time and reduce the
casualties in taking defended stockades ,
" Every man in the force should be supplied
with a e kookrie,' a ' dao,' a water-bottle, and
havresack capable of containing his 6 shalee/
' lotah, 5 and some food.
" Coolies properly organised and officered
would prove more reliable than elephants, but a
ME. EDGAR. 31
score or two of the latter would be useful. No
tents should be allowed for either men or
officers, and their personal baggage reduced to a
" The columns prepared in good time, say in
November, should move steadily, if slowly,
making the marches as little trying as pos-
The portion of the force which went up the
Sonai with Mr. Edgar got to one of Vou-
pilal's villages, the headman of which, with
his mother, went, and offered to make sub-
mission, declaring that Youpilal, who had
lately died, had taken no part in the raid
on Munipur, which had been made by Poiboi
alone. They gave Mr. Edgar very accurate in-
formation about the other raids, and promised
to do what they could to induce the Eastern
chiefs to come to terms. The force then re-
turned to Cachar.
The Munipur Contingent was prevented by
stress of weather from doing anything, and thus
ended this Expedition, from which such great
results had been anticipated.
32 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
In the next raids, which took place in the cold
weather following, some new Lushai chiefs ap-
peared, and it will be necessary just to look
back for a little at the changes which had taken
place among the principal families.
Voupilal had died in 1869, and his people are
divided in their allegiance between his mother
and his widow. The former lives at Dollong,
the latter on Vanbong Hill, whither the vil-
lagers removed from Kholel on the death of
Voupilal. The widow claims the regency on behalf
of her infant son Lalhi. Khalkom, Sukpilal's
son, has moved his village across the Sonai to
the ridge on which Dollong is situated, and
supports the mother against the widow, who is
assisted by her brother Poiboi.
Lalsavoong having made himself master of
the Chumfai Valley and neighbourhood, died
about 1849, leaving three sons who became
powerful chiefs, of these Vonolel proved himself
the most powerful and ablest of all the Lushais ;
and in his constant struggles with neighbouring
tribes, was generally successful.
He fought with the Pois and carried off large
numbers, whom he settled in separate villages,
or among his own people. He pursued the same
policy with the Sokte*s, a powerful tribe in the
East, under Kamliou, the chief of Molbhem.
He was succeeded on his death a few years ago
by his young son Lalboora.
Another son of Lalsavoong was Lalpoong,
who had become head of the villages of Chelam
and the others now belonging to Poiboi, his
son, who is still a mere boy.
In December, 1870, Mr. Edgar went down to
see Sukpilal, and settled finally the boundary
fixed provisionally the year before. After seeing
this chief, Mr. Edgar had great difficulty in
returning, being without provisions, and re-
ceiving no tidings as to the boats which were
to have been sent down the Sonai, he was
obliged to encamp for some time, while he sent
men to get information as to his supplies, and
the temper of the neighbouring Lushais. Suk-
pilal' s people treated him well, taking him such
provisions as they could, till the arrival of a
small party of the 44th, under Captain Lightfoot,
enabled him to return to Cachar.
34 THE LUSHA1 EXPEDITION.
Daring his stay in the country, he received
tidings of intended raids on Cachar, which at
the time he did not believe, though he sent a
messenger into the station to give warning;
shortly afterwards, he " heard that raids had
actually been made in various parts of the dis-
trict, about the middle of January. These raids
were as follows.
The manager of the tea-garden at Monierkhal,
had received warning of a raid, and had removed
his coolies ; but he with the guard of thirty-seven
soldiers and police, and two other Europeans,
remained in the stockade. They were reinforced
by Mr. Daly, a police-officer, from Cachar, and
about forty soldiers.
The Lushais, under Lalboora, however, be-
sieged the stockade for two days, keeping up
a very heavy fire. Mr. Daly twice made sorties,
but each time was driven back with loss : the
Lushais rushing on the slain and plundering
their bodies. The Lushais are supposed to have
lost fifty men during this attack.
At the same time Lalboora's cousin, Tang-
dong, had made an attempt to reach Nowar-
bund, but losing his way came out on the
MARY WINCHESTER. 35
Nudigram road, where they fell in with a
guard of eight soldiers and a constable. The
Sepoys behaved gallantly, but were overpowered,
six being killed, and one wounded. They are said
to have killed twenty-five of the enemy before being
overcome. Tangdong, on his return to his village,
found that it had been attacked in his absence and
destroyed by a large party of Sokte's under Kam-
how, and his wife and a large number of his peo-
ple carried off as captives. In these two affairs
the Lushais got possession of thirteen muskets
from the dead police and Sepoys, which caused
them great exultation.
In South Hylakandy attacks had also been
made on the gardens of Alexandrapur, Jhalua
Chura, and Cantley Chura, by the Howlongs
from the South, assisted by the Lyloos. At
Alexandrapur, early in the morning, the Lushais
emerged suddenly on the garden from the sur-
rounding jungle, taking the people so much by
surprise that no attempt at defence could be
made. Mr. Winchester, who, with his daughter,
was on a visit to a friend at this garden, and
some coolies, were killed at once, the manager
36 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
of the garden effecting Ms escape, and little
Mary Winchester and several others being
carried off as prisoners.
At the other gardens they were not so suc-
cessful, the occupants having time to arm them-
selves before the Lushais appeared, and the
latter were repulsed with ease in each attack,
and forced to retire altogether. It was against
these Howlongs and Lyloos that the opera-
tions of the right column, under General Brown-
low, were directed, and from whom they
succeeded eventually in obtaining the release
of Mary Winchester.
While returning from Lushai land Mr. Edgar
received a visit from Khalkom, Sukpilal's son, who
promised to assist us if an Expedition was under-
taken against the Eastern Lushais, and stated
that a path from Tipai Mukh, which might be
made passable for elephants, led directly into
Mr. Edgar recommended that, if an expe-
dition was sent against Lalboora, Tipai Mukh
should be adopted as the starting point, being
nearer that chief's villages than any other place
accessible by water.
EXPEDITION OF 1871 COLONEL RABAN'S RECOMMENDATIONS-
GENERAL BOURCHIER THE ROUTE RELATIONS WITH THE
RAJAH OP MUNIPUR BURMESE INVASIONS VICISSITUDES
OF MUNIPUR MAJOR-GENERAL NUTHALL INROADS OF
THE EASTERN LUSHAI CHIEFS.
TN July, 1871, the Governor-General in Council
decided on sending an Expedition against
the Lushais. The force was to consist of two
columns, one starting from Chittagong, the
other from Cachar; a contingent force was
also to be supplied by the Rajah of Muni-
Remembering the former unsuccess of small
expeditions which had started late in the season,
with badly organized commissariat arrange-
ments, Lord Napier of Magdala, not however
without opposition, succeeded in inducing the
Government to sanction a much more costly
Colonel Raban, who commanded an expedition
40 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
from the Chittagong side, in 1861, had, in
giving the results of the experience he then
gained, recommended that in any future opera-
tions not less than from twelve to fifteen
hundred fighting men should be sent from that
side ; that they should be ready to start from
some point on the Kassalong river, not later
than the first week in December, " and that a
Commissariat officer of some experience, with
an efficient establishment, should be at Chitta-
gong early in November, to make the necessary
arrangements for boats for the conveyance of
troops, &c. The supplies of a less perishable
nature should also be sent on and stored, as
soon as a force sufficient for their protection had
He stated that a thousand coolies would
be the smallest number required, and that
Ilillmen alone would be of any use; he was
also of opinion that another, though perhaps a
smaller force, should operate at the same time
from the direction of Cachar.
It will be remembered that Colonel Lister
had considered, as early as 1850, that
COLONEL KA BAN'S EEOOMMENDATIONS. 41
the smallest force which would make an
impression on the country, would be three
thousand men. In the face of all these re-
commendations, petty expeditions had been set
on foot late in the season, at various times, with
what miserable results we have already
In 1871, all the recommendations made by
Colonel Raban ten years before, were carried
out. It was determined that each column
should consist of three regiments, accompanied
by a half-battery of artillery and a company
of Sappers and Miners, representing a force
of nearly two thousand men, with about an
equal number of coolies, and a certain number
of elephants. The detail of the regiments,
&c., which composed the left column, will
be found further on, when we begin to relate
the movements of the column.
Brigadier-General Bourchier, C.B., command-
ing the North-eastern Frontier District, was
selected to command the Cachar column, and
after a consultation with Mr. Edgar, who
went up to Shillong to give him all the in-
42 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
formation he could about the country and
routes to it, the General decided that the
Tipai Mukh route would be the best, as he
had determined to attack Lalboora.
No special instructions had been issued by
Government as to the tribes to be punished
by the left column, but the reasons which in-
fluenced the General and Mr. Edgar to direct
their energies against Vonolel's people were
These people had, in 1869 and 1871, been
concerned in the raids in Cachar, during
which they had obtained great advantages
over our Sepoys. They were also the re-
motest and least accessible of all the Lushais
from the Cachar side, and it seemed unlikely
" that they, secure in their distant fastnesses,
and confident that they were more than a
match for our troops in jungle fighting, would
be induced to make a voluntary submission
by the terror inspired by our punishment of
nearer and less warlike tribes than our own."
Mr. Edgar also says:
"General Bourchier considered, and I fully
EAJAH OF MUNIPUE. .43
agreed with him, that the only way in which
we could force these people to submit, and to
recognise that they must behave properly in
future, was to show them that we could reach
them, and that we had the power of crushing
any opposition they could make to our occu-
pation of their country."
As reference has been made to the Rajah
of Munipur several times, and his contingent
was destined to play a certain part in the
Expedition, a glance at our relations with
him may not be considered out of place.
As early as the middle of the eighteenth
century the Munipuris applied to the British
Government for aid against the Burmese,
offering to pay a large annual tribute. It
was determined to assist them, and an officer
with a detachment was sent to their aid. He
was recalled, .however, when he had reached
the capital of Cachar; and no further inter-
course took place till the first war between
the British and Burmese occurred in 1823.
The Burmese troops invaded Assam and
Cachar, causing great alarm in our frontier
44 THE LUSHAT EXPEDITION.
district of Sylhet. Three of the Munipuri
princes who had been quarrelling among them-
selves, uniting against the common enemy,
begged the protection of the British. Nego-
tiations were opened with them, and a party
of five hundred taken into British pay under
the command of one of these princes, Gumbeer
Sing. With this party, and the assistance of
some British troops, he succeeded in driving
the Burmese, not only from Cachar, but also
Subsequently this body, increased to two
thousand men, and placed under the com-
mand of a Captain Grant, was called the
Captain Grant compelled the Burmese to
retire, and fixed the Nungthe* river as
the eastern boundary of Munipur ; but at
the desire of the British Government, and
with a view of pleasing the Burmese, this
boundary was given up, and a more westerly
one, the eastern base of the Yomadong Hills,
substituted for it.
The former was certainly the better boundary,
GUMBEEK SING. 45
and by giving it up our Government en-
tailed upon itself a monthly expense of Us. 500,
as compensation to Munipur for alienated
territory, "and made it necessary, from the
predatory habits of the tribes inhabiting the
Yomadong Hills constantly endangering it, to
secure the peace of the frontier by retaining
at Munipur a Political agent."
Gumbeer Sing, having thus, with our assis-
tance, obtained possession of Munipur, was
declared independent. On his death, in 1834,
a regency was established under Nur Sing,
Chunder Kirtee, Gumbeer's son, being an in-
In 1835 the British Government determined
to discontinue all connection with the Muni-
pur troops. Nur Sing was succeeded by his
brother Devindro Sing.
Whilst the latter was preparing to ascend
the throne, Chunder Kirtee, who had been
living in Cachar, returned with a few followers
to obtain the kingdom for himself. He crossed
the hills, and being joined by most of the
adherents of the two last Rajahs, he soon
46 THE LTJSHAI EXPEDITION.
succeeded in driving Devindro Sing out of the
country. He fled to Cachar, whither he was
afterwards followed by some princes from Muni-
pur, who had become dissatisfied with Chunder
Kirtee, and together they made several attacks
on the latter.
They were unsuccessful, "but their frequent
attempts to upset the Munipur Government
were distressing to the country and prejudicial
to British influence/' Warnings proving useless
to deter these men, and being fearful that a
prince from Burmah was about to secure
possession of the Munipur throne, our Govern-
ment declared Chunder Kirtee Sing under its
especial protection, and undertook to maintain
him in his kingdom. The princes in Cachar
disregarded this declaration, and were over-
come by some British troops sent against
Since then, Chunder Kirtee has reigned in
peace ; a Political Agent being still retained in
For some time, Colonel McCulloch was the
Political Agent, and from his intimate knowledge
AFFRAY AT CHIBOO. 47
of the character and modes of thought of the
Kookies, and his great experience in frontier
matters, he was able, through Munipur, to
influence the Eastern Lushais under Yonolel,
whom he induced to come to terms, which were
respected as long as the Colonel continued in
Munipur, and during that time friendly rela-
tions seem to have existed between the Lushais
and the Ladoe*s, and the Kookies inhabiting the
southern portion of Munipur; and the latter
used to shoot over the hunting-grounds of the
Lushais, in the neighbourhood of the salt-springs
In the Spring of 1870, however, the Lushais
lost seven men at this place, in an affray with
some Ladoe*s. Mr. Edgar thought that this,
and the consequent bad feeling which was
generated between the Munipuris and Lushais,
were due principally to the decline of the in-
fluence of the Political Agent over the Kookies,
and his inability to control the intrigues of the
Munipur officials ; and he considered that the
Rajah himself would be willing to carry out a
friendly policy, as it was manifestly to his ad-
48 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
vantage to have in the friendly Lushais a strong
barrier between his frontier and the powerful
and savage tribes beyond, such as the Sokte's
and Khyrens. And if the Political Agent had
taken up a position with "a tolerably strong force
at Chiboo in December, 1870, it is probable
that the Eastern Lushai chiefs would not have
dared to make the raids in January, 1871, which
have been already described.
The Rajah of Munipur volunteered to assist
the last Expedition with a contingent force of
five hundred men, under the command of two
Munipur officers; and the Government of
India, in accepting his services, directed him to
place the contingent under the orders of
Major-General Nuthall, an officer of great
experience on this frontier, was appointed to
accompany the Munipur force, as Political
Agent; through him the Rajah was requested
to establish outposts along the hills east of
Tipai Mukh, and south of the Munipur valley,
and to advance his force south of Moirang, in
the direction of Chiboo, with a view of pro-
MILITARY PRECAUTIONS. 49
tecting the Munipur valley, and while securing
the fidelity of Kamhow and preventing him
from aiding the Lushais, to enable the Munipur
State to take every advantage of his assistance.
At the same time this movement would tend
to prevent the Lushais from retiring towards
the East in our advance from Tipai Mukh,
and afterwards closing on our rear and cutting
off our communications.
THE TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY OF INDIA COOLIES CACHAR
MUNIPUR HORSE-DEALERS HOCKEY-PLAYERS UNCOM-
FORTABLE MODE OF RIDING PRESENT FOR A CHIEF TEA-
GARDENS NATIVE IDOLS THE MONIERKHAL STOCKADE-
RUMOURS OF A THREATENED ATTACK CURIOUS DISCOVERY.
TN July, 1871, I was appointed to the
Topographical Survey Department of India,
and when the Expedition against the Lushais
was decided on, I was fortunate enough to
be attached to the party under orders to ac-
company the Left Column, and proceeded to
join it in Cachar.
I arrived in Silchar, the principal station of
this district, on the 12th November. The
party consisted of Captain Badgley in charge,
Lieutenant Leach, R.E., three Civil Surveyors,
and myself. We had also a large establish-
ment of instrument-carriers, and three sets of
This large party had been sanctioned on the
54 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
recommendation of the Commander- in-Chief,
who remembered the good results obtained
from the employment of a strong Survey
party in Abyssinia.
Very little was known about the disposition
of the tribes at that time, and very few ex-
pected that any opposition would be offered
to the advance of the troops. It was there-
fore thought that, with the co-operation of
Sukpilal, about whose friendliness no doubts
were entertained, the Survey would be able to
send out detached parties in various directions,
or to accompany the troops, should the ad-
vance from Tipai Mukh be made by separate
columns taking different routes. This, however,
did not happen.
The advance, as will be seen, was made by
one column in a continuous line, and the
Survey had no opportunity of sending out
detached parties off the line of march below
We had been informed that coolies would be
supplied to us by the Commissariat in Cachar.
On applying, however, to the officer in charge
IREITATING INACTION. 55
of that Department, he showed us his orders,
which were to supply us, if possible. These
words gave him a loop-hole for escape, and
pressed as he was by the mortality among the
coolies at Chattuck, he gladly availed himself
of it, and we were eventually obliged to procure
Cossyah coolies from Shillong.
These men proved as good coolies as any
with the Expedition; but the delay conse-
quent on the time spent in securing them,
caused us to lose a month of very valuable
We found it difficult even to get coolies for
short periods to enable us to move about in
Cachar; so that instead of accompanying the
Quartermaster-General's Department from the
outset, and taking advantage of the many
checks which occurred before Tipai Mukh was
reached by the troops, to clear and fix points
on either side of the Barak in Cachar and
Munipur, while it was still safe to travel
almost without a guard, we were condemned
to a state of irritating inaction.
At first Cachar was in a great state of
56 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
bustle, the different corps and bodies of coolies
arriving daily. The coolies were of all races,
Punjabis and Hindustanis from up-country,
Mekirs, Nagas, Cachari Kookies from the North
Cachar Hills, and Nepaulese Goorkhas.
All these men, on arrival, were supplied each
with a blanket, coat, boots, a dao, and
bandages for the legs, as protection against
thorns ; and large tarpaulins in the propor-
tion, I think, of one to every four coolies were
also distributed to them.
The hospital coolies, for the sake of dis-
tinction, received bandages of bright yellow,
which, contrasting in a very striking manner
with their brown legs and general dinginess,
gave them a sufficiently marked appearance.
We had the pleasure of seeing corps after
corps march in, to be supplied with coolies,
and after obtaining the number apportioned to
each, march out again.
By the end of November we were left to
ourselves, and Silchar had settled down once
more into its usual dead level of dulness.
The Munipur horsedealers, who inhabit villages
MUNIPUR HOCKEY-GROUND. 57
near Silchar, and had been doing a brisk
trade in selling their active, hardy little ponies
to officers going on the Expedition, were left
to their general amusement of hockey. Their
recommendation of ponies as good hockey-
players to men who required them simply as
baggage animals, and who were going into
almost impenetrable jungles, seemed unnecessary ;
nevertheless it was one on which they strongly
insisted when there appeared to be any hesita-
tion in giving them the price which they de-
A very curious sight is presented by the
Munipur hockey-ground. The sturdy, active,
little ponies enter, to all appearances, into
the game as thoroughly as their riders, follow-
ing the ball with great rapidity, while they
wheel and turn in every direction, as if at
once responsive to the least emotion of the
lithe and naked natives mounted on them.
Now the field is scattered. One man is seen
riding away in the distance after the ball,
which he strikes up towards the goal, when
a simultaneous rush is made by all the players
THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
towards it, and nothing is seen but a confused
mass of ponies' legs and hockey sticks whirling
high in air. The ball again gets free, the
field scatter in pursuit, and a similar scene is
once more enacted.
This game, which is being introduced into
England, affords ample opportunity for the dis-
play of good riding, and is much patronized
by the planters in Cachar, who hold weekly
meetings for the practice of it.
Many of the Munipuris ride without stirrups,
and those who have them simply cling to them
by holding the stirrup-iron between the toes,
a most uncomfortable way of riding, according
to our ideas. As a protection to the bare legs
of the riders when passing through the jungle,
they have huge flaps of hard leather suspended
from the saddle on each side, descending as
low as the stirrups, and turned round in
front. These articles, which are anything but
ornamental, give a most uncouth appearance
to the saddle, and flap about with a tre-
mendous noise when the pony is going at all
PEESENTS FOE A CHIEF. 59
While we were in Cachar, presents arrived
at the Deputy-Commissioner's for Sukpilal.
They consisted of a large silver-gilt goblet
and claret jug, with inscriptions to the effect
that they were presented by the Government
of India in recognition of his former ser-
It is sad to think that these not very appro-
priate ornaments for a rough bamboo house, where
they would have shone conspicuously on the
floor from among the family stock of yams,
potatoes, &c., never found their way to Suk-
pilal at all, though they accompanied Mr.
Edgar through the Expedition. The chief, fo
whom they were intended, had conducted him-
self in so unsatisfactory a manner that it was
not considered proper to present them to him,
and they returned to Cachar. They might have
been presented to some other deserving chief,
but the English inscription engraved on them
rendered them unfit for such a purpose.
Our coolies arrived at last from Shillong on
the 14th December, and that same evening
Captain Badgley received a. telegram from the
60 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
General, directing him to send a survey officer
at once to join the head-quarters, as orders had
been sent by the Government to the commanders
of each column, to communicate daily by
telegraph to each other, through the Commander-
in -Chief s office. They were directed to give
the latitude and longitude of each camp, with
any other information likely to facilitate the
junction of the two columns, should this be
found possible before the close of the Expedition.
Captain Badgley himself left the next day
to join the head-quarters, leaving the remainder
of the party to follow by two routes, one by
Luckipur and the Barak, the other by the
Buban Range to Mynadhur.
The latter route fell to me. With one of
our civil surveyors, Mr. Ogle, I left Silchar on
the 16th of December, and marched out as far
as a tea-garden called Borvalia, about eighteen
miles along a level road.
Here we were very hospitably received and
entertained by the manager, Mr. "Wellington, and
his wife, who also found accommodation for our
classis and coolies.
SURVEYING EXPEDITION. 61
The next morning, lightly equipped, we
started to ascend to a point on the range
which had been cleared, and from which we
expected to get some work. This point, though
apparently an easy day's journey from the
bungalow, proved very difficult to reach. The
path, a very obscure one, is used by the
garden coolies and others who go occasionally
to worship a stone god and goddess whose
shrine is near the place towards which we were
Mr. Willington gave us two coolies as guides,
without whose assistance we should never have
discovered the way, which for the first three
miles lay through very tall and tangled grass
jungle, of so rough and hard a texture that our
faces and hands were cut by it as if by knives.
The path was sometimes lost in swamps, but
again appearing, followed the course of small
streams alive with innumerable leeches, which
fastened on us without the slightest provoca-
At last, after crossing a series of low hills
and spurs, we reached the foot of the Bubans.
62 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Here, crossing a beautiful stream of clear water,
the ascent commenced, and a stiff climb it
proved; a sheer ascent of eighteen hundred
feet, with a slope of three hundred and thirty-
two feet the whole way. Arrived at the top,
we had a long five miles to go over a very
uneven path, ascending and descending alter-
nately, never level.
Darkness closed around us long before we
reached our camping ground ; but lighting
candles, we distributed them among the coolies
at intervals, and managed, though slowly and
with difficulty, to find the spot a very romantic
little place, enclosed on three sides by huge
masses of fern and moss-covered rocks, the
fourth sloping steeply down to a little spring
of good water.
Beneath these rocks we found the rudely
carved figures of .the god and goddess, about
three feet high, with strips of red and white
cloth adorning their shapeless bodies. The
former was sitting cross-legged on some broken
stones, on which were some attempts at orna-
mentation, and which were apparently the
FIGURES OF A GOD AND GODDESS. G3
remains of a kind of canopy, or at any rate,
of a throne. The goddess was standing in a
small low-walled enclosure, and at the foot of
a bamboo bedstead, which had been erected
by some visitors from the garden a few days
Having lighted a fire, and killed, cooked,
and eaten a fowl, we made our beds, and were
speedily asleep under the shelter of the goddess
near whose shrine we were lying, though to ack-
nowledge the truth, she was a somewhat fear-in-
spiring object, as seen dimly through the musquito
curtains by the pale moonlight, to a nervous
imagination in moments of half-wakefulness.
I was unable to find out anything about
these figures, how long they had been there,
whom they represented, &c. The men with us
did not seem to know anything about them,
though they prostrated themselves with great
reverence before them.
The next morning, having done what we
could from this point, which commands a most
extensive view of North Cachar and Muni-
pur, we returned, camping at the foot of
64 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the hills for the night, and proceeding early
next day to Mr. Willington's to breakfast, and
pick up the men and instruments we had left
behind at the gardens.
Here I must express my sense of obligation
to all the planters whose gardens we visited,
for the great hospitality they invariably showed
us. The fact that we were strangers, and in
need of any sort of assistance, was a sufficient
passport to their liberality, and we were in-
debted to them for much valuable help in
In the afternoon we went to Sonai Mukh,
whence we proceeded the next day to Monier-
khal. The road running along the Sonai is
very level as far as Nagakhal, a stream at the
foot of the hills three miles beyond Monierkhal.
It at first runs through very flat open country,
but below Nudigram it passes through a large
patch of very high grass jungle, beyond which it
enters a forest, and so to Nagakhal, passing two
clearances for gardens, Durmiakhal and Monier-
The latter, now famous by reason of the
frequent raids made upon it, is a tolerably
large clearance. The dark green tea-plants,
growing on the low hills or tilas, give a curious
speckled appearance to the sandy mounds ; on
one of which stands the stockade, containing
small barracks and a magazine. Just beneath
are the coolie huts, and the small stockade
beyond them, which commands the bridge over
the Sonai, and the opening in the belt of forest
surrounding the garden whence the Lushais
The Monierkhal stockade, as well as that
at Mynadhur, is not nearly so remarkable for
engineering skill as any of the Lushai defences
we came across. The bungalow is situated
on a small tila about two hundred yards
north of the stockade.
On arriving at Monierkhal we found the
Moniejer was absent, and* the garden Baboo,
the guard, and every one else, in a great state
of excitement, as a notice had been sent from
Mynadhur that a hundred Lushais were
supposed to be going in the Monierkhal
direction. Everything had been moved out of
66 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the bungalow into the stockade, whither also
the coolies' wives and children had been sent
for safety, and an attack was confidently
Early next morning, while the mists were
still hanging over the garden, the head
Baboo, evidently an inventive genius, informed
us on the authority of a friend supposed to
be at Tipai Mukh, whom, however, I suspected
to be a Bengali Mrs. Harris, that the General
had been defeated in a great fight with the
Lushais, and was retreating to Tipai Mukh,
as fast as the elephants, by which the line
of march was much encumbered, would let
him. All this sounded very circumstantial, but
we told the Baboo we would not put much faith
in his friend's statement.
The night and morning passed off without
anything occurring to disturb our peaceful
slumbers, and about 9 A.M. we commenced the
journey to Mynadhur, across the Bubans.
On the highest point of the mountains we
found, to our surprise, a large native bedstead
by the path, and afterwards heard that it be-
THE " HQOLOOK." 67
longed to some luxurious commissariat or post-
office Baboo, who had managed to get it so
far, when the coolie, who was carrying it,
refused to take it any further and abandoned
it. It now serves as a convenient resting
place on which the weary travellers may re-
cline after their fatiguing climb, and from
which they may survey the smiling plains of
Cachar spread out like a map some three
thousand feet below.
The stillness of the forest was ever and
anon broken by the cries of a black monkey,
known among the natives as the " hoolook."
These animals go about in troops, uttering
cries very much resembling the yelping of
beaten puppies. One or two commence with
a few single cries in one key, when suddenly
the whole pack join the chorus in every variety
of key. After indulging in this amusement for
some time, it is brought to a close, the cries
gradually dying away, but only to be resumed
again with greater vigour than before. We
seldom saw these monkeys, but we heard them
frequently as far down as Kungnung.
C8 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Mynadhur, which is elsewhere described,
was reached about half-past six in the after-
noon, and here we had our first experience of
Commissariat rations. I went into the little
hut and saw, on the ground, two dark masses
covered with the prevailing sand, and, on in-
vestigation, I found they were my beef and
pork for a week.
I need not repeat my remarks about the road
between Mynadhur and Tipai Mukh. Suffice
it to say that, journeying by land and water, we
reached the latter place just in time for dinner
on Christmas Day.
Difficulties connected with the Commissariat
Department prevented our going on to the
front till the 2nd of January, when we started
for Tuibum. On the road we met all the
wounded from the Kholel business, whom they
were taking into the depot hospital at Tipai
Mukh. We reached No. 7 Station on the 4th.
THE LUSHAIS CHARACTERISTICS OF THREE PRINCIPAL TRIBES
FEATURES AND COMPLEXION MUSCULAR STRENGTH IN-
TELLECTUAL APTITUDE COSTUME PERSONAL ADORNMENT
A LUSHAI EXQUISITE PRACTICE OF SMOKING TOBACCO
rPHE Lushais with whom we became ac-
quainted during our journeyings, belonged to
three different tribes, the Lushais, Paites, or
Sokte"s, and Pois. The latter are rather taller
and of a fairer complexion than the ordinary
run of Hillmen, but the principal distinguish-
ing characteristic between the three tribes is
the mode in which they dress their hair.
The Lushai parts his hair in the middle,
and braiding it smoothly on each side of the
face, binds it in a knot on the nape of the
neck, secured by large copper or steel hair-
pins ; the Sokte does not part it at all, but
wears it short and standing out like flames
round the forehead, which is generally rather
72 THE L-USHAI EXPEDITION.
high and round ; sometimes the hair is twisted
into a little tail at the back.
The Pois part their hair across the back of
the head, from ear to ear, all above this line
being drawn upwards or forwards, bound in a
high double knot on the forehead, and fastened
by a small ivory or bone comb, generally orna-
mented with some little design in red ; but all the
hair below the parting is allowed to hang in
wavy curls over the back and shoulders.
Some Pois, once in camp, were watching a
Sikh Sepoy performing his toilet, and seeing
that, previous to putting on his turban, he
bound his long hair into a knot on the top
of his head, tying one end of the turban into it,
they at once hailed him as a Poi and a brother.
Bearing in mind these distinctions, the follow-
ing description applies to all, premising that
the only women we saw were Lushais.
Both the men and women are well made,
and very muscular; the average height of the
former appeared to be about five feet six inches,
and of the women, five feet four inches. The
men are all sturdy fellows, thickset as to the
APPEARANCE OP THE LUSHAIS. 73
neck and shoulders, body light and active,
arms and legs muscular and well developed,
their arms generally long in proportion to their
Their complexion comprises every shade of
brown, and their features vary considerably ;
the generality however possessing flafc retrousse
noses with wide nostrils, thick lips, and
small almond-shaped eyes. Among the Lushais
though, and especially among those related to
the reigning families, some of whom were
even handsome, we met with a much more
refined type the nose being thin and aquiline
with small nostrils, the lips thin and the
mouth small. In all, however, the cheek-bones
were high and prominent, the face broad and
remarkable for an almost entire absence of
beard or moustache ; even a slight moustache
and small tuft of hair on the chin being the
exception rather than the rule.
The expression of many was bright and in-
telligent, and they showed a wonderful aptitude
for quickly understanding anything new and
wonderful which they saw during their visits
74 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
to our camp. Not the least astonishing proof
of this was the sharpness they displayed in
understanding at a glance the intention of a
pencil sketch. I showed a sketch to some
Lushais one day, and it pleased them so much
that one went away and returned with the
skulls of a deer and a pig, and a live hen,
all of which he requested me to draw, which
I did ; and the lookers-on pointed out, on the
models, each part as it was delineated, even to
some discolorations on the skulls, which I in-
dicated by a little shading.
Their general expression of wonder is " Amakeh
oh !" which they repeat to each other over
and over again, when anything more astonish-
ing than usual excites their interest. Their
dress consists only of one large homespun
sheet of cotton cloth, passed round the
body under the right arm, which is thus
left free, the two ends being thrown in oppo-
site directions over the left shoulder, where
they are secured by a strap of tiger or otter
skin, supporting a bag in which is carried a
knife, a dao, tobacco, flint, steel, and other
A LUSHAI EXQUISITE. 75
The articles contained in the bag are pro-
tected from the rain by a kind of shield
made of tiger, bear, or goat-skin ; the latter,
with the long hair pendent, strongly resembling
a Highland sporan. This shield is fastened at
each end of the strap, and can be easily re-
moved at will. The cloth is generally greyish
white, with a dark blue stripe running through
it; but sometimes it is dark blue, with a few
stripes of white, yellow, or red, or all three
interwoven into it.
Occasionally we met a young man, ap-
parently a Lushai Exquisite, who wore both
the white and blue cloths arranged with no
A few tartans have found their way among
the Lushais, but these have been procured
through Munipur or Cachar. The men wear
necklaces of coloured beads, or of amber, which
are worn in large cylindrical beads. We saw
very few of the latter and those only on
people apparently of some importance.
A large tiger's tooth mounted in silver, and
suspended round the neck by a thread, is
76 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
much prized, and has, I believe, some special
virtue as a charm. A large red stone, sus-
pended by a string, often forms an ornament
for the ear, but a bunch of small brilliant
feathers, or a small tuft of goat's hair, dyed
crimson or blue, and passed through a hole in
the lobe of the ear, seemed to be the favourite
ornament of that organ. Muntries and cer-
tain other head-men are allowed to wear a
tuft of feathers in the knots of their hair.
The women we saw seemed to disdain
these ornaments, but some of them distended the
lobes of their ears by a small thick circular disc
of white baked clay. They wear a small strip of
cloth, eighteen inches deep, passed round the
waist, and over this, a cloth of dark blue wrapped
carefully about them, in which they carry their
young children on their backs.
Their mode of dressing their hair is exceedingly
pretty; it is braided smoothly over the forehead
and plaited at the sides, the plaits being passed
round the back of the head and over the top in
the manner of a coronet.
Men, women, and children, from the age at
TOBACCO- WATER. 77
which they can hold a pipe, smoke almost in-
cessantly. The mens 5 pipes are made sometimes
of brass, rudely ornamented, but generally of a
small piece of bamboo lined with copper or iron ;
a very fine bamboo being let in near the knot as
The bowl of the women's pipe is of clay, and
is fitted with a bamboo receptacle for water,
which, becoming impregnated with the fumes of
the smoke and the oil of the tobacco, is afterwards
carried about by the men in small gourds or
bamboo tubes, and sipped from time to time,
being kept in the mouth for a short time before
spitting it out. This tobacco water is looked
upon as a great luxury, and when a Lushai meets
a friend, he offers it to him as a mark of
courtesy, as civilized old gentlemen used formerly
to exchange snuff-boxes.
The Lushais are mighty hunters, as they are
great eaters of flesh, and their supplies depend
a good deal upon the success of their hunting
excursions. It is only within the last fifteen years,
or thereabouts, that they have learnt the use of
fire-arms, but now they possess a large number of
78 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
muskets, most of which are old flint-locks, of
English manufacture, bearing the Tower mark of
various dates, some as far back as the middle of
the last century. The stocks of these are highly
varnished and ornamented with red paint.
Their other arms are bows made of bamboo,
with which poisoned arrows are used. These,
however, I believe, are not much used now, having
given way to the superior claims of powder and
shot. Spears of various shapes and lengths,
they obtain from Munipur, Cachar, and else-
where. The dao is a triangular blade of about
twelve inches long, fitted into a wooden handle.
The edge is sharpened for cutting, and the broad
end is employed for digging. This, besides being
used as a weapon of offence, is also the agri-
cultural implement with which most of their
jooming operations are performed.
A long-bladed two-handed Burmese knife, slung
over the shoulder, is carried by some with an
air of superiority. Small bamboo quivers, full of
panjies, i.e., small pointed stakes of hardened
bamboo, are in time of war attached to their bags.
These are stuck in the ground along the path in
escaping from a pursuer, or in the approach to a
village, and are capable of inflicting very nasty
wounds in bare feet, and will even penetrate thick
Formerly the Lushais used to obtain gunpowder
from Cachar and Chittagong. Owing to the in-
creased vigilance of the authorities in these dis-
tricts, they are now obliged to manufacture it for
themselves. Sulphur they get from Burrnah ; the
saltpetre they obtain from heaps of manure col-
lected in large funnel-shaped baskets which hang
up outside the houses. This manure is strongly
impregnated with urine, and the liquid, draining
through into receptacles beneath, is afterwards
evaporated, and crystals of saltpetre are ob-
Their powder is very weak, but what is lacking
in quality they make up in quantity, about four
fingers, or six drachms, being the usual charge.
The bullets are generally bits of iron or lead
hammered into shape.
Their powder-flasks are made from metua horns,
polished and ornamented with little bands of red
cane-work, and sometimes inlaid with silver ; the
priming powder is carried in a very small horn.
LUSHAI VILLAGES CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOUSES INTERNAL
ARRANGEMENTS WINDOWS STOCKADES NATIVE WINE
BASKET-MAKING DOMESTIC ANIMALS CURIOUS MACHINE
FOR ENTRAPPING GAME AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS A SMITH'S FORGE.
A LUSHAI village is generally situated on or
near the top of some high hill or ridge.
Those we saw were seldom built on the highest
part, but a little way down the slope, apparently
for protection against high winds. The houses
are constructed on one uniform plan ; they are
all gable-ended and raised some three or four
feet from the ground. The framework is of
timber, very strong, the walls and floor being of
bamboo matting, and the roof thatched with grass,
or with a palmated leaf common in the hills.
The houses are usually about eighteen feet long
by twelve wide, and in front is a large verandah,
fitted with hollow basins scooped out of tree
trunks, in which rice is husked with long wooden
84 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
At the back of the house is another small en-
closed verandah, which serves as a sort of store-
room. The interior of the house is fitted with a
large hearth of mud or flat stones, over which is
suspended a large square wooden framework, on
which are trays of grain, herbs, &c., all dried,
bacon cured, &c.
On one side of the fire-place is a small raised
The doors are blocked up at the bottom
with small logs, for a height of about two
feet. This, I was told, was with a view to
keep the small children in, and the pigs out.
A small circular hole affords entrance to the
domestic fowls ; and small cages constructed just
under the eaves are the abode of fowls and
pigeons at night. The door itself is a close
bamboo hurdle, sliding backwards and forwards
inside on a couple of bamboos, which act as guides.
Some houses have windows, which are closed
externally by shutters of a similar construction to
the doors. The front of the house is covered with
skulls of antlered deer, metua, bears, leopards,
&c., all smoked to a dark brown colour. Feathers
A CHIEF'S HOUSE. 85
of various birds are also stuck into the interstices
of the wall.
The chiefs house is of similar construction, but
much larger, being about forty yards long, by ten
wide, and is divided within into one large hall, and
two or three sleeping rooms opening on to a
passage running the whole length of the building.
It has, generally, in front a large level open
space, and from this the streets radiate in all
directions, following the spurs or slopes of the
hill. The whole is inclosed in a stiff timber
stockade, excellently constructed on the most
approved principle, with a ditch and banquettes
in rear and loopholed. The entrance is through
a passage of strong timbers, and defended by a
thick door or gates.
Small, well-protected look-outs are erected at
the angles of the stockade, commanding the ap-
proaches to the village. Outside the fencing,
timber platforms surrounded by posts, each
crowned with the skull of some animal, mark the
spot " where the rude forefathers of the hamlet
sleep." Inside also, these resting places are
marked by a small raised mound of earth, or a pile
86 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
of stones and a few skulls, usually close to the
house of the deceased.
Outside every house is a small raised platform,
on which, and on the stones covering the graves
of their deceased friends, the Lushais assemble
in groups in the mornings and evenings to
smoke and converse.
In all the villages, moreover, there is a large
barn -like building, raised similarly to the houses,
but partially open at the sides, and with a square
sunk fireplace in the middle. This is the house
of assembly, where the affairs of the village and
the arrangements for raiding expeditions, &c., are
The Lushais manufacture a kind of wine from
fermented rice and water ; something else is
added, a fruit, found in the jungle, I believe, but
what it was, I could not find out. These ingre-
dients are placed in a large clay jar, and pressed
down for several days, when the wine is fit to
drink. In one of the northern villages we saw
them sucking the wine out of the jar, by means of
a long reed, which was passed from mouth to
mouth ; but further south we found in the houses
DOMESTIC ANIMALS. 87
a kind of syphon, made by joining a couple of
reeds together at an angle of forty-five degrees,
by means of a piece of India-rubber. This is
used for drawing off the wine from the rice, &c.,
in the jar. The wine is thin, and in flavour
somewhat resembles cranberry wine.
The Lushais are very clever at basket-work,
making basKets of all sorts, of cane or bamboo,
from little really tasteful ones for holding small
articles in-doors, up to large deep baskets with
conical lids, and little feet, in which they carry
loads of all sorts. The latter are carried on
the back, a small cane-band passing round them,
and through the ends of a little wooden yoke on
the shoulders, and so over the forehead.
The domestic animals found in a Lushai village
are the metua, a very handsome animal of the
bovine race, with fine horns ; the goat, remark-
able for his very long white hair ; pigs, which are
fattened up to a great size, and fowls. We saw
a few dogs in some of the villages we occupied.
Near the villages we found various kinds of
traps, some formed by bending down a strong
sapling or bamboo as a spring, which jerks
88 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the animal high into the air, holding it sus-
pended by one foot. A sepoy with the right
column was caught in one of these, and carried
suddenly aloft by the foot, to the astonishment
of his comrades.
Another trap, for tigers, &c., is a rough cage
of logs, open at both ends, the top of which is
composed of several large trunks of trees so
arranged as to fall on and crush any animal
passing through the cage. They are also very
skilful in making small rat-traps and snares for
A Lushai field, or joom, as it is called, is
merely a piece of ground on the hill-side,
cleared of jungle in the following manner. A
convenient piece of ground having been fixed
upon, the undergrowth of shrubs and creepers
is cut, and all except the largest trees felled ;
the fallen jungle is then left to dry in the
sun, so that it may be fired when the proper
Great caution is exercised in firing the jooms,
to prevent the flames spreading, as at this
season of the year the surrounding jungle is
very dry. When the joom is fired, all the
felled jungle, with the exception of the larger
trees, is reduced to ashes ; the unburnt trees
are left lying on the ground, and help to keep
the soil from being washed down by rain. The
soil also is thoroughly burnt for an inch or two,
and this soil, being mixed with the ashes, becomes
fit for the reception of the seed.
Baskets of mixed seeds of cotton, rice,
melons, pumpkins, yams, &c., are carried by
the sowers, and a handful thrown into little
narrow holes made with the broad end of a dao.
The sowing takes place just before the rains,
during which the villagers assist each other in
weeding the crops.
The first thing to ripen is Indian corn, in the
end of July; afterwards, in order, melons and
vegetables ; lastly rice and other grain in Sep-
tember. Small houses, six or eight feet from
the ground, are erected in the jooms, and are
occupied, during the ripening of the crops, by men
whose business it is to keep off monkeys, jungle-
fowl, &c., who would do mischief in the jooms.
The rice, having been cut and beaten out,
90 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
is stored in granaries fenced about with strong
logs. Like the people of " Haminelin town/' the
Lushais are frequently visited by immense
numbers of rats which overrun everything, filling
the granaries, and leaving ruin and devastation
behind them. " Neither fire nor water stops the
progress of the innumerable host, which disappear
as suddenly and mysteriously as they arrive."
Besides the crops grown in the fields, small
gardens are frequent in the villages, in which
are cultivated yams, tobacco, pepper, beans of
various sorts, and herbs. In carrying loads
or cutting jungle, the Lushais work to the cry
of a continuous " haw-haw " uttered in measured
time by all.
Their musical instruments are few and simple ;
a drum of stretched deer-skin, a curious instru-
ment formed from a gourd, the neck of which is
furnished with a reed mouth-piece. Into the
gourd, seven reed-pipes of various lengths, each
having one hole stop, are inserted ; the junc-
tions of the reeds with the gourd being ren-
dered air-tight by a stopping of India-rubber.
The simple music produced is that of a few notes
INGENIOUS FORGE. 91
of a harmonium played low and softly. Another
instrument is a single reed-pipe, and they have
gongs of various sizes.
The men and boys whistle through their
fingers with great power. The songs of the
Lushais are low monotonous chants, accom-
panied by the gourd instrument or drum.
As a rule, a Lushai village is a long distance
from any great supply of water ; in consequence
the Lushais bathe but seldom, and they are
unable to manage a boat, or swim. They seem
to have few diseases, and only one man did
we see marked with small-pox.
Besides manufacturing cotton cloth, making
baskets, &c., they work a little in iron. A
rough but ingenious forge is found in all their
villages. It is similar to one in use all over
Lower Bengal, and they have probably learned
its construction and use from the Bengali
The forge consists of a couple of wooden
cylinders about two feet high, and eight or nine
inches in diameter, each furnished with wooden
pistons, feathers being fastened to the circumfer-
92 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
ence of the latter as a stuffing to prevent the
escape of air. The cylinders are placed upright
in the ground, being buried to a certain depth.
A small fire-place of stones is constructed in
front, and two thin "bamboos communicate
under-ground between this and the cylinders.
The forge is worked by a man holding the pis-
tons, one in each hand, and moving them alter-
nately, thus keeping up a constant supply of
air. The fuel used is charcoal.
A very useful spoon, which serves a variety
of purposes, is made from bamboo. A portion
about a foot long is cut off above a joint, and
the bamboo afterwards cut, as in making a quill
pen ; a scoop with a long handle is made in
The bamboo has rightly been called the Hill-
man's friend, because it supplies him with every-
thing from a house down to a small drinking-cup.
I have referred in the course of this chapter to
many of the various uses to which it is put,
but there is one which I have not mentioned,
its use as a vessel in which to carry water from
the stream. The women perform this operation,
CHARACTER OF THE NATIVES. 93
each carrying about half-a-dozen long and large
bamboos on her back, supported in the manner
Our march through the country not being a
peaceful one, we had no opportunity of witness-
ing any of their religious, marriage, or funeral cere-
monies, and as in several particulars I find that
the Lushais on our side differ from those de-
scribed by Captain Lewin as dwelling on the
Chittagong side, approaching more nearly the
descriptions given by Major McCulloch of the
Kookies dwelling in the South of Munipur,
any quotations made from these authorities might
be liable to the charge of inaccuracy, when
applied to the tribes with whom we were brought
With a few exceptions the Lushais impressed
us very favourably. Intelligent, merry, and with
few wants, they were very far removed from
the utterly irreclaimable savages which, prior to
the Expedition, our fancy had painted.
LEFT COLUMN OF THE EXPEDITION THE COMMISSARIAT DE-
PARTMENT POLITICAL OFFICER SILCHAR THE ARTILLERY
AND SAPPERS FIRST CASUALTY OF THE CAMPAIGN ROUTE
FROM SILCHAR TO MYNADHUR APPEARANCE OF THE
COUNTRY DIFFICULTIES OF THE MARCH.
nnHE Cachar or left column of the Lushai Ex-
pedition consisted of the following troops :
Half of the Peshawur mountain battery of
artillery under Captain Blackwood, R.A. ; one
company of Sappers and Miners under Lieu-
tenant Harvey, R.E. ; five hundred men of the .
Punjaub Native Infantry under Colonel Stafford :
the same number of the 42nd Assam Light
Infantry under Colonel Rattray, C.B. ; the
same number of the 44th Assam Light Infantry
under Colonel Hicks ; and one hundred police
under Mr. Daly.
Lieutenant- Colonel Davidson, who was in charge
of the Commissariat Department, had one thou-
sand two hundred coolies, and several elephants,
placed under his orders. A coolie corps consist-
98 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
ing of eight hundred men intended for the
carriage of the Sepoys' baggage, was enrolled
under Major Moore and Captain Branson, assisted
by Captain Hedayat, native aide-de-camp to the
The conduct of the operations of the left
column was entrusted to Brigadier-General
Bourchier, C.B., commanding the North-eastern
Frontier district. On his Staff were Lieutenant-
Colonel F. Roberts, R.A., V.C., C.B., Deputy-
Assist. -Quartermaster-General, Capt. H. Thomp-
son, Brigade Major; and Captain Butler, Aide-
de-Camp. Dr. Buckle, Inspector-General of
Hospitals, was in medical charge, and Mr. Edgar
Deputy-Commissioner of Cachar, accompanied the
column as Political Officer.
A gentleman named Burland, of great ex-
perience on this frontier, who had visited the
Lushais with Mr. Edgar previously, was appointed
to act as Assistant Political Officer. His health,
however, failed, and he never got beyond No. 7
* A party from the telegraph department, under Mr. Pitman,
and one of the Topographical Survey, under Captain Badgley,
were also attached to this column.
Camp, and had to relinquish his appointment
long before the return of the Expedition.
Silchar, the Sudder, i.e., principal station of the
Cachar District, is a small place boasting only
of a few brick buildings, including the cutcherry
or court-house, and church.
There is a large native bazaar, the houses in
which, as well as those of most of the European
residents, are built of bamboo and mud. There
are two large European shops, which, taking ad-
vantage of the necessities of the troops that
composed the Expedition, raised their prices
enormously. They had no fixed scale, but the
price of their goods was raised when the demand
for them became much greater than usual. An
article which could be obtained on our arrival at
Cachar for one rupee, commanded four rupees
during the fortnight or so in which the place was
occupied by our troops.
It is a very quiet little station, and such an
exciting event as the passing through of so many .
troops, lifted it entirely out of its normal state of
level dulness ; and " Let us make hay while the
sun shines," was apparently the motto adopted
100 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
by all classes of shop-keepers, European as well
This being the nearest station to Tipai Mukh,
it was fixed upon as the rendezvous of the various
corps comprising the Force, and thither all their
special equipments, waterproof sheets, boots, tools,
Norton's pumps, &c., had been sent on by water.
The different corps which arrived in Silchar came
from Abbdabad, Roorkee, and Assam.
The Artillery and Sappers were conveyed from
Calcutta in a Government steamer as far as
Chattuck, on the River Soorma, picking up the
22nd P. KT. on their way at Dacca.
A camp was formed at a place called Kala
Rokka a few miles above Chattuck, above which
the state of the river prevented any steamer pro-
ceeding. From this place, as soon as country
boats could be obtained, they were brought into
The first casualty of the campaign occurred
on board the Government steamer. It suddenly
grounded, and a flat attached to it, missing the
shoal, went ahead, snapping the hawsers. One
of these flying back, caught a native attached to
POSTS ON THE SYLHET. 101
the battery, and broke his leg so badly that
immediate amputation was necessary.
The 44th arrived from Shillong on the 9th
November, the Artillery and Sappers on the
18th ; and the 22nd and 42nd a few days later.
The General and Staff had arrived about the
16th, and the next few days were devoted to the
distribution of the waterproof sheets, boots, &c.,
to the troops and coolies ; and to the reduction
of the kits of officers and men to the appointed
limits of weight, twenty seers, or about forty
pounds for an officer, and twelve for a sepoy.
Each corps was also supplied with coolies and
inspected by the General.
While the General was in Silchar, he saw
reasons for coming to the conclusion that the
posts already established on the Sylhet and
Cachar frontier were not sufficiently far south,
either to protect his right flank, or to enable
him to bring any pressure upon Sukpilal and
Khalkom, should they throw in their lot with
the Howlongs, or Eastern tribes, and therefore,
ordered the officer commanding the 4th N.L,
then stationed in Cachar, to occupy a hill called
102 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Benkong on the Noonvai range, and another point
on the Rengtipahar, near the Koloshib Hill, cutting
roads from them to the Sonai and Dullesur rivers
respectively, in order to bring these posts into
communication by water with Cachar arrange-
ments which were most successfully carried out.
General Nuthall had been requested to move
the Rajah of Munipur to post detachments on
the Southern frontier, flanked by a force near
the Nivirang Lake. So great, however, were
the difficulties which interfered with the accom-
plishment of this design, that these posts were
Great doubt had existed as to the best route
from Silchar to Mynadhur. Two routes were
possible; one over the Buban range via Monier-
khal ; and the other round by Luckipur and the
banks of the Barak.
The former was the one originally intended to
be adopted. The road for three miles beyond
Monierkhal was nearly level, but from thence
the existing path led up the face of the hill, cer-
tainly at a very steep gradient, crossing the
range at nearly its highest point.
BANKS OF THE BARAK. 103
Colonel Roberts, and Colonel Nuthall of the
44th N.I., went out to explore this route ; but,
unaccustomed as they then were to hill-climbing
and steep rough paths, the difficulties which
presented themselves seemed to them insur-
mountable. They failed, moreover, to find water
anywhere between the foot of the range on the
one side, and Mynadhur on the other, and con-
sequently all idea of adopting this route was
The next thing to be done was to find the path
which, though seldom used, was said to exist
between Luckipur and Mynadhur, and accord-
ingly some Cachari Kookies were sent out to
look for it.
The whole of the country on either bank of
the Barak is very difficult. Long spurs are sent
down from the Bubans on one side, and the
Noonjaibong range on the other. These run
steeply down to the very water's edge, and are
separated from each other by deep and boggy
ravines, and covered with the densest jungle.
The coolies, having either found some ele-
phants' tracks, or observed paths used by wood-
104 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
cutters, or, which is more likely, having cut
one out for themselves straight ahead, shirking
no obstacles, returned to report their success,
and the 44th were sent out to improve and widen
the path so discovered, and make it practicable
for laden elephants a portion of the pro-
gramme which was never accomplished.
The 44th marched out of Silchar on the 21st
November to Luckipur, and ten Sappers left
in boats on the same day for Mynadhur. The
road, which, as far as Luckipur, is the high
road to Munipur, was very good, and from this
point to Alui tea-garden but few difficulties were
encountered. Beyond this, however, it lay
along the left bank of the river, crossing the
spurs before mentioned, rising and falling con-
tinually, often as much as seven hundred feet,
and always with a very steep gradient. Through-
out its whole length there was not a single level
portion extending to the distance of one hundred
yards. It was altogether a most fatiguing and
harassing road the march along which reminded
one of the old King of France, of whom we are
told, that " He, with all his men, marched up
the hill, to march down again."
FOREST SCENERY. 105
The road, or rather path for it never aspired
to be anything more lay through a jungle of
fine forest trees, from the branches of which huge
creepers hung in graceful festoons, with a pro-
fusion of tall bamboos and cane all around, while
tangled thorns and shrubs, with a network of
long roots, covered every inch of ground between
these. Regarded as forest scenery, the aspect
of the road was very fine ; but to troops on the
march, the irritation caused by its difficulties
interfered materially with any appreciation of
the beautiful in which they could indulge.
" On either hand
Uprose the trunks with underwood entwined,
Making one thicket, thorny, dense, and blind,
Where, with our axes, labouring half the day,
We scarcely made some half a rod of way."
Compared with this route, I cannot help think-
ing that a little engineering would have made
a better one over the Buban, and certainly a
much shorter one. Afterwards, as we shall see
at Chepui, laden elephants encountered and
overcame the difficulties of a much worse path
than that over the Buban, as it existed at first;
106 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
whereas the elephants, with their loads, could
not be sent by the other road to Mynadhur,
their burdens having to be taken on in boats.
As to the difficulty about water in the Buban,
Captain Badgley, passing over with a survey
party for the first time, to join the head-quar-
ters, saw near the very highest points of the
path a ravine in which his practised eye led
him to suspect that the precious fluid might be
found, and sending some of his men down into
it, a stream was discovered within two hundred
yards of the path, which afterwards sufficed at
one time for the wants of more than four hun-
dred coolies, without any sensible decrease in
the supply. This fact renders it evident that
if a survey party, " the pioneers of civilisation,"
had been allowed to precede the column as far
as it could with safety, instead of remaining idle
in Cachar for a month, great expense, and much
loss of time, would have been saved.
In the meantime news had arrived in Cachar
that the Coolie corps, under Captain Heydayat
Ali, had been attacked by cholera at Kala Rokka ;
and Colonel Sheriff, 42nd Light Infantry, Major
CONVALESCENT CAMP. 107
Moore, with Drs. White and Gregg, were sent
down to that camp. The medical and embark-
ing authorities at Calcutta are stated to have
protested against the crowding of eight hundred
coolies into two flats, but their protest was of no
avail. The coolies were neither accompanied by
any European officer, nor had sufficient medical aid
been provided for them. The ordinary precautions
to prevent overcrowding, so strictly enforced in
the case of labourers imported to work in the
tea-gardens, seem to have been entirely disre-
garded ; and the result was what might have been
Dr. White, on his arrival, divided the coolies
into three camps, at different points along the
river. While the hospital remained at Kala Eokka,
a convalescent camp was established some few
miles further up the stream ; but, notwithstand-
ing these and other judicious measures, with the
exertions of the medical officers, the disease was
not got entirely under control till towards the
end of December; by which time the number
of the coolie corps was reduced to three hundred
108 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
A very serious strain was thus brought on
the Commissariat Department, who were called
on to supply carriage for the baggage of the
troops, as well as for their own stores. Fortu-
nately water-carriage was available as far as Tipai
Mukh ; and the collector of Sylhet undertook,
in our emergency, to supply three hundred
coolies to fill up the vacancies caused by the
outbreak of cholera.
This incident is only one of the many examples
we have had, in almost all our expeditions, of
that inattention to details which is so conspicuous
a defect in British arrangements, and was at no
time more remarkable than in the Crimean war.
In the present instance, it well nigh perilled the
success of this Expedition at its very outset.
MYNADHUR THE TELEGRAPH A DAILY POST ESTABLISHED
ROUTE TO TIPAI MUKH SCENERY ON THE BARAK TRIAL
OP ELEPHANTS ENCAMPMENT THE GOORKHAS VARIOUS
STATIONS TIPAI MUKH BRIDGE BUILT BY KOOKIES A
NATIVE SAPPER THE COMMISSARIAT FLEET OP BOATS A
ll/TYNADHUR, the last and most outlying of
the tea-gardens, is prettily situated on
the left bank of the Barak, where the river,
taking a semi-circular bend, leaves a long stretch
of tolerably level ground between its banks and
the foot of the hills. The garden covers several
low tilas, the bungalow crowning one of them ;
and beneath this, on the river's bank, are the
huts and bazaar of the coolie labourers. There
is also a small stockade of ancient bamboos, the
weakness and ruinous state of which sufficiently
indicate the sense of security felt by the in-
habitants of the garden, who, however, have a
small police-guard generally stationed there.
Though so far removed from all aid, this garden
has never, I believe, been attacked by Lushais,
112 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
owing probably to the extreme difficulty of the
country between it and their own border.
The General and Staff arrived at Mynadhur,
about the 29th November, with one wing of the
44th and the Sappers. The jungle about
Mynadhur consisting principally of bamboo, no
difficulty was experienced in speedily construct-
ing barracks, hospitals, magazines, godowns, and
Commissariat stores for three months had
been collected here, and ordnance and other stores
were arriving ; while a fleet of small boats, of the
light tonnage necessary for passing the rapids and
shallows of the Barak higher up, had been sent
down from Sylhet and Cachar.
The boatmen in these districts had the most
intense horror of this part of the country, and it
was with great difficulty that they were induced
to go with their boats ; many preferring to sink
them, while they themselves disappeared in some
place of concealment till the danger was past.
Meanwhile, the line of telegraph from Cachar
had been carried down to Mynadhur ; the telegraph
party, under their energetic chief, having brought
LUSHAIS IN CAMP. 113
it over the Buban, in the face of many obstacles.
A telegraph office was at once opened; and a
daily post was established between Silchar and
Mynadhur ; so that by the first week in December,
the head-quarters of the Force were in communi-
cation with Calcutta, both by telegraph and post.
The road onwards to Tipai Mukh was at once
commenced, and some friendly Lushais having re-
presented the best route to be on the Munipur
bank, the beginning of it was made on that side.
It may be necessary to explain the presence of
these Lushais in camp. Mr. Edgar, who was still
in Cachar, having sent messages to Sukpilal, was
anxiously awaiting their return. Eight Lushais
from Poiboi's villages arrived with presents, but
they were men of small account and not entrusted
with any definite overtures. They said that they
had met Raipa, an old Kookie who had been dis-
possessed by the Lushais, and who accompanied
the column as guide and interpreter. This Raipa
was then exploring to find a route, but these men
said to Mr. Edgar that he was not likely to find
one in the direction taken by him, but that they
knew of one by which they would guide the troops.
114 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
and four of them were sent down for that purpose.
The scenery all up the Barak is extremely
beautiful, lofty wooded hills coming down to the
water's edge, and receding here and there, so as
to afford glimpses of more distant ranges, while
large rocks and sandy strips diversify the
character of the banks. The river winds about
very much, the bends presenting a series of pic-
tures, the elements of which, wooded hills, rocks,
and water, though ever the same, are constantly
varying in arrangement ; and in the varieties of
light and shade, each differs from the other in
some point of detail, but on the whole all appear
equally beautiful. Alligators bask in the sun here
and there on the rocks, sliding off lazily into the
deep pools beneath when a boat approaching too
near rouses them from their slumbers.
As the head-quarters advanced, the regiments in
rear followed up in order, each working on a
certain portion of the road. The Artillery was
left in Oachar till the road to Mynadhur was re-
ported fit for elephants, and they did not get the
order to march till the 2nd December.
The time, however, was not wasted; the ex-
periment of elephants instead of mules, as animals
of draught, was to be tried in this campaign ; and
the gunners not having received their elephants
till their arrival in Oachar, they were fully em-
ployed in altering and refitting their equipment,
many portions of which were entirely novel and
untried. The strength of the battery was also
made up by drafts from the 42nd and 22nd regi-
ments, and these had to be instructed in their new
work ; but when the order for the march arrived
it found them all ready and in first rate order.
The^road onwards from Mynadhur was similar
in character to that up to it, precipitous and
jungly. Four camps were established between
Mynadhur and Tipai Mukh. These camps were
numbered from one to four ; a large board being
nailed up on a tall tree near the entrance to each,
with an inscription roughly painted in black,
66 Station No. 1, &c."
A description of one will suffice for all, as well
as for many of the others formed south of Tipai
Arrived at the halting place, all the troops
went to work cutting down branches of trees and
116 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
bamboos, collecting leaves, grass, &c. In this
work the active little Goorkhas of the 44th N. I.,
were much more at home than their up-country
brethren in arms, who at first used to look help-
lessly on, while the former, springing into trees
like monkeys, lopped off branches, collected
bamboos, &c., and had quickly constructed com-
fortable ranges of cantos, with a low raised bamboo
floor as a sleeping place, before the others had
made up their minds what to do.
All the Sepoys had been supplied with kookries,
a peculiar kind of native knife, most effective in
cutting jungle when successfully used. The
Goorkhas, as a rule, were possessed of their own,
but those supplied by Government were soon use-
less, often breaking after the first few blows,
efficiency having been sacrificed to economy.
A large number of Cachari, Mekir, and Kookie
coolies were with the advance, and these men were
very expert in cutting jungle and building huts.
In an almost incredibly short space of time, they
ran up quarters for the General and other officers
with him. The framework was fastened together
by strips of bark, and the walls consisted of
bamboo, leaves, and grass. Each hut was fur-
nished with a standing bedstead, a table and stool
of bamboo. Outside was the mess-table, the super-
structure of which was formed of split bamboo,
supported by legs of rough timber ; and around
it were seats constructed also of split bamboo.
It was astonishing how soon a waste, howling
wilderness of jungle was transformed into a
pleasant camp ; and as abundance of fire- wood was
at hand, large camp-fires were always maintained,
which tended to keep these halting-places drier
and healthier than might have been expected.
All these stations were situated close to the
river's edge; a position by which an ample supply
of water was secured, and the Commissariat's
boats were able to provide the troops with the
necessary provisions every evening the coolies
being thus set free for road-making. The rapids
proved passable for boats up to two hundred
maunds, though they were dragged through these
At No. 3, the road again crossed to the Cachar
side, and so continued to Tipai Mukh. A floating
bridge of ingenious construction provided a con-
118 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
venient passage across the river at each of the
three points where the road changes from one side
to the other. The bridge consisted of an octagonal
raft of bamboo and matting, slung down stream
at two adjacent corners by large cane loops to a
very strong rope of cane ; which, firmly fastened
at each end to trees on either bank, hung slackly
in the water. The raft was worked backwards
and forwards by two men hauling the rope
through the loops.
General Bourchier reconnoitred Tipai Mukh in
person on the 9th, and notwithstanding predictions
to the contrary, no stockade or other demonstra-
tion of hostility was discovered. The place was
found to be admirably suited for a large camp
It is situated, as its name implies, at the con-
fluence of the Tuivai (according to the Lushais,
miscalled Tipai by us) or Tipai with the Barak,
at the point where the latter, flowing in a south-
westerly direction through Munipur, takes a
sudden turn northward. At that season of the
year the Tuivai was reduced to a small stream of
about fifty yards in width, leaving on its southern
GOOD CAMPING GEOUND. 119
bank a large stretch of shingly beach, which, with
a high sandy plateau, formed a square of some
seven acres, bounded on the east and north by the
Tuivai, west by the Barak, and south by a steep
wooded hill, the end of a spur from a range to
North of the Tuivai again, along the left bank
of the Barak, was another long strip of sand and
shingle, of some ten acres in extent. No doubt
when the rains set in, the rivers, swollen and
turbulent, rushing violently past their banks,
and coming suddenly into collision, cover this
bare space with a mass of seething waters ; but
in December, when they had sunk to quiet peace-
able streams, it afforded us good dry camping
On the south beach, Commissariat and Ord-
nance godowns were erected, and the Artillery
and Engineer parks found accommodation, while,
on the sandy plateau above, officers' quarters,
mess, &c., were established.
On the northern strip, Hospitals and Sepoys'
lines were built, sufficient space remaining for
a camping ground for elephants ; and a light
120 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
bridge was thrown across the Tipai by the
Cachari Kookies. Practical fellows these, caring
little for mathematics and theory. While a
scientific officer was calculating, in a hut close by,
the strength of timber necessary for the bridge,
the weight of troops likely to pass over it, the
force of the current, and other considerations to
which education and engineering books teach us
to attach importance, as necessary to the safe con-
struction of a bridge, these Kookies, who had
never heard of Tredgold, and probably would not
be any handier if they had, had actually built a
bridge with the materials, small timber and
bamboos, nearest to hand a bridge built so
substantially that it lasted throughout the cam-
paign. When the aforesaid Engineer officer came
out with his design and calculation, faultless, no
doubt, in every detail, we may feel sure he
looked rather surprised when he saw his work
done for him.
I may here mention another amusing incident.
Colonel Stafford and Captain 1 Harvey, E.E.,
were talking to a soubadar of the 22nd, when
the latter expressed his opinion that if the
AMUSING INCIDENT. 121
Lushais only dammed up the Tipai a few miles
above the camp, till a large volume of water had
accumulated, and then let it out, it would sweep
away the camp entirely.
Captain Harvey said, "Perhaps the soubadar
will be good enough to explain the size of the
dam, where it could be constructed to be out of
the reach of our troops, and also the amount of
water necessary for this work of annihila-
Here his orderly, with the usual freedom of
natives, joined in the conversation by saying,
" Of what use is it asking the soubadar, Sahib,
these questions, only we Sappers know all this
kind of work."
Considering that a native Sapper knows very
little, if anything, more than an ordinary Sepoy,
this calm assumption of superiority was delicious.
A strong picquet was placed on the hill before
mentioned, the trees cleared away, and a small
field-work thrown up, at an elevation of two
hundred feet above the camp, with which it com-
municated by a small zigzag trench, which it
commanded, as well as a long reach of the Tipai,
122 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
thus preventing the possibility of a surprise from
A similar work was constructed on the hill
to the north-east of the Tuivai, guarding against
attack from that direction. The north end of
the camp was further protected by a small trench
and breastwork, extending across the strip of
sand to the river's edge.
Of course all this laborious work was not
accomplished at once, but to prevent confusion,
I have described all these details here. The
great disadvantage of this camp was that, lying
low, surrounded by wooded hills rising above
it to a height of twelve hundred feet, every
evening as the sun sank behind the western hills,
fog and mist slowly settled down upon it, and
did not lift till late next morning.
The day after the General made his appearance
at Tipai Mukh, a fleet of two hundred boats,
laden with stores under the command of Mr.
Patch, District Superintendent of Sylhet Police,
and escorted by some of the 44th, also arrived.
Mr. Patch's services had been placed specially
at the disposal of the Military authorities, and
throughout the Expedition he continued to com-
mand this Commissariat Fleet, a duty involving
hard and monotonous work, which was little likely
to be varied by any excitement ; but on the able
and zealous performance of which depended
much of the success of the Expedition, and this
ability and zeal were not wanting.
Having advanced so far, the next thing to be
done was to find the onward path and convert
it into a road. The General and Colonel Roberts,
under the guidance of a Lushai, attempted to
explore a road towards Kholel, but it was ex-
ceedingly steep and rocky. One of the Lushais
then in camp, a Muntri of Poiboi, Darpong by
name, stated that if it was made worth his while
he might be able to find a better way. Mr.
Edgar arrived at Tipai Mukh on the 12th Decem-
ber, and hearing what Darpong had said, sent
him and Raipa to explore the country.
Mr. Edgar, after his arrival, advised the
General to push on to Kholel for the following
reasons. While they remained at Tipai, they
had not the opportunity of opening communi-
cations with friendly or neutral tribes, which
124 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
would be afforded by occupying Kholel, situated
as it was between the villages of Khalsom, Lalhi,
and Sinpaun on the one side, and Poiboi's on
the other ; all of which were supposed to come
under one or other of the above classifications.
An idea had also become prevalent among the
Lushais that the force would never get beyond
Tipai Mukh ; but would remain there till negoti-
ations were entered into, or some of the tribes
submitted. It therefore seemed of great import-
ance that an onward move should be made, to
convince the Lushais that we really meant to
go through their country, and also to force them
to adopt some decisive policy towards us.
It was therefore determined to advance on
the 16th. A working party had been sent on the
14th to a point about two and a half miles along
the elephant track pointed out by Darpong,
where was a level piece of ground with two small
streams running through it. Here our party
camped and set to work on improving the track,
and thither the head-quarters proceeded on
As the road had to be explored each day, and
DIFFICULTIES OF CONSTRUCTION. 125
the next day's camp ahead settled beforehand,
the advance was necessarily slow. The road, as
far as the Senvong range, followed a tolerably
easy gradient, and lay through slightly less diffi-
cult jungle than had been previously encountered.
The principal difficulties which impeded its con-
struction arose from the very rocky character
of the hill in several places, which necessitated
a good deal of blasting. Water was met with
in several places.
VILLAGE SITES RUMOURS DARPONG THE SENVONQ RANGE
FIRST VIEW OP THE LUSHAI COUNTRY EXTRAORDINARY HILL
SYMBOLIC WARNINGS TO THE TROOPS WEIR FOR CATCHING
FISH ATTEMPTS TO STOP THE ADVANCE A SKIRMISH
TATION No, 5 was situated on the site of
an old Kookie' village about five miles from
Tipai Mukh, and No. 6 near the top of the
Senvong range, six miles further on.
This last station was reached on the 19th.
Fragrant limes, cinnamon, and walnut trees were
found on the sites of the old villages ; the limes
were a pleasing addition to our hot rum and
water after dinner. The village sites passed on
the way to No. 6 had belonged to Kookies, and
had been deserted in consequence of the aggres-
sions of the Lushais. The latter had not occu-
pied them, as they were too near our frontier.
As our cultivated territory advanced south, the
Lushais seem gradually to have withdrawn, keep-
ing the boundary line of their villages and culti-
130 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
vation nearly parallel to that of ours, a belt of
impenetrable jungle intervening.
On the 18th some Lushais were met with,
who ran away, but shortly after the exploring
party came up again with some of them, who said
they were Kholel men.
Two of these returned to camp in the evening ;
and from their statements it appeared that a large
number of Lushais were collected at the Tuibum.
These they represented as friendly, but from a
remark made by one of them, it was gathered
that they had received orders to oppose our pro-
gress. The Lushais also said a party of a hundred
and fifty men had gone in the direction of the Bu-
bans. Notice of this was at once sent back to
Tipai Mukh and Mynadhur, with orders to the com-
manders at those places to warn all survey and
In the evening, Darpong and the others asked
to be allowed to return to their villages. They
evidently expected that a collision would surely
take place between us and the Lushais, and were
afraid to be found in our camp when such an
event should happen.
THE SENVONG EANGE. 131
The General, thinking nothing was to be gained
by keeping them against their will, decided to let
them go; a decision attended, as we shall see
hereafter, with the happiest results.
These men left on the 19th, charged with mes-
sages to their people, to the effect that our object
was to recover the captives taken by Lalboora
and Tangdong, and that we had no quarrel with
the people of Poiboi or Lalhi, so long as they re-
frained from molesting us.
A halt was made on the 20th, in order to get
up supplies, and reconnoitre the route onwards.
The old route to Kholel was found to have been
closed by the Lushais ; but another, along the
ridge of the hill, was said to lead straight to
Yanbong. This latter route turned out to be a
very good one, and a camping-ground with good
water was discovered at the top of a spur leading
to the Tuibum.
The Senvong range is a long, lofty spur,
its average elevation being nearly four thousand
feet above the level of the sea. It is tolerably
open, having once been extensively cultivated,
, but the old jooms are now covered with long grass.
132 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
From the higher points of this range, the first
extensive views of the Lushai country were ob-
tained. Far away to the north-east, stretched
the Munipur ranges; to the east, the distant
Lushai hills, rising above" the lower and nearer
ranges ; some clothed in every variety of green,
while in others the forest was broken and re-
lieved by the warm tints of masses of sandstone
and red clay, of which these hills consist.
About fourteen miles to the south-east, a great
round-looking mass, sending out long, level spurs,
stood up, brown and bare, from the countless
jooms upon its face; and on the spurs north and
south, appeared the villages of Tingridum and
Chepui ; the gabled ends of new bamboo houses
glistening in the sun like little whited temples.
Behind these, rose the high and rugged ranges
known as Surklang, Muthilen, and Lengteng ;
while nearer, appeared the high Kholel Range,
on a bare ridge of which we could still discover
the site of Voupilars great village ; and nearer still,
across the valley of Tuivai, and hiding the hills
to the south, was the Vanbong hill, a large level
mass, with broad sloping spurs, cleared of a good
deal of the forests for the jooms and villages of
the people who had lately removed thither from
Kholel on the death of Youpilal.
Between Kholel and Vanbong, looking down
the valley of the Tipai, the scene was closed by
an extraordinary hill, called Momrang, sloping
gradually away on the east, but ending towards
the west in an abrupt precipice, and forming an
excellent landmark ; while on the west, the ranges
of Rengtipahar, Noonvai, &c., rose one above the
other, till lost in the haze of the far off horizon ;
and here and there in the valleys below glistened
the silvery bends of the Tuivai and its affluents.
On the 22nd, the head-quarters, with Mr.
Edgar and Colonel NuthalPs wing of the 44th,
descended to the Tuibum stream. This was a
difficult and trying march, the spur being very
steep, and the jungle thick bamboo, especially
near the river.
In several places the Lushais had put up some
symbols, intended as warnings to the troops not
to advance. One was a small model of a gallows,
made of bamboos, with rough pieces of wood
intended to represent men hanging from it ; and
134 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
another consisted of small strips of bamboo stuck
into the trunk of a felled tree, from the wounds
of .which, a deep red sap, strongly resembling
blood, exuded indicating to the troops the
fate that awaited them if they persisted in the
At the spot where the path comes out on the
Tuibum, was a weir made of bamboo and stones
for catching fish, and on the opposite bank was a
bamboo watch-house raised some twelve feet from
the ground. On this weir, and beneath this house,
some forty or fifty Lushais were collected. They
yelled out to our men to turn back, and made
threatening demonstrations. It was explained to
them, as before, that no harm was intended them
if they offered no opposition to our advance,
and that our path led us that way, and the
General was determined to follow it ; the General
moreover ordered the 44th not to fire unless
The advance was then continued over the weir,
and the Lushais retired without firing, but still
shouting. As we proceeded onwards we soon
came to another bend of the river, where it had
ADVANCE ON KHOLEL. 135
to be forded. Here ensued another parley, the
Lushais wishing us to wait where we were, and
their Muntries would be sent in to the General.
These attempts to stop the advance were re-
peated without success at each ford till at last the
Tuivai itself was crossed, and the Lushais dis-
appeared. The force encamped on the bank of
the Tuivai, near its junction with the Tuibum.
Tn the evening a reinforcement of fifty men of
the 22nd, under Major Stafford, arrived ; and
the next day, the 23rd, it was determined, by
marching on Kholel, to give the Lushais no oppor-
tunity of strengthening their position if they
wished to fight. So leaving a guard in camp, the
General took the rest of his force up the hill.
The ascent was through thick jungle, and very
steep. Colonel Roberts was in front with the
advanced guard, and as he arrived at the edge
of the joom, a Kookie constable , named Panek,
pointed out that there were some Lushais in the
joom-house. The Colonel then waited to get the
men together, a matter of considerable difficulty,
owing to the narrowness of the path.
As the foremost skirmishers debouched upon
136 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the joom, they were received by a volley from
the Lushais, by which Panek was dangerously
wounded. The 22nd then charged, and the
Lushais fired one more volley and disappeared
over the crest of the hills above.
The joom-house was found to be full of grain,
which was at once destroyed, and the little force
continued its toilsome ascent, driving the Lushais
from joom to joom. The tactics adopted by the
latter were to post themselves at the top of each
steep ascent, in positions commanding the entrance
to the jooms, and as the foremost men came out
into the open, to fire a volley at them and dis-
appear into the heavy jungle.
Of course their style of fighting, the steep-
ness of the hillside, and the denseness of the forest,
all favoured the Lushais, and were against us.
From frequent traces of blood found about, it was
tolerably evident that the enemy did suffer much
loss ; but of course it was impossible to ascertain its
extent, as the Lushais have a superstition that if
the head of a man slain in battle falls into the
hands of his enemy, the man himself becomes the
slave of the victor in the next world ; and conse-
DESTRUCTION OP VILLAGES. 137
quently they will make any effort to carry off their
dead and wounded, or to conceal them till the
enemy has retired. On the other hand they spare
no pains, and often fear no danger, in the endeavour
to obtain the heads of their enemies.
Storehouses full of grain were found in each
joom, which were all destroyed; and after skirmish-
ing up the hill for about three hours, two villages
recently constructed were reached and burnt
down. A third, near which a stream of water
was found, the General determined to occupy,
and he sent back to the camp on the Tuivai for
the baggage; in the meantime continuing the
march to Kalhi's chief village, which had been
seen from Senvong, and was near the summit
of the Vanbong ridge. It was at last discovered
at a height of three thousand three hundred feet-
above the camp of the morning.
The Lushais made an attempt to defend the
village, but the 44th drove them out, losing
two men in the assault. The village was then
burnt, and the troops returned to the one pre-
viously fixed upon for occupation. Shortly after
their arrival the Lushais commenced firing
1 38 THE -LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
into the camp from the forest which surrounded
it closely, and wounded a sentry of the 22nd.
Two other men of this regiment had also been
wounded, one dangerously, in the course of the
Doolies, a kind of canvas hammock slung on
a long pole, and carried on the shoulders of a
couple of coolies, always accompanied the troops,
for the conveyance of the wounded.
Shots were exchanged between the Lushais
and our sentries all through the night. Two
flint-locks were picked up in the morning near
the left picket, and the ground all round was
stained with blood.
Major Stafford patrolled down to the camp on
the Tuivai to get up supplies, skirmishing with
the enemy each way.
The General also, with Colonel Roberts and a
party of the 44th, under Captain Robertson, went
out to another village to the south. This was
carried at a rush by the Goorkhas, and shared
the fate of the villages on the previous day. In
this affair only one man was wounded.
While this was going on, some of the troops
CHRISTMAS DAY. 139
left in camp were employed in clearing the jungle
round the village, a work which was attended
with good results ; as the Lushais, deprived of
cover close to the sentries, did not annoy them
much during the night.
The next day Christmas Day the 44th went
out again, under Captains Lightfoot and Robert-
son, and burnt some twenty well-filled granaries,
They secured the body and gun of one Lushai,
which were sent into camp. The casualties on
their side were four men wounded, one of whom
was badly hit in the forehead.
Major Stafford also patrolled down to the lower
camp and back again, fighting each way.
The Kookies in camp were greatly excited when
the Lushai' s body was taken in, and were very
anxious to cut off his head, but of course they
were not allowed to do so. Old Eaipa, on
finding that he could not have his desire upon
his enemy, set up a dismal wail which must have
been heard for miles.
In the evening all the officers assembled at the
head-quarter mess, to keep up as far as possible
the semblance of Christmas. They sat at a table
140 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
raised in a conspicuous position, with candles
burning before them, and Lushais firing from the
jungle close by.
Whether from some idea that the death of a
white man would be more severely revenged than
that of a Sepoy, or from some superstitious
notion, it is impossible to say ; but notwithstand-
ing the excellent mark which the dinner-table
and its lights presented to them, no shots were
fired in that direction though single sentries
posted quite near to it were hit.
Another curious fact is that, when some songs
were sung after dinner, the Lushais stopped
firing altogether while the singing lasted, com-
mencing again when the song was over.
While occupying this village, it was discovered
that the path which would take us in the direc-
tion of Lalboora passed by old Kholel, and that
consequently a mistake had been made in coming
up to the new Kholel villages. It was therefore
determined to retire to the weir across the
Tuibum, where were Colonel Stafford's wing of
the 22nd and the Sappers, and seek for the
path thence to Poiboi.
APPARENT RETREAT. 141
Moreover, the village which we then occupied
was not tenable for any length of time, the
Lushais getting daily more wary and skilful ; and
being favoured by the jungle they made the
camp too hot for our troops.
Two shots closely following each other, and
invariably coming from the same spot, induced
the idea that one of the Lushais was armed with
a double-barrelled gun, and was a better marks-
man than his fellows. It was found afterwards,
however, that two men, .brothers, hunted together.
We also learned subsequently that one of them
was killed in a skirmish, and no more was heard
of the double barrel.
On the 26th, when it was determined to return
to the Tuibum a Goorkha, Robertson's orderly,
was shot through the heart as he was rolling up
the bedding from which his master had just risen,
in a house in the midst of the village.
As the return to the weir must have looked to the
Lushais very much like a retreat, it was neces-
sary to keep them in ignorance of that movement
as long as possible, and by occupying their
attention prevent them from following their usual
142 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
tactics of lying in wait for the long string of
coolies and followers, and firing into it.
The retreat was executed most successfully and
skilfully. The 22nd formed the advance. The
baggage and sick were sent on in front, under
the protection of some of the 44th, distributing
a couple of files between the coolies at short
intervals. The remainder of the 44th formed
the rear-guard, and were accompanied by the
General himself, and Colonel Roberts.
The day was bright and clear, the air crisp
and cold, and below in the valley lay the soft
white mist, as the first detachment moved out
of the village. The 22nd had, as before men-
tioned, patrolled down to the Tuivai for two days
in the same manner, and did not excite any notice
on the part of the Lushais, who were busily en-
gaged in exchanging shots with the picquets. The
coolies were thus all got safely out of the camp ;
the picquets were driven in, and the village fired
by a party of Kookies. The Lushais then dis-
covered the manoeuvre, but too late, for the
coolies were well ahead, and the rear-guard was
between them. They tried, however, wherever the
THE GOOEKHAS. 143
nature of the ground gave them a chance, to get
by the rear-guard and attack the coolies ; but
they were baffled by the Goorkhas, " who," in
the words of one of the staff-officers present,
" extending rapidly where the ground allowed,
retired through their supports as if on parade."
The troops were admirably led by Colonel Nuthall
and Captain Robertson.
TEMPORARY CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES THE LTJSHAI AC-
COUNT OP THE KHOLEL AFFAIR DIFFICULTY OF COMMUNI-
CATING WITH THE NATIVES A GUIDE FOR THE SURVEY
OFFICERS THE MUNIPUR CONTINGENT POIBOl'S PRESENTS
EVENTS AT TIPAI MUKH LUSHAI ATTACK.
rpHE Tuibum was reached without a single
casualty, a few granaries, which had escaped
during the advance, being destroyed on the way.
The catnp was formed on a level piece of
ground of some extent, close to the fishing weir,
and a picquet left during the night, in a small
stockade at the Tuivai camp, was withdrawn the
next day. This Tuibum encampment was sur-
rounded on all sides by steep hills, as usual
covered with forest, and the Lushais, concealed
among the trees, continued to annoy us by firing
into it, and at the working parties. The casual-
ties, however, were not numerous, only a coolie
and a sapper being wounded.
The route onward was explored on the 27th,
and it was found that it ascended the hill soon
143 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
after leaving the weir, leading up a steep and
narrow spur of a hill called Pabarchung.
On the 28th the troops remained in camp,
and were joined by Colonel Rattray and his wing
of the 42nd AL.D. On" the 29th, the General,
taking these with him, and accompanied by Cap-
tain Badgley, went back to the burnt villages.
The principal object of this Expedition was to
show the Lushais that, though the force had re-
tired from that particular hill, they were by no
means to conclude that it could not return to it,
for that till they (the Lushais) made submission
they would get no peace.
As soon as the detachment left the camp, it
was fired into from all sides, and one man was
Coming out on to a joom, after ascending the
hill for some little distance, the foremost of the
party saw some Lushais, who fired at them and
disappeared, not without the loss of one of their
number, whom they carried off, leaving his rnusket,
cloth, &c., where he fell.
Near the first village burnt on the 23rd, as the
leading skirmisher was making his way along a
THE CRY OF PEACE. 149
narrow path, a man wearing a yellow cloak and
waving a red puggree appeared suddenly before
him. Fortunately Captain Butler, who was just
behind, recognised him as Darpong, and stopped
the advance till the General and Mr. Edgar went
lip to the front and heard what he had to say ;
which was that he had been sent by Poiboi to
stop hostilities at Kholel, and to make peace for
the villages, and that Poiboi's brother was on his
way to make terms for their own villages.
The General consented to a temporary cessa-
tion of hostilities ; and when he understood this,
Darpong climbed up into a dead tree, sounded the
cry of peace to the invisible foes in the jungle,
and from that moment all firing ceased. Then
going on to the village, Mr. Edgar proceeded to
arrange preliminaries with Darpong. The latter
promised that all firing should stop along our
route, and that our communications should be
kept open for us, a promise which was most
religiously kept ; for though on that afternoon
Colonel Davidson was fired at a few miles out of
camp, on his way to Tipai Mukh, by some Lushais
who could not then have got news of the truce.
150 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION
yet with this exception the roads were from that
moment perfectly safe for dak-runners, coolies
bringing up supplies, &c.
Captain Badgley went to the top of the hill and
took some observations, and then the party re-
turned to camp.
While at the village, a great many Lushais
were hanging about afraid to approach their late
enemies ; but some officers went out to meet
them ; and some
"A little of us by our signs did learn,
Then went their way, and so at last all fear
Was laid aside, and thronging they drew near,
To look upon us
and upon our swords and revolvers, which they
examined with great interest.
The General remained at the Tuibum camp till
the 6th January, this delay being necessary in
order to get up sufficient supplies for a further
advance, as, in the rapid march on Kholel, these
had been overrun, as well as to complete the com-
munications with Tipai Mukh ; the time was spent
in getting up these supplies, and commencing the
road over Pabarchung, and by Mr. Edgar in
THE KHOLEL AFFAIR. 151
constant interviews with the representatives of
the north and north-eastern Lushais.
Mr. Edgar tells us that the following is the
Lushai version of the Kholel business, as far as
he could learn it from themselves. It will be re-
membered I mentioned, in a former chapter, that
Voupilal's people were divided, after his death,
in their allegiance between his widow and mother ;
the former of whom lives at Vanbong (New
Kholel). When our advance was made on Kholel
the adherents of the latter, being generally
the older people of the tribe, remembered the
fate of their villages in Colonel Lister's Expedition,
and wished to make a show at any rate of friend-
ship, in order to get on to Poiboi in the East, and
away from them while the other and younger
party wished to oppose and advance, and dwelt
on the fact that in 1849 the force had to hurry
out of the country.
On the other hand, if the Kholel people opposed
us unsuccessfully, there was danger of all their
villages to the west being attacked, and it was
equally Poiboi's interest to keep us, if possible,
from reaching his territory. This would account
152 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
for the Lushais* remark at No. 6, that the
people of Vanbong had been ordered to oppose
our advance at the Tuibum.
" The two parties do not seem to have come
to any decision, but probably there was a tacit
compromise that if we did not attempt to visit
Vanbong we should not be opposed, and that in
this case the Kholel people would keep on out-
wardly friendly terms with us, unless we met
with some disaster ahead, when they might fall
upon us with perfect safety.
" Of course it would have been impossible for
us to accept such a situation. It was almost a
necessity for us to make every village behind
safe before taking a step in advance. From the
position of the New Kholel group of villages it
could have done us more injury than any other,
and we could not make sure of it without visiting
it and leaving a party in a position to command
all the villages."
The Lushais say that they did not intend to
provoke hostilities on the 23rd; but that the
rashness of some of their youths committed them
to the attack, and then all were compelled to
unite in order to get rid of us.
LUSHAI HOSTAGES. 153
In the return of the troops to Tuibum, leaving
some of the villages still standing, they recognised,
as they thought, a similar proceeding to that of
Colonel Lister, and expected we were now about
to leave the country. The people began there-
fore to re-occupy their houses and bring back
their families from the various places of safety
to which they had been sent, and also to
harass our communications. Contrary to their
expectations, however, when they saw General
Bourchier marching towards their villages again
on the 29th, instead of retiring as fast as possible
on Tipai Mukh, a panic seized them ; and a village
council being hastily held, instant submission was
urged. The Western people also advised the
same step, and those whose villages had been de-
stroyed, were compelled to yield with a bad grace.
Then carne the difficulty of communicating
with us, but Darpong undertook the risk, with
what result we have already seen. Three of the
Kholel people were given as hostages, to remain
with us till our return. These men accompanied
us throughout the Expedition, and did very good
service on several occasions. One of them named
154 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Santong, the survivor of tho two sharp-shooting
brothers, could speak a little Hindustani, and
he was appointed as guide to the survey party,
and used to accompany it to point out the various
hills, &c. ; and this he always did, cheerfully ren-
dering material assistance to the survey officers.
The establishment of the posts at Bongkong
and Koloshib caused these Western Lushais great
uneasiness, and it appeared that the advance of
the Munipur contingent was influencing for good
those to the east. Much anxiety was felt by the
General, lest this contingent advancing so far
south should actually come into collision with the
Eastern tribes, as such an encounter was far from
desirable, whatever its immediate result might
be, and messengers were despatched to General
Nuthall explaining General Bourchier's wishes.
On the 18th January matters were finally
settled with the Kholel men, and some commis-
saries were sent to Khalkom desiring him to join.
On the 5th, some of Poiboi's men brought in
a pig and some fowls, &c., as presents, with
assurances of Poiboi's desire to keep on friendly
terms with us. They reported that Darpong had
TIPAf MUKH. 155
not returned from his journey to General Nuthall,
but that no fighting had, as yet, taken place
between their people and the Munipuris, though
the latter were then close to Chiboo.
Before continuing the narrative of the advance,
it will be necessary to return to Tipai Mukh,
where an event had occurred which had startled
that little garrison out of the fancied security
they had been enjoying. The troops at that
time, at Tipai Mukh, were the Artillery, a wing
of the 42nd, under Colonel Sheriff, and Colonel
Hicks' wing of the 44th, the whole being under
command of the latter officer.
The days were passed very quietly in erecting
godowns, improving the defences, and fishing.
Some very fine mahaseer were caught with spoon-
bait. Two officers took ninety-one pounds of
fish between them in one day, and Captain R.
Cookesley, R.A., the day after caught five fish,
weighing in all eighty- two pounds, the largest
turning the scale at twenty-one and a half
The news from the front used generally to
come in during the night, and was discussed the
156 TUE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
following morning, during the usual early tea
and biscuit over the big camp fire.
Sometimes the Commissariat had a baking day,
and a loaf was served out to each officer. On
such occasions long bamboo toasting-forks were
cut, and the pleasure of making one's own toast
was much appreciated.
On Christmas Day some beeves arrived from
Mynadhur, after a most adventurous journey, the
rafts in which they were having been twice upset
in the rapids, and they had to swim for their
lives. They were slightly lean, but after tinned
mutton were most welcome; and some of the
freshly caught mahaseer, this beef, and a whole
bottle of beer to each man, formed, as times
then were with us, a very fine Christmas dinner,
after which we tried to emulate the usual
festivities of the season with a brew of hot grog
and a few old songs.
The Artillery and Commissariat elephants were
usually sent a little way up the Tipai to graze,
but on the morning of the 27th, the mahouts
had incautiously taken thirty-six elephants
further than they ought ; and about 10 o'clock
ATTACKED BY LUSHATS. 157
one of them ran into camp, apparently greatly
terrified, shouting out that the elephants had
been attacked by Lushais, their attendants killed,
and the animals driven away up stream.
The alarm was at once given, and the troops
fell in, though, from the mahout's incoherent
manner and confused statements, his tale did not
meet, at first, with full credence ; but an elephant,
with blood running from seven bullet wounds,
appeared almost immediately to prove his
story, which further information confirmed, with
the addition that the Lushais, numbering about
two hundred, were on their way to attack the
The guns were at once placed in position at
the east corner of the camp, commanding the
Tuivai, and the picquets re-inforced.
These arrangements had just been carried out,
when a few shots from the jungle on the opposite
bank informed us of the vicinity of the enemy.
Immediately after wards, a volley was fired from
the picquet on the top of the hill at some figures,
seen for a second, passing through the jungle
158 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Some officers passing up the left bank to re-
connoitre, were fired at, a bullet nearly finding
its billet in one of them. To all the shots fired
by the invisible enemy, the troops responded by
volleys, with what effect of course could not be
known. At length a single shot from our side,
fired at a puff of smoke from the enemy's, was
followed by groans and cries in Hindustani,
upon which the firing ceased.
A party of the 42nd, under Captain Harrison,
accompanied by Captain Blackwood, having
crossed the Tuivai in boats, proceeded up the
river in search of the elephants, and were fol-
lowed by a party of gunners in boats. The
former had gone about half a mile, when a
mahout crawled out of the jungle, with two gun-
shot wounds and a spear cut in his left leg and
foot. He said that while the mahouts and coolies
were loading the elephants with the grass, &c.,
they were suddenly surprised by about fifty
Lushais, who, having fired a volley from the
jungle, suddenly with a loud yell rushed out
upon them with spears and daos, killing several.
He himself was sitting on his elephant when he
NIGHT IN CAMP. 159
was wounded, and falling off into the long grass
crept away unperceived, and concealed himself till
he heard the approach of the Sepoys. He was
sent at once into camp, and his wounds attended
to ; one bullet was extracted, a piece of iron beaten
into a slug of irregular shape.
Proceeding onwards, the party in search of the
elephants came upon a few near the scene of the
attack, and some of the mahouts who had also
managed to escape the fury of the Lushais, on
hearing our men, came out and took charge of
Towards evening the party returned, having
succeeded in recovering nine. They also brought
a Lushai gourd, cloth and bag, which they had
picked up in the jungle whence the enemy had
been firing in the morning. They, however,
saw nothing whatever of the Lushais, who had
disappeared as suddenly as they had come.
Everyone expected that the camp would be
fired into during the night, and all lights and
fires were ordered to be put out at an early hour.
Several times during the evening, young hands
heard, as they thought, the sound of gunshots ;
160 TEJE LUSIIAI EXPEDITION.
but the more experienced laughed and explained
that this noise was caused by the popping of
bamboo in the camp fire. The air between the
knots expands with the heat, and the bamboo
bursts with a bang, exactly resembling the re-
port of a gun.
Everything, however, passed off quietly till
about two o'clock in the morning, when a cry
was raised of " Lushai," and the whole force
turned out at once. It was soon, however, dis-
covered that the alarm was caused by a stampede
among the elephants, about eighty of which were
picketed to the north of the camp. One of them,
with his forelegs hobbled, went galloping through
the 44th camp, and the mahouts on perceiving
him raised the alarm. Everyone soon turned in
Early next morning detachments of the Artil-
lery and 42nd, under Captains Cookesley and
Harrison, proceeded up the river in boats, and
recovered all but three of the missing elephants.
The former officer says :
" The jungle along the banks was one tangled
mass of coarse rank grass, varied by stretches
of shingly beach, covered here and there with
a hardy shrub, the roots of which are interlaced
in a manner to puzzle the best equestrian, but
through this the elephants were tracked with un-
erring precision by the sharp little Goorkhas."
The party also discovered and brought back to
camp the remains of three of the poor fellows who
had been killed by the Lushais. They presented
a ghastly spectacle, their bodies having been
hacked and mutilated in a most shocking manner ;
their heads had been cut off, but not carried
away, only the scalps being taken. One of the
unfortunates was an old man, and his arms and
hands had been cut to pieces, apparently in attempt-
ing to ward off the cruel blows of his murderers.
While clearing the jungle near the picquet on the
hill, a spear-head was picked up, cut nearly in two
by an Enfield bullet ; it must have been knocked
off the staff while in the hand of its owner, who
had a narrow escape.
I do not think it was ever known to which tribe
the men belonged who committed this attack,
though an idea gained some credence that Khalkom
was the leader, and that he was wounded in this
162 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
affair. Another rumour attributed the attack to
the party returning from Monierkhal, of whose
excursion northward notice had been sent from
No. 6, as before mentioned.
This was the first and last excitement for those
at Tipai Mukh, who thenceforth, to the close of
the Expedition, pursued the even tenor of their
The telegraph was completed as far as Tipai
Mukh by the 31 st December. The wing of the
42nd which had been working on the last bit of
road into camp, which was very difficult and
rocky, had been withdrawn when the fighting
commenced in front, and this part was not
finished for some time the last stage of the
journey being performed by water.
PROGRESS OF THE HEAD-QUARTERS AT WORK ON THE ROAD
A DESERTED VILLAGE UNCOMFORTABLE NIGHT AN EMIS-
SARY FROM SUKPILAL THE CAMP AT CHEPUI POIBOIS
THE SENIVAI GUARD VILLAGES THE KHOLEL RANGE.
TT7E may now accompany the head-quarters on
the onward march for the rest of the cam-
paign, as a passing reference to events occurring
in rear is all that will be necessary.
All the wounded were sent in to Tipai Mukh
on the 1st of January, to be attended at the depot
Captain Harvey with his Sappers left Tuibum
on the 4th for Pabarchung ; and encamping near
its summit, commenced work upon the road.
Colonel JSTuthall with his Goorkhas went into a
beautiful little stream called the Tuitu, on the
other side of the hill, and worked backwards to
meet the Sappers.
The General and staff left Tuibum on the 6th,
and halting at the Sapper camp for the night
166 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
arrived at Tuitu (No. 8.) early on the morning
of the 7th.
The Tuitu runs along a deep and narrow valley,
separating the Kholel range from Pabarchung. It
is a clear stream, with firm sandy and stony bed,
its banks clothed with bamboo, and a tall graceful
On the way over Pabarchung a very good view
of the Yanbong hills was obtained, and many
more villages and innumerable jooms became
visible. These had been concealed from other
and nearer points of view by the denseness of the
forest, but now we could see the whole eastern
face of the hill. The elevation of the camp of
the Tuibum was seven hundred feet, the height
of Pabarchung three thousand seven hundred
feet, and the Tuitu, at the point we crossed it,
about one thousand five hundred feet.
On the 8th the Sappers having come up, the
whole moved on to the site of a deserted village,
called Daidoo, on the Kholel ridge, and were suc-
ceeded at No. 8 by the 22nd N. I.
The path led us through deserted jooms up a
steep and narrow spur. As we ascended, leaving
the region of bamboo behind, the jungle became
more open, only grass and a few low shrubs
growing between the tall trees. Wild helio-
trope and cocoa-nuts, and other flowering weeds,
abounded along the path.
The troops arrived at Daidoo between two and
three, P.M., and a spot being fixed on for a camp,
everyone was soon busy some searching for
water, others building huts. The water was
found after a great search, but yielded a very in-
This village had been deserted for some two
years, and the stream was choked up with
dead leaves, old bamboo, ashes, mud, &c., and
though attempts were made to improve it by
cleaning it and constructing small troughs, yet
the result was far from satisfactory.
The sky had become clouded during the march,
and there was no doubt that we should have rain,
which came down heavily about six p.m., and
lasted through the night.
Time and the friendly bamboo both being
wanting, the huts were not successfully con-
structed and the rain came through in every part.
168 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Very few had been fortunate enough to get mai-
chaus constructed, and almost everyone passed
the greater part of the night in a swamp of
sloppy blankets and grass.
About seven o'clock next morning the rain and
mist cleared off, and the sun came out warm
and bright, accompanied by a keen strong wind,
blowing right across the ridge on which we were
encamped ; and availing ourselves of these two
beneficent agencies, our wet clothes and soaked
blankets were hung on ropes and stretched from
tree to tree, and soon dried.
Two theories were held by rival parties in the
camp, as to the best way of stretching a waterproof
sheet, whether outside over the leaf roof or inside
under it. The theories were put to the proof on
this occasion, and resulted in the triumph of the
first named, though some continued, against their
better judgment, to adhere to their old plan.
It must be evident, or ought to be, that the
sheet put outside keeps the water from penetrat-
ing through the leaves, conducting it off the slop-
ing roof to the ground outside, while, if stretched
inside, no matter how tightly the stretching is
PEOTECTION AGAINST RAIN. 169
done, the rain, unless the sheet is arranged
at a very steep slope indeed, soon finds its way-
through the leaves, and passes and collects grad-
ually in the sheet, which becomes a reservoir of
water, liable on the slightest incautious touch to
discharge its contents in every direction within
It is not a pleasant thing in a dark night, as
I found by experience, to have to get up about
two a.m., and stand under the dripping roof, to
empty out a gallon of icy-cold and dirty water,
which has bagged the sheet down to within a
foot of one's head. One occupant of our hut,
doing this without proper caution, sent the whole
of the collected water in a gush on to an unof-
fending fellow sleeping next to him, who,
having taken the precaution of putting his sheet
outside, would have otherwise remained dry
throughout the night. At the very best, the
inside arrangement, even if it does not carry all
the water on to the bed of the sleeper beneath,
makes the ground within the hut wet.
The next day, the 9th January, Mr. Edgar's
scouts informing him that a better supply of
170 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
water was to be found at Pachui, another de-
serted village about a mile off on the same range,
the General and staff with the 44th marched to
that place, leaving the Sappers at Daidoo to com-
plete the road between Pachui and the Tuitu.
After his arrival at Pachui (known officially as
No. 9), Nura Sinpanu's muntri, and Rution Singh,
an emissary from Sukpilal, came in. The latter
is a Hindustani, formerly a coolie in a tea-garden,
who deserted to the Lushais some years back,
and has since acquired some influence among
the Western tribes, which he is supposed to ha\ r e
frequently exercised to our prejudice.
They said that Khalkom was ill, and that
Sukpilal had gone to see him, but that they
would come in at once if the General would for-
give the delay.
They were sent back with the reply that, if
they wanted to see the General at Pachui, they
must come in at once, as the march would not be
delayed on their account. The Khalkom villages
were said to be three days' journey from No. 9.
Darpong also arrived with the letter he was to
have taken to General Nuthall. He said that, in
CAMP AT PACHUI. 171
consequence of some ill-treatment Poiboi's mes-
sengers to General Nuthall had met with at the
hands of the Munipuris, the Lushais were afraid
to take this letter. Mr. Edgar considered this
story to be false, and believed that the real reason
for their not taking the letter, was the fear that
it might contain an order for an immediate attack
on the Lushais.
The camp at Pachui was admirably situated, as
it not only commanded the road to the Tuivai,
and southern portion of the valley and villages of
New Kholel, but also the country to the west,
where stood Khalkom's villages. At the same
time it covered the communications with Tuibum.
It was therefore determined to halt here, while
trying to bring the Western tribes to terms, and
collecting sufficient supplies to march rapidly on
Poiboi's village, if he should eventually declare
against us, and oppose our advance against Lal-
The onward road was at first to have been
made along the Kholel ridge, without going near
Poiboi ; but we were told that a good route to Lal-
bura lay through the country of the Poibois, and as
172 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
there was a scarcity of water along the former, and
Poiboi's intentions were so exceedingly doubtful,
the General felt it necessary, in order to secure
his communications, to pass through that chief's
territory, and a road was accordingly commenced
down to the Tuivai.
Poiboi had, on several occasions, expressed to
Mr. Edgar his friendly feelings towards us, and
his displeasure at the conduct of his cousins.
Still it was not to be forgotten that it was against
his own relations that the arms of the left column
were directed ; and as he could at any time him-
self assemble a large number of fighting men,
he was informed that he must give a most satis-
factory guarantee of his perfect neutrality.
Pachui is, as before mentioned, in the Kholel
range, and the hill of Chepui just opposite to it.
A deep valley intervenes, through which flows the
Tuivai, some two thousand feet below, the eleva-
tion of Pachui camp being about three thousand
eight hundred and fifty feet above sea level.
On the slopes of Chepui were visible the two
large villages of Chepui and Tingridum, the most
northerly of Poiboi's villages.
KHOLEL RANGE. 173
After Colonel Lister's Expedition in 1869, the
Lushais withdrew their villages further south,
leaving a large belt of jungly hills between them-
selves and our most southern cultivated tracts,
and established what they called guard- villages,
commanding the approach from our frontier to
their chief villages. Daidoo and Pachui were the
guard- villages to the chief's residence in Old
Kholel, which will be described further on ; and
Chepiii and Tingridum were the guard- villages to
Poiboi's country, and his residence at Chetam ;
the range on which the latter is built being con-
cealed from our view at Kholel by the lofty inter-
vening range of Lengteng.
The Kholel range consists of a series of lofty
peaks connected by narrow ridges. The peaks
increase in height towards the south ; the highest
we reached, from which we observed angles, &c.,
was five thousand two hundred feet.
The Tuivai flows on three sides, separating the
range from Momrang on the south, and Vanbong
on the west ; nearly opposite No. 9, the Tuivai
flows out from the eastern hills under Tingridum.
The climate here was delightful, pleasantly
174 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
warm during the day, with a refreshing breeze
blowing over the hills. The only drawback was
the heavy fog which frequently rose from the
river during the night, and did not disperse till
about ten in the morning! It was worse than rain,
penetrating everywhere ; and condensing on the
interior of the roof, it kept up a continual dripping
from every blade of grass or pendent leaf.
A great protection against this mist were thick
muslin mosquito curtains, made like a tent from
the sloping sides of which the water ran off, and
beneath which was to be found the only dry spot
in the hut. The evenings were clear, star-lit, and
cold the average minimum temperature during
the night being forty-four degrees.
When the mist did not trouble us in the early
morning, the scenery was magnificent. On both
sides the mist lay in the valleys like a sea of the
softest wool, stretching away for miles, marking
out each spur and ravine on the mountain sides like
well defined shores. The peaks of the lower ranges
stood up like little islands, while currents of
air below dashed the mist against the steep out-
running spurs, like mimic breakers against some
MOUNTAIN SCONEEY. 175
bold headlands'. The hills extended far away to
the west, rising range upon range, purple and blue,
till the sun, appearing above the bluff mass of
the Surklang, lighted up the mountain sides with
the most brilliant tints of orange and green, and
changed the cold blue of the cloudy sea beneath,
into all the varied and delicate tints of mother
of pearl, while over all hung the canopy of
clear lilac and gold of the morning sky. Such a
scene requires a much more eloquent pen than
mine to do justice to it, or even to convey any
idea of its exceeding beauty.
" I cannot paint
The cataract, the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms."
SITE OP THE VILLAGE OP KHOLEL VOtTPILAL'S TOMB ENGLOOM
THE HE AD- MAN OP CBEPUI SWEARING ETERNAL FRIEND-
SHIP ARTISTIC JUDGMENT DISTRIBUTION OP TROOPS
MIDNIGHT PARLEYS ATTEMPTED DECEPTION LUSHAI WINE
APPRECIATED VILLAGE LIFE.
A BOUT three miles south of No. 9. is the site
of the village of Kholel, in which lived
Voupilal, and where his tomb is still preserved.
Daidoo, Poiboi, and Kholel all acknowledged his
sway, and when on his death their inhabitants re-
moved to Vanbong, they left the villages standing.
A fortnight before our arrival, however, they set
fire to them all, probably with a view to prevent
our finding any shelter in them on the march.
The path, as is the case along most of the ridges,
runs through very open jungle, till it reaches the
site of the village, a large bare gravelly spot, on
which stood, according to the Lushais, nearly a
thousand houses, but of which only a few
blackened uprights remain.
Old Kholel, most admirably situated beneath
180 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
one of the highest peaks of the range, where the
narrow ridge, widening as it gradually rises to
the hill, affords a site of half a mile in length,
and about three hundred yards in width, com-
manding a magnificent view of the Munipur,
Naga, and Jyntea hills on the North, and of the
Lushai and South Cachar hills on the East and
Voupilal's house occupied a space forty yards
long by almost fifteen broad, as shewn still by a
few uprights and remnants of foundations, and at
the south end of its site is the tomb, a curious
structure consisting of a platform of rough flag-
stones and wood, about seventeen feet square and
three feet high. In the centre grows a young
banian tree, brought from below, which seems to
be flourishing in its elevated home. The whole
is surrounded by tall posts or trunks of small
trees, each crowned with the skulls of some
animal or animals slain in the chase ; among
them are elephants, tigers, metuas, wild-boar,
Of the metua, there are some thirty or forty
heads, round or near the tomb, and we also
VOUPILAL'S TOMB. 181
found the head of a Munipuri pony, presented by
the new rajah of that country to Youpilal a few
There were two other smaller platforms sur-
rounded with skulls close by, but for what pur-
pose and with what intention they were erected,
we were unable to find out.
On other posts drinking vessels, and
wooden fetters used for securing captives, were
hung. All are intended for the use of the
deceased in the other world, where the animals
whose heads surrounded his tomb will evermore
be subject to him. No human skulls were dis-
covered, although it is known that at least one
Naga captive was slain at his death.
Standing about are curiously shaped posts
branching out at the top, like the letter Y, and
some ten feet high ; these, we were told, were all
sacrificial posts, on which metuas and other
animals are sacrificed at the death of a chief.
, The tomb is visible for miles around ; a black
speck, on a long bare yellow-ridge, marking the
spot where among the ruins of his villages, the
mountain breezes for ever moaning over the sad
182 THE LUSHAJ EXPEDITION.
deserted scene, rest the remains of the once
powerful Lushai chieftain.
While at No. 9, we were frequently visited by
large numbers of Lushais from Chepui and Ting-
ridnra, bringing in fowls, yams, and eggs for
barter, the articles most coveted in exchange
being cloth and salt.
A coolie, having no use for his money and being
no doubt utterly tired of his monotonous Com-
missariat fare, gave one rupee for a fowl, which
thenceforth was established by the Lushais as
the standard price, though, of the actual value
of the rupee they were entirely ignorant, appre-
ciating more highly a few copper coins. A few
sepoys who had a supply of the latter, took
advantage of it to buy back at about a sixth of
their value the rupees which the Lushais had
previously received from the officers.
Out of the eight men who went into Cachar
with the presents for Poiboi, one, Engloom by
name, having no relations among the Lushais,
and wishing ultimately to settle in Cachar, re-
mained with us throughout the Campaign. This
was the only maa in our camp who knew any
THE HEAD-MAN OF CHEPUI. 183
thing at all of the country to the East, or the
position of the villages on our intended line of
march ; and as we should have, from this point,
to trust a good deal to the information given us
by Lushais in the villages ahead, it was neces-
sary, if possible, to avoid a collision with them.
On the 14th January, the headman of Chepui,
Tington, came in, in a scarlet cloak, a present
from the liberal British Government, attended by
several villagers. As they approached, they saw-
some officers looking through telescopes at them,
and imagining these to be some deadly weapons,
they sat down to see what happened. As nothing
did happen, they rose and came on.
Whether from fear, or with the idea of keeping
up his dignity, the chief squatted with his back
to the camp at every hundred yards. " Whiles he
gaed, and whiles he sat," but at last he arrived
and had an interview with Mr. Edgar. He merely
said he was afraid of our destroying his village
and crops, and as usual he was told that, if he and
his people behaved properly, no injury would be
done to them.
Tington belongs to the^Khengti family, which
184 TEIE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the Lushai chiefs regard as equal in rank to their
own. He is said to be a nephew of Vonolel ; but
he does not possess any power or influence at all
commensurate with his high birth and pedigree.
We may dispose of him in this place by saying
that he maintained friendly relations with us as
long as our troops occupied the camp (No 10.)
close to his village. He paid frequent visits to
the officers in charge, and partook freely of the
Commissariat rum, on which occasions he was
often so overcome that he wept, and trying to
fall on the shoulders of his hospitable enter-
tainers, would swear eternal friendship in indis-
" One touch of nature makes the whole world
kin," says a man who, even in his philosophy,
never dreamt of Lushais ; and Tington did but
comport himself as I have often seen many
civilised scions of aristocratic families nearer
home doing on some festive occasion, vowing un-
dying friendship for the chance companion of the
hour ; though I will do both the said scions and
the Commissariat department the justice to add
that, in the latter instances, that department has
nothing to answer for.
As the roads in our rear were now passable for
elephants, and as nothing, or next to nothing,
was known of the route, or the people, or their
temper, or the state of their defences, it was
deemed advisable to bring up the artillery. Ac-
cordingly the two steel guns arrived on the 16th ;
the mortar it was found necessary to leave behind,
and as things turned out it was never required.
In the afternoon of this day I had a visit from
Santong, who wished to see my sketches. I
showed him two little ones ofDarpong andRution
Sing, which he recognised at once. He sat on the
floor of the hut, looking at them, laughing occasion-
ally, and gently repeating their names at intervals
as if he expected to be answered. This he con-
tinued doing for about half an hour, and when
asked to give back the sketches and portraits,
could not be prevailed on to do so till he had
called in a Sepoy, who was passing, to share his
In connection with this sketch of Darpong, the
following incident illustrates the folly of jumping
to conclusions. Several Lushais, having heard
that I had a coloured sketch of that worthy gentle-
186 THE LUSHAT EXPEDITION.
man, visited me, with the request that they might
be allowed to see rny sketch-book, to which of
course I assented, and exhibited it to them. It
contained principally little pencil sketches, but at
last, on turning a page, a coloured picture appeared
to their delighted eyes. " Darpong," they all
cried at once ; unfortunately they made a great
mistake, for it happened to be a landscape of an
up-country place of pilgrimage, named Hurdwar.
The 22nd arrived on the 13th at No. 9, and
on the 15th, went down and encamped at the
Tuivai, for the purpose of making the road up to
Chepui. About the same time, also, Major Moore
and Captain Heydayat Ali arrived, bringing their
Goorkha and Bhoolia coolies, the remnant who
had escaped the ravages of cholera at Chattuck.
Hitherto, the General had been deprived of
their services, and the Commissariat had often
been hard pushed to keep the supplies up to the
front; for while the Kholel sharp-shooters were
about, it was impossible to employ the elephants,
whose unwieldiness and unmanageableness, when
frightened, rendered them useless; but, on the
conclusion of the armistice, they were never idle.
A FINE STREAM. 187
With the exception of a strong guard at Mynad-
hur, the whole of the troops comprising the left
column, were at this time distributed at various
posts between No. 9 and Tipai Mukh.
On the 17tb, leaving behind a guard of fifty
men of the 22nd under Lieutenant Gordon, the
General and staff, withMr. Edgar and Col. JSTuthalPs
wing of the 44th, marched from Pachui, and de-
scended to the Tuivai, here still a fine stream
clear and cold, flowing between huge boulders,
past shingly reaches, and bubbling over pebbly
shallows, ever and anon widening out into still
pools, in the clear depths of which were reflected
the varied hues of the wooded hill-sides. A small
bamboo bridge had been thrown across at a spot
where a large stretch of shingle on the left bank
narrowed the stream considerably.
On the way down, a great many Lushais had
been observed collected in a joom opposite. A
few of them went down to the river, and the
General drew up his force on the shingle.
Darpong here arrived on the scene, and en-
deavoured to persuade the General to halt there
for the night, sayiug that Poiboi would parley in
188 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the darkness. These midnight parleys seem to
be the usual custom among the Lushais, but it
was one to which the General did not feel bound
to conform, and the ascent was commenced up
the Lushai track.
After a quarter of an hour's climb the joom
in which the Lushais had been seen was reached.
About two hundred armed with muskets were
grouped in the centre, but immediately extended
in fighting order. They were all clad alike in
the usual grey sheet, with a small grey fillet
bound round the head, and a haversack across the
The 44th, as they emerged on the joom, also
extended, forming a line facing the Lushais at
an interval of about a hundred and fifty yards.
The General, with his staff and Mr. Edgar,
occupying a spot half way between, directed
that Poiboi should come forward.
At some little distance stood a well-dressed
young fellow, and after a good deal of hurrying
about and preliminary consultations among the
Lushais, he came forward, accompanied by many
others. Mr. Edgar however, suspected, from
LUSHAl BRIDGES. 189
his manner, that he was not a chief, and Engloom,
being called up, declared that he was not Poiboi,
but a favourite companion of the latter.
On this the meeting broke up, it being ex-
plained to the Lushais that the General would
have no further dealings either with Poiboi him-
self, or any other representative, till he had
arrived at Chepui.
The Lushais again endeavoured, by threatening
gestures, to prevent the advance, and it seemed
as if Kholel was to be repeated here. However,
the troops continued the ascent without taking
any notice of the Lushais, and reached the
village without further opposition.
After a climb from the Tuivai of two thousand
two hundred feet up a steep and narrow rocky
path, we crossed two or three pretty little
mountain streams running over the moss and
fern-covered rocks. These were bridged by
Lushai structures ; a couple of bamboos, or
slender trees, supported on a few frail-looking
uprights fixed in the crevices of the rocks
below, affording a perilous passage to the booted
190 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The artillery elephants were got up with much
difficulty, and with fearful exertions on their
own part, literally having to climb up some
places. One practice they had, during any ex-
ertion, was peculiarly objectionable in the steep
narrow track, I mean the habit of constantly
dashing water on their bodies, wetting every
one below with a muddy shower.
The column was halted near the village, where
a few unfinished houses, intended to form a
suburb of Chepui, were hired from the owners,
and all the collected firewood purchased. The
water supply was also very good, so on the
whole we were more comfortable than we had
been since the commencement of the campaign.
The houses, being new, were free from the rats
and fleas which disturbed our rest at the next
village. The walls were made of bamboos, split
and pressed out flat. The strips, thus obtained,
having an average width of six inches, are inter-
woven horizontally and vertically, giving a
chequered pattern to the walls, exceedingly pretty
Engloom occupied a little hut in the centre,
COOKING OPERATIONS. 191
and had managed to secure a large jar of the
Lusbai wine, which he was imbibing through reeds
with several friendly Lushais. Some of the
officers also tried it, and testified their approval
by such frequent applications to the jar that
Engloom took the opportunity of their superin-
tending their camping arrangements to remove
it to some place of concealment, and we saw it
We had an opportunity of seeing a Lushai cook-
ing operation performed on a fowl by Engloom.
Squatting before a huge wood fire, he killed the
bird by cutting its head off; and giving a few
hurried plucks to some of the largest feathers,
he flung the body into the midst of the flames.
Snatching it out a second or two after, a few
more feathers were plucked, and again it was
thrown into the flames. These alternate burn-
ing and plucking operations were continued for
about six or seven minutes, when the singed and
blackened little mass was carried off to be de-
Not far off, another fowl was being roasted
for the head-quarters' mess, but the modus
192 THE LUSHA1 EXPEDITION.
operandi differed slightly from that of the Lu-
shais. A long piece of wood, passed through the
carefully plucked bird, was supported at each end
by a small forked stick in front of the bright fire.
A kitmutgar, sitting near, turned the piece of
wood slowly round and round till the fowl was
In this camp we were protected from the cold
winds and fog during the night and early morn-
ing, on one side by the high peak of Chepui, which
rose one thousand two hundred feet above us,
and on the other side by several wooded knolls,
so that, though four hundred feet higher than at
Pachui, the minimum temperature during the
night was never below 50.
The troops remained here till the 22nd January ;
this delay being caused by the unwillingness of
the villagers to point out any route except a very
roundabout one by Tingridum ; and some of the
troops actually commenced work upon it.
Colonel Roberts, feeling convinced that there
must be a more direct road, was untiring in
his endeavours to discover it, and at last success
rewarded his efforts.
VISITORS TO THE CAMP. 193
Previous to our arrival, all the women and
children had been removed, and were concealed
in some joom-houses on the hill sides, but before
we left they were gradually returning and re-
suming their usual occupations. No efforts had
been spared to inspire them with confidence,
as it was very important to keep on good terms
with the villages iu the rear. Their sick were
treated by our meclieal officers, and we heard
that some of the wounded from Kholel were there.
The villagers visited the camp daily, selling
fowls and eggs. The latter were generally found
to have been hard boiled.
Paper possessed great charms for them, and
they would take newspapers up and walk quietly
off with them, not being at all abashed if stopped
and made to restore them ; but when a paper was
given them, they went proudly away with it
sticking up from the back of their turbans (such
as wore them) in the shape of a large fan or
hood. Green and gold labels off pickle bottles,
and brass labels off sardine boxes, found great
favour as decorations for their hair knots.
In the meantime the survey party had visited
194 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the highest peak of the Chepui hill, and clearing
it had erected a tall bamboo survey " mark." It
was about thirty feet high, and consisted of three
long poles planted in the ground and tied together
at the top in the form of a tripod. The top part
was closed in with bamboo matting, and a bamboo
basket surmounted the whole. These glittering
white marks can be seen when the sun is shining on
them for very long distances, and it is said were
supposed by the Lushais to be effigies of Her Most
Gracious Majesty, placed on their hill tops as
evidences of her greatness and the power of her
army to penetrate where it would.
MORE SYMBOLIC WARNINGS DESIGNS OF THE LUSHAI CHIEFS
RECONNOITERING DARPONG ORDER OF MARCH FIGHT WITH
THE LUSHAIS SMALL BUT FORMIDABLE STOCKADE THE
LUSHAIS TAKEN IN FLANK CASUALTIES NARROW ESCAPE
OF THE GENERAL.
ITVHE Western chiefs, Sukpilal and Khalkom,
had not yet made their appearance, and
Colonel Rattray, who was then commanding at
Pachui, received orders to explore the roads in
their direction, in order, if possible, to put press-
ure upon them.
According to the Lushais, Khalkom was ill and
could not move. His illness, however, was never
satisfactorily explained, and it was generally be-
lieved that he was wounded either at Kholel or
As the time necessary for making roads could
not be spared, the General determined to trust to
the country paths from this point, taking on only
the Artillery elephants. Those belonging to the
Commissariat thenceforth worked only, between
198 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Tipai Mukh and Chepui ; the supplies being taken
on from the latter place by coolies.
On the 22nd January, the advance was con-
tinued along a very rocky path, the head-man,
and two others from Tingridum, and three men
from Chepui, accompanied it. The troops, who
camped about three miles and a half from Chepui,
on the banks of a little stream called Sairumlui,
the next day climbed up to station No. 11, on the
Gnaupa ridge, near the site of an old village
Colonel Roberts, taking Engloom with him,
went to explore the road ahead. The path
divided into two shortly after leaving camp, one
running along the ridge, the other along the
east face of the hill towards Surklang. The
latter was the route intended to be taken by the
troops, and this was found blocked by a rude
representation of men hanging on gallows ; and a
small red gourd, fixed in a tuft of grass, symbolised
scalped heads for those who should go that
The path descended to a pretty little fordable
stream called the Tuila, and crossed a steep spur
THE EOUTE. 199
of the Surklang to another stream, near which
good camping ground was found.
On the return of the reconnoiterers, Mr. Edgar
informed the Lushais with us that the Tuila route
would be the one followed, and the head-man of
Tingridum and Darpong were directed to go on
and inform Poiboi that we should pass by his
villages, but that, unless we were opposed, no harm
would be done to them, and also that he must
give up certain captives.
The Lushais earnestly begged that the General
would reconsider his decision about the route, and
take the Gnaupa one instead. This, they were
told, was impossible, and they then asked that
two young men of their number should be allowed
to go on to the villages ahead.
The Lushais had expected us to cross the
Lengteng by Gnaupa, and had fortified several
strong points on it ; and here they determined to
make a great stand. The chiefs had declared
their intention, if they succeeded in turning us
back there, of harassing our retreat in every
possible way, and not leaving off the pursuit till
the troops reached the cultivated portion of
200 THE LUSH A 1 EXPEDITION.
Cachar ; while on the other hand, if we overcame
all their opposition and crossed the Lengteng in
of it, it was understood that our further ad-
vance ori'Chumfai would be unopposed.
In avoiding the steep and rocky passage of the
Lengteng by that route, and choosing the easier
one by Surklang and Muthilen, it was not the
General's intention to avoid a collision with the
Lushais ; indeed it was desirable that a real trial
of strength should take place between us and the
whole force of the South-eastern tribes. Conse-
quently when Darpong intimated that the real
object of the two lads in wishing to leave us, was to
recall the men stationed on Lengteng, they were
allowed to go.
The interview between Mr. Edgar and the
Lushais was carried on over our camp-fire after
dinner, and loud and earnest were the sounds of
the discussion which from time to time reached
the ears of officers already retired to rest, one of
whom, " little recking, if they would let him sleep
on," of the great issue involved, and thinking
they were some gossiping servants, requested
them, in language more forcible than polite, to
NARROW RAVINE. 201
cease chattering. No attention, however, was paid
to his modest request, and it was far into the night
when the Lushais at last left the camp. Shortly
afterwards two shots were heard by the advanced
picquet in the direction taken by the lads, but
nothing else occurred during the night.
In the morning, Darpong and the Tingridum
man also departed, and at eight o'clock the force
marched for the next camp ; halting for a couple
of hours at the Tuila to allow the coolies to cook
and eat. As the supply of water at No. 11 had
been very limited, the General, Colonel Roberts,
and other officers, went on ahead to reconnoitre
the road in the afternoon. The path followed the
course of the ravine along its left bank. The ravine
was very narrow here, with densely wooded sides,
and the path, running over rocks and roots of
trees, in some places barely afforded a foothold,
while on the right below it was the rocky bed of a
About a mile from camp the path again divided,
leading in one direction to the south over Muthilen
to the village of Kungnung, and in the other to
the east, up Surklang. The latter was the road
202 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
reconnoitred. After climbing through some very
steep jooms, it ran along the south side of the
hill. It was a tolerable road here, some three or
four feet wide, and evidently made in some parts
in others cut with daos out of the hillside, the
best Lushai path we had yet met with.
After pursuing it for some time, and just as it
was so late as to necessitate a speedy return,
several large granaries were discovered in a joorn,
and while these were being inspected, Darpong
and his companion appeared upon the scene. On
questioning him as to his presence there, when
he was expected to have gone towards Poiboi's
village, which was in quite the opposite direction,
he said that the two shots we heard the night
before had been fired at the Lushais who left our
camp by people from Taikum, a large village a
mile or so further on the road, and that he had
been to inquire into the matter. He also pointed
out to us Kungnung near the summit of Muthilen,
and said that both the villages were full of armed
men. He then departed, promising to be in
camp next morning,
From the point where we met Darpong it was
ORDER OF MARCH. 203
easily seen that the onward route must be by
Kungnung, as Cbelam, Poiboi's village, was not
visible over the high intervening bill. This being
determined on, the reconnoitring party returned
to their camp.
The night passed off quietly, and the troops
inarched again shortly after eight a.m. on the
25th. Darpong had come in and given the
General to understand that an attack would be
made on us in the ravine. Fifty men of the 44th
went in advance, then the General and staff, and
the wing of the 44th ; sixty men of the 22nd
being left as a guard for the Artillery and coolies,
for whose safety all felt very anxious.
Such was the order of march for the small
force with him, and considering the precipitous
nature of the hill-sides, which completely com-
manded the narrow rocky stream, the General
felt that he could not search the banks as he
About half a mile from camp, however, as the
advanced guard were climbing over a steep rocky
part of the path, the first shots were exchanged,
and as if by magic along the whole line and in
204 TOE LUSHAJ EXPEDITION.
front, the gloom of the forest was lighted up by a
myriad of flashes, and bullets and slugs fell
" As on a July day,
The thunder shower falls pattering on the way."
At the first discharge the General's orderly-
was shot dead from the the right bank, and almost
immediately the General himself was wounded in
the left arm and hand by a Lushai on the left
bank, not eight yards off.
The Sepoys replied well, and Captain Robert-
son's advanced guard extended as they reached
the rocky ground on the left flank, while the rest
of the 44th, under Colonel Nuthall and Captain
Lightfoot, flinging down their packs and great-
coats, dived into the rocky stream, and meeting
the enemy in their own jungle, almost hand to
hand, drove them up the hill before them, scatter-
ing them most effectually. Thirteen Lushais
fell almost in one spot in the stream, those who
were not dead being despatched without mercy.
One man was trying to escape up the face of
a piece of rock over whieh some water trickled
into a pool below. The slippery rock hindered
FIGHT WITH THE LUSHATS. 205
him, and ere he could mount it a Goorkha had
overtaken him and cut him down with his
kookrie. He fell on his face in the pool, looking
painfully like a woman, as he lay there with
his smooth cheek and neatly braided hair and
The General's wounds having been speedily
bound up, he was enabled shortly to overtake
the troops again.
At the very commencement of the firing, a
note was sent by Mr. Edgar from the camp,
telling the General that he had forced Darpong
to state what he knew about the intended attack.
His statement was, that the Lushais meant to
avoid the troops, but to attack the coolies and
artillery elephants. Two of Mr. Edgar's Cachari
coolies were wounded at the outset, and this
dispiriting the others, that gentleman determined
to remain with them. Captain Thompson also
Some of the Lushais managed to slip past the
column, and attacked the rear, and as we
climbed the hill in pursuit of the Lushais, we
could hear the firing below.
206 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
On collecting the scattered columns, the ad-
vance followed the Kungnung path through some
open jooms, from which we could see the Lushais
running wildly about on the spurs and ridges
above, apparently endeavouring to collect for a
stand at the village.
At length the path ran along the face of a
huge precipice, and was commanded for a long
distance by a small stockade, constructed at the
most difficult part of the road, where a few resolute
men might have stopped the advance of an
army, while a few rocks detached from above
would have inflicted heavy loss on the troops
passing beneath, as escape would have been
impossible. At this very point, a fortnight
later, a small hill pony, belonging to an officer,
slipped and went over the path, and falling
three hundeed feet, was killed at once.
The rapidity with which the advance had been
conducted, had left the Lushais no time to
defend this stockade ; but passing onwards, the
path suddenly emerged on a joom, above which,
and on the high crest of another precipitous ridge,
was another long stockade. The foremost Sepoy,
SUCCESSFUL MANOEUVRE. 207
on showing himself at the edge of the joom, was at
once saluted with a shot, which fortunately missed
him. It was found useless to take this stockade
with a rush, owing to the nature of the ground,
and so two parties of the 44th, under Capts.
Robertson and Lightfoot, skirmished round to
their right, taking advantage of some long grass
jungle which concealed them from the defenders
of the stockade, who kept up a steady fire on
the road, expecting to see the troops appear
The rest of the force had been halted under
shelter of the bank, till the result of the flank
movement should be apparent. This manoeuvre
was most successfully executed, and great must
have been the surprise of the Lushais, while
keeping their attention and fire directed on the
patli in front, to find themselves suddenly taken
in flank. They fled, scarcely exchanging a shot
with their unexpected assailants ; and, when the
troops advanced through the stockade to the vil-
lage, a couple of hundred yards beyond, not a
Lushai was visible, all having vanished in the
forest and down the hill-side.
208 THE LUSH AT EXPEDITION.
The troops at once occupied the village. The
fires were found burning in the houses, domestic
articles were lying about as if abandoned in Kaste ;
and a few dogs, cowering in corners, testified to
the unpreparedness of the Lushais for this result
of their attack. In some houses were picked up
white skirts, which had been distributed to some
of the people who had visited us at Chepui.
The artillery elephants could not be got up to
the village that evening, being unable to climb
the latter part of the track, and so encamped
below the stockade. The coolies, with the whole
of the baggage, arrived in camp by seven P.M.
Owing to the excellent arrangements made for
the protection of the elephants and coolies by
Major Moore, in charge of the Coolie Corps, Cap-
tain Udwy, 44th, commanding the rear-guard, and
Lieutenant Hall, 22nd, commanding the supports,
the casualties were less than might have been ex-
pected, only one coolie being killed, while two
were wounded severely, and one slightly. The
other casualties for the day were as follows :
killed two non-commissioned officers and one
NARROW ESCAPE OF THE GENERAL. 209
man of the 44th; wounded Artillery, two severely;
44th, one severely; Police, one severely.
General Bourchier's wounds were re-examined
as soon as the medical officers arrived at Kung-
nung. He had a very narrow escape. He him-
self at first thought that he was wounded in the
left hand only, and it was not till he took off his
coat that a hole was discovered under and behind
his left elbow ; and a wound which was found in
his fore-arm at once accounted for the pain he
felt there. Fortunately for the Left Column, the
General's wounds, though painful, did not dis-
able him, excepting so far as they neccessitated
a sling for a short time.
COUNCIL OP THE CHIEFS OUR WEAK POINT KUNGNUNG THE
LENGTENG RANGE ADVANCE OF THE TROOPS A STRONG
STOCKADE A DETOUR ARTILLERY PRACTICE EFFECT OF
SHELLS STRIKING SCENE A CURIOUS GRAVE.
rPHERE must have been some great defect in
the tactics of the Lushais to account for
their signal defeat. It appears that the very night
before, a great council of all the chiefs of the
families of Vonolel and Lalpoong had been held
in the village of Kungnung ; and then Poiboi had
been induced to throw in his lot finally against us.
At this meeting, the course of action to be pur-
sued against us on the following day was decided
on. One party was to divert the attention of the
main force, while the other, stealing down the
ravine, would, when the troops were considered
far enough advanced, attack the coolies, who,
they imagined, would be unprotected. They thus
hoped, by killing a number of the coolies, so to
demoralise the rest that, being deprived of our
214 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
means of transport, we should be compelled to
retire; this idea, as we have seen, was better
conceived than carried out.
Mr. Edgar imagine^ that this scheme originated
with the head man of Tingridum, who had stated
truly that our weak point was the long line of
coolies following the main body. Darpong ad-
vised Mr. Edgar of this plan of operations of the
Lushais before the firing commenced, probably
out of spite for him of Tingridum, with whom he
had a quarrel, carefully fostered by the authorities.
The principal causes of the utter failure on the
part of the Lushais, I believe to be these. In the
first place they were not sure which of the two
routes we would take, though they probably in-
clined to the one reconnoitred the day before, and
consequently were afraid to concentrate their forces
on either. Secondly, the hour fixed for marching
was earlier than usual, and it is probable that
the party the advanced guard fell in with was the
one intended to watch the coolies. They had not
had time to finish their ambuscading arrangements
before we met, and scattered them so completely
that only a few were able to carry out their in-
DISCOMFITURE OP THE LUSHAIS. 215
structions, while the advance on Kungnung was
so rapid that the enemy were unable to collect in
sufficient force to make an effectual resistance at
From accounts afterwards received by Mr. Edgar,
it seems probable that the Lushai loss in killed
and wounded was over sixty.
The utter discomfiture of the Lushais was
evident from the fact of their leaving so many of
their dead in the ravine, having only time to cut
off and carry away the heads of two of these;
and even when next day a party was sent down
to burn the dead bodies, and to recover some
great-coats, &c., which had been overlooked, the
former were found lying as they had been left, no
attempt apparently having been made by their
friends to remove them.
Among the slain were two head men, one of
whom was Poiboi's chief adviser. We got seven
muskets, and in one of their havresacks was found
some of our own smooth-bore ammunition, ap-
parently identifying the owner with one of the
raiders of 1871, at Monirkhal or Nudigram.
Kungnung contained twenty-two houses situ-
216 THE LUSH AT EXPEDITION.
ated on the slope of a peak five thousand feet in
height, just south of which Muthilen rises to a
height of nearly six thousand feet. The approach
on all sides is very difficult, the slopes of the
hill being exceedingly precipitous and broken by
huge masses of rock.
The hills south and east of this range assume
quite a different character from those to the north-
west and west, being much more rocky, and conse-
quently less jungly ; long grass and bracken taking
the place of the irritating undergrowth of thorny
jungle previously met with.
Surklang is an immense mass of peaks tossed
about in wild confusion, the rocks dropping out
in irregular strata, now horizontal, now following
the general inclination of the spurs ; and further
to the east the Lengteng range presents the
appearance of a large buttressed wall, its top
being square and level for the greater part of its
length, and the west face precipitous a few
narrow spurs giving the idea of buttresses, and
the almost perfectly horizontal rocky strata the
idea of courses of masonry ; a few trees appear
near the summit.
From Kungnung we could see nearly every
station in our rear as far as No. 6 ; and as the
mantle of night descended on the hills, the gleam-
ing fires appearing one by one on the successive
ridges marked the position of each camp.
In order to follow up the successes of the 25th,
the General issued instructions to Colonel Roberts
to take a force, consisting of two steel guns of
the Mountain Battery, and a hundred men from
the 22nd and 45th regiments, and burn the village
of Taikum on the 26th.
As already stated, the Artillery could not get
into camp on the 25th, so the force for the
Taikum Expedition was delayed in starting till
twelve noon. The path to Taikum lay due east,
descending for about a mile and a half till it
reached the head of the stream just below the
saddle connecting Surklang and Muthilen, whence
ascending again it joined the path reconnoitred
on the 24th.
From this reconnaissance it was evident that
the guns would never reach Taikum that day, if
carried on elephants ; consequently, the General
decided that they should be carried by coolies.
218 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Sixteen men were told off for each gun, viz., six
for the gun itself, which weighed a hundred and
fifty pounds, six for the carriage, and two for
each wheel, besides four for the ammunition
boxes, each box containing nine rounds.
On arriving at the joom in which we had before
discovered the granaries, we found all but two
had been burnt. These two had been pulled
down, but the grain had not been removed.
Proceeding onwards some little distance, the
road suddenly turned and ran round the re-
entering angle between two large spurs. Across
this valley, about a mile off, we perceived a
strong stockade, built across the road, command-
ing it thoroughly. A steep rocky ravine ran up
on its right flank, and a large number of
the enemy were collected at that point.
If the troops could have been got nearer,
Colonel Roberts would have advanced the infantry
under cover of the artillery. The nature of the
ground did not allow of this, except at the risk
of heavy loss. So a detour was made, entailing
a long and weary drag up and down steep spurs,
at one time attaining the height of six thousand
DISAPPEAKANCE OF THE HEAD-MAN. 219
feet, till at last we struck the road again about a
mile beyond the stockade.
The Lushais had been watching our movements
from various points, and finding their stockade
turned, they retired at once to their village.
Soon after we started from the camp Mr. Edgar
discovered that the head-man of Tingridum had
disappeared, and it^was supposed had gone in the
direction of Taikum.
Notice of this was sent to Colonel Roberts. We
soon, however, met the supposed fugitive near the
stockade, accompanied by three of the villagers,
waving their hands about to show they were un-
armed. The head-man said he had gone so far to
get rice for Darpong, and showed us a little in his
hand as proof ; but as there was plenty at Kung-
nung, and the amount he had with him was
scarcely sufficient for one meal, this was an
As soon as the villagers discovered that we
intended to go on to their village, they tried to
get away. They were stopped, however, and
made to accompany the force.
In consequence of the detour and the frequent
220 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
delays to enable the guns to keep up with the
troops, it was five o'clock when, on turning a
corner, we came in sight of Taikum. This village
is situated on the summit of a small hill, contains
about two hundred houses, and is surrounded by
a strong palisado. It was full of men.
We were then distant twelve hundred yards
from it, and commanded the village thoroughly,
a small level piece of ground on the right of the
road affording ample space for bringing the guns
into action, which was accordingly done. The
Lushais had evidently become aware of our ap-
proach, and collected all their force in a large
open space at the top of the village to watch our
The three villagers squatted near the guns to
see what would happen to their friends and
houses. The practice was excellent. At the first
there was a movement among the enemy, as if
they were going to run away, but nothing im-
mediately following they stood firm. The Sepoys
also, not knowing the time necessary for the
flight of the projectiles, gave vent to a few mur-
murs of disappointment, which were speedily
changed to cries of delight, as the puff of smoke
just over the village, followed by the report, an-
nounced the bursting of the shell.
The fuze having been set for a longer range,
the villagers could not have seen it burst, as they
still remained where they were. To the Lushais
with us, it appeared as if it had gone on to the
hill across the valley, " a day's journey off," as
they wonderingly said to each other.
The second gun was beautifully laid, and the
shell burst in the very centre of the group of men,
who seemed completely paralyzed at first, but
soon commenced to run down the narrow streets.
A few appeared to be incapable of motion, but
others returned to carry them off.
In the meantime Colonel Roberts, directing
Captain Blackwood to fire two more rounds at
the retreating foe, advanced rapidly with the in-
fantry, and as the latter entered the village from
one side, the former evacuated it on the other,
firing only two shots, without effect, as they dis-
appeared down the hill sides. It was nearly six
o'clock then, and it was useless to pursue them ;
so the village was set fire to at once.
222 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
A few of the Goorkas had secured some pigs,
which, being too big to be carried whole, were
killed with a knock on the head, and the shoulders
and the hind-quarters were sliced off with two or
three strokes of their handy kookries. Then all
the troops having fallen in again, the return
As we gained the knoll from which the guns
had been fired, and looked back, the scene was
very striking. Behind a huge misty mountain
the calm moon rose bright and clear in the pale
green sky, illumining the far off ranges, while
nearer, the red flames and smoke, and sparks,
Swept away to the left by the evening breeze,
lighted up the foreground with a ruddy glow,
to which intensity was added by the deep black
mass of huge forest which partially hid Taikum
from our gaze ; while, below in the wide slip be-
tween us and the village, a small stream flowed,
reflecting on its surface the red glare of the
Fortunate was it that we had the moon to
guide our returning steps over the weary five
miles that lay before us, as even with its assistance
POIBOI FINED. 223
it was nearly eleven P.M., before we readied the
camp, after a rather hard day's work.
Beacon signals had informed the neighbouring
villages of the intended attack on us on the 25th,
and the inhabitants of Chepui and Tingridum
and Kholel had again fled into the jungles ; but
the judicious measures taken by the officers com-
manding at Chepui and Tuibum, succeeded in
restoring confidence and they soon returned.
In consequence of the Tingridum head-man
having left the camp without leave on the 2nd,
he was fined one hundred and thirty baskets of
rice, a pig, and a goat. A man was sent on the
27th to Tingridurn, to tell the villagers to deliver
these articles to the officers at Chepui, and this
was done at once.
Darpong was also sent on to Poiboi, to tell
him that, as he had attacked us on the 25th, the
General had altered the terms on which he would
consent to receive him, and that, in addition to
giving up his captives, he must pay a fine of rice,
metuas, pigs, goats, and fowls.
On the 27th a party escorted a large body of
coolies to the jooms near Taikum, and brought
224 THE LUSHA1 EXPEDITION.
in all the grain we had seen in the two store-
houses there. A large quantity of rice, beans,
yams, &c., in big baskets was also discovered in
a cave near Kungmmg ; and the supply thus
obtained assisted the 'Commissariat considerably,
and for a couple of days many of the coolies were
employed in husking the rice in the village.
The troops had been distributed in the various
houses, a large house at the bottom of the village
being used as the quarter-guard. This had been
the head-man's house, apparently, and when
we first arrived there we saw a curious grave
This grave consisted of a tall post set up over
a mound, enclosed with rough stones, and covered
with a metua's head, through which a small stick
was passed, carrying a goat's head, and a large
coronet of cane-work, in which countless feathers
of all sorts and colours were fixed. Below the
metua's head was a similar coronet, but smaller,
from which strings of smaller skulls, dogs',
monkeys', &c., were suspended round the post ;
while outside the stones towered two tall bam-
boos, having at their ends, small cane circles,
INTOLERABLE NUISANCE. 225
bearing little bamboo strips, which swinging about
in the wind make a doleful rattling sound.
The General had a hut constructed for himself
and Staff above the village. The houses would
not have been uncomfortable dwellings, but for
the rats which swarmed at nights, scampering
over our faces or falling from the roof. The only
way to ensure ourselves against these little an-
noyances was to put up musquito curtains, fasten-
ing them down securely at the sides and ends.
TELEGRAM FROM CACHAR RESCUE OF MARY WINCHESTER-
FIGHT OF LTJSHAIS AND CLASSIS ESCAPE OF A LUSHAI
PRISONER A DISTURBER OF THE CAMP TOUCHING SCENE
THE SAIVAR POIBOl'S STRONGHOLD A CURIOUS HUNT
ALARM OF FIRE A THOUGHTFUL BOY.
f\N the 28th a telegram was received from
Cachar, stating that Sukpilal's muntri Rowa,
had arrived at Jhalnachara, with the Khansaman's
wife and a Cachari, who had been taken prisoners
The officiating Deputy Commissioner, Mr.
McWilliam, also telegraphed that Sukpilal had
Mary Winchester, and said, as soon as he got
a boat, he would send her into Cachar. This
intelligence put everybody in a great state of
excitement; the child was rescued and would
be restored to her friends, through the officer
commanding the left column.
A little consideration, however, showed that
it was highly probable that this information was
not to be relied on. The Syloos, it was known;
230 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
had the child, and as the other column was
operating against them, it was hardly likely they
would throw away their best card, when by
keeping it they might hope to secure favour-
able terms for themselves when the proper time
for playing it arrived.
And so it proved. Mary Winchester was given
up to the other column. This news was tele-
graphed by General Brownlow, and was received
on the 29th at Kungnung.
During the next two days, the Lushais came in,
bringing in metuas, &c., in payment of the in-
demnity inflicted on Poiboi for his share in the
attack on the 25th.
On the 33st, Dambhung, head-man of Taikum,
and the Chief of Poiboi' s ministers, arrived in
camp, bringing letters from General Nuthall, in
which he stated that there was much sickness
among the Munipur contingent, and they had
moreover a defective Commissariat.
Dambhung said that he was at Chibu during
the fighting on the 25th and 26th, and was much
surprised on his return to find that his village had
been destroyed from off the face of the earth.
LUSHAIS AND CLASSIS. 231
It is not improbable that he was occupied with
some Lushai troops watching the contingent, to
prevent, if possible, the latter assisting us when
we were attacked. He also said that Poiboi had
striven hard, at the Council held at Kungnung on
the 24th, to induce his relatives to submit, but in
The supply of water was not very good at this
village. There were two little springs, both fully
a quarter of a mile from the camp, and with
every arrangement of wells, but they could not be
made to yield a sufficient supply, to prevent the
coolies and Sepoys stirring the water up and
making it muddy, when they filled their vessels.
On the 31st, as one of our survey classis (men
employed to carry instruments, &c.,) was return-
ing with two brass vessels full of water in each
hand, he met two Lushais who had passed the
night in camp, on the narrow pathway. A
scuffle ensued, and one of the Lushais wounded
the classi severely with his dao on the forehead,
just missing his eye, but penetrating the skull,
and also on the arm. The other then seized the
classi's red turban and his water-pots, and the
two immediately made off.
232 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The classis, being principally Hindus, and pos-
sessing strong caste prejudices, had frequently
driven away with much harshness any Lushai
who ignorantly approached too close to their
cooking-pot or fire-place, while preparing their
food. It is not unlikely, therefore, that this
lordly invader had endeavoured to make the
Lushais get out of his way, and that the latter
had resented this insult in the usual manner
with the dao.
This was the explanation tendered by an officer
of great experience among the natives, and though
another worthy officer disposed of this argument
entirely to his own satisfaction by the simple and
laconic reply of " Bosh," I cannot help thinking
that there was a good deal of probability, to say
the least, in it.
The Lushai, a fine spirited-looking youth, re-
turned to Kungnung with a metua in the after-
noon, was recognised, admitted at once that
he had done the deed, and was apparently sur-
prised to find himself tied up as a prisoner,
remarking that when Poiboi heard how he had
been treated it would be bad for us.
ESCAPE OF A CAPTIVE. 233
I made a sketch of him as he sat bound out-
side the guard-room, evidently objecting to this
enforced " sitting for his portrait." His whole
attitude, and the vigilant look in his eyes, re-
minded me strongly of some noble wild animal
held captive, eagerly watching for the slightest
opportunity of escape ; and such an opportunity
presented itself to him, or rather he made it for
himself the very next day, when, the troops having
left Kungnung, his Goorkha guard was exchanged
for one of Sappers and Miners, who were left
behind to occupy the place.
The Goorkhas, in the Jynteah and Cossyah Hill
wars, had learnt, from sad experience, how easily
a Hillman will escape if not carefully bound and
watched, and had paid no attention to Simlam's
signs that he was too tightly tied. These how-
ever he repeated to the less experienced and more
tender-hearted Sappers, and they loosed his bonds
He then signed for some covering, and they
put a rug over his shoulders.
Suddenly, taking advantage of a moment when
the sentry had relaxed his vigilance, this Lushai
234 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Davenport Brother, flinging off rug and bonds
together, and clearing the guard-house at a bound,
disappeared into the jungle, before his discomfited
guards could recover from their astonishment, to
offer any opposition. He was to have been sent
to Cachar, to be imprisoned there. His escape,
however, probably saved us from a great deal of
" political complications."
On the 1st February, the General and staff
with Mr. Edgar, and the advanced detachments
of the 22nd and 44th regiments, marched out of
Kimgnung along the western face of Muthilen.
The path was narrow, and on a steep hillside,
broken here and there by rocks and landslips.
At length, after a weary toil under a hot sun,
a little stream was reached where thefor.ce waited
for a short time, refreshing themselves with the
clear cold water, while a small party went on to
find, if possible, a better camping ground ahead.
This they did, and at five P.M. the troops reached
the banks of a swiftly running stream, with
a gravelly bed, the water cold as if iced.
Lofty hills rose on all sides ; and the eleva-
tion of the site was about five thousand two
BATS IN A BAMBOO. 235
hundred feet. The atmosphere was very damp
and cold, the thermometer going down during
the night to thirty-nine degrees. The gloom of
the virgin forest seemed never to have been
penetrated by the sun's rays.
The huge forest trees were festooned with
moss and creepers, "and a curious bamboo was
found here, which we saw nowhere else ; each
joint having a ring of thorns round it, and
the joints seldom more than eight inches apart.
In cutting some of these to build our huts, we
found enclosed between the joints of a bamboo,
four little bats, alive. How they came there,
how long they had been there, and how being
there they would, without our assistance, ever
have got out, I leave to be explained by those
who know all about the curious stories of toads
found in coal, for I confess] myself unable to
solve the mystery. The joints of the bamboo
certainly seemed perfectly air-tight, for there was
no perceptible opening.
We had only time to construct hasty cantos of
boughs and leaves ; and we soon discovered the
disadvantages of attaching the framework of the
236 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
maichaus to that of the walls of the canto, as
the slightest movement on the part of any one
sleeper communicated a vibration to the whole
structure that soon aroused all the other occupants.
I awoke in the middle of the night with a
sensation of cold about my head, and hearing an
unusual noise close to my ear. I looked up, and
perceived by the light of the many camp-fires
struggling through the mist, in which the giant
moss-grown trunks loomed vast and weird, that
a large gap had been made in the leafy wall, and
putting out my hand it came in contact with a
pony's head. I gave it a blow, and it went away,
but shortly afterwards I heard sounds the reverse
of blessing proceeding from a hut near.
In the morning we found that the offender,
who had disturbed our repose, was an officer's
pony, which had got loose, and gone round the
camp, devouring each hut in turn, till the sleeper
within was aroused and drove it away.
A heavy dew fell in the morning, and very
glad everyone was to get some hot tea and
Here we received the news of Simlam's escape.
TOUCHING SCENE. 237
About nine a.m., the force commenced the on-
ward march for Chelam, Poiboi's chief village,
which we expected to reach that evening. The
march was pleasant enough for the first four
or five miles, lying along the east face of Leng-
teng, through light forest, with grass and
fern undergrowth. There were a great many
orchids on the trees, but not in bloom ; and in
one place we saw a young fir springing up
through the grass.
The road passed over several precipices, down
which dashed little mountain streams ; at one
of the most romantic of these, we were over-
taken by Darpong, and a large number of
Lushais bringing the metuas and elephant tusks.
Among them came Bhoma, a Kholel man,
with a captive Naga woman, whom he had taken
from Munipur in 1869. A most touching scene
ensued. Mr. Edgar, through his interpreter,
informed her, in an affecting speech, that she
might consider herself free to return with her
liberators to the land of her birth.
To the surprise of everyone, however, instead
of expressing j oy, she took her pipe out of her
238 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
mouth, burst into a torrent of tears, and falling
on Bhoma's shoulder, declared, in broken lan-
guage, that he had ever been kind to her, and,
like Mrs. Micawber, that " she could never,
never desert him." Unlike Mr. Micawber, poor
Bhoma could not reply, " I am not aware, my
love, that anyone wishes you to do so," for not
only was a stony-hearted Political wishing it,
but apparently urging her to do so. However,
her distress was evidently real, and though nei-
ther young nor pretty, the sight of her tears
moved even that gentleman at last, and he de-
clared, in another feeling address, that he would
not constitute himself the Lord Penzance of the
Lushais, nor come between her and the object
of her elderly affections. This faithful one, then
relieved from her suspense, walking hand in
hand with her nearly lost Lushai lord, followed
us on to Chelam.
During our march, we crossed, about two p.m.,
a fine stream called the Saivar, at an elevation
of three thousand seven hundred feet, and
after a short ascent came upon a large open
park-like plain, still covered with the stubble of
POIBOI'S STRONGHOLD. 239
recent cultivation. From this the ascent was
very steep through old jooms to the hill above, on
the other side of which was Chelam, at an ele-
vation of five thousand eight hundred feet.
At length, after a severe climb, in rounding a
spur, we came in full view of Poiboi's stronghold.
It was a large village.
Poiboi's own house stood high above the others,
which rose in tiers on each side of broad streets,
stretching away down the slopes of the hill in
all directions. There were about two hundred
houses, the whole enclosed in a stiff timber
Beyond this village rose two other peaks, on
which stood two smaller villages, also stockaded,
and containing between them some three hun-
No Lushais being seen, the troops marched
into the principal village. Near the gate was a
timber platform, with the usual posts capped with
skulls ; among them, on a lofty pole, one human
skull, marking the grave of a departed warrior ;
others were scattered along the paths between
the three villages.
240 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
These had not long been deserted, as the fires
were still smouldering, and trays, half filled with
grain, were lying about. The houses were
speedily told off to the different corps, and every-
one commenced his arrangements for the night.
In the middle of these, we suddenly heard
great shouts and uproar and much squeaking ;
and running out to see what was the matter, we
beheld a most ridiculous sight. The Kookie and
other Hill coolies, having got rid of their loads,
had discovered a few pigs trying to hide away
under some of the houses in a by-street, and
in hunting these they succeeded in unearthing a
great many more.
Emerging from under the houses, and hurrying
down the steep and narrow street, went the pigs,
and after them, in full cry, armed with every
variety of weapon, sticks, daos, kookries, rushed
the coolies pell-mell ; tumbling over each other
in their eagerness, and whacking at each unfortu-
nate porker as it was overtaken.
Some were killed at once; others, generally
prize-sows, whose forms were not adapted to feats
of agility, being quickly overtaken, had their four
CONSUMPTION OF FRIZZLED PORK. 244
feet tied together despite their remonstrances,
and bamboos being passed between their legs,
they were carried off to be killed and cut up at
Great was the consumption of frizzled pork that
night ; some of it, as we shall see, being wasted
in the way described by Charles Lamb as leading
to the discovery of the excellence of that viand
when so cooked.
This little excitement was soon over ; and we
again returned to our abodes. My chief, two officers
of the 22nd, and myself occupied one of the town
halls, a fine commodious, though slightly airy build-
ing, with an immense fireplace, in which the ashes
were still smouldering. This fireplace was in the
centre of the room, and sunk about a foot below the
general level of the floor, thus affording many com-
fortable sittings all round the fire. The principal
drawback was the unsound state of the floor, which
at one time caused the sudden disappearance from
our gaze of a kitmutgar with part of the dinner,
which we could ill-afford to lose ; however, we did
very well, and about ten P.M. turned in, very glad,
after a rather hard day's work, to get to rest.
242 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
We had not been to sleep an hour before the
alarm of fire was given, and starting up we found
that the lowest houses in one of the streets were
in flames ; and the wind blowing upwards, great
fears were entertained as to the probable de-
struction of the whole village. The houses were
dry and closely packed, and a single spark, or
bit of smouldering tinder, carried by the breeze
into the thatch, was sufficient to set a house on
fire at once.
The only thing to be done was to try to stay the
progress of the fire by pulling down and removing,
as far as possible, the most inflammable portions,
such as the thatch, matting, &c., of the houses
nearest the fire. Considerable exertions were
made by all, and eventually proved successful,
aided by a fortunate change in the direction of
the wind, which carried the sparks harmlessly
down the hill-side. Then, having covered the
smouldering mass with earth, and leaving some
Sepoys to see that the fire did not break out afresh,
everyone went back to his quarters.
Among the officers attached to the Column,
there was one who was a great enthusiast for
PRUDENCE OF A NATIVE BOY. 243
colours, and possessed great appreciation of
effects. Watching the fire, lighting up with its
ruddy glare the sky, the village, and the forms
of men rushing to and fro, he exclaimed, " Mag-
nificent ! magnificent ! put it all in gamboge !"
to which a grinning friend of his, passing at the
moment, rejoined, " If you would put it all out
with gamboge, it would be more to the purpose
I found that my boy, with a forethought not
often met with in natives, had refrained from
running to see the fire, and had packed up every-
thing ready for an instant move, as he had done
once before on the first alarm in the attack on
Tipai Mukh, as if he expected that, the moment
the Lushais appeared, we should all get into boats
and sail gaily away.
On this occasion his prudence involved some
delay in getting to bed again, as all the bedding
had to be unrolled and re-arranged. It was pro-
bable that the fire was caused by some of the
Kookies roasting their pork; and indeed, even
while the fire was raging, and it was a toss up
whether the whole village did not go, I saw some
244 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
coolies, sitting under the eaves of a house, cook-
ing over a big fire, and the flames were within an
inch of the dry thatch when I perceived them,
It was thought at first that this conflagration was
the work of an incendiary ; but that was most un-
likely, as Poiboi had consented to our occupying
the village provided no damage was done to it.
Of the two hundred houses in the village, only
twenty-five, and one of the town-halls, were burnt
or destroyed, as before related.
Poiboi's house was similar to the one described
in the Chapter on the Lushais ; the gable end was
completely covered with skulls, among which
was the finest pair of metua's horns we saw
anywhere, as well as some magnificent specimens
of sambar's antlers.
The house itself was in rather a ruinous state,
and being built on sloping ground, the front
verandah was raised about twelve feet, and the
sloping ramp of logs up to it decidedly dangerous.
Rice, Indian corn, yams, herbs, &c., gourds
of pig's lard, and large clay vessels of wine,
were found in most of the houses.
THE TROOPS ENCAMPED LALBOORA'S GATE A VISIT TO NATIVE
VILLAGERS TELESCOPES DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING PHOTO-
GRAPHS CAPTIVES PLACED UNDER OUR PROTECTION THE
MUNIPUR CONTINGENT POlBOl'S VACILLATION LUSHAI
FORTIFICATIONS A LUSHAI TODTLEBEN.
TJAVINGr so narrowly escaped this danger
from fire, and the loss of property which
must have followed it, if it had not been got
under, and dreading a recurrence of the evil, the
General determined to leave the village and to
encamp in the open, wherever a good supply of
water could be found. A small reconnoitring
party, therefore, started early in the morning,
and at last found very good camping ground, on
the slopes of the hill, about a mile and a half from
the village we had occupied, with a very fair
spring of water.
The ground for each corps was allotted to it,
and soon huts were being constructed or tar-
paulins rigged up. To the right and left of the
camp stretched the range, rising in the rear
248 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
to a height of two hundred feet, bleak and
rugged. Bare jooms covered with long grass
and the stubble of old crops, huge trunks
of felled trees lying about in all directions,
blackened stumps, and a few tall trees which had
escaped the fire and the dao, still standing up
out of the stubble these were the immediate
surroundings of the camp.
To the south and east, the view on a fine day
is magnificent, an endless sea of hills stretching
away as far as the eye can see, lighted up by a
thousand soft and delicate tints ; and nearly due
south, distant some fourteen miles as the crow
flies, are Dilklang and Murklang, towering above
their fellows like two giant warders, and guarding
the entrance to Lalboora's country. To this pass
we gave the name of Lalboora's Gate.
Between this gate and Chelana lie many deep
valleys and high ranges, the sides of which are
broken by innumerable gloomy gorges and dark
ravines. Very dreary and threatening does this
country look on a stormy day, and very cold was
our camp at night, the thermometer frequently
going down as low as 33 degrees, while the ground
STEONG WINDS. 249
about our huts, and the waterproof sheets above
them, were white with hoar-frost in the mornings.
Strong winds swept up from the deep valley
beneath, carrying off our fires in great swirls of
sparks, and driving the pungent wood-smoke
into our eyes with a force and painfulness that
caused hasty flight from our log seats in all
To remedy this, we built semi-circular screens
of boughs and grass, about six feet high, round
the front of the huts, leaving only a small pas-
sage at each end, and after that we could sit
round the fire with much more comfort.
After we left the village, some of the men
came back to it; but most of them, with their
women and children, remained in the jungles
north of the Tuivai stream. From the hill behind
the camp we could see, in the evening, the
smoke of their fires curling up through the trees
on the hill side. They feared to return, as Poiboi
was still so undecided, and could not be induced
to go in personally to make terms for himself,
fearing a similar fate to that of Lalchokla in
250 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
In a little village, however, about four miles
from our camp, and on the same range, the
people were all living and pursuing their usual
occupations. We paid them a visit one day;
Captain Cookesley, R.A., taking his camera and
tent for photographing.
The villagers were very friendly ; men, women,
and children flocked about to see what we had
to show them. Binoculars, eye-glasses, tele-
scopes, watches, and the camera were all, in turn,
the subject of wonder and delight to the simple
In this village we saw a house, in front of
which were five tall posts bearing rude repre-
sentations of hornbills, thoroughly conventional,
the only part in which there was any resemblance
being the beak. Above each dangled a circlet
of bamboo pendent. For what reason these were
placed there we were unable to discover, having,
unfortunately, no interpreter with us.
The camera was set up and focussed in the
house, and then the Lushais were allowed to
file behind it, looking through as they passed,
and great was their wonder and delight when
they saw the house and their friends about it
turned upside down.
Telescopes pleased them very much. Mr.
Burland told me that, in his previous expedi-
tion with Mr. Edgar, he had shown them his
telescope, and making them first look through
the eye-piece, said, " When I want to shoot a
man, I look through this end, and bring him
very close." Then reversing it for them, he
added, " But when I see a man wishes to shoot
me, I look through it this way, and he is sent
so far away that he cannot touch me ;" and they
believed this. Seeing so many new and won-
derful things they could not understand, this
did not appear altogether incredible, as they
actually saw the difference in the appearance of
objects as seen through each end of the tele-
Revolvers excited their highest admiration, and
many would have given almost all they had to
become the possessor of one.
Cookesley found it impossible to get figures
in his pictures. The noble savage would stand
motionless for half-an-hour while the plate was
252 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
being prepared, but just as the cap was removed,
he would calmly stroll right across the picture,
and we could not explain to them what they were
We bought some fowls and eggs, which one
of their number carried for us, and we returned
In exploring the village nearest our camp, we
found a grave newly made, and remains of a
metua, hastily slain, lying near, the head as usual
having been placed above. Probably this was
the burial-place of some warrior who had died
of his wounds, received on the 25th, and whose
funereal ceremonies they had only just been able
to perform before " the foe and the stranger
should tread o'er his head."
In front of the Muntri's house was a large
headless monkey stuffed, and sitting on the
doorway, his legs sticking out straight before
him ; altogether a most ludicrous looking object.
This village was more full of fleas than I could
have believed any place to be. Even in the middle
of the street, they were to be found as plentiful
as in the house.
A CAPTIVE BEOUGHT INTO CAMP. 253
I sat down in the street for a few minutes to
take a sketch, and I found on rising that they were
even in possession of my innermost pockets, and
added warmth to the colour of my light brown
An old woman, a captive, was found in Chelam
and placed under our protection, to be conveyed
to Cachar, and on the 7th February a little girl
about four years old was brought into camp. She
was said to have been brought from the Howlongs
by Poiboi or Laboora. Her own account was that
she had been taken off from a garden, and she
spoke of a white child having been taken away at
the same time. She could, when brought in, speak
nothing but Lushai.
Orders received from Government directed the
two columns to effect a meeting, if possible, before
retiring from the country, but added that there
might be more important objects for them to
carry out, and under any circumstances the
columns were to be bacK at Cachar and Chitta-
gong respectively by the 10th March.
From telegrams received from General Brown -
low, conveying information of his whereabouts and
254 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
intended movements, it seemed highly improbable
that a junction of the two columns would be
effected, and as the reduction of Laboora's people
to submission was the most important object for the
Left Column to carry 'out, and the time was run-
ning short, the General decided to remain at
Chelam till twelve days' supplies were raised there,
and then, with the force " flying light " as possible,
to make a hurried descent on Lalboora, reduce
him to submission, and return at once.
Notice of this intended plan of operations was
telegraphed to Brownlow, with the approximate
latitude and longitude of Chumfai, and the pro-
bable date of arrival there ; and also the intimation
that on two consecutive nights rockets and blue
lights would be fired from our camp, in the hope
that, if General Brownlow could see them, com-
munication by signalling might be effected.
On the llth January, Colonel Rattray, with a
wing of the 42nd, arrived at Chelam, to occupy
the camp, which had been slightly stockaded ;
and from the 42nd the strength of the 44th and
22nd was made up to four hundred, who, with the
Artillery, formed the force the General intended
to take on with him.
PROVISIONS FOUND IN A CAVE. 255
In order to relieve the Commissariat as far as
possible, and to facilitate the return march, all
ponies and all servants, except one for each officer,
were sent back to Chepui. All the coolies were
employed during the halt in bringing up supplies
from the rear.
Eice in large quantities, yams, beans, and
many domestic articles were found hidden away
about a mile from camp, in a large cave on
the hill-side, through which a tiny stream of
water trickled ; and close to this stream was a
small basket, containing a little rice suspended
from a small two foot bamboo. On one side of
the basket hung a slight diamond-shaped frame-
work on which were twisted cotton threads, red,
black, and white, the representation of a stockade
about a foot high, behind which were arranged
little lumps of clay pinched up into the semblance
of men without legs, completing the arrangement
by which I suppose the Lushais thought to pro-
pitiate their gods, and secure their protection
for this concealed property.
In this cave was a very fine collection of
antlers. Foraging parties also discovered large
256 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
quantities of rice in many places around ; this was
all brought into camp and husked, the Lushais
being paid for it at a fair rate.
While still at Chelam we heard that the Munipur
contingent had been obliged to retire from Chibu,
in consequence of the ever increasing difficulty of
getting up supplies, and having lost more than half
their number from sickness and desertion.
This, it was feared, might give GeneralBourchier
more trouble in his advance on Chumfai, as the
Lushais, released from watching the contingent,
would be able to concentrate their forces to
oppose our column ; but it was not known what
their action would be after we left Chelam.
Rumours reached us of a strongly fortified place
not very far from Chelam, where, if we were
opposed at all, it was probable that the Lushais
would make a stand.
On the llth Darpong came in with several of
his countrymen, and informed us that Lalboora,
leaving the village to its fate, had taken refuge
among the Pois, and that no further opposition
Lalboora's mother, we were also informed, had
EOAD BEYOND CHELAM. 257
done all she could from the first to induce her
sons to submit, and they had consented to grant
all our demands. This was all very satisfsctory,
but no one knew how far it was reliable, and on
the 1 2th the force, composed of the troops before
detailed, marched from Chelam camp.
The weight of the Sepoys' baggage was now
reduced to one half, the officers' baggage to a
couple of blankets as bedding, one change of
raiment, and a few cooking utensils. Everyone
was pleased to be once more on the move after the
nine days' halt, and all were looking forward
to a speedy conclusion of the campaign.
Before starting, Mr. Edgar heard that Poiboi
had actually come into the village to meet us;
but that, having got so far, his courage again
failed, and the desired interview did not take place.
The road beyond Chelam bore the appearance
of being much used, and in the steeper parts
steps were cut. One curious fact about the
Lushai paths is that, if a tree falls across one, they
never take the trouble to remove it, but merely
cutting foot-holds in it, allow it to remain where
258 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
About a mile from camp we came to a leafy
ravine, with a little stream running through it.
It was spanned by a picturesque bridge, formed
by the large trunk of a single tree, supported by
small trestles with a bamboo roadway, creepers
brought down from the trees above serving as
additional ties and supports for the handrails.
Not far beyond this we passed the remains of
a very large Lushai encampment, and a little
further on heard two shots fired in front, and
thought we were in for a little excitement.
These, however, turned out only to be signal shots
from scouts on the watch in the villages ahead,
giving intimation that the troops were on the
About noon we passed through a village con-
taining about thirty-eight houses, called Raimang,
prettily situated on the slopes of the hill, crown-
ing a very steep precipice. The villagers had
gone into the jungle on our approach, but, on
signs being made to some who were visible, they
The march thence was continued along the hill-
side through extensive jooms, finally descending
STEONG STOCKADE. 259
towards afternoon to the level grassy valley of
the Dimlui, a clear, pretty little stream.
Here we were joined by some villagers from
Tulcheng, a village a little ahead, which we had
seen from Chelam. At this village the General
determined to encamp for the night, and after a
short halt the force again addressed itself to the
About four P.M. we found ourselves in a deep
ravine which had been prepared for a most for-
midable defence. A very strong stockade occu-
pied an excellent position, commanding the road
for two or three hundred yards from the opposite
side of the ravine, the passage of which had been
rendered almost impossible by a number of large
felled trees, so entangled together as completely
to impede our route.
The hill to the right ran up to about four or five
hundred feet above the road, and on this slope
several small stockades and breast-works afforded
flank defence to the principal one, and would have
rendered very difficult any attempt to turn it ;
while it could not have been taken with a rush,
as the troops floundering through the dense and
260 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
tangled mass would have been exposed to fire
from the stockade in front, and at the same time
to the heavy fire sweeping the ravine from these
flankers. Moreover, there was no very suitable
position from whence the artillery could have
These fortifications had, it was evident, been
only recently prepared for the express purpose
of opposing our advance, and indeed had not been
quite completed when Lalboora made up his mind
not to fight. The path had been cleared again
when we arrived ; and the troops pulled down the
principal stockade. Then passing on through a
narrow defile, we came upon a second smaller and
less strong stockade. The path wound between
small eminences, several crowned with timber
breastworks, so that if the Lushais had chosen
to defend this ravine, we should have had all our
work cut out for us ; and considering the lateness
of the hour at which we arrived, we could hardly
have made ourselves masters of the situation be-
This was the most strongly fortified position we
had met with in the country. It was evident, I
A LUSHAI TODTLEBEN. 271
think, that the Lushais, remarking the compara-
tive ease with which we turned a single stockade
across the road, treating it with the greatest con-
tempt, saw the necessity of some further flank
defences ; and certainly the man who chose this
position and planned these fortifications might,
under more favourable circumstances and among
a more civilized people, have become a Todtleben
or a Burgoyne.
THE TRUE POIBOI DEFENCES OF THE VILLAGE OF TULCHENG
SCARCITY OF WATER ROMANTIC STORY OF TWO CHILDREN
VALLEY OF OF THE LUI-TAO HEAVY FIRING HEARD LETTER-
WRITING UNDER DIFFICULTIES INGENIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED
villagers had requested the General, as
all their women and children were there,
not to occupy the village. Since the fire at
Chelam, he had determined not to halt in a
village, and so he readily acceded to their request,
only requiring them to bring out some material
for huts, which they did.
As it was about six o'clock by this time, the
troops were not able to hut themselves. Water-
proof sheets and tarpaulins were hastily rigged
up. We had a large tarpaulin for our instruments,
and this with a waterproof sheet formed a very
fair shelter, underneath which we squeezed in
between theodolite, plane-table, &c., the inequali-
ties and slope of the ground being rectified in some
degree by bags of rice, atta, &c., (our coolies'
26G THE LUBHAI EXPEDITION.
rations) which, however, made a lumpy place of
The day's march had been a trying one. Though
only nine miles in actual distance, it had occupied
nine hours in time, owing to the steep ascents and
descents, and the narrowness of the path, along
which the force slowly wound its way in single file,
with frequent checks and halts. We saw a very
handsome sago-palm during the journey, the
first we had seen in these hills.
The next morning we started again at nine
o'clock. The villagers at first objected to our
passing through the village itself, but a compro-
mise was effected by sending the coolies round.
Darpong told Mr. Edgar early in the morning
that Poiboi, who had followed us from Chelam
and halted during the night at the Dimlui, was
then in the village. Mr. Edgar sent Hurri Thakoor,
(his right-hand man and interpreter, familiarly
known as Harry Tucker), with Engloom and
another Lushai fugitive, to identify him.
He turned out to be the true Poiboi this time.
He promised to be faithful to us for the future,
but was very nervous during the interview, and,
POIBOl's TIMIDITY. 267
like some timid animal, darted off now and then
towards the jungle, as if he feared being caught by
some stratagem, notwithstanding the assurances
of his muntri that there was no danger of this.
Afterwards, as Mr. Edgar was watching the
coolies passing the village from the height above,
Darpong told him that Poiboi was on an adjoin-
ing hill and wanted to see him. Mr. Edgar re-
plied that the chief must go to see the General,
who had ridden on ; but this he could not be pre-
vailed on to do, and thus the last chance of an
interview with the chief was lost.
Poiboi was a very young man, about twenty
years of age, and had been so much impressed
by the history of Lalchokla, that he could not
bring himself to believe in our promises to re-
spect his liberty, especially after implicating him-
self in the affair of the 25th.
The village of Tulcheng was surrounded by a
very strong stockade, which was defended against
escalade by a thick hedge of brushwood running
all along the top, in which were firmly secured
bamboo stakes inclining outwards and down-
wards. The entrances were defended by
268 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
strong gates, which were made of thick planks,
each cut out of one tree, with a large projecting
piece left at the back, through which the securing
bar was passed. Each plank was pivoted at
the top and bottom 'in a strong framework of
A short distance from the village the path
went over a steep bit of rock, about twelve feet
high, the descent being accomplished by a rickety
bamboo ladder which delayed the troops consider-
ably. The Goorkhas, in their thick boots, were
very nervous in crossing such places, whereas
without their boots they ran up and down them
like cats. The coolies fortunately found another
and easier route from the village.
We discovered another very handsome speci-
men of the sago palm in the ravine beyond this
Crossing the ravine, the road ascended and ran
along the edge of a very steep precipice, and
continued along the range without any very great
descent. There was great difficulty in finding
water, mile after mile being traversed without
meeting even a trickle. At last, towards evening,
we came out on a large grassy level, with an
elevation of about six thousand feet, overlooking
the entrance to Lalboora's country.
The scene was a very fine one. Heavy clouds
hung over the pass, on each side of which Dilk-
lang aad Murklang rose to a height of nearly
seven thonsand feet, dark and frowning, while
between and beyond lay the valley of the Tui-tao ;
and far away the high mountains of the Sokte*s
and Burmese rose against the sky, softly lighted
up by a few level rays of the declining sun,
which struggled through a distant break in the
Soon after we found water, a very scanty sup-
ply, and far from our camping ground, near a
small deserted village, called Buljung, situated
on a spur of the Dilklang, formally inhabited by
Lenkom's people. Here we encamped after an-
other nine miles of tedious march.
The small supply of water was our great grief,
but we hoped to get down to the river, in the
valley, the next day, and so made the best of it.
A pint of water was the allowance for four for
washing in next morning, a solemn compact
270 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
being made that no soap was to be used till each
had dipped his face.
A military authority, I forget who, writing on
campaigning, says, " Officers will be astonished
to find what a very small amount of washing is
necessary to their happiness, 5 ' or words to that
effect, and we had often occasion to acknowledge
the truth of the remark. " The means to do ill
deeds make ill deeds done," and though washing
hands is not exactly an ill deed, yet the fact of
having soap and water at hand, I have no doubt,
is often the cause of an unnecessary washing of
The evening of our arrival at Buljung, we
were joined by two little children, a boy and girl,
of the Sadoe tribe, with a very romantic history.
They had lived with their father and three other
children in a village about ten miles off. The
Sadoes, in this village, had been detained there
against their will by the Lushais, and they took
advantage of the presence of the Contingent, at
Chibu, to effect their escape.
On the night of the villagers' exodus, the
father took his three young children on his back
THE TUI-TAO. 271
and in his arms, the two elder ones following.
In the darkness and confusion, the poor little
things missed their father and lost themselves in
the jungle, in which they wandered for several
days, living on roots and berries.
At length they reached a village, where they
heard of the approach of our column, and that
their maternal uncle was with it. When they
heard that the force was at Tulcheng, they
started for Buljung, and awaited our arrival
there. They remained with us, and accompanied
us on the return to Cachar.
The next day, February 14th, a slight shower
fell about six a.m., but soon cleared off again,
and we marched at the usual hour, descending
the west face of Dilklang, to the east of which
rises the Tui-tao, probably a tributary of the
Koladyne, if not the Koladyne itself. We de-
scended some seventeen hundred feet into the
flat alluvial valley of the Tui-tao, which joins
the Teo about six or seven miles south of Bul-
jung. The valley is very level, as its name im-
plies, Tui " water," Tao " sitting." We found
that we had crossed the water parting at Dil-
272 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
lang, and that thenceforth the streams flowed in
a southerly direction.
Our path lay along the banks of the river for
about three miles, crossing it repeatedly, and
passing through tall reeds and wormwood. Our
march was a short one, about five miles altoge-
ther, and very easy.
We arrived at our halting place, where a small
stream joined the Tao, about one p.m., . and
forthwith set about to build little huts. Plenty of
trees, with large leaves, and grass growing in this
spot, we had no difficulty in speedily construct-
ing our shelter ; and then proceeded in a body
to enjoy the luxury of a bathe in a wide pool,
among large stones, where the river widened
slightly. We took down a change of raiment,
and having bathed ourselves, we proceeded to
wash our discarded suits, each officer becom-
ing his own dhobi with much satisfaction to
himself having so much water to play with being
really a treat.
This camp became "No. 17 Station," and a
halt was made .on the 15th to give the coolies a
rest, which they much needed, as many had
FIRING HEAED AT A DISTANCE. 273
only returned to Chelam with supplies the day
before we started, and the two long marches
to Tulcheng and Buljung and want of water had
knocked them up.
In the morning some Lushais scouts, who had
been sent on the day before to reconnoitre, re-
turned with the tidings that heavy firing had
been heard in the direction of Chumfai. They
supposed it was caused by an attack on the
village of Chonchirn, in which Vonolel's widow
lived, by some Sokte^s under Kamhow of Mol-
Some other Lushai were at once sent off to
find out the real facts. During the day a great
many of Lenkom's people, and some Pois subject
to that chief, came in bringing presents.
It was fortunate that we did halt here this day,
as heavy clouds had been gathering all the morn-
ing, and about eleven A.M. a regular downfall
commenced, which lasted till five P.M., detaining
us inside our huts, endeavouring to keep our-
selves and property dry a difficult matter, as the
rain found out some weak place in the roof or
waterproof sheets every five minutes. We solaced
274 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
ourselves with cold pork and pickles, and wrote
home letters under difficulties.
The next day was a very fine one indeed the
Expedition was very fortunate as regards the
weather throughout ; not getting rain more than
four of five times, and then only on the halt. The
first night at Daidoo was the only occasion on
which we were seriously inconvenienced by it.
Immediately on leaving camp we began to
ascend the Murklang, and after a steep climb of
three thousand feet, reached a small village of
Paites or Sokte's, who had been settled there by
Vonolel. This village was situated close to the
edge of a very precipitous cliff, and was strongly
stockaded ; the approaches from the south being
The construction of the gate to the principal
stockade was ingenious, though I am told it is
common in all the hill districts of the Eastern
frontier. It consisted of several thick uprights,
which swung freely from a horizontal bar passing
through their upper ends. These could be easily
pushed aside to admit of anyone passing in or out,
at the same time they were quickly secured on the
A CENTENARIAN. 275
inside by fixing a horizontal bar across them,
about a foot from the ground.
We were met by the whole population, men,
women, and children ; among them were some
very old men, including their head-man Engow.
One white-haired old man, who said he was
a hundred years old, and looked it, fell at the
General's feet, and then rising, blessed him.
They complained of the oppression of the Lushais,
and said that ten armed men had been sent from
their village to aid the Lushais in the attack of
the 25th. They had been induced to do this, as
they had heard fearful tales of the cruelties to
which we should subject them if we got as far as
their village; but when they heard how different
was our real treatment of those by whom we were
unopposed, they refused to join in defending the
stockade at Tulcheng when called upon by Lal-
boora and the other chiefs, saying, " Why. for
your sakes, should we oppose people who will
harm neither us nor our property if we do not
oppose them ?"
This was also the answer given by the inhabi-
tants of several other subject villages, and it is
276 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
probable that this defection influenced in some
measure Lalboora's decision not to fight.
We learned also from these villagers that the
Sokte*s had attacked Chonchim, but had been
beaten off with the loss of four of their number ;
one Lushai had been killed, and four wounded.
From the village the pathway ran along the
east face of Murklang, a rocky precipice, clothed
here and there with trees and grass, having a sheer
descent of some thousand feet. Beneath nestled
a small village, and beyond lay the broad and
smiling valley, through which far below, like a
silver thread, the Teo wound its way. High hills
of dark green, on the slopes of which the jooms
shone like gold in the bright sunshine, rose in the
The beauty of the scene was heightened by the
rhododendrons which clothed the hill-side on either
side of the road, and were then in all their glory
of brilliant blossoms, and helmets and turbans
became gaily decorated. Even the guns were not
forgotten ; their prosaic steel forms being also
adorned with the bright flowers, with almost loving
care, by their Sikh gunners.
VALLEY OF CHUMPAI. 277
Shortly after we passed through a magnificent
pine forest ; a gentle breeze sighing through the
tall pines wafted their sweet perfume across our
onward path. We passed two deserted villages
without meeting with any water, and finally
descended into the Chumfai valley, where we en-
camped very late in the evening, having covered
nearly thirteen miles in the day's march. Mes-
sengers were at once sent on to Chonchim, re-
quiring the people to submit.
The valley of Chumfai is about five miles long,
with an average breadth of a mile, and an eleva-
tion of four thousand nine hundred feet ; the hills
all round rising to a height of above one thousand
or twelve hundred feet. The ground is swampy
in many places, and low hills, covered with small
leafless trees, are dotted over its surface.
This valley seems to have once been a lake,
which has gradually silted up in the manner de-
scribed by Captain Pemberton, with reference to
the Loytak Lake in 1835.
" The bed has begun very perceptibly to fill up
from deposits of silt, from the surrounding heights,
which are continually carried into it, and if this
278 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
process continues, a few years will suffice to
obliterate the lake altogether."
" There runs in the lake a range of low hills,
the portions of which, not covered with water,
The low hills in the Chumfai valley, which now
look isolated, are probably peaks of a similar low
range which ran through the lake, the alluvial
deposit having taken the place of the water in
covering up the lower portions of this range. The
soil of this plain seems to be fertile, but is at
VONOLEL'S VILLAGE VONOLEL'S TOMB PLEASING TRAIT IN A
DOCTOR BUILDING OPERATIONS CONDITIONS OF PEACE
FRATERNISING MADAME RACHEL'S WIDELY-SPREAD REPU-
TATION OUR INTERCOURSE WITH THE LUSHAIS LIGHTING
PIPES EXPERIMENTS WITH THE BURNING GLASS.
next day, February 17th, the force
marched about four miles to the other end
of the valley, where on some long broad spurs of
a high hill stood Lungvel, the village of Vonolel.
This village we found deserted, and it had the ap-
pearance of having been so for some time, the
houses being in a tumble-down state. It had
been a very large village, and was said to have
contained a thousand houses, but only about
half that number were remaining when we arrived.
We found Vonolel's tomb on an open elevated
spot a similar erection to Voupilal's tomb, al-
ready described. This, however, was more elabor-
ate and in a better state of preservation, and the
posts around, kept in their places by a horizontal
bar, supported a perfect forest of horns and
282 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
heads Inside the tomb a broken Burmese idol
was placed in state, and in the centre was a post
bearing a very large metua skull, from one of
the horns of which a human head and arm, re-
cently cut off, were suspended, and beneath, just
outside the tomb, we found a foot.
The unfortunate whose head and limbs these
were, we afterwards learned was one of the Sokte*s
killed in the attack on Chonchim two days before.
The eyes had been torn out, the skull . smashed,
and shot-marks and spear-cuts disfigured the
face, which in life must have been a very pleas-
ing one. A doctor with us went up to inspect
the head, and exclaimed with the greatest in-
" What confounded brutes !"
" Humane man, pleasing trait in a doctor," was
the thought that suggested itself to his hearers,
till he further enlightened them as to the cause
of his humane anger.
" They have actually smashed the skull, and I
would have given anything for it for my museum."
In fact all the medicos with us were quite as
eager for Lushai skulls as any Lushai could have
GENERAL'S ADDRESS. 283
been for theirs ; though, in the interests of civili-
zation, the Lushais' heads would have reposed
in glass cases on velvet cushions probably, while
those of our friends would have been elevated on
poles exposed to the wind and the rain.
When all the troops had come up, they were
formed up in a hollow square in front of the tomb,
and the British flag was hoisted on a tall, bare
tree " on a spot where British flag had never
before fluttered in the breeze."
The General addressed his little force in a few
well-chosen and appropriate sentences ; telling
them that at last the goal had been reached, and
we stood in Yonolel's stronghold. Then thanking
them in behalf of the Queen and Viceroy for their
admirable behaviour throughout, he concluded
by saying that little more remained to be done
before the force would commence the homeward
At the close of this address three hearty cheers
were given in the true British fashion ; then the
Sepoys invoked their gods in their peculiar
manner ; and the shouts of triumph must have
struck terror into the hearts of the Lushais who
284 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
crowded the village of Vonolel's widow on a high
neighbouring hill, whence from afar they could
watch the invader, and must have impressed
those who still counselled opposition with the
futility of resisting this confident foe.
While the troops were drawn up before the
tomb they were photographed by Captain
Cookesley, who was afterwards engaged in taking
a photograph of the tomb when the village was
fired. The Sepoys told off for this duty lighted
the lower houses to windward first, contrary to
orders, and poor Cookesley suddenly found him-
self surrounded by the flames, and had a narrow
escape from losing all his apparatus.
The tomb was not destroyed, but the head
and arm of the Sokte* were removed and
buried, and I trust he is happier in consequence.
The troops were withdrawn to the valley below,
and encamped there along the banks of the
little stream flowing through it, which rises in
the hills near the village. This camp was in a
very pleasant spot, dry, open, and grassy, under
large bare trees ; the ground beneath being
covered with their withered leaves. The whole
BUILDING OPERATIONS. 285
scene reminded one strongly of some woodland
landscape at home in winter time, especially in the
early morning, when the hoar-frost still lies white
upon leaf and grassy blade.
The village and the grassy mounds supplied
us with plenty of materials for hutting ourselves
very comfortably. A great many excellent planks
were found in the houses; and one officer, on
the principle of doing as the Lushais do, erected
a stockade of planks round his little sleeping-
place, and decorated the entrance with a huge
metua head, a little monkey's skull also grinning
between the horns.
While these building operations were going on,
the head-men of Chonchirn came into camp, but
were refused an audience till they could give up
some of the plunder taken from Monirkhal, &c.
During the evening, a policeman's musket,
pouch, and coat, the coat of a Sepoy of the 4th
N.I. killed at Monirkhal, and some brass vessels
were brought in and delivered up, with a promise
that other articles should follow.
The head-men were then told that the General
intended to visit their village next day, and they
286 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
would be required to attend in camp beforehand
to hear the terms imposed upon them, and to
accompany the General to the village.
Scattered about near our camp, we found
several curious stones, about six feet long. Each
of the latter was generally rudely carved with a
figure of a man holding a dao and spear, with a
gourd and metua head near. On one stone about
fifteen little figures were cut, holding hands, as if
" going round the mulberry bush," or some similar
I could not find out if these were graves ; I
believe they were not, but only a kind of com-
The next morning, the 18th February, the
head-men appeared in camp, and the terms decided
on by the General and Mr. Edgar in .consultation,
were stated to them.
Firstly If they were unable to produce Lal-
boora (who was said to have taken refuge among
the Pois), three head-men of the village should
accompany the column as hostages as far as Tipai
Secondly That they should agree to receive
CONDITIONS OF PEACE. 287
agents of Government in their villages when de-
Thirdly That they should restore all firearms
taken at Monirkhal and the Nudigram ; and if
they were unable to collect the full number
of twelve at once, that they should give up that
number of their own weapons, which could after-
wards be re-exchanged.
Fourthly That they should deliver as a fine, a
war-drum, a set of gongs, large and small, an
amber necklace, two large tusks, four metuas,
ten goats, ten pigs, fifty fowls, and twenty maunds
of husked rice.
The head-men were also informed that in case
these two last conditions were not complied with
before the morning of the 20th, their village
would be attacked and destroyed. They at first
declared they were too hard, and Darpong, flying
into a passion, said he wished to go home.
The General replied that the head-men might
take their choice between submission and the
destruction of their village ; and told Darpong
he was quite at liberty to go home if he wished.
This brought him to his senses, and he did not go
288 THE LTJSHAI EXPEDITION.
Soon after this, the General, taking with him
one hundred and fifty men, ascended the hill
towards Chonchim. On the way we met some
more of the head-men, who turned back with us.
As we approached the village, we could see a
large number of armed Lushais standing outside
a stockade, on the open crest of the hill above.
They shouted at us, and made various hostile
The Goorkhas were at once extended in skir-
mishing order, and advanced steadily, with sloped
arms, up the steep ascent, which was very thinly
wooded. At the same time, the head-men,
evidently fearing a collision, ran on in front of
us, calling out as they unwound turbans and
sheets, and waved them wildly over their heads as
they fled on up the hillside. Their words, and,
probably, the determined manner in which the
Sepoys advanced, not heeding in the slightest
the Lushai muskets pointed at them, had the
desired effect ; and, as we advanced, the Lushais
retired within the stockade.
Passing through this, a short walk brought us
to the village, also strongly stockaded. Both
PARLEY WITH THE HEAD-MEN. 289
stockades bore the marks of the fight of a few
days before ; the outer one being broken through
in one or two places, where the Soktes had
forced an entrance, and the stockade round the
village itself was pierced with many bullet-holes
near the gateway.
On the path we saw a large blood-stain, and
in the ravine below lay the corpse of a Sokte*.
Arrived at the gate, we found all the Lushais
had withdrawn inside and shut it, and were
ranged along the stockade as if to defend it.
A parley ensued between the head-men and
the General, who drew up the troops facing the
stockade. The danger of another scrimmage
did not, even then, seem quite past ; but, at
length, the General and officers with him, and
twenty Sepoys were admitted.
The muskets had been concealed as if by
magic, and all the houses were shut up. The
women and children had been removed to the
jungles, and below the village, guarding the
approach to their place of concealment, we could
see two armed Lushais pacing to and fro with
all the regularity and steadiness of a British
290 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
sentry ; shewing in their grave and anxious faces
their sense of a great responsibility.
We remained in the village about three hours,
while Captain Badgley surveyed from a very
favourable open spot, at the highest part of the
village, the surrounding country ; a confused
sea of hills on all sides, among which it was
exceedingly difficult, from this point of view, to
recognise our old friends of the more northerly
part of the country.
'We could see far away to the west the high
hills of the Howlong and Syloo tribes, where
General Brownlow was doing battle with his re-
fractory chiefs ; and we hoped that he might be
able to see our signals.
While Badgley was surveying, and the General
and Mr. Edgar were explaining their terms, and the
necessity for compliance with them, to the head-
man and the serious-minded portion of the com-
munity, [the younger ones, with a happy care-
lessness of all negotiations, were making great
friends among the invaders, with whom they had
been within an ace of exchanging shots scarcely
an hour before.
EEPUTATION OF MADAME RACHEL. 291
These men were much, astonished at the fair-
ness of our skins. The " world-wide fame of
Madame Rachel" seems to have penetrated even
to this remote corner of the globe ; perhaps even
some of " the swift-pacing camels " have visited
Chumfai (and we have the authority of the
Graphic for believing that camels can climb the
Lushai hills, " all opinions of Indians to the
contrary notwithstanding) " for the purpose of
collecting the rare flowers and simples (over and
above those found at home), so necessary to
the art of "beautifying for ever." I say the
lady's fame seems to have reached even the
Lushais, as they evidently thought it was to some
such art as hers that we owed the comparative
fairness of our faces and hands. They made signs
to us to turn up our sleeves, when loud were their
cries of amazed delight at finding that the skin
above our wrists was actually whiter than our
hands. Even then some of the most sceptical
were not satisfied that the white would not come
off, till they had rubbed it well with wet fingers,
examining the latter after the process very care-
THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The Lushais were much pleased with the simple
process of lighting a pipe or fuel by means of a
burning glass ; and after a short time, to show them
one was the signal for the instant production of
pipes which had gone out. They themselves
generally carry a rough flint and steel, and small
pieces of rag in a small bamboo box.
They could not understand how the fire was
brought down, and often put out their hands to
feel the burning power of the glass when focussed
upon them. After submitting to the experiment
for a few seconds, they invariably drew back
suddenly, with an exclamation of pain and sur-
prise, intensely gratifying to their friends who
had already tested the power of the burning-glass.
I have mentioned that the Lushais are not a
tall or bearded race, and one of the officers, who
was gigantic in stature, with a long thick beard,
was looked upon by them as a most wonderful
being. It was intensely amusing to see them
stealing up behind him one by one, when they
thought his attention was engaged with something
in front, and, stretching up one hand and arm at full
length, stand on tip-toe while they tried to reach
the level of the top of his helmet. Sometimes by a
sudden and judicious application of his elbow he
sent them sprawling, much to the amusement of
those who had accomplished their object without
detection. Others measured the length of his
beard on their arms.
When pointing out a hill or other distant object,
the Lushais give vent to a curious long note,
gradually dying away, to express something very
far off, before mentioning the name of the hill, &c.,
very much as I have heard Scotch friends of
mine on similar occasions say
" That hill far awa-a-a-ay."
In the open space above referred to, we saw the
stump of a large tree used as a beheading-block,
there were traces on it of a recent execution,
brains and hair, and the villagers explained by
signs that the Sokte", whose head they pointed
to on the distant tomb, had been executed there,
and showed us a small stick with which his
eyes had been prised out.
They appeared to view the whole as a most
praiseworthy performance, and indeed the treat-
ment of traitors and prisoners in our own country,
294 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
in ages when the English were regarded as being
much more enlightened than the Lushais are
now, was often very little, if at all, better than
DELIVERY OP THE FINE DIFFICULTY IN COLLECTING THE
MTJSKETS ACCEPTABLE CHANGE OF DIET THE COMMISSA-
RIAT AUSTRALIAN MUTTON A COOLIE TRICK LUSHAI
RAIDSTHE TRAGEDY AT PORT BLAIR RETURN MARCH.
A BOUT four o'clock the force fell in to return
to camp Mr. Edgar repeating his terras
once more outside the gate on leaving, and
stating that the muskets must be given up and
the fines paid within twenty-four hours. Three
of the head-men returned with us.
It was a beautiful afternoon, the soft breeze
playing among the oaks and rhododendrons, as
we waded on our way down the hill to the pretty
little valley beneath. When we neared the camp the
sun was setting, and the talHrees and low hillocks
cast long purple shadows over the golden surface
of the plain.
The next day several parties were sent out in
various directions to search for villages. Several
were seen, but all at great distances.
298 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
From the heights to the east of Chuinfai, we
could see the open smiling valley of the Teo,
and if time had permitted, it would have been
worth while following its course in order to settle
the question as to its really being the Koladyne
itself, or simply an affluent of that river.
During the day portions of the fine were brought
in, but the General refused to receive anything
till the muskets were all delivered. The Lushais
promised they should all be produced during the
The Lushais in the village, who possessed
weapons of their own, were naturally averse from
losing them, and cast lots as to whose should be
given up. This did not always meet the case
though, for as soon as the lot fell upon a man,
he straightway disappeared into the jungle,
taking his musket with him. All this, as the
head-man complained, prevented the tale of mus-
kets from being speedily completed. However,
during the night they were all collected, and with
the fine imposed upon them, were received into
camp. The three muntris who were to accompany
us as hostages, were also chosen at the same time.
HALT AT CHUMFAI. 299
Although all the terms which could be imme-
diately enforced had been complied with by the
villagers, and nothing more remained for the
force to accomplish, yet it was decided to halt
one day longer in Chumfai, partly to impress
the Lushais with the idea that we were in no
hurry to depart, and could have remained longer
if we had chosen ; but principally because our
work had been done in less time than was anti-
cipated when we left Chelam, and by marching
on the 20th, we should not have been able to
signal to General Bourchier on that night from
Chumfai, as he had been informed, by telegram,
we should do. So it was decided to remain till
the morning of the 21st, sending up rockets
from one of the highest peaks east of Lungvel,
and marching, on the 21st, to the summit of
Murklang to send further signals from that hill.
Portions of the fine, such as the fowls, pigs,
&c., were distributed among the officers and
men, and were very acceptable as a change after
the tinned mutton and salt pork, which, also,
at this period, were running rather short, as, in-
deed, had been the case once or twice before;
300 THE LUSHA1 EXPEDITION.
and if we had not occasionally been able to
get a few small tins of stores down by the dak,
we should, more than once, have had nothing
but rice during the day. Pickles were generally
procurable ; but regarded as the staple of diet
for several days, they pall upon the least fasti-
I must do the Commissariat Officers the justice
to say that, amid all their troubles and anxieties,
they invariably received complainants with the
greatest politeness. The suaviter in modo was
never wanting in their godowns, though the
mutton in tins occasionally was.
We were much amused at reading, in a home
paper about this time, a letter from the Secre-
tary of some Soup Society, complaining that an
old pauper woman had refused to eat some Aus-
tralian mutton he had given her, as being unfit
for human food, and had returned it without
thanks. We occasionally wished, when in a
more than usually British grumbling mood, that
this estimable old lady could have been placed on
the Committee in Calcutta, when the question
of rations was being considered, before starting
A TRICK OF THE COOLIES. 301
the Expedition. Perhaps, though, as the Com-
mittee merely had to decide what others should
eat and drink, she might not have expressed her
opinion so forcibly.
The coolies once, bringing up some rum to
the front, drank half of it, and filled up the
casks with water. This was brought to the
notice of the Commissariat Officer thus. He had
just come in from a long march, and was sitting
down in camp, waiting for the coolies and ser-
vants, when an officer offered him some rum
and water, which he accepted. He tasted it, said
it was " very weak," and asked to see the rum
bottle. He put it to his lips, and without wink-
ing drank the contents, the owner's allowance
for several days, nearly all off. Then handing
it back to the officer, he said, with a suave little
motion of the head :
" Ah, dear me ! dear me ! oh yes ! I see, you
carry your rum and water ready mixed, Well !
well ! a very good plan."
However, he was astonished to hear that this
bottle had only just been filled from a Com-
missariat cask, and inquiry resulted in the dis-
covery of the coolies' malpractices.
302 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The fact of the plunder taken at Monirkhal
being found in Lalboora's villages was very satis-
factory ; for though Mr. Edgar had long been cer-
tain of it, still others, and some high in authority,
had doubted if the Left Column was taking the
right direction for finding the principal offenders.
Mr. Edgar learnt from the head-men that all the
Lushais considered that " this village of Vonolel's
gave the signal for every raid ; even for those
conducted by independent chiefs ; and that the
plunder taken in the last raids had all been taken
first to Chumfai, and then distributed among the
other villages." In the afternoon the gunners
were sent up the hill fixed upon as the best
from which to fire off the signals, and made their
arrangements for the evening.
The Lushais in camp were allowed to accom-
pany them to witness the spectacle ; and when at
last, about eight o'clock, the blue lights burned and
the rockets went up, these unwashed Lushais
expressed their admiration with exactly the same
cries of " Oh ! Oh !" by which our own great un-
washed at home are in the habit of evincing
the satisfaction with which they behold a beautiful
THE TEAGEDY AT PORT BLAIR. 303
display at the Crystal Palace. No response was
elicited from the dim and misty hills where
General Bourchier was supposed to be, and the
Artillery returned after waiting a sufficient time
for the other column to reply.
During the evening came the first rumours of
the terrible tragedy at Port Blair, which we
could scarcely believe, but which were afterwards
too fully confirmed.
Many of the staff-officers had the honour of
being personal friends of the late Viceroy, but
even those who had not, knew that in him they
had lost one who took the greatest and most
kindly interest in the welfare of all engaged in
the Expedition, an interest evinced in a most
flattering telegram which the General had received
on the subject of the successes of the 25th and
26th, concluding thus,
" Telegraph direct how you are."
This was only one out of many little proofs
that he was watching attentively the progress of
the Expedition, and not unmindful of the fate of
those who were trying to make it successful.
The calamity which the whole country was then
304 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
deploring, cast a gloom over the termination of
the campaign, and considerably lessened the anti-
cipated joyousness of the homeward march.
The next morning, amid much calling upon
their gods, with many signs of rejoicing on the
part of the Sepoys, and probably no less to the
satisfaction of the Lushais, our troops commenced
the return march.
Looking at them from the heights above, the
line looked like a long serpent gradually uncoiling
itself from the camp, soon extending nearly the
whole length of the valley, and creeping slowly
over hillocks and along the level plain ; a column
of smoke from the fired camp proclaiming the de-
parture of the rear-guard.
We camped that evening on Murklang, and
further signals were sent up, also without any
response. The villagers came out and mixed
with the Sepoys with the greatest confidence, and
brought out materials for huts. These could only
be very hastily constructed, and most of us rigged
up waterproof sheets and tarpaulins as little tents.
A heavy shower of rain fell about nine P.M., but
fortunately did not last long.
FEARS OP THE NATIVES. 305
But little more remains to be chronicled; the
return march was made over the road and through
the villages already described. The villagers at
Tulcheng came out in crowds to greet us as we
passed, but at Chelam great anxiety was visible
among the people. This was caused by the failure
of Colonel Rattray to induce Poiboi to appear in
camp, and, consequently, they feared that the
General would carry out his threat of destroying
They came into camp on the day the troops
halted there, and besought him to spare them,
saying should he still adhere to his resolution
they would bring in their women and little children
also to fall at his feet and pray for mercy.
The General yielded to their prayers. He felt,
as indeed did everyone, that after our camp had
been allowed to remain close to their villages for
so long without any annoyance, and the coolies
and dak guards had daily passed to and fro
without any molestation from the Lushais, it
would be an ungenerous, as well as an ungrace-
ful, act to burn their houses on our departure,
especially after Poiboi' s promise to be faithful to
306 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
us. His refusal to see the General in person, the
latter attributed, and no doubt rightly, to the ab-
ject fear of an unreasoning boy.
The troops halted one day at Chelam to allow
the wing of the 42nd, who had been holding the
camp, to go ahead, taking with them the sick and
Everyone was happy in the idea of returning,
and the long steep marches were as nothing to
what they had been during the advance. Of the
Sepoys and coolies, who were well, it might be
" Up the mountains sides they'd press,
Nor with a sigh their toil confess."
This was not the case with those unfortunates
upon whom the hard work, long continued, had
told severely, and who not only with sighs but
deep groans expressed their feeling of toil, as,
relieved from all loads, they yet crawled on with
the greatest difficulty, each day adding to their
number and filling the doolies with men not able
WITHDRAWAL OP THE TROOPS SECOND HALT DISTRIBUTION
OF PRESENTS DARPONG'S WATCH CABULI FRUIT-SELLERS
LUSHAI ENTERTAINMENT APPEARANCE OF THE COUNTRY
DAK ARRANGEMENTS THE RESCUED CAPTIVES COOLIE
ENTERTAINMENTS RETURN TO TIPAI MUKH PROFITABLE
withdrawal of the troops was conducted
most methodically, each detachment in turn
leaving a few men as guard, vacating its post
two or three hours before the head-quarters
At Chepui the second halt was made, and a
great distribution of presents took place to those
men who had hitherto accompanied us. Red
shawls and blankets, gay carriage rugs, white
shirts, turbans of all sorts, and strangest present
of all, but truly British-like in its inappropriate-
ness, aluminium crystal-backed two guinea
watches, and a glass decanter, were given away
to the gratified recipients.
Darpong became the proud possessor of a watch,
which he flourished about, applying it to the ears
of his less fortunate friends for them to hear it
310 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION
tick, and showing them how the works moved.
Alas ! two days after he had lost the key, the
watch had stopped, and no one envied him his
prize in the least.
If it were necessary to give them something to
amuse them, and at the same time point a moral,
some of those musical toys, in which, by turning
a handle gently, a small regiment of soldiers
(usually three) is made to appear and disappear
across a mimic parade-ground to the soft pleasing
sound of a simple strain, would, no doubt, have
delighted them. The Politicals might have
explained to the intelligent savages that the
soldiers were our troops ; the parade-ground,
Lushai Country ; the motive power necessary
to bring the Sepoys into that country the
raiding they so often had indulged in ; and that
the inevitable consequence of their turning the
handle would be the re-appearance of the soldiers
at whose departure they were then rejoicing.
At Chepui we saw some enterprising Oabuli
fruit-sellers who had been down as far as Kung-
nung with their stock of raisins, pistachio nuts,
almonds and native fruits. Purchases were
PROCESSION AT CHEPUI. 311
eagerly made from them, and mysterious whispers
conveyed the invitation :
" Come and dine, we have a plum-pudding to
Such invitations had hitherto been so rare, that
it was impossible to refuse them.
The night we were at Chepui, about eight
o'clock, as we were sitting over our camp fire dis-
cussing the events of the day and rum and
water, we heard strains of music, accompanying
a wild monotonous chant, approaching the camp.
We rose to see what it meant, and saw nearly the
whole male population of Chepui coming up in
procession, preceded by a few men playing drums,
gourd instruments, and reed-pipes. At their head
marched a staff-officer with a lantern, who had
gone to conduct the procession past the sen-
The Lushais halted in an open space, and offi-
cers, Sepoys, and Lushais formed a ring, in
which it was intimated dancing was to take place.
After a short song, intended to be an account of
our doings, but whether complimentary or not
no one possessed sufficient knowledge of the Ian-
312 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
guage to determine, the dancing commenced.
One man came forward, and loosing his sheet
fastened it in -a roll round his waist, and
placing a small corn cob on the ground to indicate
the lady of his affections, commenced a sort of
pas d'extase. With bent knees, and body inclined
forwards, he kept time to the slow music by
swaying to and fro, turning now to the right, now
to the left, opening and closing his fingers. Oc-
casionally this motion was varied by a few excited
bounds backwards and forwards, and twisting
When the first dancer was tired a second took
his place, but there was very little change in
the character of the dance.
The entertainment was given by the flickering
light of a few lanterns, fixed in their owners'
waistbelts, or placed in the ground at their feet.
After rum had been served out with great impar-
tiality to all the performers, and the dancers had
begun to get excited, kicking over the lanterns,
and covering everyone with dust, the General
said, " Hold, enough !" and the assembly broke
WILD-FLOWERS IN THE JUNGLES. 313
During the inarch to Chumfai, we had been
disappointed at meeting so few wild-flowers in
these jungles. Violets, with little or no scent,
had been frequently found, especially in Chumfai
valley; but these violets, some heliotrope, cox-
comb, and a few other common flowering weeds,
were the only varieties of Lushai Flora we
On the return, however, our disappointment
was turned to delight, and had we remained
longer in the country, we should, probably, have
been well pleased with the flowers. Even their
wild-fruit trees were in blossom, tall trees
covered with a large white flower like a gera-
nium, others a blaze of scarlet blossoms ; the
crimson rhododendrons enlivened the gloom of
the forest ; a beautiful little green passion-flower
hung in festoons from the trees, the convolvulus
adorned the tangled briers, and through the long
grass by the roadside sprang up golden fern and
The days were gloriously fine. Butterflies, of
the most brilliant and varied hues, chased each
other through the shadowy glades, and along the
314 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
sunlit path ; while beautiful little red and yellow
birds flitted from tree to tree, flashing through
the sunlight like pure gold.
Unfortunately, owing to the rapid movements
of the troops, and to prevent any unnecessary
alarm or disturbances no one with the head-
quarters was allowed to shoot any birds in the
jungle. A native Naturalist had been sent from
Calcutta to accompany the Expedition, but he
remained in rear, and I do not know what addi-
tions he made to the Museum in the cause of
We found that all the camps had been much
improved by those who had been stationed in
them. Commodious and well-built huts, small
mess-rooms, slight stockades, and well-cleared
spaces all round, made them hardly recognisable
as the little leafy shed-covered spots which we
used to come upon suddenly out of the jungle.
At one of the camps, a quantity of empty ghi
casks were thrown into the fires as the troops
were about to march. Having been well satu-
rated with their greasy contents, they blazed up
merrily, the iron hoops falling off into the flames
JOOMING OPERATIONS. 315
and exciting the cupidity of the Lushais, who,
as usual, had collected to pick up anything the
troops left behind them.
At first they tried to snatch out the hoops,
but getting their clothes singed in the attempt,
they retired to the jungle, and flinging every-
thing off, armed themselves with long sticks,
and rushed down upon the fires again; and as
the rear-guard marched off, they saw the Lushais
dancing and gesticulating like demons round the
flames, red hot hoops being whisked out in all
Our return was the signal for the commence-
ment of jooming operations, the fires following
us closely. Looking back each day, we could
see their smoke rising up from the hill-sides, even
to the camps we had left only that morning.
All the country for miles around was misty
with joom smoke, and the increasing haze of the
weather told of the approaching heat and rains.
The view from each of our elevated camps was
far less extensive than formerly, and many of the
distant ranges had disappeared altogether.
On the journey back, at first, we used to get our
316 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
letters two and sometimes three times a day ; not
less than the number of deliveries in a well-con-
ducted town in England. The reason of this was
that each day we advanced a stage in the direc-
tion whence the letters' were coining ; so that we
received letters before starting, and then reaching
the following stage found the next dak returning.
Here I must express my admiration for the
dak arrangements made by Colonel Roberts, and
carried out under his orders by the police with
wonderful regularity. Not a day passed without
despatching the dak, and scarcely a day without
receiving the letters and papers, though they
arrived sometimes in the middle of the night,
much to the dissatisfaction of some drowsy souls,
who preferred sleeping to any number of com-
munications from friends.
A few souvenirs were brought away by the
officers and men, such as skin shields, spears,
musical instruments, &c., but the greatest curio-
sities of all which we brought back were the old
captives who had been given up.
We had a large and increasing following of cap-
tives as we returned. Many of them were young
OLD CAPTIVES RESCUED. 317
people with their families, but among them were
a few aged ladies and gentlemen, who were
wonderfully old, and utterly incapable of walking.
These were therefore carried on coolies' backs.
The old things knelt in a sling which passed
across the coolies' foreheads, and clung to his
shoulders. This mode of travelling must have
been very tiring in a long day's march.
When put down during a halt, they at once
went to sleep, and seemed utterly apathetic as to
their fate. A return to their native villages must
have been for them the awaking of Rip Van
Winkle ; they would find young people become
old, and all their former intimates dead or un-
mindful of them ; and probably, if they had not
been in the imbecility of extreme old age, would
sooner have remained with their captors, who must
have treated them with some consideration or
I made a sketch of one of these old people, but
could arrive at no conclusion as to the age or sex,
and my questioning elicited no response what-
ever from the shrivelled mummy. There was an
expression of coarseness, and the reflection of far
318 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
off sadness, as it were, visible in the countenance
of the poor old thing, and one was filled with
pity to think that it had still to be carried over a
hundred miles, to find probably at the end no one
to care for it or look after it, till welcome death
should at last arrive.
Our coolies, who were Cossyahs, were very
much pleased at the idea of returning home, and
used occasionally in the evening to get up small
entertainments of singing, whistling, and dancing
round a fire. One, a little boy, used to arrange
his dress like a woman's, and give imitations of
Hindustani and Cossyah nautches to the accom-
paniment of an imaginary tom-tom. Their friends
meanwhile looked on with an absence of any ap-
parent approval, and a persistent gravity which
could not have been surpassed by the most fashion-
able audiences at home, when viewing an amateur
performance by their most enthusiastic friends.
Leeches, ticks, mosquitoes, sand-flies, and
other abominations which we had been so freely
promised by some sanguine friends before we
started on the Expedition, but from which we
had hitherto been free, began to annoy us very
PROFITABLE BUSINESS. 319
much on the return, and we were not sorry to get
back once more to Tipai Mukh, where the whole
force arrived on the 6th or 7th March.
The detachments from the nearer stations had
gone on to Cachar on rafts or in boats as they
arrived at Tipai Mukh, and the rest were em-
ployed in constructing rafts.
It had originally been intended that the troops
should march, but owing to the heat, and the fact
that cholera had once more appeared among the
men at Tipai Mukh, the water-route seemed to be
A large number of Lushais had accompanied us
as far as Tipai Mukh, and were busily employed
in driving a few last bargains. They brought
down large quantites of India-rubber, which they
exchanged eagerly for salt, equal weights, and as
the value of the rubber was more than four times
that of the salt, any individuals who could com-
mand a large supply of the latter had an excellent
opportunity of doing a little profitable business.
By the 10th of March, in accordance with the
orders of the Government before quoted, all the
troops and coolies had bidden farewell to Tipai
320 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Mukh ; and the Tuivai itself, flowing past ruined
huts and deserted godowns, once more greeted
the Barak with its ceaseless babble, undisturbed
by the cries of coolies and the trumpeting of
elephants, while the surrounding jungles relapsed
into their former silence, resounding no* more to
the blows of the invaders' axes.
The rapids on the Barak, at this season of the
year, were very shallow, and great excitement and
amusement were afforded to the Sepoys by the
trouble and hairbreadth escapes they met with
in managing, or rather in trying to manage, their
rafts, and steering them clear of sunken rocks and
This mode of travelling was entirely new to
many of them, and their efforts were not always
successful, as evinced by the ever-increasing pile
of broken rafts at most of the difficult passages.
HARDSHIPS OF THE CAMPAIGN DEATH OF TWO OFFICERS
INDISPOSITION OF THE GENERAL RAVAGES OF CHOLERA
THE MUNIPITR CONTINGENT CONFERENCE PRECAUTIONS
AGAINST TREACHERY SEIZURE OF CHIEFS FALSE PRE-
DICTIONORDER TO THE TROOPS CONCLUDING REMARKS.
f AM sorry to have to record two deaths
among the officers, in consequence of the
hardships of this campaign. One was Captain
Harrison of the 42nd N.I., who was about to pro-
ceed to England on sick leave when the Expedition
was determined on, and who immediately got his
leave cancelled in order to go with his regiment.
He was very ill at Tipai Mukh, at Christmas,
and the uuhealthiness of the camp, which tried
many stronger constitutions, proved too much
for him, and he was ordered by the medical
authorities to proceed to England, via Calcutta,
as quickly as possible.
This was in February. He arrived in Cachar,
and was allowed by the doctor there to continue
his journey in the country boats. He was utterly
Y 2 '
324 THE LCSHAI EXPEDITION.
unfit to go alone, and when his boatmen went
to inform him that they had arrived at Chuttack,
they found him lying dead. His sad fate was
deeply regretted by his brother officers, by whom
he was deservedly very much liked.
The second was that of Captain Cookesley,
R.A., whose name has been mentioned several
times in the course of this narrative. A good
photographer, he was attached to the half-battery
which accompanied the column, partly in that
capacity, being allowed extra carriage for his
apparatus. He was apparently in tolerable health
at Cachar, and went on with his battery as far
as Sylhet, where he was obliged to go on shore,
and was so ill as to be left there when the others
continued the onward journey.
By the advice of the doctors he started to go
to Shillong, the nearest hill-station to Sylhet.
He arrived at Cherrapoonji, the first halting
place from the plains, and, whether the change
of temperature was too sudden, or nature at
length gave way, I know not, but on the 31st
March he expired at that place, shortly after his
arrival, from abscess in the liver. A good officer,
SCENERY OF THE COUNTRY. 325
a genial companion, a clever writer, and a warm
friend, his loss was mourned by all who had ever
The General himself suffered severely at the
close of the Expedition. The state of his health,
between Tipai Mukh and Shillong, was such as
to cause grave anxiety to the medical officers
who accompanied him.
The bracing air of that fine hill station, a re-
turn to civilised dwellings, and, above all, good
and nourishing food, however, happily soon re-
stored him to his wonted health.
Several of the Staff, also, were very much
pulled down, and did not get over the effects of
hard work and hard fare for some time.
The scenery, both on the river and by road,
between Tipai Mukh and Oachar, was very fine;
the autumnal-like tints of the foliage in the dense
jungle, at this season, were most varied and
beautiful; orchids and other wild-flowers abound-
ed, and the forest was sweet with their many-
But an invisible foe haunted these fair scenes
and cholera, that fatal pestilence, stalked along
326 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
the river, or lurked in the jungle, eager for his
prey, striking down the Sepoys joyously looking
forward to a speedy meeting with friends, but
numbering most of its victims among the poor
coolies, well nigh worn out with their four months
continuous hard work. The poor fellows died
alike on. the river, in boats or on rafts ; by the
road-side and on the hill-tops, falling before a
more dread enemy than any we had to encounter
in Lushai land.
Nor were they free when they had left Cachar.
The 22nd were pursued by it on their way up
country, leaving men even in the train, and the
44th N.I. lost many men on the march before
The 42nd also suffered very severely. But
among the sad consequences of the return march,
was the introduction of this fell disease into tea-
gardens and villages near the river or road, by
the troops and coolies passing through. The
seeds of the disease were left as a legacy among
the Lushais, and, if we may believe reports,
cholera has been busy among them since we
OF VILLAGES TO MUNIPUR. 327
Hill-men dread the invasion of foreigners, more
on this account perhaps than any other I mean
the introduction of strange diseases. Small-pox
and other diseases have from time to time been
spread among them by traders, though the
Northern Lushais, with whom we had to do, had,
hitherto, enjoyed apparent immunity from the
consequences of intercourse with strangers, as, out
of the many who visited our camps, we only saw
one man at all marked with small-pox.
Before bringing this narrative to a close, we
must just see what the Munipur Contingent had
been doing, especially as their last exploit was a
very peculiar one.
After the 25th of January, entire villages see-
ing the way things were going with the Lushais,
and taking advantage of the presence of the con-
tingent at Chepui, deserted to Munipur ; others
went to Kamhow, Sukpilal, and the Pois ; but of
those who went to Munipur, we have the actual
numbers, which are as follows :
On the 1 3th February, three hundred and
seventy-three Sokte*s, with twenty-eight muskets,
328 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
arrived in Munipur, and on the 14th and 18th
three hundred and ninety-two Sadoes and other
I have mentioned that General Nuthall had been
obliged to retire from Chibu, on account of sick-
ness, &c. He had, however, returned there, to-
wards the end of February, having received sup-
plies, and left the sick in a place of safety.
General Bourchier telegraphed to him on the with-
drawal of the force from the Lushai territory,
and General Nuthall commenced to return from
Chibu on the 6th March.
On the 7th inst., he himself had gone ahead,
as the Contingent always marched late, after cook-
ing and eating. Before the latter left camp, a
large body of men, of whom about a hundred were
armed with muskets, appeared suddenly from the
Many captives, as before stated, having gone over
to the Munipur contingent during the advance of
the Left column, the Munipur Majors in command
thought, or said they thought, that these were also
refugees come to seek their protection. A Kookie
chief who was in their camp, however, told them
CONFERENCE WITH SOKTfiS. 329
that the armed men belonged to Kamhow's people,
and recognised among them a Chieftain of that
tribe. The Majors sent orders to their Sepoys to
load quietly and be on the alert ; they then ad-
mitted the Soktes into the camp, taking up a
central position, and- a conference ensued.
During this conference the Sepoys closed round
and got behind each armed man in groups of
three. The Majors asked the Sokte chiefs where
they had been, and whither they were going.
They replied that they had been on a friendly
visit to a village in the Lushai territory, the in-
habitants of which, nine hundred and sixty-two in
number, were returning with them, being desirous
of joining Kamhow's tribe.
The Majors told them that they must go to
General Nuthall to explain their conduct to him,
but this they refused to do, as the camp ahead was
too far out of their way. The former then ap-
parently gave up this point and engaged the
chiefs in friendly conversation, and under pre-
tence of trying the different muskets, handed the
chiefs one of theirs to fire off, discharging those
of the latter in exchange.
330 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
The chiefs being thus defenceless, the Majors
had them seized, whereupon, one of them giving
a whistle, his men stood to their arms, but after
a short struggle were overpowered. Fifty-six
men were taken prisoners, and fifty-two muskets
were seized ; four of the Munipuris were wounded
in the struggle.
The Sokte prisoners and the villagers were all
taken into Munipur, and the Rajah intended to
settle them in the valley south of Moirang. The
Soktes were placed in jail in irons till their families
should arrive, when the Rajah's intention was to
release them and settle them in the hills north-
east of the valley.
General Nuthall said, " The Rajah seemed con-
fident of reconciling them, and anticipated obtain-
ing much useful service from them in the eveut
of future strife with Kamhow's tribe. The loss of
so many arms to that tribe will tend to break its
power, and restrain its preying upon the Lushais
at this time of its weakness."
This latter prediction of the General's was a
very mistaken one, if we may believe a late news-
paper paragraph, which states that the Soktes
REPORTED DEFEAT OF LALBOORA. 331
again attacked Chonchim after our departure,
and Lalboora, being deserted by many of his ad-
herents, was signally defeated by the Soktes who
are now settled in the Chumfai valley.
I have been unable to find out what truth there
is in this report, but if the case is so, it is just
what General Bouchier and Mr. Edgar did not
wish to happen, and which by their policy they
did what that they could to prevent ; as it is, as
I have pointed out in a very early part of this book,
by no means in the interests of the peace of our
frontier, that a tribe, who have submitted to us,
and with whom we were likely to establish friendly
relations, should be overthrown by a more distant
and formidable foe.
We have heard the Munipur version of the
exploit just related; let us see what has been
said on the other side.
It will be remembered that Yonolel had settled
many Sokte prisoners in his villages during his
lifetime. These Soktes, at the time of the Ex-
pedition, were very anxious to return to their own
country, but they were afraid that, if they at-
tempted to escape, the Lushais might fall on
332 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
them and kill their women and children before they
could get safely across into Kamhow's country.
Many of them had taken advantage of our ad-
vance to escape either to Kamhow, General
Nuthall, or our camps.
On the return march, Mr. Edgar heard that a
hundred armed men from Kamhow's villages had
gone to some of the south-eastern Lushai villages,
for the purpose of escorting the Soktes who
wished to leave.
Darpong afterwards confirmed this intelligence,
and stated further that nearly a thousand Sokte*s
had gone off under the protection of this party,
taking with them all their property, and that
these were the people who appeared in the
There seems no doubt that the armed Soktes
did not go in with the intention of attacking the
Munipur de*pot. This appears to be evident from
the fact of their small number, and the absence of
any attempt on their part at a surprise. On the
contrary, they went in apparently in full reliance
on the friendliness of the Munipuris, the chiefs
allowing their weapons to be discharged by the
Majors without any suspicion of bad faith.
THE MUNIPUR ARMY. 333
Mr. Edgar, says, " The charge of wishing to
attack the camp was probably afterwards in-
vented by the Majors to excuse their own conduct.
It is evident that the latter could not resist the
temptation of getting possession of the refugees,
for the Munipuris are even more eager than the
hill-chiefs themselves to get hold of Kookie and
Major McCulloch, many years ago writing of the
Munipur Army, said that the number, three thou-
sand six hundred (including officers), could not be
kept up in an efficient state, and, as I have before
said, it is not attempted. The services therefore
of the Munipur troops in an emergency would be
of no use. The inefficiency of this force has not
escaped the British Government. Schemes for its
improvement have been entertained, but as the
pressure of circumstances which suggested the
necessity of these schemes ceased, they have been
I do not know if the performance of the
Munipur contingent in the late campaign will
cause the gallant Colonel to modify in any degree
this unfavourable opinion.
334 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
On arriving in Cachar, General Bourchier issued
the folio wing Field Force Order to the troops who.
having been together for four months, were about
to separate and disperse again to various parts
of India the Artillery to Abbobabad, Sappers
to Roorkee, 22nd N. I. to Chelam, and the 42nd
and 44th L. I. to Assam.
(Gazette of India, May 4)
Field Force Order by Brigadier-General G. Bourchier, C.B.,
Commanding Cachar Column, Lushai Expeditionary Force
(No. 65, dated Cachar, the IVth March, 1872,)
1. On the breaking up of the Cachar Column, Lushai Expedi-
tionary Force, the Brigadier- General Commanding feels deep
pride in the reflection that he has received the congratulations of
the late Viceroy, of the Governments of India and Bengal, and
of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, on its services.
2. The Brigadier-General does not presume to offer an opinion
as to whether the success of the column has equalled the expecta-
tions of the Government, but he has unfeigned pleasure in record-
ing his belief that its discipline, energy, and devotion to the service
could not have been surpassed.
3. From the beginning of November, when the troops were first
put in motion, to the present time, every man has been employed
in hard work, cheerfully performed, often under the most trying
circumstances of heat and frost, always bivouacking on the moun-
tain side, in rude huts of grass or leaves, officers and men sharing
the same accommodation, marching day by day over precipitous
mountains, rising at one time to six thousand feet, and having made
a road fit for elephants from Luckipur to Chipowee, a distance
of one hundred and three miles. The spirits of the troops never
FIELD FORCE ORDER. 335
flagged, and when they met the enemy, they drove them from
their stockades and strongholds until they were glad to sue for
4. The history of the Expedition from first to last has been
sheer hard work.
5. On the advance wings of the 22nd Eegiment, Native Infantry,
under Colonel Stafford, the 42nd Eegiment, Native Infantry, under
Colonel Eattray, C.S.I., and the 44th Eegiment, Native Infantry,
under Lieutenant-Colonel Nuthall, the hardest work has fallen.
Each has shared in the actual fighting, the 44th more than either
of the other corps, but to the officers in the rear most important
duties were assigned in protecting a line of communication ex-
tending over one hundred and ten miles from Tipai Mukh to
Volonel's stronghold of Chamfai, and watching through spies the
attitude of the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, convey-
ing provisions and the post, and keeping the road constantly
patrolled. The Frontier Police did equally good service with the
troops in this way. Each field-officer in the rear had assigned
to him a certain number of posts for which he was responsible,
and to their vigilance may be attributed the fact that our com-
munications have not for a day been interrupted.
6. Young officers may especially feel glad at having had such
an opportunity of gaining experience in mountain warfare.
7. Before taking leave of the Column, the Brigadier-General
would tender his heartfelt thanks to the officers, civil and military,
non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who, for so many weeks,
have co-operated with him, and to whom he feels he is entirely
indebted for any success which may have attended the operations.
He will have much pleasure in bringing their conduct, and that
of the officers of the several departments, civil and military,
with the Column, to the notice of His Excellency the Commander-
in-Chief, for submission to the Government of India.
By Order, (Signed) H. THOMSON,
336 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Notwithstanding the outcry raised both in
Lushai and at home concerning the large scale on
which the Expedition was conducted, and the
loudly expressed remarks of those who know no-
thing about the subject, that a native regi-
ment going in with a rush would effect all that
was desired, we have seen that, after deducting
the guards necessary at the various stations to
keep open communications, only a force of four
hundred men were available for the final advance
on Chumfai, not by any means too many, suppos-
ing the Lushais had made a stand at Tulcheng,
which it was not at all certain on leaving Chelam
that they would not do.
The Expedition was carefully organised, and the
steadiness and deliberation of the advance has
probably had a greater effect on the Lushai mind
than any sudden dash through a small portion of
their hills could possibly have had, however suc-
cessful it might have been in its immediate results.
As was the case in the Abyssinian Ex-
pedition, the prophesiers of evil were very
numerous ; fever, bronchitis, leeches, ticks, mos-
quitoes were among some of the many evils which
FALSE PROPHECIES. 337
would overtake us. The country was full of deep
ravines whence escape was impossible, into which
treacherous Lushais were to guide us, till suddenly
an avalanche of rocks, loosened by our enemies
from above, should annihilate the force; our
coolies were to be destroyed along the line of
communications, and any small detached parties
would inevitably be cut off.
All these, and many more prophecies with
which the Indian papers abounded, and which
our friends who were not going with us repeated
with infinite though suppressed delight, proved
entirely false, and for my part I know I can
answer for many others. I should not at all dis-
like another visit to that very fine country, alwaj^s
pre-supposing that I might make my own com-
What the ultimate results may be of this last
Expedition it is impossible at present to foretell.
A road-making expedition has been sanctioned
for the next cold weather, but the details as to
the troops who will compose it, and the direction
the road will take, are not generally known.
It is proposed to take the road through from
338 THE LUSHAI EXPEDITION.
Cachar to Chittagong, by doing which, and also
by establishing a force at Tipai Mukh, it is hoped
to secure the objects of the Expedition by culti-
vating friendly relations with the Hill-men, and,
by opening up for them communications with
the plains, to give them an incentive to trade;
at the same time that, should future punishment
be necessary, we shall have an easy access into
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