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Modern Odisha

Capture of Cuttack

The occupation of Puri encouraged the British to process further. They made elaborate plan to occupy Cuttack. Making necessary arrangement to check the possible advancement of the Maratha army from Nagpur, Harcourt planned about his march to Cuttack. He posted Lieutenant Ogilvie and Major Fletcher at Manikpatna and Puri respectively to deal with the Maratha troops.

On 24 Septemper, 1803 began the march of Harcourt towards Cuttack. Of course, the Marathas resisted the advancement of the British soldiers and it became toe in Ahmadpur and Mukundapur. However, the mobilisation of Harcourt’s artillery force defeated the Marathas and by 10 October, 1803, the entire Cuttack town except fort Barabati was under the British ctutch. The fort of Barabati seemed invincible. Harcourt tried to bribe Shiv Prasad, the Maratha officer in charge of the Barabati fort but that mission failed stupendously. At the night of 13 October, 1803, the British troops set up a battery with one 12-pounder, two 6- pounder and 2 howitzers at a distance of 500 yards from the outer gate of the fort. The operation for the capitulation of fort Barabati began on 14 October, 1803, early in morning with heavy bombardment from all the canons at the outer gate of the fort which cracked. A group of soldiers and artillery-men led by Lt.Colonel Clyton rushed into the fort amidst heavy fire from the side of the Marathas and occupied it.

The Marathas fled away from the fort out of fear and many of them were drawned in the ditch while trying to escape from the clutches of the British army. During the operation, only two European and three Indian soldiers were killed, sixteen European and thirteen Indian soldiers were injured. With the capitulation of the Barabati fort, ended the Maratha rule in Odisha. Major Forbes chases the Marathas was retreated to Nagpur through Baramula Pass, captured it by 2 November, 1803 and that closed the entry of the Marathas to Odisha for all time to come. After possession of the Barabati fort, Lord Wellesley appointed a commission consisting of Harcourt, Melville and Earnst (the magistrate of Midnapur) to deal with the local chiefs who were the feudatories of the Marathe chiefs of Nagpur. After due negotiation, the Rajas and zamindars of Khurda. Kujang, Kanika, Aul, Mayurbhanj, Angul, Hindol, Darpan, Sukinda, Madhupur etc. acknowledqed the British suzerainty and promised to pay the annual tribute to the British authority. In this amicable manner, the British power made the solution with the local chiefs at the beginning of its administration in Odisha.


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