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This last mentioned town is computed to contain ten thousand inhabitants, who retain a character so remarkable for bravery, that several armies have been defeated in attempting the reduction of that place. Among others, the late Ismaeel Beg, with fixteen thousand men, and one hundred pieces of cannon, besieged it for a long time in vain. The inhabitants are Rahtore Rajepoots, and possess the accustomed valour of that tribe ; although this character has in some instances been sullied by a cruelty not usual among the rest of their brethren.
It being the rainy season when this rebellion broke out, and Mr. Thomas apprehending the most serious consequences if the cultivation of the lands was prevented, marched with all poffible expedition towards the rebels, and first appeared before the town of Bulhalli.
In that place were three thousand men, who, although well armed, were badly supplied with provisions. He might, according to his usual custom, have stormed, but thinking from the number and bravery of the garrison the event might prove doubtful, had recourse to the surer means of reducing it by a blockade.
Having erected a chain of redoubts, well fortified and supplied with artillery, he completely encircled the place, encompassing the whole by a ditch twelve feet in depth. As no provifions could enter the town, the garrison after some days experienced distress; they made repeated fallies, but having to cross the ditch before they could reach the redoubts on the plain, they became exposed to the whole fire of the trenches, and were in consequence defeated in every successive attack. To increase their annoyance, Mr. Thomas began to draw off the water from a neighbouring reservoir, which reduced them to the necessity of drinking the water from the wells within the fort ; this being bitter in its quality rendered it unwholesome, and caused sickness within the garrifon. Provisions, now became so scarce that nothing remained but damaged grain.
During the siege of this place the inha: bitants of Bhowanee, a neighbouring town, had made several attempts to throw in succours, but in vain. To retaliate upon them, Mr. Thomas ordered his cavalry to make exe cursions in the neighbourhood of Bhowanee, and plunder the country. Their exertions were attended with success : upwards of one hundred and fifty persons were killed in refisting, and the cavalry brought away with them three thousand head of cattle, which they deposited safely in Mr. Thomas's camp. This last attack having deterred the people of Bhowanee from any further interruption, and no succours as yet having arrived from Mr. Perron, the garrison, seeing no likelihood of assistance from without, consented to capitulate. Composed of people belonging to different villages, and having separate interests to adjust, they could not come to any determination among themselves. By this time, from the want of provisions, from disease, and other causes, they were reduced to one third of their original number; even of the few that remained several were then ill. Mr. Thomas, desirous of putting at end to these altercations, drew out his troops with intent to storm the place; but the enemy perceiving his resolution, at last consented to capitulate ; they agreed to pay him the fum of 30,000 rupees, and to deliver up the fort with the property contained therein. Hoftages having been . D. 1800.] GEORGE THOMAS. 263 taken for the performance of these articles, Mr. Thomas returned to Hansı, where he employed himself in completing ammunition and stores, fully determined to invade the Punjab, and punish the rajah of Pattialah, for his treacherous conduct in breaking the treaty, by affording aid to the Batties in the preceding year;
That chief (whose force consisted of fifteen hundred cavalry and one thousand infantry) was at this time besieging his sister in her fort. Assured of speedy relief, this gallant lady still continued to hold out; and Mr. Thomas's preparations being at length completed, he first marched to her relief. On his approach the rajah thought proper to raise the fiege, and retire within the fortifications of Sonaum.* Thither he was followed by Mr. Thomas, who intended to have stormed the place; but the unexpected arrival of Tarah Sing, an ally, and fon-in-law of the rajah, with a very consider
* Sonaum, a large town, situated 22 coss to the westward of Pattialah.
able force, for the present prevented the attack..
· By this time also the neighbouring peasantry having joined the rajah's standard, determined Mr. Thomas to relinquish his inten. tion until a more favourable opportunity. Numerous bodies of cavalry continued daily to hover round the skirts of his army during the march, by which he sustained great annoyance. After a fatiguing march of four-and-twenty miles, on coming to the ground, he was surprised by the sound of the Thamuck.*
He encamped near the town of Bellud. A large body of the enemy, who were concealed in a neighbouring jungle, waited the event with impatience, and hoped to take advantage of the disorder of Mr. Thomas's troops, whilst attacked by the town's people, and cut them to pieces. It is here necessary to remark, that
, * Thamuck, a large military drum, in common use in the north-west parts of India, the sounding of which is always considered as a prelude to hostilities.