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[1871 und, a considere passage of the eficient that the it was the 22nd ly twenty miles

scouts from the further, saying, and submit to ere informed in

as we remained

to them, their

ed to reach the

der in the raids

ald permit until

ad blocked by a g two grotesque elled tree which Fe-like pieces of stuck exuded a

Lushai mode of her. We, howt, and early the lages which we

and the path so enly we entered e emerged from ion about sixty our guide, was ded one of the p the hill. We s), and at each me result. After day, alternately ally passing by re it was decided had been very the troops were ulty the piquets ves out of the d. Throughout ying fire under

as soon as day

1872]

LUSHAIS FOILED BY GURKHAS

315 It was most aggravating to find from the view we got of the country from this elevated position that the previous day's harassing march had been an absolutely useless performance and an unnecessary waste of time and strength. We could now distinctly see that this village did not lead to Lalbura's country, as we had been led to believe it would, and that there was no alternative but to retrace our steps as far as the river. The men and animals were too tired to march that day, and the next being Christmas, we made another halt, and commenced our retirement on the 26th. This was an extremely nasty business, and had to be carried out with very great caution. The ground, as I said before, necessitated our proceeding in single file, and with only 250 fighting men (all that our deficient transport admitted of being brought on to this point) it was difficult to guard the long line of sick, wounded, and coolies. As soon as we began to draw in our piquets, the Lushais, who had never ceased their fire, perceiving we were about to retire, came down in force, and entered one end of the village, yelling and screaming like demons, before we had got out at the other. The whole way down the hill they pressed us hard, endeavouring to get amongst the baggage, but were invariably baffled by the Gurkhas, who, extending rapidly whenever the ground was favourable, retired through their supports in admirable order, and did not once give the enemy the chance of passing them. We had 3 men killed and 8 wounded during the march, but the Lushais confessed afterwards to a loss of between 50 and 60.

As we were given to understand that our short retrograde movement had been interpreted into a defeat by the Lushais, the General wisely determined to pay the village of Kholel another visit. Our doing so had the best possible effect. A slight resistance was offered at the first clearance, but by the time the ridge was reached the Chief, having become convinced of the uselessness of further opposition, submitted, and engaged to give hostages and keep open communication with our depot at Tipai Mukh, a promise which he most faithfully performed.

1872 opened auspiciously for me. On New Year's Day I was agreeably surprised by a communication from the Quartermaster-General informing me that, a vacancy having unexpectedly occurred, Lord Napier had appointed me Deputy-Quartermaster-General. This was an important step in my department, and I was proportionately elated.

A few days later I received the good news of the birth of a son at Umballa on the 8th.

Paucity of transport and difficulty about supplies kept us stationary on the Tuibum for some time, after which we moved on as before, the Lushais retiring in front of us until the 25th, when they attacked us while we were moving along a narrow ravine, with a stream at the bottom and steep hills on either side. The first volley wounded the

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ral sent me the kum, belonging before we could s with the guns. e so fatigued by er their loads to s reported to be ered. When we way was blocked

on one side of sa rocky ravine. pproaching near ed so as to cover ng many of my up the hillside. promising nature

truck the track, of the stockade. red to Taikum, on the summit nen. The guns Blackwood* was th the Infantry. cond was lodged e Lushais.

On

scampered off

and of E Battery,

1872]

LALBURA'S VILLAGE

317 in every direction, the last man leaving the village just as we entered it. The houses, as usual, were made of bamboo, and after it had been ascertained that there was no living creature inside any of them, the place was set on fire, and we began our return journey. There was a bright moon, but even aided by its light we did not reach our bivouac until midnight. This ended the campaign so far as opposition was concerned, for not another shot was fired either by us or against us during the remaining six weeks we continued in the country.

Soon after this we heard that some of the captives we had come to relieve had been given up to the Chittagong column, and that Mary Winchester was safe in General Brownlow's hands-very satisfactory intelligence, showing as it did that the Lushais were beginning to understand the advisability of acceding to our demands. The work of our column, however, was not over, for although, from the information we received of his whereabouts, we had given up hope of joining hands with Brownlow, Bourchier determined that Lalbura's country must be reached; he (Lalbura) being the chief offender, it would never have done to let him think his stronghold lay beyond our power.

In order that we might be well out of Lushailand before the rains, which usually begin in that part of the world about the middle of March, and are extremely heavy, it was decided not to wait until a road could be made for elephants, but to trust to coolie-carriage alone, and to push on rapidly as soon as supplies sufficient for twelve days could be collected. Kits were still further reduced, officers and soldiers alike being only allowed a couple of blankets and one or two cooking utensils. We resumed our march on the 12th February; the route in many places was strongly and skilfully stockaded, but the tidings of our successes had preceded us, and our advance was unopposed. In five days we reached the Chamfai valley, at the end of which, on a high hill, Lalbura's village was situated.* Although Lalbura's father, Vonolel, had been dead some years, the people still called the place Vonolel's country. Vonolel had been a famous warrior, and they were evidently very proud of his reputation. We were shown his tomb, which, like that of all great Lushai braves, was decorated with the heads of human beings (his slaves in paradise) and those of animals, besides drinking vessels and various kinds of utensils for his use in another life.

Lalbura had taken himself off; but his headmen submitted to us and accepted our terms. We remained at this place till the 21st, in accordance with an agreement we had made with Brownlow to send up signals on the night of the 20th in case his column should be anywhere in the neighbourhood. During the three days we stayed amongst

*Latitude 23° 26' 32", longitude (approximately) 93° 25′; within a short distance of Fort White, lately built in the Chin Hills.

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