Monson's Advance and Retreat

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Lt-Colonel Monson's advance and retreat was part of the 2nd Maratha War.


General Gerard Lake wanted to contain the forces of Jaswant Rao Holkar in Malwa and ordered Lt-Colonel William Monson with five battalions of native troops to guard the Bundi and Lasheri passes. Encouraged by local support at Kotah, Monson advanced further south extending his lines of communication and supply. He was hoping to meet up with Colonel Murray moving north with a force from General Arthur Wellesley's army. Unable to make contact with Murray and realising the threat from Holkar's forces, Monson decided to retreat to the Mokandara Pass. His rearguard of 2,000 cavalry and 500 Rajputs under Captain Lucan was annihilated by Holkar's 20,000 horse. Monson was harried all the way to Kotah where he was denied assistance by the Rajah. He lost considerable numbers of men and much baggage at the Mej and Bunaas River crossings, and finally arrived back at Agra with a defeated rabble. Of the more than 10,000 in Monson's original force, only a few hundred survived.

Field Force

Monson's Detachment

  • Two 12-pounders
  • Ten 6-pounders
  • Six galloper guns
  • 3,000 Irregular Horse under Lt Lucan, 74th Regiment
  • 1,500 Maratha Horse under Bapuji Sindhia

Reinforcements from Agra


Entries in the Dictionary of Indian Biography 1906:
Gerard Lake (1744-1808)
William Monson (1760-1807)
Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)

External Links

Monson's Retreat

Historical Books on-line

Monson's Advance and Retreat