From a group of historical accounts on Facebook---
There are several really lovely accounts of life in Mahratta camps by British officials.
" Fond of a wandering life, the Mahrattas seem most at home in the camp ; the bazaars being supplied with necessaries for the soldiers, and such luxuries as those in a higher station require, they know no wants, and are subject to few restraints ; surrounded by their wives and children, they enjoy the pleasures of domestic life; and many of the principal officers keep cheetas, greyhounds, and hawks, trained to hunting, for their amusement on a march, or when encamped in a sporting country.
" Not only the officers and soldiers, but in general the followers of the camp, have their wives and families with them during the march. The women frequently ride astride with one or two children on a bullock, an ass, or a little tattoo horse, while the men walk by the side. On reaching the encampment, the fatigued husband lies down on his mat, and the wife commences tier duties. She first shampoos her husband, and fans him to repose; she then shampoos the horse, rubs him down, and gives him provender; takes some care of the ox which has carried her stores, and drives off the poor ass to provide for himself. She next lights a fire, dresses rice and curry, or kneads dough for cakes, which are prepared and baked in a simple manner. When the husband awakes, his repast is ready ; and having also provided a meal for herself and children, the careful matron occupies the mat, and sleeps till day-break, when all are in motion, and ready for another march.
" Of the Mahratta cavalry, those soldiers who have neither female companions nor servants to attend them, on finishing the march immediately shampoo their own horses, by rubbing the limbs, and bending the joints; which not only refreshes the animals, but enables them to bear fatigue with a smaller quantity of food than would be otherwise necessary.
" Besides the married women, a number of dancing girls and tolerated courtezans attend the camp. Some of the former officiate as choristers in the sacred tents dedicated to the Hindoo gods ; many belong to the officers, and others form a common cyprian corps. Children of both sexes accompany the army in the severest marches; they know no home but the camp.
" The number and variety of cattle necessarily attendant on an Asiatic army is astonishing. There were at least two hundred thousand in the Mahratta camp of every description. The expense of feeding these animals, as also the difficulty of procuring provender, is very great, and their distress for water, in a parched country and a sultry climate,