BLTC Press Titles

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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

The Characters of Theophrastus


A narrative of the campaign in India which terminated the war with Tippoo Sultan, in 1792

by Alexander Dirom


The motives for retiring in this manner, and by this route, were, 1. To enable the Mahrattas to withdraw the posts they had left upon the road, by which Purseram Bhow had advanced to the westward of Chittledroog, maintaining only the safer communication by Roydroog and Sera. 2. To keep Tippoo confined to as small a part of his country as might be practicable, and oblige him to consume the provisions he had laid up for the defence of his capital. 3. To subsist the confederate forces in some measure at the expence of the enemy, and gain time for collecting and bringing forward supplies.

In falling back from Seringapatam towards Bangalore, the Mahrattas, who encamped in the rear of our army, were generally rouzed by our advanced guard several hours after daylight; and we had frequently to halt, till they had cleared the way, or moved off. When joined by the baggage of our army, which, in marching from the enemy, was sent in front, the whole formed an irregular multitude, which, seen from an eminence, covered the country as far as the eye could reach. Our troops, following in several columns, then about fifteen thousand under arms, appeared but as the rear-guard of the united forces.

The Mahratta horse did not, however, remain inactive after their junction, but were constantly scouring the country in parties, in every direction. They took some elephants, and intercepted several small convoys of Tippoo's. They also laid snares for his horse, and attacked them boldly, whenever they could to advantage. This was of material service, as it kept our camp quiet, and prevented our being harassed on the march: for so reduced were the horses of our cavalry from want and fatigue, that the only service they could now render was to walk on slowly with the sick and wounded soldiers on their backs, for whom we were in great want of conveyance; and it was highly pleasing to see the cheerfulness with which the troopers walked by the side of their horses, while their distressed comrades of the infantry rode upon the march.

Lord Cornwallis and General Medows continued, to have frequent conferences with the Mahratta chiefs, who took care to support their dignity by being constantly too late in all their appointments; and his Lordship had occasion to exert all his patience to keep them in humour, and all his talents and diligence to make arrangements for the further prosecution of the war.

Battering guns and stores were easily to be replaced from the different presidencies; there was no great apprehension of the want of money; but the serious difficulty was to provide cattle for the new train, and to collect and find carriage for that immense quantity of provision, which, in the exhausted state of the Mysore country, would be required for the siege of Seringapatam. In short, bullocks and rice, the great sinews of Indian warfare, were objects of indispensable importance; and which, at this late period of the war, required every exertion of power, activity, and arrangement, to obtain and bring forward in sufficient abundance for the interesting service of the ensuing campaign.

Such had been the mortality among the draft and carriage cattle, that the contractors, and the people employed by them, had lost near forty thousand during the last campaign; a number equal to the complete equipment of the public departments of the army, on its leaving Madras in the beginning of February. To repair that loss with the greatest efficacy and dispatch, Lord Cornwallis appointed agents to purchase bullocks on the part of government, in addition to what the contractors could replace { and sent orders to Madras to the same effect, that every possible exertion might be made to recruit this essential department. His Lordship also made an offer of a monthly allowance to the officers of the army, who would engage to carry and provide their own tents for the remainder of the war; and to officers commanding battalions of Sepoys, who would in like manner engage for their men's tents, and for the carriage of the ammunition and stores attached to their corps. The zeal which animated the army induced the officers in general to accede to his Lordship's offers. This measure relieved the bullock department, and the public service, of a most expensive and troublesome detail; and although the competition in purchasing


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