Siege of Devikottai

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Siege of Devikottai
Part of 2nd Carnatic War
Date: 23 June 1749
Location: Devikottai, Tamil Nadu
Presidency: Madras
Co-ordinates: 11.366666°N 79.8°E
Result: British victory
East India Company Tanjore
Col Stringer Lawrence Pratap Singh Rajah of Tanjore
800 Europeans
1,500 sepoys
5,000 garrison

This was an event during the 2nd Carnatic War


Following the death of Tukkoji, Rajah of Tanjore there was a struggle for the succession. The British hoped to extend their influence on the Coromandel Coast and agreed to help Shahuji, one of the claimants, recover the throne of Tanjore. Towards the end of March 1749 they sent Captain Cope with 430 Europeans, 1000 sepoys and some artillery overland and battering cannon by sea to capture the fort of Devi-Cotah. On 14 April a monsoon storm blew away the tents, killed many transport animals and damaged the stores of the land force. Worse befell the naval squadron. Admiral Boscawen's flagship HMS Namur was wrecked and 520 crew drowned, HMS Pembroke ran aground with only 12 men saved and the hospital ship Apollo was lost. On approaching Devi Cotah it was clear to Captain Cope that they would not be supported by Tanjore forces and they were not strong enough to assault the fort. The British force then retreated to Fort St David.

Although Sahuji's cause seemed lost, the British determined to seize the fort. On 27 May Major Lawrence Stringer, with Capt Scrimsour, Capt Dalton and Lieut Clive left Fort St David by sea on the ships Exeter and Harwich. They landed opposite the fort and siege batteries were set up which in three days opened a breach in the fortifications. They managed to ferry troops across the river on a raft in the face of fire from the enemy outside the walls. Clive led an assault on the enemy entrenchment which was temporarily repulsed but eventually the breach was stormed and Devi-Cotah was captured. The Company concluded a treaty with Pratap Singh the incumbent Rajah. Under this they kept the fort and pensioned off Shahuji.


Accounts describe the fort as being on an island. The Imperial Gazetteer gives the coordinates (shown above) placing it at the mouth of the Coleroon (Kollidam) River and states that the fort has been almost entirely destroyed by floods.

External Links

Devikottai Imperial Gazetteer of India
Carnatic Wars
Attack on Devicottah Google Books
Capture of Devikottai Google Books
Stringer Lawrence Dictionary of National Biography

Historical books on-line

A history of the military transactions of the British nation in Indostan from the year 1745 Volume 1 1861 by Robert Orme Assault on Devi-Cotah
Memoir of Captain Dalton, Defender of Trichinopoly by Charles Dalton 1886 Expeditions against Devi Cotah
History of the French in India by Major G B Malleson 1868 Expedition to Devicotta Google Books