The Pass Of
Benastarim Was Committed To The Care Of Ferdinand De Sousa Y
Castellobranco With 120 Men.
Paul de Lima had charge of Rachol with
sixty, and fifteen hundred native troops were distributed in different
parts of the island under approved commanders.
At this time there were
only 700 Portuguese troops in Goa, which were kept as a body of reserve,
whenever their services might be most wanted. The defence of the city
was confided to the monks and clergy, to the number of 300, assisted by
1000 slaves. Juan de Sousa with 50 horse was ready to give assistance
where wanted. Don George de Menezes had the defence of the river with 25
vessels; and the viceroy, having procured ammunition and provisions from
all quarters, took post about the middle of December on the bank of the
These measures of defence were hardly completed, when several bodies of
the enemy were seen descending from the gauts, and taking up a camp at
Ponda, under the command of Nori Khan, general of the army of Adel Khan.
About the end of December, Nori Khan advanced from Ponda, and encamped,
facing the pass of Benastarim, where he pitched the royal tents of Adel
Khan, who spent eight days in descending the gauts, so vast was the army
which now came against Goa. At night, so many fires were lighted up to
illuminate the passes of the mountain, that, though at a great distance,
the multitudes of the enemy could be distinctly seen from the island.
The army of Adel Khan, on this occasion, amounted to 100,000 fighting
men, of whom 36,000 were horse, with 2140 war-elephants, and 350 pieces
of cannon, most of which were of an extraordinary size; and some barks
were brought upon mules to be launched into the river to assist in
getting into the island.
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