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Major Lachlan Macquarie:

Camp at Seedapore in the
Coorga Country -- 15th. March 1799

My dear Sir,
     Indisposition for the last Eight days,
occasiond [sic] by the violent fatigue I underwent in
the action of the 6th. Instant, has prevented me from
fulfilling my promise in my last letter from the
Poodicherrum Ghaut of sending you a Detail
of our little Bombay Army; -- but being again
pretty well recovered I now do myself the pleasure
of enclosing you our Order of Battle, and a
Detail of the different Corps composing Genl. Stuart's
Army; -- which, tho' not strong, are for its numbers,
as fit for any Service and as fine a little Army
as I have ever seen in this Country. ---

     The Bombay Army is divided into three
Brigades commanded by most excellent officers.
Lieut. Colonel Dunlop of the 77th. Regt. Commands
the European Brigade, is an officer of approved
experience, highly accomplished and well informed
in every part of his Profession, and has seen
a good deal of Actual Service -- Lieut. Colonel
Montresor of the 77th. commands the Right Native
Brigade, and is not inferior to Colonel Dunlop
in Talents, Zeal, or activity, and only wants
the experience of the other as an officer;
this young man, however, has already distinguished
himself in the late action, and promises to
make a most excellent officer. ---Our left
Brigade of Sepoys is commanded by Lt.
Colonel Wiseman of the Bombay Establishment; -- who,
tho' not so accomplished in the Scientific part
of his Profession as the two former, is a steady
experienced good officer and one who has seen
a great deal of Service in this Country. ---Our
Commandant of Artillery, Major Thompson;
and our Chief Engineer, Colonel Sartorius; are
both officers of Talents and experience in
their respective Lines; -- and our Staff
Officers at the heads of the Several Public
Departments are respectable for their talents and abilities. ---

     Our little Army is well
Equipped, and we shall be able to carry with
us to Seringapatam at least Thirty days Provisions
for Twelve Thousand Men; besides leaving an
immense Depot of Grain behind us here, to be
forwarded when convoys can safely be
established for that purpose from the Coorga
Country to Seringapatam. --- The Coorga Rajah,
our excellent and good faithful Ally,
has been indefatigable in collecting Grain and
Cattle for the use of our little Army within
his own Country for some months past,
and he has succeeded in his Supplies of
both far beyond our most sanguine expectations.

     Having thus given you a sketch
of the present state and resources of the
Bombay Army; I shall now proceed to
relate to you the principal outlines of our late
operations since the date of my last Letter of
the 1st. Instant; on which day the last and principal
Division of the Army marched from the Poodicherrum
Ghaut -- and encamped on the following day on
our present Ground; leaving two Battalions in
our Rear -- and advancing the whole of the
Right Native Brigade, under the command of
Lieut. Colonel Montresor, to the Seedaseer Pass,
which is the boundary between the Coorga and
the Mysore Territories. ----

     You will doubtless be surprised to hear
that we were not suffered to remain long quiet
at this last mentioned Post; and that we were
only a few days in Possession of it when Tippoo
first commenced Hostilities, by making
an attack upon us with 18000 of his best Troops,
commanded by himself in Person: -- an event
totally unexpected and unlooked for by us. ----

     Although there are many Strips of Batty Fields
in the Coorga Country, yet the general face of it is
very hilly and covered with thick Jungle. -- There
is but one Carriage Road through it, and for
miles together on this Road it is often impossible
to find a spot clear and sufficiently large to
extend the Tents of a single Battalion -- much less
to encamp any considerable Body of Men. ----

     For this reason, as well as for the purpose of
forwarding our Supplies, we took up the following
Position on the 1st. and 2nd. of March. -- at [Amutana?],
about 14 miles from the Poodicherrum Ghaut -- or
head of that Pass, two Battalions were posted to
cover our Provisions: -- at Seedapore, three
miles farther advanced, was the Park of
Artillery and one Battalion: -- about a mile
and a half nearer Periapatam -- on the left
of the Road and on the Bank of the Cavery --
lay the European Brigade: -- at the Muddy
Tank, seven miles beyond the Europeans, were
two Battalions; -- and at Seedaseer Ghaut,
three miles from the Muddy Tank, one
Battalion was posted on a Height that commands
the usual Pass into the Mysore. ----

     On the 5th. of March a Camp was
seen, from the Look-out on the Top of the
Seedaseer-Hill, to be forming to the Right
of Periapatam. --- Before Evening it had
become very extensive, and a large Green
Tent could be distinctly observed in the
Center of the Line. --- The Post of Seedaseer
was therefore ordered to be reinforced
by the two Battalions of the Muddy-Tank;
and all the Troops in the Rear were
directed to hold themselves in readiness
to move at the shortest notice. ----

     On the morning of the 6th. of March
a Column of Six Thousand Men (-- as we
since understand) attacked the front of the Post
at Seedaseer: -- while two others of equal Force, making
a great circuit through the Jungle, came round by the
Right and Left into the Rear of it, apparently for
the double purpose of intercepting and succours
which might be sent forward, and attacking the
Post in every Quarter. --- No part of the Plan, however,
succeeded. ----

     The Column in front, after
continuing its attacks from Nine in the morning
till Two Oclock in the Afternoon, was finally
repulsed by Lieut. Colonel Montresor's Brigade,
which occupied the Pass; and the two
Columns in the Rear were dispersed or
driven back by a part of the European Brigade
under Lieut. Colonel Dunlop, which had moved
to the support of the Post when the first report
was made of an attack being threatened. ----

     We have lost two officers killed; -- three
others are wounded; and the total of our
killed and wounded and missing amount
to one Hundred and Forty three. ---We cannot
ascertain the loss of the Enemy; -- but for two
miles and a half in the Rear of the Post,
their dead and wounded are to be seen scattered
on the Road and in the Jungle in great
numbers -- besides those who fell in front of the
Advanced Post. ---From the nature of the Country
very few Prisoners could be taken; -- amongst
these few is Murzeem Kaun, who commanded
and was Bukhsy of a Cutcherry, or Brigade;
Mirza Bokhar, a Bukhsy and Commandant
of a Cutcherry; and Seid Ghofar -- since
dead of his wounds -- an officer of high rank
and favorite General of Tippoo's -- who commanded
one of the Columns of attack. -----

     All the Prisoners agree in saying Tippoo
commanded in Person, and they estimate his
Army at Twenty Thousand Infantry, and a few
Hundreds of Horse: -- the greatest part of his
Cavalry having gone to the Eastward to oppose
the Madras Army. --- From the Prisoners we
also learn the Strength of the different Columns
which marched against us; the thickness of the
Jungle having prevented our obtaining an accurate
and connected view of them. ----

     A Deserter has come to us from the Sultan's
Camp since the action; and the reports that
Two Thousand of Tippoo's Troops, with Twelve
of his principal Officers, were killed, wounded
or missing, on a muster taken the day after
the action of the 6th. Instant. --- I can safely add
that I myself saw at least Three Hundred
men killed or mortally wounded laying
on the Road and in different parts of the Jungle,
where a great slaughter of the Enemy took place
on the advance of our Europeans. ---- The
timely arrival of the European Brigade at the very
critical moment that it did -- and its steady
gallantry afterwards -- in all probability saved
our advance Post from being forced and carried
by the Enemy from his very great superiority in numbers.

     Our Sepoys had been engaged so long and so warmly
that they had almost expended the whole of their
ammunition; in which state, exhausted too as they
were with fatigue, they must have been completely
overpowered had the European Brigade been Half
an hour later in coming up to their support and
relief. --- General Stuart in person, with all his
Staff, accompanied the European Brigade, and
witnessed their cool and gallant conduct in
action. ----

     The Sultan remained for four
days encamped at Periapatam, after the
action of the 6th. without offering us any further
molestation -- and we were too weak in
numbers to offer him any. ---He, however,
thought proper to decamp early on the morning
of the 11th. Instant, and set out for his Capital;
which we supposed he did on hearing that
the Madras Army had entered his Territories.

     We expect to remain only for Seven or Eight days
longer in the Jungle. ---By that time we hope
the Grand Army will be sufficiently near us, to admit
of our safely passing the Coorga Boundary, and
forming a Junction with it near Periapatam.

     From accounts received here yesterday
by our own Hircarrahs from Tippoo's Camp, we
are informed -- that had the Sultan succeeded
in his attempt in forcing our advanced Post of
which he made no doubt -- he meant to pursue
his blow by attacking the rest of our Force at
their respective Stations -- which he had not
of also overpowering; -- and after destroying
our Grand Depot of Grain in the Coorga Country,
he meant to send a Strong Detachment of his
Army to overrun the Province of Malabar,
in which he was sure of being joined by all
the disaffected Rajahs immediately on their
hearing of our discomfiture. ---All his Schemes
in this respect being now completely frustrated by
the smart Drubbing we gave him at Seedaseer,
together with the loss of so many of his principal
officers in that action, we understand have
made a very sensible impression not only on
himself -- but also on his whole Army: which,
by all accounts, is impressed with great
Despondency ever since the action of Seedaseer.

     I hope you will excuse my troubling
you with so long -- and I fear -- so incoherent
a Detail of our late operations and movements
in this wild Jungly Country; -- but I conceived,
to one in your official Public situation, I could
not possibly be too minute in these particulars;
and which I trust, will plead in excuse
for occupying so much of your time with this
long Letter. ----

     Major Cumine with 350 men of
the 75th. Regiment joined us here this morning from
Bombay, which makes our European Brigade
now a very respectable one. ----

     I had yesterday the honor of receiving your
Letter of the 14th. Ultimo; and now that Hostilities
have actually commenced, I hope soon to have
the honor of meeting you at Seringapatam. ---In
the meantime I shall continue to inform you
of any occurrences that I conceive will prove
in any degree interesting to you -- at least as
far as the Bombay Army is concerned. ----

     I remain with great regard,
          My dear Sir,
               Yours very faithfully
                    L. Macquarie.

Lieut. Colonel Cliffe
     Adjt. Genl. H. M. Forces,

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Macquarie Letterbook 3 August 1797 - 22 November 1802.
Manuscript held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney.
ML Ref:A790. [Acquired from the Viscountess Strathallan in January 1914].

Bound in original leather,
31 x 20 cm

Copies in Lachlan Macquarie's own hand of letters sent to family, friends and military associates, including Lieut.-Colonel Walter Cliffe [later Brigadier-General].

Page numbering in Letterbook by Lachlan Macquarie, pp.125-133; [Microfilm copy CY Reel 305, frames #130-138].

Transcription of original manuscript prepared by Robin Walsh, Macquarie University Library, Sydney, Australia: