First Battle of Tiruvadi, 30 July 1750

The first battle of Tiruvadi (30 July 1750) was one of a series of rapid victories that saw the French supported candidates for power in southern India gain the upper hand (Second Carnatic War). Earlier in the year the British-supported Nasir Jang, Nizam of Hyderabad, advanced close to Pondicherry, the main French base in southern India. The French launched a night attack on his camp, and Nasir Jang retreated back towards Arcot.

In the aftermath of Nasir Jang's retreat, Mohammad Ali, the British-supported claimant for the Nawabship of the Carnatic, took up a position close to Tiruvadi, on the River Panar, and quite close to the British stronghold at Fort St. David. The French governor of Pondicherry, Joseph Dupleix, realised that Mohammad Ali was dangerously exposed and decided to seize Tiruvadi. A force of 500 troops under d'Auteuil was sent to capture the position, seizing the easily fortified pagoda at Tiruvadi. D'Auteuil left a garrison of seventy men inside the pagoda, and then moved down-river and built a fortified camp.

Mohammad Ali didn't want to risk an attack on the fortified camp, and so he decided to make a feint towards the pagoda at Tiruvadi. The French didn't fall for this move, and Mohammad Ali's men weren't willing to assault the pagoda. He returned to the French camp, bombarded it and then launched an attack, which failed at heavy cost.

In the aftermath of this defeat Mohammad Ali and Cope argued, and the British contingent returned to Fort St. David. Mohammad Ali wanted to retreat towards Nasir Jang at Arcot, but while he exchanged messages with Nasir, he remained in a camp between Tiruvadi and Fort St. David, with his back to the river Panar. Dupleix realised how vulnerable this made him, reinforced d'Auteuil and ordered him to attack Mohammad Ali's camp. This second battle of Tiruvadi (1 September 1750) also ended as a French victory, and Mohammad Ali's army retreated to Gingee, where it suffered a third defeat on 11 September 1750. 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 December 2011), First Battle of Tiruvadi, 30 July 1750 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_tiruvadi_1st_1750.html

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