Back to home page

1799 Letter
1799 Journal
Other Documents
Place Names


Letter from the Coorga Rajah to the Governor-General.

[Received 12th April 1799].

The letter which your Lordship did me the favour of writing to me, I received on the 4th of March. In that letter your lordship writes, that as the most intimate friendship subsists between me and the English company's Sircar, your lordship would place a great value upon my assistance, which myself and my people might be able to render to the company, or their allies; and that the future intentions of your lordship would have been communicated to me by Captain Mahony.

Captain Mahony has accordingly explained to me the views and intentions of the English Sircar, and has made me acquainted with them according to your lordship's directions; and has, for this purpose, explained to me the contents of the Persian letter addressed to me by your lordship. In that letter, your lordship has furnished me with orders to assist the English Sircar, which has given me great pleasure. Any little efforts which I may have made for the service of the company are well known to Captain Mahony, who will probably have communicated them, by letter, to your lordship. Captain Mahony has been with me in the capacity of the vakeel of the English Sircar; and I have the utmost confidence in him: I have therefore made known to him the most secret thoughts of my mind. He has listened to all that I have said, and has witnessed all that I have done in the service of the company. As he will in consequence have communicated to your lordship every circumstance from time to time, what remains for me to communicate for your information?

On Tuesday, Mag Bohd Amawasy, in the year Ka Gust, about forty-one days ago, myself, Captain Mahony, and some other English sirdars, went to the hill of Sedaseer, which is within my territories. This mountain, which is exceedingly lofty, the English sirdars and myself ascended; and we remained there. Having from thence reconnoitred, we observed nothing for the first four or five hours (Malabar hours): after this we observed one large tent in the direction of Periapatam, which is within the territories of Tippoo Sultaun, and continued to see some other white tents rising; a large green tent then appeared, and then another tent which was red, and after that five or six hundred tents. Upon this, the English sirdars and myself were satisfied that it was the army of Tippoo Sultaun; we then returned to the English army at Sedapoor, and acquainted the general that Tippoo's army was at Periapatam. The army was accordingly prepared, as were also the two battalions at Sedaseer under the command of Colonel Montresor. The enemy being apprized of the English post at Sedaseer, and that it would therefore be impossible to advance by the Sedapoor road, were advancing by the high road of Balala through the talook of Kigatnaad, three coss to the right of Sedapoor, the same road by which Hyder Naik formerly invaded the Coorga country. Upon receiving report that they were approaching by the Balala road, and were near to Veer-rajah-indra-pettah, we all considered and determined, that four or five thousand Coorgs should be stationed on that road. They were accordingly posted there, with orders to cut off Tippoo if he should advance. About one hundred or one hundred and fifty Coorgs, were attached to myself; arrangements were also made in the different paths which communicate between the two frontiers. Things being in this state, we again reconnoitred from the hill of Sedaseer, and General Hartley went in the morning to Sedapoor. On the same day Tippoo, with his whole force, began his march by the Sedaseer road. General Hartley was prepared at this time. Tippoo's army advanced close to the two battalions under the command of Colonel Montresor, and there was a severe action. After the battle commenced, the two battalions put a great many of Tippoo's people to death. Tippoo, unable to sustain the fire of the battalions, and having no road by which to advance, divided his army into two divisions with the intention of getting into the rear of Colonel Montresor's battalions by a secret path. The colonel having received intelligence of this division, made a disposition of his force so as to sustain both attacks; and maintained the fight from the morning, uninterrupted, till two o'clock. The enemy were beaten and unable to shew their faces. When this information reached the main body, General Stuart, in order to assist the force at Sedaseer, marched with two regiments of Europeans, keeping the remainder of the army in the plain Karrydygood. Upon this occasion I accompanied General Stuart. Tippoo, in order to prevent the two regiments from advancing to the relief of the troops at Sedaseer, was posted in the road between. General Stuart, upon approaching, ordered the two regiments to attack the enemy. A severe action then ensued, in which I was present. To describe the battle which General Stuart fought with these two regiments of Europeans, the discipline, valour, strength, and magnanimity of the troops, the courageous attack upon the army of Tippoo, surpasses all example in this world. In our Shasters and Purranas, the battles fought by Allered and Maharut have been much celebrated, but they are unequal to this battle It exceeds my ability to describe this action at length to your lordship. In this manner Tippo's army was beaten. The action with the two regiments lasted about three hours and a half. A sirdar of high rank, with Tippoo, the Benky Nabob, fell in this action; the first and second buckshies of a body of 6000 men, being wounded with musket balls, were taken prisoners; I have also heard that five or six other officers of rank with the enemy have fallen; many of the enemy were slain and many wounded; the remainder having thrown away their muskets, and swords, and their turbans, and thinking it sufficient to save their lives, fled in the greatest confusion. Tippoo having collected the remains of his troops, returned to Periapatam.

It was not known to us that Tippoo was advancing in this manner to attack our army. He had marched with his whole force from Seringapatam to the eastward as far as Madoor, and, having stationed a small detachment there, had marched night and day with full preparation to attack the Bombay army of English Sircar in the hope of victory. He marched in three days from Madoor to Periapatam. On that night of his arrival, he prepared his troops, and, in the confident expectation of attacking the Bombay army with success, employed all his strength and skill, and courage and fierceness, and fell with his whole force, in person, upon the English army. Upon his return, chop-fallen, and having exhausted all his courage in one action, full of shame, and having humbled his head, and having exhausted all the skill and courage with which he had advanced to the attack, distracted, a fugitive, he halted at Periapatam, from whence he had set out.

In this manner having advanced, and having brought disgrace upon himself, he has employed, no doubt, all his art and knowledge to recover his lost reputation. Having in this considered for five days, but not having taken up resolution to attack the Bombay army again, he marched on the sixth day (Saturday) to Seringapatam In this manner General Stuart, before my eyes, while I was looking on, having chastized, my enemy has provided great happiness for me, and all the subjects of my country. General Stuart has in this manner achieved a glorious deed.

My continual prayer to the Almighty is, that the English Sircar may continue as my parent; that I may remain as their child; that all their enemies may be defeated; and that their territories, measures, and prosperity, may increase without end; that I may be included in the English Sircar, and enjoy tranquillity; that the army of the English Sircar may be perpetual; that I may enjoy peace under their protection. In this manner approach the Sovereign Ruler with my constant prayer, night and day, and all times in humble supplication. Having taken these sentiments into your lordship's consideration, continue to favour me with your orders upon my future actions, relying on my attachment and friendship.


Transcription of the text appearing in:
Beatson, Alexander, A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultaun Comprising a Narrative of the Operations of the Army under the Command of Lieutenant-General Harris, and the Siege of Seringapatam. London, 1800. Appendix pp. lxxx - lxxxi.