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During these transactions, the chief of Pattialah, having been joined by others, advanced to attack Mr. Thomas, with a determination to expel him the country. Several skirmishes ensued between the armies, but without much effect on either side, neither party being defirous of risking a general engagement. The war was therefore carried on in a desultory manner. The Seiks wished, by annoying his foraging parties, to cut off the supplies from his camp. This mode also prevented him from making collections; and though nothing ferious occurred, yet the scene of action being on the borders of the young rajah's country, occasioned great loss to the cultivation of the lands. Mr. Thomas, therefore, would willingly have carried the war immediately into the enemy's territories. To this, however, neither the rajah or his mother would confent; but, with the most pressing intreaties, requested him to remain, while the Seiks continued in that neighbourhood.
So long as prudence allowed, Mr. Thomas willingly listened to the solicitations of his allies; but his ammunition beginning to fall
short, he was reluctantly compelled to march toward his own country to procure a supply.
The Seiks, as he had foreseen, harassed him on the march ; but their attempts proving ineffectv.al to do him any essential injury, only incited him to retaliate, by destroying their villages as he passed along. Directing his march towards Hansi, he perceived, not without satisfaction, that the whole of the Seik army were following him, by which means the country of his youthful ally would, at least for the present, be free from their depredations.
It must now be remarked, that previous to Mr. Thomas's setting out for the Punjab frontier, the chiefs of Keithul and Jeind, two of his most powerful neighbours, had concluded a treaty, by which they agreed to a cessation of hoftilities during his absence, to abstain from the invasion of his territories, and allow him to prosecute the war against his enemies. Those chiefs, perceiving the strong combination which had been formed against Mr. Thomas, now joined themselves to his other enemies. He therefore prepared to punish them.
Having, by forced marches, got ahead of the Seik army, Mr. Thomas first led his troops against the fort of Kanhori, which he took by storm, and put the garrison to the sword.
The acquisition of this fortrefs, which was only thirty coss distant from Pattialah, was of great consequence to him. Situated on the borders of his own territory, and near the Cuggur river, it appeared fo well calculated for a deposit of stores and ammunition, that he repaired the fortifications, and placed in it a Itrong garrison. Then collecting hostages from the neighbouring districts, as security for their future pacific intentions, he marched to Retara, another strong place on the frontier, belonging to Lall Sing. The garrison consisted of five hundred men; but before a breach could be effected, dreading the fate of the inhabitants of Kanhori, they asked for quarter, and were allowed by Mr. Thomas to march out with the honours of war.
From this place he prosecuted his route towards Hanfi. The hot feason being now far
advanced, the Seiks, through want of water and forage for their cattle, were compelled to relinquish the pursuit; and, drawing off their force, encamped in the neighbourhood of Keithul, there to wait until the approaching rains permitted a renewal of hostilities.
Mr. Thomas next marched into the district of Jeind, from whence he exacted tribute, and took hostages; but, from a dearth of water in this neighbourhood to supply his troops, he did not think proper at that time to attack it.
During his absence in the Punjab, Bappoo Scindiah, agreeably to instructions received from Mr. Perron, invaded Mr. Thomas's poffessions ; but hearing of his return, thought proper to fall back upon the main army, at this time encamped near Delhi.
Mr. Thomas next marched, and laid siege to Sefeedoo, a town dependant upon the chief of Jeind. This place was built of brick, and the walls of uncommon height. Having erected three redoubts, in which he placed eighteen
cannon, twelve and fix pounders, he began to batter the fort, and kept up an incessant fire until three o'clock in the afternoon. At this time, fearing that the place might be reinforced during the ensuing night, Mr. Thomas determined on an immediate assault. The garrison consisted of seven hundred men, three hundred of which remained within the fort; and the rest sallying out, descended into the ditch, which crossing with rapidity, they commenced an attack upon Mr. Thomas's advanced posts ; but most of the party, among whom were some chiefs of distinction, were put to the sword. Mr. Thomas's soldiers in their turn attempted to mount the breach ; but the scaling ladders being found too short, and the storming party at the same instant affailed by the remainder of the troops within the garrifon, these gallant men were involved in the greatest difficulty, and entirely exposed to the enemy's shot, which fell fo thick among them, and did so much execution, that, after a defperate and hard fought conflict of two hours, Mr. Thomas was compelled to retire, with the loss of four hundred and fifty of his best men.