Governor-General Lord Mornington [India]
to the Court of Directors (HEIC) [London]:
The Bombay Army and the Battle of Sedaseer
1st. I now proceed to submit to you a Detail of the Operations of the Armies in Mysore.
2d. The Army of Bombay under the Command of Lieutenant General Stuart,
marched from Cananore on the 21st of February, arrived at the Head of
the Poodicherrum Ghaut on the 25th of the same Month, and took Post at
Seedapoor and Sedasere, on the Second of March, for the Protection of
the large Supplies which had been collected at Verajunder Pett in the
district of Coorga, from these Positions on Lieuteant General Harris's
Approach, Lieutenant General Stuart intended to form a Junction with the
Army of Madras.
3d. The Army of Madras, under the Command of Lieutenant General Harris,
entered the Territory of Mysore on the 5th of March, when Lieutenant
General Harris forwarded to Tippoo Sultaun my Letter (forming No. 8, of
the Inclosures of my separate Dispatch to your Honorable Court, of the
20th March) and published the Declaration, forming No. 9 of the
Inclosures of tghe same Dispatch.
4th. The Operations of the Army of Madras commenced by the reduction of
several Forts upon the Frontier, some of these Forts surrendered
without any Resistance, and none of them were defended with Spirit,
although the Sultaun appears, from the improved Establishment on which
he had placed their Garrisons, to have provided as well as he could fro
a different Result.
5th. The Progress of the Army of Madras. owing to its ample Equipments
in every Department, particularly in that of Ordnance, necessary for
the Siege of Seringapatam, were unavoidably slow; its Movements,
however, were but little impeded by the Enemy. Considerable Bodies of
Horse hovered about its Line of March, but without any other Effect
than that of rendering the Communications with the Company's
territories extremely difficult. Some Parties of Horse attacked the
Nizam's Contingent, and His Highness's Cavalry are reported by Genral
Harris to have conducted themselves with great Spirit, a Circumstance
which may partly be attributed to the Improvements recently introduced
into the Discipline and Establishments of His Highness's Cavalry, at
the Recommendation of the British Resident, under my Instructions.
6th. At the Period when the Army of Madras entered Mysore, Tippoo
Sultaun was supposed to be encamped in the Vicinity of Maddoor, and to
be preapring to move in the direction of Bangalore, for the purpose of
opposing the Progress of the Army of Madras, in the event of Lieutenant
General Harris actually passing the Frontier; but it soon appeared that
although the Sultaun had so recently affected a Disposition to admit an
Embassy from the British Government, he had probably no other View than
to conceal the Design which he had formed, of striking a sudden and
early Blow against the Army of Bombay; for without allowing me the same
Time to answer his last Letter which he had taken for replying to those
addressed by me to him, and without waiting to hear of the actual
Commmencement of Hostilities on the part of the British Government, he
came to the Resolution of attacking the Army of Bombay, then assembled
beyond the Line of his Frontier in the District of Coorgos, under the
Command of Lieutenant General Stuart.
7th. For this Purpose Tippoo, taking with him the Flower of his Army,
appears to have marched from his Camp near Seringapatam of the 28th of
February (when Lieutenant General Harris was still within the Company's
Territories) and moving rapidly in the Direction of Periapatam, to
have arrived there on the Morning of the the 5th of March, beingt the
same Day on which Lieutenant General Harris entered Mysore on the
8th. On the 6th of March, Tippooo Sultaun passed his own Frontier, and
attacked a Detachment of the Army of Bombay, under the Command of
Lieutenant General Stuart, the total Strength of whose entire Army did
not amount to more than Six Thousand fighting Men. The Attack of the
Sultaun's Force, was sustained by a Body not exceeding Two Thousand
Men, and the Sultaun's Army was finally defeated and completlely
dispersed, bfore General Stuart could collect the Whole of his divided
Force. It is with infinite Satisfaction that I inclose, for Information
of your Honorable Court, the Paper marked (No. 1) containing General
Stuart's Account of this brilliant and important Action, which took
place at Seedasere on the 6th March.
9th. After this signal Defeat, Tippoo retreated precipitately to his
Camp at Periapatam, and remained there until the 11th of March, without
making any further Attempt to molest the Army of Bombay; the Loss
sustained by Tippoo's Army on the 6th of March, appears to have
amounted to near 2,000 killed, wounded, and Prisoners (which included
several Officers of Rank, and some of considerable Distinction) that
sustained on the 7th, by the Army of Bombay, will appear in Lieutenant
General Stuart's Letter.
10th. Adverting to the great Disproportion of Numbers, and to other
Circumstances of Disadvantage, I am confidant that your Honourable
Court will be of the opinion, that the Conduct and Success of the Army
of Bombay on that Day has seldom been equalled, and never surpassed in
11th. Under this Impression, I take the Liberty of recommending to your
favourable Notice, the several Officers and Corps, named by Lieutenant
General Stuart in his Letter of the 8th of March, and I am anxious to
request your particular Attention to the distinguished Conduct of
Lieutenant General Stuart and Major General Hartley, as well as of
Lieutenant Colonel Montresor, and of Lieutenant Colonel Dunlop. Major
General Hartley had already received a public Testimony of my
particular Approbation of his extraordinary Merit, in collecting Stores
and Provisions in the district of Coorga, previously to the arrival of
General Stuart on the Coast of Malabar.
12th. Tippoo returned from Periapatam to Seringapatam, and arriving at
the latter Place on the 14th of March, moved from thence immediately to
meet Lieutenant General Harris and the Army of Madras...
Extract from: 'Governor-General Mornington to the Court of Directors HEIC [20 April 1799]' in
House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century. (ed.
Sheila Lambert). George III: East India Company 1799 and 1800 Vol. 126 pp. 142-144 [Enclosure No. 10].