TODAY -

Battle of Khongjom
- Part 3 -

Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra Singh *

The battle of Khongjom - RKCS Painting
The battle of Khongjom
Warning: These images CANNOT be reproduced in any form or size without written permission from the RKCS Gallery



Captain Rundall directed Lieutenant Cox. 1 2th (Burma) Madras Infantry, commanding the. Mounted Infantry, to proceed to the South-west of the Manipuri entrenchment so as to prevent any escape in that direction. Then in order to get a view of the ground before attacking and to obtain a commanding position of his guns, he proceeded with Lieutenant Persse, Royal Artillery, and the two guns and fifty rifles to a hill (of Langathel), 1000 yards east of the mudwork of the Manipuris, leaving Captain Carnergy, 2-4th Gurkha Regiment, south of the position.

On arriving at a "Meek" Captain Rundall and his party saw a small body of the Manipuris sitting on a hill 600 yards from them towards the right flank of his guns. He drove them off with a couple of volleys. Then the guns were taken to the top of the hill, which was about 400 feet above the plain, and they opened fire on the earth work of the Manipuris at 1000 yards range.

In the meantime Captain Drury with his detachment of 2-4th Gurkha Regiment and Lieutenant Grant with the 12th (Burma) Madras Infantry approached the entrenchment from the north, while Captain Carnegy with his detachment of 2-4th Gurkhas approached it from the south. But the Manipuris firmly held their ground and opened fire on the British troops with jinjals and small arms.

As soon as the British Infantry made their advance close up to the fort the guns ceased firing. Immediately the Manipuri position was stormed by the Mounted Infantry and the Infantry from three directions into a V-shaped formation. While the attacking British troops soon jumbled into the nullah and were scrambling up opposite side.

the Manipuris were keeping up a hot fire all the time. However, the overwhelming attackers entered the fort after facing the primary difficulty in the nullah and then a severe hand to hand fighting ensued, the British troops with bayonets and the Manipuris with shields and swords. The result of the fight was victory of the British.

Of the Manipuris 76 dead bodies were counted inside the earth work and 2 wounded, and just outside the work 52 dead bodies were counted; those killed in the nullah were not counted as they lay in heaps in the water, and those killed by the guns and Mounted Infantry were not counted.

A telegram from the Viceroy to the Secretary of State for India (London) dated 28th April 1891 runs :

"Manipur, Tamu column, Graham reports from Pallel, 29 miles from Manipur, that, on the 25th, a reconnaissance under Captain Drury, 2nd Battalions 4th Gurkha Regiment discovered enemy, about 1 000 strong in an earth work on plain 5 miles north of Pallel. The line of retreat was closed by Captain Drury, and Graham then attacked enemy with 350 2nd Battalion 4th Gurkhas and 1 2th Madras Infantry under cover fire of two guns, and after hand-to-hand fight captured the earth work, which the enemy defended with great stubbornness, losing 1 28 killed in and near the work, and many more in the pursuit by mounted infantry*.

Wounded
  • Captain P.M. Drury, 2-4th Gurkhas badly wounded in the left hand by a clubbed musket, inside the work.
  • Captain P.M. Carnegy, 2-4th Gurkhas shot through the thigh, inside the work.
  • Lieutenant C.J.W. Grant, 1 2th (Burma) Madras Infantry had been struck down by a bullet through the neck just outside the earth work.
  • Lieutenant Cox, 1 2th Madras Infantry. Commanding the Mounted Infantry. Shot through the left shoulder, while pursuing the enemy.
  • Lieutenant A. Grant, 2-4th Gurkha Regiment recieved a bullet wound through the inside of his left sleeve.
  • Subedar-Major Kalpati Gurung, Sirdar Bahadur, 2-4th Gurkhas, shot through the leg, inside the earth work.
  • No. 112, Havildar Jitman Rai, 2-4th Gurkhas. Wounded by a sword cut in the head during the second fight which took place in the nullah in hand-to-hand fight.
  • No. 523, Naik Pirthidhan Rai, 2-4th Gurkhas, severely wounded inside the work. He received three swords cuts on the head, back and arm in the hand-to-hand fight inside the earth work.
  • No. 656, Sepoy Mahadal Limbu, 2-4th Gurkhas, a severely wounded in by a cutting in the hand-to-hand fight inside the work.
  • No. 575, Sepoy Dan Sing Chand, 2-4th Gurkhas, severely wounded in the arm by a bullet inside the earth work.
  • No. 290, Sepoy Dhan Singh Khatri, 2-4 Gurkhas-dangerously wounded on the parapit.
  • Jemadar Birbal Nagarkoti, 43rd (Gurkhas) of Bengal Infantry. He was in command of the 35 Gurkhas who, after the massacre at Manipur, fought their way from Langthabal to Tamu. -shot in the mouth inside the work.
  • No. 271, Sepoy Bhola Singh, 12th Madras Infantry, - He took part in the hand-to-hand fighting inside the work, and was the severely wounded in the leg by a bullet.
  • No. 637, Sepoy Dhyal Singh, 12th Madras Infantry severely wounded outside the fort before the assaul took place.




Military Progs, pp 264/265/266/267/268.



On the side of Manipur Major Paona Brajabasi, Khumbong Major, Prince Chinglen Sana *01, Phunganai Sanglakpa, Loitongba Jamadar, Keisa Jamadar, Heirangkhongja etc. died *02. Of the wounded mention may be made of Chongtha Mia Major, the Commander of the Manipuri force at Khongjom. The fall of Khongjom is the turning point in the history of Manipur.





Concluded ...

o Browse picture gallery on Khongjom day observation on 23rd April 2009 - Part 1 | Part 2




N. Khelchandra Singh


* Oja Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra Singh is a Padmashri (Literature) recipient. This article is reproduced & reprinted from the Manipur Today special issue Vol. XV No. 2 and was published by DIPR Manipur on the eve of Khongjom day 2009. This article was webcasted on July 27, 2009.


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