A Description of the Battle of Kuamo‘o…

After travelling about two miles over this barren waste, we reached the place where, in the autumn of 1819, the decisive battle was fought between the forces of Rihoriho, the present king, and his cousin, Kekuaokalani, in which the latter was slain, his followers completely overthrown, and the cruel system of idolatry, which he took up arms to support, effectually destroyed. The natives pointed out to us the place where the king’s troops, led on by Karaimoku, were first attacked by the idolatrous party. We saw several small heaps of stones, which our guide informed us were the graves of those who, during the conflict, had fallen there. We were then shewn the spot on which the king’s troops formed a line from the sea-shore towards the mountains, and drove the opposing party before them to a rising ground, where a stone fence, about breast high, enabled the enemy to defend themselves for some time, but from which they were at length driven by a party of Karaimoku’s warriors. The small tumuli increased in number as we passed along, until we came to a place called Tuamoo. Here Kekuaokalani made his last stand, rallied his flying forces, and seemed, for a moment, to turn the scale of victory; but being weak with the loss of blood, from a wound he had received in the early part of the engagement, he fainted and fell. However, he soon revived, and, though unable to stand, sat on a fragment of lava, and twice loaded and fired his musket on the advancing party. He now received a ball in his left breast, and immediately covering his face with his feather cloak, expired in the midst of his friends. His wife Manona during the whole of the day fought by his side with steady and dauntless courage. A few moments after her husband’s death, perceiving Karaimoku and his sister advancing, she called out for quarter; but the words had hardly escaped from her lips, when she received a ball in her left temple, fell upon the lifeless body of her husband, and instantly expired. The idolaters having lost their chief, made but feeble resistance afterwards; yet the combat, which commenced in the forenoon, continued till near sunset, when the king’s troops, finding their enemies had all either fled or surrendered, returned to Kairua. (Ellis)

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 (These are excerpts from a book by William Ellis that has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired.)

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