Capture of Baleswar

Meanwhile, Captain Morgan’s strategy at Balasore was successful in driving away the Marathas. After crossing the Budhabalanga river, he led a detachment of seven vessels, including the Alexander, Anne, George, Fairdie, Lizard, and Scourage, as well as a gun boat, to Balaramgarhi. Balaramgarhi was a Maratha port of a small size. The Marathas allowed the British army to advance towards Balasore town without resistance. Although the British vessel sailed up the river with the assistance of local pilots, their progress slowed significantly due to the torrential rain.

Morgan’s decision to proceed with two light canons and three hundred soldiers in small boats was prompted by rumours of the arrival of Maratha troops to oppose the British army. While marching through the town, the party encountered only feeble resistance from the Marathas. Morgan, on the other hand, arrived at the British factory late at night. He attempted to bribe Moro Pandit, the Maratha Faujdar of Balasore, but the Marathas seized the opportunity and imprisoned him.

Captain Morgan’s mobilisation of British troops instilled fear in the Marathas, who fled the town late at night on 21 September 1803. The following morning, 22 September 1803, Captain Morgan easily occupied Balasore. He stationed British troops on the outskirts of town in case of a Maratha attack. After a week of stabilising the British position in Balasore, Morgan dispatched reinforcements to Soro, led by Slye, to drive out the Marathas. Additionally, troops were dispatched to bolster his position.

At Soro, the Marathas were defeated and fled to Bhadrak. The route from Balasore to Cuttack was now clear. Colonel Ferguson, meanwhile, marched from Jajeswar to Balasore on 4 October 1803. Following that, he travelled to Cuttack to join Harcourt. The operation then began to the north-east of the Suvarnarekha river. Captain Lamb occupied Pataspur, Kamarda, Bhograi, Shahbandar, and Jamukunda on Colonel Fenwick’s orders and brought the zamindars under British control through a combination of conciliatory and coercive measures. However, on 17 December 1803, Raghuji Bhonsle ceded Cuttack and Balasore to the East India Company through the Deogaon Treaty.

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