Based on a sketch by Lieutenant C. H. Atchison. R.H.A. [Click on the image to enlarge it

We have to thank Lieutenant C. H. Atchison, R.H.A., for a sketch taken by him, on the 3rd ult., of the Village of Thull, and the banks of the Khoorum Herr, with part of the camp of Major-General F. S. Roberts's forces, which have, since the 20th ult., advanced up the Khoorum Pass, occupied the upper valley with its forts, stormed the Peiwar, on the 2nd inst., and reached the summit of the Shutargardan, 11,200 ft. above the level of the sea. The tents shown in this sketch are, in the centre, those of the Commissariat storage; to the left, the guard-tent of the 5th Punjaub Cavalry; and the two buildings on the low hill are ancient Mohammedan tombs. This place, Thull, where the troops under General Roberta were concentrated for the central column of advance into Afghanistan, is situated on the frontier, on the left bank of the Khoorum river, fifty-seven miles south-west of Kohat, which was the real base of operations, and forty-two miles from the military cantonment of Edwardesabad, or Bunnoo; it is 168 milea from the city of Cabul, and 198 from Ghuzni, in Afghanistan. The distance from Thull, through the Pass, to Mohammed Axim's Port, usually called the Khoorum Fort, is about fifty miles. The climate of the Khoorum Valley is described as very salubrious; for about six weeks the winter is severe, but during the spring and autumn it is charming.

[Thull, its military history and significance, and relation to an attack on Kabul]

Click on map to enlarge it.

The valley is fertile, filled with orchards, and well cultivated. The principal tribes are the Baugash, a large section of whom dwell in the Hungoo and Kohat districts under our rule, and who are peaceably disposed, and the Turia, who are far better fighting material than their neighbours. These two tribes are estimated at a strength of 5000 able-bodied men each. The Jaijs can put about 2500, and the Mangals about 2100 flghting men into the field. There are upwards of forty walled villages in the valley, capable of stubborn defence against assailants unarmed with artillery. The chief crops of the valley are rice, wheat, cotton, and barley, which the inhabitants bring down to the fair at Bunnoo. Water, forage, and firewood are abundant throughout the district. The whole of the inhabitants are Mohammedans of the Shia persuasion, and are consequently inimical to the Konni rulers of Cabul. So long ago as 1849, when the late Sir Herbert Edwardes was employed in the Buunoo district, the then ruler of Khoorum officially informed the British officer that his tribes were anxious to place themselves under our rule. The occupation of Khoorum and the adjacent Valley of Khost has often been considered as a possible measure by the Indian Government, to be carried out in much the same way as the occupation of Cyprus has been recently achieved—that is, that we were to pay the Ameer his usual annual taxes, amounting to £1500 per annum. It was calculated there would bo a very trifling loss to the Indian Exchequer, but the gnin in a strategical sense it was supposed would counterbalance it. There is no doubt that, with strong military posts in the valley, we shall be far nearer Cabul and Ghuzni, and more able to inflict a blow either on the Ameer or on the Afreedia of the Safed Koh, should such steps be desirable. The fort of Khoorum had been garrisoned by the Ameer's soldiers. It was visited not only by Lumsden's Mission in 1857, but also by a force under Sir Neville Chamberlain in 1856. It is by no meanss formidable stronghold. It is situated nearly in the centre of the valley, 25 miles east of the Peiwar Pass, 115 west of Kohat, 120 from Cabul, and 150 from Ghuzni. Like the majority of Eastern forts, it is a square mud building; the faces are about 120 yards in length, with circular towers at the angles. A second work, with loftier parapets, is built inside. In this one the magazines and storehouses are build inside. The outer work is surrounded by a ditch, which can be flooded at pleasure. Enough has been said of this district to show that the occupation of this valley as far as the Peiwar Kotal is a considerable advantage. Its communications with Kohat, the base of operations of the central column, are easy, and the valley itself will form an admirable secondary base for the ulterior advance on Cabul. Its seizure will undoubtedly be a great blow to the Ameer.

Source: the Internet Archive version of a copy in the Princeton University Library. The somewhat rough OCR text has been proof-read against the text images. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the Princeton University Library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]

Last modified 23 May 2017