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William Maxwell. 

(Taken in the Mou-tien-ling Pass.) 







Lately Special Correspondent of The Standard, 
now of The Daily Mail. 


London : 

Paternoster Row, E.C. 





liONDON, F.C. 


So many accounts have been written of the War between 
Russia and Japan that apology may be demanded for adding 
another to these records. My excuse is thai a very limited 
nnmber of European and American correspondents accompanied 
the Japanese Army^ and that I may claim to be the only 
correspondent who was with General Kuroki from the Talu 
to the Shaho ; and^ with my interpreter^ Mr. Ito^ the only 
observer^ European^ American or Japanese^ present at these 
engagements^ and at the last assaults upon and surrender of 
Port Arthur, 

To General Kuroki and the Officers of his Staff 1 am 
under many obligations. Especially am I indebted to General 
Fujiiy Chief of the Staff, who showed me many favours and 
gave me much valuable information which now appears for 
the first time. 

In the opening chapter will be found a short summary of 
the events that led to the War, It contains matter that may 
throw a little new light upon some phases of the diplomatic 
struggle. In the appendix are studies of the Russian and 
Japanese Armies which were issued as confidential papers 
before the War, I commend them to the close attention of all 
who have a professional interest in military science, 


Contents of Chapters 


The Origin of the War — A Glance over Three Centuries — Korea and 
Japan — War between China and Japan — Peace — Russian Intrigue 
— A Temporary Agreement — Russian "Instructors" at Seoul 
— Protest and Exasperating Delay in Negotiations — Korean 
Emperor Unexpectedly Firm — Russia Obtains the Use of Port 
Arthur — Her Traders in Korea — Japanese Patience Exhausted. 


Japanese Study of the Russian Army — Remarkable Confidential Paper 
— Concise and Accurate Estimate — Incapacity of the Russian 
Officer — Lack of Discipline — Kuropatkin " Not to be Feared " — 
Necessary to Frighten the Russian Soldiers — Contempt for the 


The Japanese Soldier and Russian Opinion — His Patience, Self- 
restraint, Ingenuity and Courage — Russian Deductions Mainly 
Wrong — Theory Falsified by Fact. 


The Plan of Campaign and the Japanese Leaders — Russian Defensive 
Triangle — Base Formed by the Yalu — First Point of Attack — 
Anticipated Early Fall of Port Arthur — ^Tardy Development of 
Japanese Campaign — Yamagata — Oyama — Kodama — Tanaka 
— Fukushima — Kuroki — Fujii — Their Character and Personality. 


viii Contents 


The Landing in Korea — Seoul Entered — Destruction of the Varyag — 
Control of the Korean Gulf — Pyng-yang Occupied — Strategic 
Position Won — Russian Lack of Foresight — Michtchenko's 
Mysterious Movements — Misled by Korean Spies — Cossacks 
Retire North — A Tactical Error. 


The Northern Advance — Kuroki at Pyn-gyang — Four Problems to 
Solve — Danger of Russian Move Southwards — A Thirty Miles 
Line — Terrible Roads — No Opposition — Halt for Supplies — A 
Choice of Roads — Both Utilised — Russian Attack on Chonju 
repulsed — Landing Place for Heavy Guns Secured — A Path Across 
Fifteen Miles of Morass. 


En route for the Front — " The Men of Great Patience " — From Chin- 
ampo to Pyng-yang — A Dismal Journey — Dignified Korean 
Governor — Pyng-yang, its Smells and Abominations — Demon 
Worship — Coin of the Realm — Miles of Transport — Head-quarters 
at last. 


The Valley of the Yalu— Wiju, " the Stronghold of the West "— 
Japanese Concentration Complete — A Network of Rivers — Study 
of the Position — How the River Runs — Tiger Hill — How and 
Where shall we Cross — Vague Information — Kuroki's Difficulties. 


Bridging the Yalu — A Memorable Feat — Daring Reconnaisance — 
Energy of the Engineers — The Island of Kontonto — Suitable for 
the Howitzers — Safely Landed and Screened — The Field Guns 
next — Russians Bombard the Bridge — Work Uninterrupted — 
Field Guns Over the Main Stream — Pontoons Struck — Another 
Bridge Facing Tiger Hill — Ploughshares as Anchors — Ten Bridges 
Put Together Under Cover. 

Contents « 


Preparing for Battle — Description of the Scene — Like Painted Canvas 
— View of the Russian Position — Reminiscent of the Tugcla — 
Should be Impregnable — The Russians Reconnoitre — And Retire 
— Japanese Preparations Completed — The Islands Cleared — A 
Fight for Tiger Hill — Important Flanking Movement — General 
Plan of Attack. 


The First Encounter — Japanese Confidence — Five Thousand Wounded 
Expected — The Russian Dispositions — Ignorance of the Direction 
of the Attack — A Front of Eighteen Miles — Primitive Trenches 
— Kuroki Risks a Divided Command — An Anxious Night. 


The Passage of the Yalu — The Guns Begin to Speak — Japanese 
Batteries Unmasked — Two Hours' Artillery Duel — Russian Retire- 
ment — Japanese Right Advance — Crossing the River at Night — 
The First of May — A General Attack — No Faith in Boer Tactics 
— Plunging through the River — Desperate Struggle — The Position 
Taken — Banzai ! 


The Pursuit and the Lessons — Supports and Reserves in Play — A 
Detached Russian Force — Fierce Rearguard Fight — Priest as 
Leader — Capture of Guns — Russian Casualties — The Enemy's 
Misplaced Confidence — Effect of Japanese Fire — Common Shell 
and Shrapnel — Not a Frontal Attack — Why no Counter Attack ? 


After the Battle — A Moving Picture — Kuroki at Ease — Wounded and 
Dying — " Unser Vater " — The Realism of War — An Appreciation 
of the Japanese Task — Saving of the Living — Return to Camp — 
Close Shave — Nearly Shot for a Cossack. 


" The Peace of the East " — Antung City — The Godmothers of Japan, 
Korea and China — Manchurians as Men — Japanese March through 
Antung — A Dutch Kitchen — Native Houses — The Privilege of 
Conquerors — My Quarters in a Temple — A Feast Day. 

X Contents 


The March into Manchuria — Feng-Hoang-Cheng — " The Merciful Man 
has no Enemies " — The Governors of the Province — The Manchu 
as Soldier — A Beautiful Country — March to Kao-li-men — Russians 
Fall Back upon Liao-Yang — The Intendent of the Eastern 
Marshes — Informing Interview — " Twenty years since I spoke 
with an Englishman " — Nearly like a Cardinal. 


The Soldier and his War Songs— Temple Bell and Rifle Shot— The 
War Song of Nippon — Political rather than Martial — Sir Ian 
Hamilton's Translation. 


In Memory of the Dead — A Shinto Service — Memories of Omdurman, 
Khartoum and Ladysmith — The Lost Origin of a Ritual — A 
Genuine Product of Japanese Soil — A Religion only in Name — 
The Essence of the Creed — The High Priest's Allocution — 
General Nishi's Eulogy — Tribute to the Fallen. 


A Buddhist Ceremony — Japan's Foreign Civilization but Indigenous 
Religion — " The sins of Russia have offended Buddha " — A 
Sermon instinct with Patriotism — The Offering of Incense. 


Why the Japanese lingered at Feng-hoang-cheng — Many Reasons for 
Hesitation — Kuroki's Caution — A New Factor — What the Russians 
ought to have done — An Interval of Forty- five Days but no 
Waste of Time— Our Right Flank Cleared. 


Advance toward Liao-yang — Enemy Abandon Mou-tien-ling Pass — 
Evidences of Confused Retreat — Heaven-reaching Pass — Rain for 
Three Nights and Days — Splendid Defences Deserted — Effect of 
a Flanking Movement — The Northern Road Open — A Surprise — 
Russian Assault on our Outposts — A Hand-to-hand Encounter — 
An Attack Badly Planned and Badly Executed. 

Contents xi 


Attack on Mou-tien-ling — The Japanese "Mother" us — "You must 
wait " — To-wan — Engagements at Dawn — The Guns Speak — 
Reinforcements Hurried Up — Inexplicable Retirement of the 
Enemy — Vigorous Pursuit — A Deadlock — The Need for Horse 
Artillery — Sharp Fighting on our Right — Why these repeated 
efforts to capture positions already abandoned ? 


Assault on Chaotoa — Important Strategic Position — Its Strength and 
Entrenchments — A Day of Desultory Fighting — Under Cover of 
Darkness — Attack at Dawn — Weak Point in the Russian Position 
— The Signal — A Timely Arrival — Rush into the River — Brilliant 
Capture of Chaotoa. 


The Advance on Liao-yang — A General Action — We Leave Mou-tien- 
lien — Axioms of War put to the Test — Kuroki and Kuropatkin 
Face to Face — The Ramparts of Manchuria — We Hold the 
Enemy's Front — A Race for a Pass — Check on our Left Flank — 
Prolonged Artillery Duel — A Torrid Afternoon — Drinking amid a 
Hail of Bullets^Shrapnel fails again — The Centre Relieves the 
Left — All the Objectives in our Hands — Kuropatkin's Failure to 
Deliver Counter Attack. 


Attack on Yu-shu-ling — A Dramatic Encounter — An Isolated Engage- 
ment essential to the General Movement — Four o'Clock in the 
Morning — " The Enemy is upon us " — Russian Headlong Flight 
— Makura-yama — Diversion on the Enemy's Right — A Gauntlet 
of Fire — Russian Retreat on Am-ping. 


The Battle of Liao-yang — Preparing the Way — Increased Russian 
Activity — How Kuroki Drove Kuropatkin to his Last Defences 
about Liao-yang — Two Hundred Thousand Men and Three De- 
fensive Lines — Detailed Action and Skilled Co-operation — A 
Wedge of Steel in the Heart of the Enemy. 

xii • Contents 


The Russian Army Retires on Liao-yang — " To-day the Russians are 
very Obstinate " — A Dense Fog — Russians Retire on their Second 
Line — Five Months in the Mountains — The Freedom of the Plains 
— Leisurely Russian Retirement — The Moral of Long Range 
Artillery — Startling Flight on the Last Defences — Within Fifteen 
Hundred Yards of the Enemy's Trenches — Deficiency of Japanese 
Field Signalling — In Prosperous Am-ping. 


The Assault on Liao-yang — The Sedan of Manchuria? — First Evidence 
of Permanent Russian Occupation — Kuroki's Reasons for Retire- 
ment — Shou-shan — Hundreds of Guns Engaged — Our Infantry 
unable to Advance — Nozu Checked — Stale-mate at Nightfall — 
Battle begins again at Dawn — Weary, Inconclusive Day. 


Capture of Liao-yang — The Supreme Moment at Hand — Truce of the 
Night — An Apparently Impregnable Position — Reckless Courage 
of the Japanese — Three Attacks and Three Repulses — An Irre- 
sistible Onrush — Liao-yang Won — Unflinching Rearguard at the 
Railway Station — Kuropatkin's Main Army on its way to Mukden 
—Orderly Retirement — No Sedan after all. 


Kuroki Crosses the Tai-tsu — A Great Achievement — Kuropatkin's 
Strategy Frustrated — Kuroki's New Task — Absence of Favour- 
able Conditions— River Crossed without Opposition — Manjuyama 
— Kuropatkin's Eye — Fierce Artillery Struggle — Passing through 
an Inferno — Fighting all Night — Capture of Manjuyama — Terrible 
Sacrifice — Unavailing Move against Ponchiho — " Bitter in the 


Retreat of the Russians — We are too Exhausted to Pursue — Failure 
of the Field Wire — A Triple Line of Dead — Horrors of a Soldier's 
Grave — Fog again — Twelve Days' Casualties — Why Kuropatkin 

Contents xiii 


Battle of Sha-ho — Kuropatkin's Address to his Army-^ Reason of the 
Retreat — Now strong enough to abandon the Defensive and 
ensure Victory — Stringent Orders from St. Petersburgh — The 
Move South Begins — Our Right Wing Falls Back — A Gigantic 
Struggle — Half-a-Million Men Engaged — Russian Plan of Attack 
— Critical Situation on our Right — Spectacular Cossacks. 


A Gallant Fight — The Weakness of Ponchiho — Umizawa Forced Back 
— Both Sides Reinforced — Desperate Measures Required — Oyama 
Orders a General Attack — Inferiority of Japanese Artillery — A 
Terrible Day of Battle — " Order, Counter-order, Disorder " — 
Russian Failure all along the Line. 


A Hard-won Victory — The Moment to Strike — An Inspiring Spectacle 
— How the Japanese Advanced — Assault on Temple Hill — Its 
Capture — Russians Prepare to Retreat — Ponchiho Surrounded — 
Prince Kun-in to the Rescue — First Instance of Cavalry Useful- 
ness — We Manage to Hold On. 


The Last Struggle — The General Advance — Very Slow Progress — 
The Famous Okasaki Brigade — Its Exploits — An Assault that 
Failed — Enemy Withdraw in the Night — We Follow Them Up — 
Pursuit and Slaughter — Fifty Guns Captured — Ten Thousand 
Dead Russians. 


Forlorn Hope — Stirring Episode of the Battle — A Night Attack — 
Difficult Operation — Elaborate Preparations— A Horror of Great 
Darkness — Slowly Pressing Onward — Zone of Death — The 
Russian Imperial Regiment — Fearless and Resolute Men — 
Stronghold Swept by Fire and Bayonet — Step by Step — Not 
Died in Vain. 

xiv Coiitents 


Valley of the Shadow — Dead and Dying — Plucked from the Grave — 
A Shattered Victim — Strangely Pathetic Group — A Soldier on his 
Knees — " Kick him up " — A Slain Drummer. 


Mukden in Sight — Storming a Hill — Four Roads Open to the Retreat 
— Our Failure to Envelop the Enemy — Its Reason — Caution Justi- 
fied — A Feature of the War — Breakdown of the Russian Intelli- 
gence Branch — Bombardment of a Mountain — At Close Quarters 
Again — Courageous and Audacious Defence — Flight. 


The Story of a Famous Brigade — General Okasaki's 4,000 Fighting 
Men — Their 3,889 Casualties — Unshaken Morale of the Brigade 
— Okasaki's Career — What the Brigade Did — A Crowded and 
Stirring Chronicle — Typical of the Japanese Infantry. 


To Port Arthur — A Change of Scene — Miscalculations as to Port 
Arthur — Permission to Join Nogi — Appreciation of Privilege — 
Hurrying South. 


The Surrender — New Year's Day — Flag of Truce — A Land of Silence — 
Incredible News — "Port Arthur has Fallen" — Stoessel's Message 
— Fateful Council of War — Orders to Destroy the Ships — Nogi 
Agrees to Negotiate — His Delegates — " The Road to Peace" — 
Plum Tree Cottage — Terms of Capitulation — Russian Requests — 
The Answer — Fire in Port Arthur — Stoessel's Enquiries after 
Kuropatkin and the Baltic Fleet — Kondrachenko, the Heart and 
Soul of the Defence — Stoessel's View of the Cause of the War — 
His Wish to Retire. 

Contents xv 


The Two Leaders — Sketch of Nogi — The Meeting — Stoessel's Honour 
Preserved — Nogi's Bereavement — A Courteous Gift — Stoessel on 
his Way to Dalny — Inside the War-scarred City — The Broken 
Battleships — Nogi's Triumphant Entry — The Japanese Good 
Soldiers but Bad on Parade — Russian Officers on the Defence 
— Technical Criticisms. 


Why did General Stoessel Surrender? — Port Arthur Capable of 
Further Resistance — Four Justifications for Capitulation Ex- 
amined — Facts and Figures — The Last Days Less Glorious than 
the First — The General, and not the Garrison, Surrendered. 


Japanese Guns and Horses — ^The One Advantage of their Guns — 
Their Predilection for Common Shell — Good Results — Tactical 
Deficiencies — The Cavalry — Difficulty of Forming Correct Judg- 
ment — The Conservative Cavalry Officer — Spirited Defence of his 
Branch — The Korean Stock to Blame — Lack of Opportunity to 
Test Capacity — The Lance must be Relegated to Museums. 


Children and the War — ^True Hero Worshippers — A Missive to Lord 
Roberts — Kuroki's Letter Bag — Blood-curdling Sentiments — His 
Punctiliousness in Replying — Girls Better Letter Writers than 
Boys — Some Juvenile Examples. 


Comrades at Last — An Incident of Battle — Told by an Officer of 
Kuroki's Staff — Wounded Japanese and Russian Fraternise — A 
Story of Devotion. 





Frontispiece .......... 

Japanese Marching Order: Front View . . . 

Japanese Marching Order : Back View .... 

In comfortable Quarters ) 

My Interpreter and Staff | 

General View of the Russian Positions on the North Bank of 
the Yalu 

Japanese Infantry fording the Yalu 56 

A Close View of the Yalu 84 

A Cavalry Regiment crossing the River 88 

A Gun Team in the Water 92 

On the Line of Retreat 96 

The Day after the Retreat . . . . . . . 98 

Abandoned Russian Field Kitchen 100 

City Wall, Feng-Hoang-Cheng 

A Street Scene, Feng-Hoang-Cheng 

Japanese Ambulance Party, Chaotoa . . . . .176 

Captured Russian Guns 186 

Japanese Funeral Service ....... 


The Tower at To- wan ' ^^"^ 

After the Fight . . | 

The Red Cross at Work I ^°° 

A Buddhist Shrine .... 
Figure of Buddha .... 
Temple Hill : Ruins of Temple and Gods , 

I 268 


I 356 

A Manchurian Scavenger ....... 

Foreign Attaches and Correspondents . . . . .314 

Russian Warship on Fire, Port Arthur . . . . . 340 

What we found in Port Arthur ....... 354 

General Nogi enters Port Arthur 

Breech of Japanese Siege Gun 

Japanese marching into Port Arthur .... 

Snapshot of Madame Stoessel . . 

Horse-shoeing Extraordinary 368 


Battle of Yalu 64 

Liao-yang ........... 214 

Battle of Liao-yang 228 

From the Yalu to Port Arthur 

Chapter I 


For the origin of the war between Russia and Japan 
we must glance back over three centuries. After the 
famous expedition of 1592-8, Korea was bound to 
Japan by the closest ties. It was an independent 
Kingdom in " political intercourse '' with the Japanese 
as distinguished from countries like Holland and China, 
whose relations were purely commercial. For this 
reason the Government at Seoul was notified in 1869 
of the overthrow of the Shagunate and the restoration 
of the Imperial Authority. Ignorant of events beyond 
her own borders, and animated by a spirit of aggressive 
conservatism, Korea refused to acknowledge the new 
Government and returned a defiant and insulting answer 
to the representations of the Mikado. 

Upon this issue the newly organised Government 
in Japan was divided. One party was for vindicating 
the national honour by appeal to arms ; the other party 
was for peace at any price. The peace party prevailed 
and Field Marshal Saigo, who more than any other man 

2 ifrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

was responsible for the new order of things and for the 
restoration of the Imperial power, withdrew from public 
life. Trusted and beloved by the people, he was 
followed into retirement by several hundred soldiers 
and civilians who held office under the new Government. 
When Saigo emerged from privacy it was as leader of 
the rebellion of 1877, which was quelled after a 
sanguinary struggle that lasted eight months. 

Meanwhile the Koreans were encouraged to acts 
of aggression, and a Japanese gun-boat, taking sound- 
ings near Chemulpo, was fired upon. The fort was 
attacked and the garrison dispersed. Recognising the 
Chinese claim of suzerainty over Korea, the Japanese 
entered into negotiations in Pekin. But the Govern- 
ment of China declined to be responsible for the acts 
of this tributary kingdom, and declared that the Koreans 
had complete liberty to do whatever they liked in all 
matters of State, whether internal or external. Upon 
this repudiation of her suzerain power, the Japanese 
despatched a mission to Korea and a treaty was made 
between the two countries. The preamble to that 
document contains a precise declaration that Korea is 
^* an independent country, equal to Japan.'' 

As soon as the danger was past, China, after her 
wont, sought to reassert her claim to suzerain power. 
By stealthy and underhand means she strove to regain 
her authority over Korea. Chinese interference in the 
foreign affairs of the Hermit Kingdom became acute in 
1882 and was the cause of the riots at Seoul. These 

XEbe ®viQin ot tbe Mar 3 

disturbances were directed against the Japanese colony 
and legation, and, being met by intrigues on the part 
of the Japanese residents, were responsible for the war 
between China and Japan in 1894-5. 

No sooner had peace been concluded than Russian 
intrigue took the place of Chinese, and Japan found 
herself threatened by a more persistent and formidable 
rival for control over her neighbour Korea. Having 
just been deprived of the fruits of victory by a coalition 
of Russia, France and Germany, the Japanese were not 
prepared to enter immediately upon a struggle with the 
Czar. They accordingly came to terms with Russia, 
and on May 14th, 1896, an agreement was entered into 
at Seoul between Baron Komura, charge d'affaires — now 
Minister of Foreign Affairs and chief negotiator of the 
treaty of peace at Portsmouth — and M. J. Waeber, the 
representative of Russia. In the same year another 
agreement was made at Moscow between the Marquis 
Yamagata — now chief of staff at Imperial Head-Quarters 
—and Prince Lobanoff. 

The vital part of that agreement is in the clause 
which states that "with the object of relieving Korea from 
financial embarrassment, Russia and Japan counsel the 
Government to suppress all useless charges and to 
establish equilibrium between expenditure and revenue. 

" If after the introduction of reforms recognised 
to be indispensable, it becomes necessary to have 
recourse to external loans, the two Governments (Russia 
and Japan) will in common accord lend their support 

A 2 

4 iftom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

to Korea. The Governments of Japan and Russia will 
endeavour, as far as the financial and economic situation 
of the countries will admit, to leave to Korea the 
creation and maintenance of an armed force of native 
police sufficiently large to preserve internal order 
without foreign assistance. In the event of the con- 
tracting parties desiring more precise or detailed 
definition, or in the event of other points arising on 
which it may be necessary to act in concert, the repre- 
sentatives of the two Powers shall be charged with the 
duty of arriving at a friendly understanding." 

This treaty is the basis of the report that the 
Marquis Ito was desirous of forming an alliance, not with 
Great Britain, but with Russia. The ink was hardly dry 
before the Russian Government began to display that 
bad faith which has characterised her policy in the East. 
M. AlexiefF, an official in the Treasury at St. Petersburgh, 
who is not to be confused with the Admiral of the same 
name who figured so prominently later on, was despatched 
as a sort of financial agent ; and several Russian military 
agents under the familiar guise of " instructors '* were 
imposed upon the King at Seoul, who was informed 
that the number would be increased to twenty-six. 

The Japanese Government was not made cognisant 
of these acts of " pacific penetration,*' nor was its 
opinion invited. As soon as the Government in Tokyo 
became aware of the presence of these Russian agents at 
Seoul, its representative at St. Petersburg was instructed 
to enter a protest, and to point out that the action of the 

trbe ©rlGtn of tbe TKaar 5 

Russian Government was in violation of the spirit of the 
agreement between the Marquis Yamagata and Prince 
LobanofF. Count Muravieff was at that time Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, Prince LobanofF having died in the 
interval. The new Minister declared that the appoint- 
ment of these advisers and instructors was the act of 
Prince LobanofF. While disclaiming responsibility, 
Count MuraviefF urged that the Emperor of Korea was 
an independent Sovereign and that Russia could not 
well refuse his request for agents and advisers. He 
promised, however, that no more " military instructors " 
should be sent to Seoul, though it was impossible to 
recall those already there. 

This discussion was protracted with exasperating 
delays until news reached Tokyo of the occupation of 
Kiao-chiao by Germany. Remembering the part played 
by Germany after the war with China, the Japanese not 
unnaturally suspected another act of collusion with 
Russia, and their representative in St. Petersburg was 
instructed to invite an expression of opinion on the 
subject. Count MuraviefF treated the occupation as 
of no consequence. The Russian Government, he 
remarked, did not look upon the matter very seriously. 
The action of Germany was instigated by the desire of 
the Emperor to stimulate enthusiasm for the expansion 
of the navy and not by any motive of aggression in the 
Far East. Accordingly, the Russian Government could 
take no step and could enter no protest against the 
German occupation of a Chinese port. 

6 fvom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

That Kiao-chiao was the first card laid upon the 
table in this game of diplomatic "bluff" was quickly 
apparent. Russia had already made up her mind to 
acquire Port Arthur, and, with it, command of the 
Eastern Seas. On the last day of the year 1897 Count 
Muravieff dined with the Czar and the Empress 
Dowager, and on the first day of the New Year he had 
an interview with the Japanese Minister at St. Peters- 
burg. The Count declared that the Czar was desirous 
of arriving at an understanding about Korea on the 
basis of recognising the preponderant interest of Japan 
in that country ; Russia having there no interest other 
than political and that of no great importance. The 
Empress Dowager, added Count Muravieff, had 
expressed similar opinions, and they were anxious to 
learn the views of the Japanese. 

The Minister replied that nothing would be more 
welcome to the Japanese Government, for ever since the 
Chinese war they had been very desirous of coming to 
such an understanding about Korea. He himself, as the 
Count well knew, had, throughout a whole year, 
endeavoured to bring about an agreement of that kind, 
but had not succeeded. Invited to name a day for 
beginning the negotiations. Count Muravieff displayed 
no convincing alacrity. He had authority to do no 
more than communicate the desire of the Czar and to 
ask in a general way the views of the Japanese Minister. 
Further consideration was necessary and at an early and 
convenient day he would make another communication. 

Ubc ®vigin of tbe Mar 7 

The next step was taken In Tokyo, in January, 
1898, when the Russian Minister informed the Japanese 
Minister of Foreign Affairs that Russia would support 
the "commercial and industrial interests" of Japan in 
Korea, and was prepared to come to an understanding 
on that basis. Experience had taught the Japanese to 
be wary in their dealings with Russian diplomacy, 
and Tokyo required a pledge of good faith. Before 
pourparlers began, the Czar must recall from Korea his 
"financial adviser'' and "military instructors.'' 

Again Russia displayed no unseemly haste. While 
the Czar was deliberating, a confidential information from 
China came to the Japanese Government to the effect 
that Russia was demanding a long lease of Port Arthur. 
There was the secret of this complacence toward 
Germany and of these tentative offers to Japan. It 
was added that the Chinese Government "would not 
reply in haste," but would take advantage of its 
reputation for never doing to-day what could be put 
off till the morrow. 

In the month of March an unforeseen incident 
arose in Korea which solved the problem of " financial 
and military advisers." M. Speyer, formerly Russian 
Minister in Tokyo, had been transferred to Seoul, with 
the promise that he should succeed to the representation 
in Pekin. M. Speyer was a conscientious diplomatist, 
and when the Emperor of Korea refused to accept 
certain proposals made by his Russian "financial and 
military advisers," he issued an ultimatum. His 

8 jprom tbe ISalu to pott Hrtbut 

Majesty was allowed twenty-four hours to decide 
whether he had need of these advisers. 

M. Speyer would not have laid such a trap for 
himself and M. Alexieff if he had not been convinced 
that the Emperor would be terrified into acceptance of 
every demand. But His Majesty, assured of support 
from another quarter and aware of the dispute between 
Russia and Japan, showed unexpected firmness. After 
three days' delay he informed M. Speyer that he had 
no further need of Russian advisers, and, " with many 
thanks for past services," discharged them from their 
engagements. Here was an impasse from which there 
was no escape without betraying the determination of 
the Czar not to relax his hold on Korea. 

In St. Petersburg it was recognised that their 
representative had managed the business badly and 
had defeated their carefully laid scheme. M. Speyer 
accordingly did not go to Pekin, but was sent to 
vegetate at Rio Janeiro. This incident removed every 
obstacle to agreement on the subject of Korea, and on 
April 25th, 1898, was signed the Nissi and Rosen 
Convention, which solved the problem of Russian 

Russia was the more ready to make this concession 
because nearly a month before — on March 27 — a con- 
vention had been signed in Pekin, whereby China ceded 
to the Czar the use of Port Arthur, Talien and the 
adjacent country. Count MuraviefF was evidently 
convinced that the withdrawal of the Russian advisers 

tEbe OviQin of tbe Mar 9 

from Korea and the formal recognition of Japan's 
interest in that country would be regarded in Tokyo as 
ample compensation for the occupation of Port Arthur. 
He boldly expressed this opinion in an interview with 
the Japanese Minister, who pointed out that, after all, 
this was a very one-sided arrangement, inasmuch as, 
while Japan's preponderant interests in Korea were 
admitted, she was expressly forbidden by the Nissi- 
Rosen convention to appoint advisers to the Emperor 
of Korea. 

The occupation of Wei-hai-wei by Great Britain 
followed soon afterwards. Russia clearly anticipated 
this move, for in April Count MuraviefF caused the 
Japanese Government to understand that, if they desired 
it, China would give an assurance that, after the with- 
drawal of the Japanese troops, Wei-hai-wei should not 
be conceded to any other Power. Russia was prepared 
to assent to such an assurance, and was willing to use 
her efforts to induce the other Powers to accept that 
arrangement. From this act of amazing self-denial 
Russia was saved by the Japanese and British Govern- 
ments. Japan declared that she had no wish to impose 
such a condition in the terms of evacuation, and Great 
Britain, with the connivance of the Government in 
Tokyo, and in despite of Russia, calmly stepped into 

These facts, which cannot be disputed, afford 
abundant evidence of the extreme moderation of the 
Japanese demands. They prove that the Japanese 

10 iftom tbe l!)alu to pott Hrtbur 

manifested no hostility to the Russian occupation ot 
Port Arthur, but were prepared to make great con- 
cessions in order to secure the heritage of Korea, to 
which they were entitled by conquest, by " pacific 
penetration," and by the necessities of geographical 
position. But appetite comes with eating. Having 
absorbed Port Arthur and begun on Manchuria, Russia 
saw no reason why she should not have Korea also. 
,When her Imperial company promoters and traders 
crossed the Yalu, Japanese patience was exhausted. Her 
fleet and army had been more successful than her diplo- 
matists, and were more ready to accept the challenge. 
The Anglo-Japanese alliance — the sequel to the Russian 
occupation of Manchuria after the Boxer trouble — 
ensured for her a fair fight, and Japan proceeded to 
demonstrate to an amazed world that the Muscovite 
giant, who had long overshadowed the East, has feet 
of clay and the hollowness of sounding brass. 

Chapter II 


The issues of war are not determined by numbers and 
bank balances. If victory depended on these factors 
the British Empire would never have been created. 
Our forefathers happily knew not the law of military 
science that judges the strength of an army by its size. 
They were conscious of another factor that cannot be 
expressed in figures, in differences of armament or even 
in the genius of commanders. This factor is the spirit 
of the army. Intangible as the law of gravitation, it 
cannot be stated in terms of any known value, yet it 
gives momentum to the mass, and without it discipline 
is but blind obedience, and courage the mere absence of 
fear. The duty of military science should be to 
determine this factor not less than to ascertain the 
numerical strength and armament of an enemy. 

Mindful of this duty the Japanese studied the 
character of the Russian soldier and found him lacking 
in qualities that make an army invincible. The best 
testimony I can offer on this subject is a confidential 
paper written by General Fujii, Chief of the Staff of 
General Kuroki's Army and Commandent of the Staff 
College. It is a concise and modest document, yet 
it contains psychological truths of greater value than 
columns of facts and figures. 


12 jfrom tbe l^alu to povt Hrtbur 

It is clear from this official survey that the 
Japanese did not accept the European estimate of the 
fighting capacity of their enemy. A military attache 
who was in a large measure responsible for British 
official opinion of the Russian army exclaimed after the 
battle of Liao-yang : " My reputation is gone ! For 
years I have been urging that Russian troops are 
invincible and here am I running away with them 
every day ! '' 

The Staff in Tokyo were under no delusion. 
After careful study and observation they discovered the 
weak places in the Muscovite armour and were never 
for a moment doubtful of the issue. They knew the 
capacity of the Russian officer, his want of initiative, 
his proneness to jealousy and divided counsel, his 
readiness to put personal interest and comfort before 
every other consideration. 

Among the multitude of things left behind by the 
Russians in their retreat from Liao-yang not the least 
interesting and valuable were the general orders issued 
from day to day by their Commander-in-Chief. They 
disclose the gravest defects in the discipline of the 
army, and more especially of the Cossacks. It appears 
from them that the Colonel of one Cossack regiment 
was removed from his command for deserting a post of 
great importance at the mere rumour of the approach 
of the enemy and without writing to inform the force to 
his immediate front — a defection that endangered the 
whole movement. Two Colonels of the 23rd East 

Japanese StuDp ot tbe IRusslan Hrm^ 13 

Siberian Regiment were cashiered for reasons not stated, 
and the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Ural Cossacks 
was dismissed the service for conduct unworthy of an 
officer and for habitual drunkenness. These are only a 
few examples of the looseness of discipline in the higher 
commissioned ranks. Numbers of Russian officers, 
according to the testimony of British and French 
Missionaries in Liao-yang, were drinking with courtesans 
while their regiments were fighting at the front. Many 
also were censured by General Kuropatkin for dis- 
cussing in public the conduct ot the war and the 
character of their seniors in rank. 

The state of affairs disclosed in these documents 
confirmed the Japanese in their opinion that the 
Russians were inferior to themselves in discipline and 
training, and will strengthen the conviction of all who 
have mingled with Russian military and naval officers 
that the army officer is often a person of inferior 
character and social position. So marked, indeed, is 
the distinction, that Russian naval officers rarely accept 
on a footing of social equality their comrades in 
the army. 

Of General Kuropatkin as Commander-in-Chief 
the Japanese staff never entertained a very high opinion. 
They were inclined to the opinion of Skobeleff under 
whom Kuropatkin laid the foundation of his reputation. 
" You are an ambitious man and will have a fine career, 
but do not forget my advice. Never accept an 
independent post in which you will have to direct 

H ifrom tbc l!)alu to port Hrtbur 

affairs." The truth is that after the battle of the Yalu, 
the Japanese refused to accept the European opinion 
that General Kuropatkin was a great strategist and 
skilful in manoeuvre. 

" He lost his opportunity after the Yalu/' said 
General Fujii, than whom there is no more competent 
critic. " Kuropatkin may be a great organiser, but in 
the field he is not to be feared.'* 

Neither did the Japanese understand the chorus of 
praise over Kuropatkin's " masterly retreats." They 
have not reached the decadent stage which accepts even 
successful retreat as a proof of military capacity. The 
Japanese estimate of the Russian General may be given 
in one sentence from the lips of a distinguished soldier : 
" He never attempts any great movement, but is always 
content with nibbling and retiring." 

While not under-rating the courage of the Russian 
soldier, the Japanese looked upon him as an ignorant 
and stupid peasant, who is easily depressed by failure. 

" They are an imperfectly educated, strongly reli- 
gious and naive sort of people. If there is a great hero 
to lead and set them an example they are not men to fear 
death, as was seen at Plevna, where they piled up corpses 
for earthworks and dashed into the enemy's trenches. 
Yet if they meet any little reverse they are at once 
terrified and panic-stricken, and run away in confusion. 
It is therefore necessary to frighten them in the beginning." 

I am quoting from the confidential study of the 
Russian army, to which I would add the practical 

Japanese Stubs of tbe IRussian Hrm^ 15 

comment of an officer who fought from the Yalu to the 
Sha-ho : " We always win in the last ten minutes, 
because the Russians will not stay long enough.'* 

Their infantry often charge with the bayonet, but 
they have little skill in its use, and none at all in 
individual encounter/' 

And what of the Cossack, about whom tradition has 
woven a dazzling and invincible fame ? The Japanese 
dismiss him with mild contempt, which events have 

" The Cossack in the war of 1877 made no heroic 
movement. His reputation is built entirely on his own 
reports, which are always exaggerated. He invariably 
retires when met by a stronger force. If our infantry is 
a little careful we need have no fear of the Cossack." 

In this estimate of the Russian army I have abstained 
from expressing any personal opinion, knowing that it 
would be valueless. Those who have any curiosity to 
study the Japanese view will be rewarded by consulting 
General Fujii's paper, which will be found in the 
appendix. I would add only this tribute to the bravery 
of the Russian soldiers. If they do not know how to 
fight they know at least how to die. Never except over 
the ruins of Fort Shishishan in the last days of Port 
Arthur have I seen the white flag. 

Chapter III 



The soldier in the field is always an interesting 
study. The absence of those influences that regulate 
habits and manners in cities : the communism and open- 
ness of his life all tend to make him the natural man, 
to bring out his true character and to develop in him 
the manly qualities — patience, self-restraint, ingenuity 
and courage. 

In none of these qualities is the Japanese soldier 
deficient. He has the patience of Job, and centuries 
have fixed in him the habit of self-restraint. His inge- 
nuity is characteristic of an artistic race. He adapts 
himself readily to his environment. Whether billetted 
in the wretched and filthy hovels of Korea, in the 
spacious, solid and dirty houses of China, or on the 
bleak hillside, he makes himself at home. In a few 
hours the place is clean and tidy, and a spray of haw- 
thorn or wild peach reminds him of the cherry blossom 
at home. By instinct and habit the Japanese are a clean 
people, and there is not in the world a cleaner army. 
Their food is simple and wholesome : they rarely drink 
anything stronger than boiled water 5 their regard for 


Ubc Japanese Solbter anD IRusslan ©pinion 17 

sanitary laws is great, and, as I shall presently show, the 
mortality in the field from disease is so small as to be 
almost incredible. 

Of the courage and discipline of the Japanese 
soldier we have convincing proof in the Boxer trouble. 
A trained observer has put on record : " The admirable 
spirit shown by all ranks ; their reckless courage and 
absolute disregard for danger and their perfect discipline 
. . . cannot be too highly praised." It is a common 
error to suppose that the Japanese acquired their skill in 
war with the adoption of modern arms and European 
dress. The truth is that they have been a race of war- 
riors for ages. Until long after the middle of the last 
century they lived under feudal lords exactly as our 
forefathers lived in the days of the Black Prince. The 
habits and instincts formed under feudal conditions are 
still strong. The spirit of obedience is paramount, and 
there is no danger that the Japanese soldier will not face 
at the command of his officer. That allegiance which 
he paid to his feudal lord he has given to his Emperor, 
who is the fountain of all virtues and the source of every 

To many it may seem strange that from a hostile 
community of military clans there has sprung in less 
than half a century a nation instinct with the most fervid 
patriotism. Like many other "miracles** in Japan, this 
is a natural phenomenon, and was visible in Scotland as 
far back as the days of the Stuarts. Whatever its origin 
there is no gainsaying the patriotism. It is strong and 

rs jfrom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbur 

relentless as the sea, and has carried the Japanese army 
over many bloody leagues. 

His endurance is not less remarkable than his 
courage. He can march far, work hard, and fight like 
a Trojan on a handful of rice, a few slices of the root of 
the lotus and a pickled plum. He never grumbles at 
" fatigue " work. The word " grouse '* has no place in 
the soldier's vocabulary. He will pull a gun through 
the mire, make a road over the swamp, and drag a 
heavily-laden cart as cheerfully as he will charge a trench 
filled with riflemen. 

Another advantage the Japanese army can claim. It 
is well officered. The men to whom are entrusted not 
merely brigades but regiments and companies may be 
relied upon to show the finest qualities that the profession 
of arms can develop. Yet if I was asked to state in one 
sentence why the Japanese have been victorious in every 
battle on sea and land, I would say : " It is because every 
Japanese goes into action determined to die, and it is 
therefore the other man who dies.*' 

How did the Russians regard the Japanese ? What 
estimate did they form of the fighting qualities of their 
enemy ? That the Russians had made careful study of 
the Japanese army is manifest from confidential papers 
found upon prisoners. These documents, which will be 
seen in the appendix to this volume, are the work of an 
experienced soldier. The technical parts dealing with 
the constitution, training, discipline, and methods of 
fighting are instructive. But, for the moment, it is the 










TLbc Japanese SolMet anb IRussian ©ptnion 19 

deductions and generalisations that interest. How 
inaccurate and misleading these are may be judged from 
one or two examples. 

" The Japanese infantry never attack with the 
bayonet ; they believe that against the modern rifle 
bayonet attacks are impracticable, and that the issue must 
be decided by powder and shot. . . . They do not 
recognise the necessity of continuing the fight within 
reach of the bayonet.'' 

Nothing could be further from the truth, as anyone 
who reads these pages may discover for himself. The 
Japanese love the arme blanche^ and never hesitate to use 
it. With the bayonet they have proved themselves 
again and again to be most dangerous foemen, whether 
singly or en masse. Before Liao-yang a whole division 
charged and carried a position at the point of the bayonet 
and never fired a shot. At the Sha-ho bayonet charges 
were almost hourly incidents, and demonstrated the 
fallacy, born in South Africa, that entrenched positions 
are unassailable save by powder and shot. The Japanese 
recognise no " lethal zone swept by a horizontal sheet of 
lead " within four hundred yards of an entrenched 
enemy. They found this the zone of comparative safety 
from rifle fire, and went in with the bayonet. 

" The Japanese make frontal attacks without 
attempting turning movements." 

This certainly has not been characteristic of the 
operations in Manchuria. Wide flanking movements 
have been the distinguishing feature in Japanese tactics 

B 2 

20 jfrom tbe l?alu to port Hrtbut 

as well as in their strategy. It is true that at the battle 
of the Yalu they claimed to have won the victory by 
direct frontal attack, yet it cannot be denied that the 
flanking movement in the mountains on the east was the 
immediate cause of the Russian retirement. 

" The Japanese do not like night attacks and night 

Night attacks and night marches are always difficult 
and hazardous, and are not " liked " by any army, but 
the Japanese have never shown any reluctance to use the 
cover of night. From the Yalu to the Sha-ho the cam- 
paign has been remarkable for the number of night 
marches and night attacks, some of which, according to 
Japanese staff officers, have been on a scale never before 

I have given now a general idea of the fighting 
capacities of the rival forces as they appeared to one 
another. Those who are interested in technical details 
will do well to study the appendices. Enough, however, 
has been said in these chapters to enable the reader to 
follow with some insight the narrative of the active 

Chapter IV 


A GLANCE at the map will show that the Russian 
defence lay within an irregular triangle, of which Harbin 
is the apex, and Port Arthur and Vladivostock are the 
angles at the base. The railway from Harbin to Port 
Arthur passes through several towns, like Mukden, 
Liao-yang and Hai-cheng, upon which the Russians could 
concentrate rapidly, but south of Hai-cheng the line 
runs along the coast, and is open to flank attack from 
the sea. 

From Harbin to Vladivostock the line of defence 
may be said roughly to traverse Kirwin and to sweep 
Eastward to the coast. On the land side Vladivostock is 
defended by the difficult nature of the country and by 
the river Toumen, which covers its approach from the 
South-west. So isolated, however, is this fortress that 
its capture was an incident that did not enter into the 
first phase of the campaign. 

The base of the triangle from the mouth of the 
Yalu to the Toumen is the strongest line of defence, and 
was the first to be assailed. The Yalu forms a natural 
barrier along the north of Korea. Winding its tortuous 
length between high and rugged mountains it receives as 


22 jfrom tbe jgalu to port Hrtbur 

affluents many torrents and impetuous streams. A few 
miles from the point where its waters mingle with the 
ocean, the banks of the Yalu descend into the plain. 
Upon this lower ground on the left of the river is the 
town of Wiju, and on the right nearer to the bay stands 
Antung. At Wiju you may cross the Yalu ; it is the 
key to the barrier of mountain and flood that divides 
the hermit kingdom from Manchuria. 

To force the passage of the river by direct assault 
would have been to risk disaster at the outset. It was 
necessary to make a diversion in order to turn the 
position and compel the Russians to fall back along the 
road to Liao-yang. Such a movement required great skill 
and secrecy. In 1894 the Japanese effected a landing 
near the mouth of the river and on the right bank, so as 
to envelop Antung and Wiju from the North. 

With a view to mislead the enemy General Kuroki 
made a demonstration in front of Antung, where the 
Russians awaited attack, while he pushed his flanking 
movement through the almost inaccessible mountains on 
the East. 

When the Japanese crossed the Yalu, their real 
difliculties began. The country South of Mukden is a 
sea of mountains, and there was always in the mind of 
General Kuroki's staff the fear that General Kuropatkin 
would detach a large force from the Peninsula and 
succeed in isolating the Japanese army in Manchuria. To 
guard against that danger troops were landed at Takushan, 
West of Antung, and formed a new point d'appuiy from 

plan ot Campaign anb Japanese Xea^ets 23 

which a strong flank was pushed steadily toward the 
narrow peninsula. The purpose of this movement was 
not merely to protect General Kuroki*s army, but to 
cover the army that was about to land in the Liao-tung 
Peninsula. Here again the Russians were taken by 
surprise. They expected a descent upon Nieuchang, 
on the West coast of the Gulf, which seemed an ideal 
point from which to threaten Liao-yang through Hai- 
cheng, to cut off Port Arthur, and to turn the position. 
But again the Japanese adopted the strategy of the 
Chinese War, and despite the report of its impregnable 
strength, forced a landing at Kin-chou at the neck of the 
Kwanlung Peninsula. 

From this point the Japanese plan of campaign, if it 
did not actually miscarry, was at any rate tardy in 
development. It was not anticipated that Port Arthur 
would be capable of prolonged defence. Recalling their 
experience with the Chinese in 1884, the Japanese felt 
certain that the fortress would be captured in a few weeks, 
and that General Nogi's army would move North into 
fine with General Kuroki. Had they foreseen that 
several months would be spent in difficult and costly 
siege operations, they would have been content with 
investing Port Arthur, clearing the peninsula, and joining 
their forces for an immediate attack on Liao-yang. 

The task of driving the Russians North was given 
to the Third Army, with whose advent in the peninsula 
began the active campaign on land under the direction of 
Field Marshal Oyama and the Head Quarter Staff. 

24 from tbe J^alu to port Hrtbur 

The Liao-tung Peninsula was rapidly cleared, and 
the Russians were driven back upon their main defences 
at Liao-yang, leaving Port Arthur to its fate. 

The men who were responsible for this plan of 
campaign were the members of the Imperial and Head- 
quarter Staffs. In the Marquis Yamagata, who remained 
in Tokyo with the Emperor, was vested almost absolute 
power. He is a man of remarkable character and 
ability, and is regarded as the creator of the national 
army out of bands of feudal retainers. With him was 
associated as Assistant Chief of the Staff, General 
Nagaoka, whose acquaintance with Europe, and 
especially with France, made him an able coadjutor. In 
the Minister for War — General Terauchi, himself a 
soldier of repute and experience, the Imperial Staff had 
another invaluable assistant. 

The direction of operations in the field was vested 
in Field Marshal the Marquis Oyama — a soldier of wide 
experience and attractive personality, in whose character 
is a strange mixture of caution and reckless daring. I 
have observed in the constitution of every Japanese Staff 
a remarkable combination of character and experience. 
It will be found almost invariably that the Commander is 
a man of mature years, distinguished for caution — a 
soldier with no European training, and speaking no 
language save Japanese — and that with him is associated 
as Chief of the Staff a younger and more active man ot 
more rapid cerebration and greater daring — a soldier who 
has had experience in Europe. This combination works 

plan of Campafon anb Japanese Xeabers 25 

admirably, the Commander acting as a brake and the 
Chief of the Staff as a propeller. 

General Kodama, Chief of Marquis Oyama's staff, 
is a most interesting personality, and is popularly regarded 
as the brain of the army. He comes of a fighting race, 
having been born half a century ago in the province of 
Choshu, one of the four great Daimiates that have given 
an unbroken succession of warriors and rulers to Japan. 
The Marquis Ito, the most famous of modern statesmen. 
Count Inouye, ablest of administrators and diplomatists, 
and Field Marshal Yamagata are from Choshu. Indeed, 
there is only one other clan that has the heritage of power. 
If you are not of Satsuma you must be of Choshu. 
Hence the term*' Sat-Cho," familiar in politics to denote 
the combination of these great Daimiates. The province 
in which General Kodama was born played a foremost 
part in the revolution that overthrew the Shogun and 
restored the authority of the Mikado. His clansmen 
were the first to cast aside armour and sword and spear, 
nnd to adopt the arms, discipline, and tactics of Europe. 
Baron Kodama was sixteen years old when Japan began 
to throw off her feudal chains, and the revolution swept 
him into the forces arrainged against feudalism. 

In 1 87 1 feudalism was dead. Shogun and Daimios 
were driven into private life and the Emperor was 
released from enforced seclusion at Kioto. But the 
seeds of disaffection remained, and in 1874 rebellion 
broke out in the province of Hizen, one of the 
Daimiates that had combined to destroy the Shogun. 

26 jf rom tbe 19alu to iport Hrtbur 

Kodama was a captain, having received his company 
twelve months before, and was sent with the Osaka 
division to Saga, as adjutant. The rebellion was 
suppressed in ten days, yet it lasted long enough to 
display the courage and determination of the young 
soldier. With a bullet through each arm he continued 
to pursue the rebels until help came and the rout was 
complete. On his return to the capital he was promoted 
to the rank of major and received the thanks of the 
Emperor. His services were in demand three years 
later when civil war again ravaged the country. Major 
Kodama was with the Imperial troops besieged in the 
castle of Kumamoto by the rebels of Satsuma. The 
garrison suffered terrible privations and was relieved 
with great difficulty. As soon as the siege was raised 
Kodama took the field once more and fought several 
battles. In 1889 he was gazetted major-general and in 
the following year was sent to Europe to study the 
military systems of the western nations. During the 
war with China he held the important appointment of 
Vice Minister of War, In 1900 he was appointed 
Govenor General of the Island of Formosa, a post which 
he retains although in 1903 he was summoned to Tokyo 
to take the portfolio of Home Secretary. 

When Baron Kodama — he was raised to the 
peerage in 1895 with a step in rank as lieutenant- 
general — became a member of the Cabinet there was a 
universal cry for bold administration, and the hopes of 
reformers centered on the soldier-statesman to whom 

plan of Campaian anb Japanese Xeabers 27 

they had given the name " Minister of the Axe '' 
because of his declaration that in politics as in battle a 
sharp axe is better than a blunt knife. 

The encroachments of Russia in Manchuria and 
Korea turned Kodama^s energies and thoughts from 
politics to war, and in October of 1903, when Major- 
General Tamura died, he left the Cabinet to discharge 
the duties of assistant chief of the Head Quarter Staff, a 
post to which he was called not only by the voice of the 
people but by his comrades in arms. In this responsible 
and difficult position, the General has given proof of 
foresight and perseverance that have distinguished him 
throughout his career. He is a man of strong 
character and possesses in no small degree the indefinable 
quality known as personal magnetism. As a staff officer 
his clear head, his sound and ready judgment and his 
mastery of detail have been of the highest service. He 
has the infinite capacity for taking pains which Michael 
Angelo called genius. Night and day he sits at 
his desk attending to the multitudinous details of a 
great war, yet his door is never closed to a friend 
or even to the stranger who has any claim upon his 

Captain Tanaka, the baron's aide-de-camp, is a 
typical example of the new school. His knowledge of 
England is not confined to the language ; it extends to 
our military history in its obscurest details, and his spare 
moments are spent in translating into Japanese the 
tactical books of our army. 

28 jfrom tbe J^alu to iport Hrtbut 

General Fukushima, Director of Military Intel- 
ligence, is a much-travelled soldier and speaks English. 
He journeyed alone through Siberia in 1892, and 
brought back valuable reports that confirmed the high 
opinion of his special talent. At that time he was only 
a lieutenant-colonel, and his fame had not gone beyond 
a small official circle. When he returned from Siberia 
he was appointed to the Staff and was sent on a mission 
of investigation to China, Korea, and Russia. During 
the Chinese war he commanded a regiment, and was 
afterwards made Governor of Formosa, but resigned the 
post in consequence of some difference of opinion on 
the subject of the pigtail of the nationalized Chinese. 
Once more he took the road, and journeyed through 
India, Persia, and Turkey, with eyes that saw every- 
thing, ears that heard everything, and a memory 
that forgot nothing. In the Boxer troubles General 
Fukushima was in command of the Japanese contingent 
that took part in the Tientsin-Pekin operations, when 
the Japanese troops distinguished themselves for reckless 
courage and perfect discipline. 

The first general to take the field was General 
Kuroki. Born in the province of Satsuma sixty-one 
years ago, Baron Kuroki springs from the warrior 
class and was trained from infancy in the lessons of 
endurance, courage, and chivalry. In the revolution 
he fought for the Emperor against the Shogun, who had 
usurped all save the name of Mikado. He received 
his company in 1871, and six years later, as lieutenant- 

plan of Campafon an& Japanese Xeabers 29 

colonel, marched to the relief of Kumamoto Castle, 
where General Kodama and the Imperial troops were 
beseiged by rebellious members of his own Satsuma 
clan. As soon as this civil war was over he joined the 
Staff, and was promoted to the rank of major-general 
in 1885. In the early stages of the war with China, 
General Kuroki was engaged in the work of mobilisa- 
tion, but when the struggle developed he was despatched 
to the front with the rank of lieutenant-general, and 
commanded one of the divisions that took Wei-hai-wei 
after a desperate resistance by the Chinese. 

Like all brave leaders. General Kuroki is greatly 
beloved by his men. 

General Fujii, Chief of the Staff* of the First 
Army, is one of the most able and popular officers in 
the army. He entered the service as a cadet and is now 
only forty-three years of age. Leaving Germany, where 
he was military attache for four years, he joined the 
Staff" of Field-Marshal Oyama during the Chinese War, 
and fought at Port Arthur and Wei-hai-wei. After 
acting as instructor in the Staff* College he returned to 
Europe as attachi in Vienna, and came back to Japan to 
be chief instructor in the Staff* College. Immediately 
before the war he made an adventurous journey through 
Korea, and gained much knowledge of the country that 
was of service to the army. 

It was my good fortune to have the friendship of 
General Fujii and to have profited greatly by his 
experience and counsel, of which many indications may 

30 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

be found in this volume. He is a man of ready 
sympathy and phenomenal powers of work. Full of 
resource and daring, he possesses, in an astonishing 
measure, that concentration and detachment of mind 
which is found only in men of the highest capacity. 
I recall one example. During a battle General Fujii 
sent for me and laughingly complained that I never 
ventured near him. I replied that I would not dream 
of approaching him at so critical a time. " When you 
see me smoking a cigar you may know that I am ready 
to talk with you on any subject you like." As the 
general was always smoking I had no scruples in the 
future, though, lest the stock of cigars should fail, it 
was my habit to present him with a few cigars before 
the fighting began. 

When 1 look back and endeavour to form an 
estimate of the character of those who direct the 
Japanese army, I am bound to confess that no country 
in the world can boast of men more endowed by nature 
and better equipped by training for the desperate service 
of war. Their energy and industry are not less 
remarkable than their ability and devotion to duty. 
When a man falls short of this high standard — and 
there have been a few such men — he disappears and not 
a protest is heard. No one in Japan would propose to 
make Field Marshals of their failures. 

Chapter V 


It was of supreme importance that Pyng-yang should 
be occupied without delay. Once in the posses- 
sion of that city the Japanese could command three 
points for the landing of troops in Korea-Fusan, on the 
South-East, Chemulpo on the West, twenty-six miles 
from the capital, and Chinampo, whence Pyng-yang, forty 
miles distant, could be reached by road and river. 
Moreover, it was desirable to avoid a contest, for Ping- 
yang, as the Japanese found in 1894, is not easy to 
attack from the South. But caution, as well as speed 
and secrecy, was necessary. Though the diplomatic 
rupture was complete, hostilities had not begun, and the 
command of the sea was undetermined. 

Fusan was secure as long as the Japanese fleet 
controlled the Korean Strait ; as a port, it had many 
drawbacks. Facilities for landing were poor. Only a 
few miles of railway had been laid, and the distance from 
Seoul was two hundred and sixty-seven miles. Soun- 
chen, in the Gulf of Tai-kang, between Fusan and 
Mokpo, was more convenient, and arrangements were 
made to disembark troops at that port. Roads were 
constructed, relay stations and supply depots were estab- 
lished, and it was calculated that the capital could be 


32 JFtom tbe Iffalu to port Httbut 

reached by the first days of April. Thus, while neglect- 
ing no preparation in the South, the Japanese kept their 
eyes and hopes fixed on the Northern ports, and were 
ready to seize the first opening. 

The First Army was mobilised on February the 
6th. Twenty-four hours later some men of the Twelfth 
Division landed at Chemulpo and entered Seoul with- 
out opposition. Transports arrived on the 8th, and 
landed troops in the presence of two Russian warships. 
Next day, Admiral Urui, who commanded the escorting 
squadron, carried out his orders which were to destroy 
the Russian cruisers and to secure the landing of the 
army at Chemulpo. The Varyag, a first-class cruiser, 
the Korietz, a third-class cruiser, and the transport Sun- 
gari were sunk in the harbour, and the port and capital 
of Korea were in the hands of the Japanese. This 
swift and unexpected blow was followed by a naval 
victory at Port Arthur, which advanced the campaign 
by one month. 

In seven days Japan had won control of the Korean 
Gulf. Fusan was no longer needed as a base, and the 
weary march of two hundred and sixty miles from Soun- 
chen was avoided. Troops began to debark at 
Chemulpo without let or hinderance save such as arose 
from the absence of landing facilities. Small boats were 
few, and wharfage and shore accommodation were wanting. 
The result was that transports were delayed two or three 
days, and that part of the Fourteenth Regiment, which 
reached the mouth of the Salee river on the i8th of 

XTbe Xan&in^ in Ikorea 33 

February, did not land until the 2ist. One company of 
this regiment was already hurrying towards Pyng-yang, 
conscious of the importance of the mission with which it 
was entrusted. Landed at Chemulpo on the 6th, this 
company advanced by forced marches and reached Pyng- 
yang not a moment too soon, for the Russian cavalry 
were fifteen miles North, and on the 28th a troop of 
Cossacks appeared at the North gate of the city. Here 
the first shots on land were exchanged, and the Russians 

Pyng-yang is situated on the river Tai-tong, about 
sixty miles from the coast, and is the capital of the 
province. Long before the Christian era it was the seat 
of Government, and remained the centre of royal 
authority until the tenth century, when the turbulence of 
the people and repeated assaults by the Chinese drove 
the Court to Seoul. It is a collection of mean and 
squalid houses, the number of which is estimated at 
three hundred thousand. Beyond the ancient walls, 
which have withstood many a savage raid, dwells a large 
and scattered population, who cultivate the great plain 
that extends to the foot of the hill on which the city is 
built. From a military point of view Pyng-yang is of 
great importance. Standing on the Great Mandarin 
road, along which tribute was borne to Pekin, it com- 
mands the approach to Seoul, which is one hundred and 
seventy-six miles distant, to Gensan, an open port on 
the north-east coast, and to Chinampo, twenty miles 
from the mouth of the Tai-tong, the natural base of 

34 Jfrom tbe IJalu to port Hrtbur 

supplies where the Japanese landed their stores during 
the Chinese War in 1894. 

Had the Russians realised the importance that the 
Japanese attached to the immediate and unopposed 
occupation of Pyng-yang they would surely have made 
some effort to delay the advance of this small force. 
They knew, of course, that it would give their enemy a 
strategic position and would provide them with a base at 
Chinampo — a few days march from the Yalu. But they 
did not forsee what use the Japanese would make of the 
coast North of the Tai-tong River, and what a disastrous 
effect this would have in their first encounter. 

The duty assigned to General Kuroki's army was 
to march North as quickly as possible, to discover the 
enemy and to give him battle. With Pyng-yang in his 
possession, the task was less difficult than it had 
appeared at the beginning of February. But many 
obstacles had to be overcome and many problems solved 
before the army could advance with safety and a definite 
purpose. Having no certain knowledge of the strength 
and intentions of the enemy, General Kuroki had to 
make plans for every contingency. He was aware that 
the Russians were entrenched on the North bank of the 
Yalu, yet he was by no means sure that they would not 
oppose him somewhere South of the river. 

General Michtchenko*s movements darkened the 
councils of the Japanese who were disposed to ascribe to 
them an intelligent purpose. When the Russian leader 
came to Syen-chen in a four-wheeled carriage he had 

Uhc XanMna In Ikorea 35 

with him 2,500 Cossacks and one battery of Field 
Artillery. With this force he occupied Anju, an im- 
portant town on the Mandarin road, about thirty miles 
North of Pyng-yang. His next step was to send 
Korean spies to discover the movements of the enemy. 
Now the Korean looked upon the Russian as an un- 
welcome guest who occupied his house, ate his food, 
frightened away his women, and left him at the mercy of 
agents and interpreters to whose dirty palms stuck the 
roubles paid in compensation. His one ambition was to 
get rid of these visitors. Spies accordingly returned 
with reports that the Japanese were coming in ^reat 
force from three directions. These stories had the effect 
they were intended to produce, and the Cossacks retired 
North with artillery and transport, destroying the 
telegraph wires and encouraging the natives to use the 
poles for fuel. 

The constitution of General Michtchenko's force 
was another cause of perplexity. It was not easy to 
understand why a cavalry brigade should come as 
far South as Syen-chen into difficult mountainous 
country. If the object was to delay the advance of the 
Japanese, the cavalry would have been accompanied by a 
considerable force of infantry. On the other hand, if 
the purpose was merely to discover as quickly as possible 
the approach of the enemy, spies could have brought 
the information. Some deep laid scheme must lie 
hidden behind this mysterious cavalry screen. Thus 
argued the Japanese who were slow to admit so obvious 


36 fvom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

a tactical error on the part of their adversary. As a 
matter of fact, General Michtchenko had no great 
scheme. He was simply committing an elementary 
mistake which he emphasised by retiring along the main 
road where he had no opportunity of using his cavalry 
to ascertain the strength and direction of the Japanese 

Chapter VI 


General Kuroki and his stafF arrived at Pyng-yang 
on March 21st, and began to prepare for the advance. 
Four problems had first to be solved. At what point 
were the Russians likely to offer serious resistance ? 
Along what road must the Japanese march ? How were 
three divisions to be supplied with food and ammuni- 
tion ? Was it possible to transport heavy artillery to 
the Yalu ? Without precise information as to the 
enemy's plans the first question could not be answered. 
It was known, of course, that the Russians had an 
entrenched position North of the Yalu, but of their 
strength beyond Pyng-yang General Kuroki was igno- 
rant. Spies reported that the enemy had not bridged 
the river, but were able to cross the ice West of Wiju 
by means of planks and straw. There was, conse- 
quently, nothing to prevent the Russians from appearing 
in force South of the Yalu before the Japanese army 
could be concentrated at a point near the river. 

General Kuroki had to take precautions against 
this contingency. Reconnaissances showed that the 
Cossacks were hovering about the river which flows 
through Anju, but whether with artillery and infantry 


38 jFvom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

could not be ascertained. Uncertain of what lay behind 
this cavalry screen, General Kuroki prepared to fight in 
the course of his advance on the river. 

Anju accordingly became the next objective. The 
Second Division had landed at the mouth of the Tai- 
tong river on March i6th, and before the 2ist the 
greater part of the Twelfth Division had marched from 
Seoul to Ping.yang. The advance was begun a few 
days later, and was made in this order. The three 
divisions formed a line about thirty miles north of Ping- 
yang, stretching from Syunchong on the East through 
Sukchon on the main road and onward towards the coast. 
On the right, near Syunchong, was the Twelfth Division : 
in the centre, at Sukchon, was the Guards Divisic.i^ and 
on the left was the Second Division. 

As the troops moved rapidly Northward their diffi- 
culties increased. Despite the labours of an army of 
sappers the roads were in a terrible state. The surface, 
frozen to a depth of twelve inches, began to melt, and 
man and horse plunged through morass and quagmire. 
At Pyng-yang it was comparatively easy to feed three 
divisions because of the river, but the task grew heavier 
with every mile, for transport trains that were intended 
to cover six ri a day could often march only two ri. 
Native coolies were engaged in tens of thousands, yet 
even these did not suffice, and the army must have 
suffisred serious privations had it not been that Korea, 
unlike Manchuria, produces large quantities of rice and 
that the people were willing to sell. 

Xtbe IRortberu Hbrance 39 

At Anju it was apparent that the Russians did not 
intend to oppose the advance South of the Yalu. 
General Kuroki accordingly halted to collect supplies 
at that place and to complete his plans. Assuming that 
no battle would be fought until the Yalu was reached, 
the army must march seven days and each division must 
have twenty-one days supplies of food and ammunition. 
It was calculated that at least four weeks stores must 
be collected at Anju before the advance could begin. 
Fortunately it was possible now to send ships from 
Chinampo to the mouth of the river Tching-chien, so 
that Anju was provisioned more quickly than the 
Japanese had anticipated. 

From Anju General Kuroki had choice of two 
roads. He might march along the Mandarin road that 
runs direct to Wiju, or he might take the Eastern road 
which passes through Yunsan and reaches the Yalu at 
Chosan. Natives declared that field guns and wheeled 
transport could not move along the Eastern road, 
whereas if the Mandarin road was repaired in certain 
places the passage of guns and carts was practicable. In 
one respect, at least, there was no uncertainty. No 
sooner would the army begin to march along one 
road than it would regret that it had not chosen the 
other. But there were considerations more important 
than those of ease. It was imperative that the force 
should be on the same road that the main body of the 
enemy would select if by any chance the Russians made 
up their minds to come South of the Yalu. As far as 

40 jfrom tbe Iffalu to iport Hrtbur 

that river the Mandarin road was undoubtedly the 
better, but beyond the Yalu the Eastern road was good 
and would be more convenient in the event of the 
Japanese having to turn the intrenched position at 
Chiu-lien-cheng or to march directly on Liao-yang. 
To divide the army and send it by both roads 
would facilitate transport, but in the face of a 
strong and enterprising foe this would be dangerous 
tactics, for there were no lateral communications or 

The Japanese Staff decided to make use of both 
roads. A mixed brigade was sent by the Eastern route 
through Yunsan, while the main body of two and a half 
divisions advanced along the Mandarin road. Once 
more arose the serious question of supplying with food 
and ammunition this great force on the march. The 
stores accumulated at Anju would not suffice, as they 
could not be sent forward quickly enough. It was 
necessary to discover another sea base further North. 
To make wide reconnaisances was not easy, seeing that 
the enemy's cavalry were still South of the Yalu. But 
the Japanese had two strong incentives. Besides the 
question of food was that of the heavy artillery. At 
Chinampo were two batteries of 5-inch howitzers that 
must be carried to the Yalu with speed and secrecy. 
To transport them by the main road, even if practicable, 
would be to disclose their presence to the Russians, who 
were confident that nothing heavier than field guns 
could be brought to the Yalu. 

Zbc IRortbern H^\>ance 41 

Volunteers were not wanting to undertake this 
dangerous enterprise. Officers of the navy and army 
put off in small boats under cover of night, and searched 
every mile of the coast and of the tracks leading there- 
from. The peninsula of South- West of Charenkwan was 
deemed the best place, and General Kuroki decided to 
send a force sufficient to cover the landing of guns and 
and supplies at Richao. A large number of men would 
be needed should the Russians discover the secret and 
descend into the peninsula. But again rose the problem 
of feeding a detached body of troops, whose sea com- 
munications were dependent on the weather and on the 
absence of a Russian squadron. After careful calculation 
General Kuroki came to the conclusion that he could not 
send more than two regiments of cavalry and one regi- 
ment of infantry. This force accordingly marched North 
and came to Chonju on March 28th. General Micht- 
chenko four days earlier had received a message 
reproaching him for having allowed Pyng-yang to be 
occupied by a single company of Japanese infantry, and 
commanding him to do something to check the rapid 
advance of the enemy. He accordingly went South with 
six hundred Cossacks, and encountered the Japanese 
detached force under the walls of Chonju. 

The Russians attacked Chonju from three sides, 
and were opposed at first by only a few soldiers who had 
been left to hold the town. Hearing shots some cavalry 
of the Guard that had ridden North returned with all 
speed, and messengers were despatched to warn 

42 fvom tbe 19alu to port Hrtbur 

the main body. Hard pressed, and almost surrounded, 
the Japanese held a position South of Chonju, until 
reinforced by infantry from main detachment, who 
arrived breathless after a race of three miles. Seizing 
elevations on the East and South-east the infantry 
opened fire, and drove back the Cossacks, who fell back 
upon Charenkwan. 

This little victory secured for the Japanese a fresh 
landing place. Roads, however, must be made before 
howitzers and carts could be moved inland. This was a 
work of tremendous difficulty, for the whole countryside 
was a fathomless bog. Yet the engineers of the Second 
Division were equal to the task, despite the fact that for 
twenty days they had been making every foot of the 
road along which the division marched from Chinampo. 
From Richao, where the howitzers were put on shore, 
to the main road at Charenkwan is a distance of fifteen 
miles — fifteen miles of rice fields and morass. Pine trees 
were cut from the hills and sunk in the mire until a 
foundation could be secured for branches and brush 
wood, which in turn were covered with earth. In nine 
days a path was made from the sea, and the pioneers of 
the Second Division had the satisfaction of knowing that 
if heavy artillery failed the Japanese as it did in the 
Chinese War it would not be for the same reason. 

Chapter VII 


In Japan you must take the advice of St. Paul and 
follow after patience. No country teaches the lesson so 
thoroughly. In Tokyo the patience of hope gave place 
to the patience of despair, yet we had promise of 
recompense. Captain Tanaka, the genial and inscrutable 
aide-de-camp of General Kodama, wrote to me these 
words : " The men of great patience will, I think, be 
crowned with an invaluable reward and unfathomable 
blessing by Heaven ! '' I was beginning to doubt if I 
should live long enough to wear that crown when the 
order came to march. Whither we were not told and 
did not stop to inquire, for Japanese generals, like 
soldiers of other countries, love to clothe in mystery 
their most obvious movements and prefer always to 
"drink tea by strategy." It was enough that we were 
to proceed to Chemulpo and there await further 

From Chemulpo we were ordered at once to 
Chianampo in the transport Suminoye Maru. At dawn 
on April loth we approached the mouth of the Salee 
river and saw before us a glorious panorama of sea and 
shore. Gleaming like a sheet of steel the channel 


44 JFtom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

stretched away in the grey distance studded with brown 
bosses of islet and rock, like a huge buckler slung 
before the harbour. 

On the afternoon of April I2th5 I left Chianampo 
with my interpreter, Mr. Ito, and proceeded to Pyng- 
yang where orders awaited us. Weather and hard 
usage had wiped out every trace of a track, and when 
my restive Chinese pony was not wallowing in mire he 
was doing a tight rope performance on a few inches of 
crumbling earth over the slimy depths of a paddy field. 
After many hours we came to Ayshin, a squalid hamlet 
of wattle walls in which lived and died the famous 
Chinese classic Kwantaishi, whose essays are known to 
every scholar in the East. 

Yongan was my resting place for the night. Here 
I was received by the pay-master of a regiment of the 
Guards — a banker and former member of the Japanese 
Parliament, who had quartered himself in the gaol, 
which was certainly cleaner than any house in the 
village. Next morning my host presented me with two 
sticks used for punishing criminals. They are of hard 
wood about an inch square, inscribed with Chinese 
characters denoting the number of strokes under which 
the unhappy offender often dies. I resumed my 
journey under dismal conditions, for rain had fallen in 
the night and a dense fog overhung the castle on the 
hill in which Kato and the early Japanese invaders of 
Korea were besieged and reduced to such straits that 
they ate the mud walls. 

In comfortable Quarters. 

My Interpreter and Staff. 

[facing p. 44 

jBn IRoute tor tbe ifront 45 

For ten miles I waded through a quagmire, and my 
horse was mired to the girths. Rain was still falling 
when I entered Kang-sye, a foul village reeking with ages 
of filth. Our meal of rice that evening was supplemented 
by two small birds, shot by an intelligent sergeant, who 
also presented to me a manuscript copy of the Korean 
laws, and two volumes of the history of Korea. Next 
morning the native Governor arrived to pay his respects 
to the colonel in command of the depot. He was an old 
man with the white beard of which Koreans are proud. 
His top-knot was concealed under a black net of horse- 
hair, over which was a white hat, shaped like an up-turned 
flower pot on a round table. This strange head-gear is 
made of bamboo, split to a fineness of a silk thread, and 
is the most distinctive feature in a Korean scene. Under 
his loose white robe the Governor wore a sleeveless 
waistcoat of purple. His dignity, and not his feebleness, 
required the support of two retainers, who held the 
magistrate under his arms as he stepped into the colonel's 
room and squatted on the matted floor. He had com- 
plaint to make of rice stolen, women frightened, and 
shrines desecrated by the stalling of horses. The colonel 
explained that ofl'ences of this kind were severely 
punished, but that misunderstandings must arise owing 
to the difference in language. He urged the Governor 
to encourage the people to return to their homes as seed 
time was drawing near, and impressed on him the 
urgency of repairing the roads. 

From Kang-sye to Pyng-yang the journey was 

46 ifrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtf3Ut 

easy. The rain had ceased, and the road was compara- 
tively hard. Between the coast and the city is an 
unbroken succession of mountains and valleys. The 
slopes of the hills are cultivated, and the flats are paddy 
fields. The soil is fertile, but the cultivation is primi- 
tive, and the people are indolent. Rice, which is the 
staple food, is grown everywhere in great quantities, and 
on every hand are fields of maize, barley and millet. 
The Koreans are meat eaters, and breed immense herds 
of cattle, most of which had been driven into the 
mountains in order to keep the soldiers out of tempta- 
tion. The ox is the common beast of burden, and near 
Ping-yang I saw long lines of them laden with packs. 
They are fine animals, much larger than the Japanese 
oxen, and are hardy and tractable. We approached the 
city across a broad plain, which stretches South-east to 
a distance of thirty miles. On the North and West are 
wooded heights that reach within two or three miles of 
the walls. Round the city proper is a wall of irregular 
shape, from six to seven miles in circumference. The 
Eastern wall is thirty feet high, surmounted by a crene- 
lated parapet, and rises sheer from the bank of the river 
Tai-tong, which is two hundred yards broad and twenty 
feet deep at this point. On the South is the old city, 
surrounded by an earth wall, from ten to fifteen feet 
high, broken down in many places, and embracing an 
area of three miles by two. 

Entering through a broad gate guarded by Japanese 
sentries we traversed street after street of thatched 

)Bn IRoute tor tbe ifront 47 

houses and shops crowded with soldiers and Koreans, 
who appeared to be doing a brisk trade in the common 
necessities of life. The smells and abominations of the 
city are surpassed — in my experience — only by those of 
Jerusalem. There is one clean spot, and that is the 
American Mission, which is doing excellent work, and 
reports most favourably on the intelligence of the youth 
of the country, their eagerness to learn, and their 
capacity for developing domestic virtues. The Koreans 
are commonly supposed to have no religion except a 
complicated system of ancestor worship. This is an 
error, for they also worship demons, and are full of 
strange superstitions. Walking at night through one of 
the main streets — which in the darkness I mistook for a 
sewer — my attention was arrested by the tinkling of a 
bell, accompanied by a droning chant. Mr. Graham 
Lee, an American missionary, guided me to a group of 
natives squatted at the door of a house. In the middle 
of the throng sat a blind man tinkling a tiny brass bell 
with a shell, and muttering an incantation over a bowl 
of rice, some pickles, and three small cups of native 
spirit. He was exorcising the devil that had entered a 
man who lay sick in the house, and the food and drink 
were to tempt the evil spirit out of doors. The duty of 
exorcist is the special province of the blind, who are the 
wizards of the land. 

I remained in Pyng-yang no longer than was 
necessary to secure a permit to travel North, and to 
change some Japanese notes for the current coin. Owing 

48 iFtom tbe l^alu to povt Hrtbur 

to the issue of nickles, the intrinsic value ot which is 
only one-eighteenth of their face value — without gold or 
silver to redeem them — the number of counterfeit coins 
is enormous. Spurious money is imported in large 
quantities from Japan, and permission to coin nickles is 
freely granted to private individuals who can pay for the 
privilege of robbing their neighbours. The only medium 
of exchange is the half yang, of which twenty make one 
shilling, so that the bulk and weight of even a few days' 
expenditure are serious considerations for the traveller. 
Cash, circular pieces of brass with a square hole, are also 
in circulation. 

At Syunan — a typical hamlet of mud walls and 
thatched roofs — I was assigned to quarters in the house 
of a wealthy native who owns the country-side. His 
abode differed only in size from that of his poorest 
neighbour, for a corrupt government and official 
exactions not merely destroy incentive to industry and 
enterprise but create a semblance of indigence among 
the well-to-do who wish to retain their property. Four 
mud walls and a mud floor, not over clean, gave me 
shelter, and I shivered all night in my fur coat, for I 
travelled with nothing more than my saddle bags in order 
that my progress might not be impeded. To my ration 
of rice and beef the owner of the house added some 
ducks* eggs and an infusion of wheat — the native 
substitute for tea. 

On the way to Anju next day I passed miles of 
transport. The road was white with Koreans laden with 

iBn IRoute for tbe jftont 49 

rice packed in straw for the Japanese army. The coolie 
is strong and capable of much endurance. He will 
walk — as I afterwards discovered — fifty miles a day for 
a week or more ; but he is unreliable, improvident, and 
incorrigibly lazy. He carries his load on a small wooden 
frame called a "chikai," fastened to the shoulders with 
straw-padded loops. His ordinary burden is eighty 
pounds, and a day*s march is sixty li or twenty miles. 
The Japanese hired them of headmen, and paid by 
distance and load, so that they secured a cheap and 
ready transport in a country where wheeled traffic is 
almost unknown. They also made use of oxen, donkeys, 
and ponies. The Korean pony is very hardy, stands 
from eleven to thirteen hands, and can carry from 150 
to 200 lbs. thirty miles a day. His feed is a hot mash, 
and he is not allowed to drink cold water. His nostrils 
are slit to make him long winded, and on the whole he 
is a very serviceable little beast, though his morals are 
those of the poultry yard, and his vices are legion. 

At dusk we were still winding our weary way over 
mountains, through passes and across valleys. Anju 
seemed a myth, but at night we entered the city and 
were hospitably received by the Japanese. It is a town 
of some importance, and stands on an eminence sur- 
rounded by a wall built for defence against incursions 
from the North. The streets are narrow and foul, and 
the hovels were crowded to overflowing with soldiers on 
their way to the front. In the early morning I left 
Anju, and crossing a bi-oad river rode over a sandy plain 

50 JFrom tbe )3alu to iport Hrtbuv 

that was at one time the bed of a torrent. A few miles 
of broken country brought me to another water course 
which, like most of the rivers of Korea, is shallow and 
channelless. The Japanese had bridged this river, but 
in order to avoid a long diversion I passed over in a 
ferry boat or lighter. By way of Kasan I reached 
Tyon-ju on the 17th of April, having to travel through 
very wild country and to walk eighteen miles, dragging 
behind me a very weary horse. It was close upon mid- 
night when I presented myself at the depot, only to find 
the officer in command too much occupied with a gift of 
oxen from the King of Korea to give heed to the 
" European gentleman '* who came hungry and footsore. 
At Syen-chen, where I haltered next night, I had a 
delightful welcome from the American Mission, of which 
Dr. Sharrocks is the head. Head-quarters of the army 
were at Sharenkwan — a short day's march — and on the 
19th of April Mr. McKenzie of the Daily Mail (who 
had overtaken me at Tyon-ju, where I was detained by 
a slight accident through miscalculating the height of a 
Korean door) and I were presented to General Fujii, 
Chief of the Staff. We were just in time, for head- 
quarters moved next day to Hiken-min-jori, and on the 
following morning to the vicinity of Wiju, where we 
found the army preparing to force the passage of the 

Chapter VIII 


Between China and Korea nature has thrown a barrier of 
mountain and river that looks impregnable. Behind 
this defence the Russians decided to make their first 
stand. The Yalu is the longest river in Korea, and has 
its source on the Southern slopes of Chang-poi-Chang. 
Its upper reaches traverse an almost inaccessible region of 
forest and mountain, but from its junction with the 
Eastern Hun river the valley is cultivated. From the 
Manchurian side the Yalu receives several tributaries 
that descend from the Ever White Mountains, making 
it in spring and autumn a turbulent flood. After a 
sinuous course of three hundred and twenty miles like 
the writhing of a dragon, the Yalu, swollen by the waters 
of the Ai-ho, empties itself into the Yellow Sea. 

Wiju is situated about two miles South of the main 
stream of the Yalu, in the hollow of the hills over 
which runs a wall of light stone. A steep ridge separates 
the city from its port on the river, which is navigable as 
far as Tchang-cheng, a noted trading place sixty miles 
from the sea. The population of Wiju — " the strong- 
hold of the West " — in ordinary times is twelve 
thousand, exclusive of one thousand Korean soldiers, 

51 D2 

52 ifrotn tbe J^alu to iport Hrtbut 

whose chief business was to scrutinise all persons 
entering or leaving the Hermit Kingdom by the Man- 
darin road which passes through the city. 

Screened by cavalry whose lines stretched from 
Yongampo, near the mouth of the Yalu, through Wiju 
to a point some miles East of Suikochin on the upper 
stream, the Japanese infantry pressed forward toward the 
scene of their first battle. The Guards marched along 
the main road and were the first to enter Wiju. The, 
Second Division came up on the West, while the Twelfth 
Division, armed with mountain guns, and composed of 
expert hill-fighters, continued to traverse the moun- 
tainous country on the East. On April 21st the 
concentration was completed. 

Almost every foot of the way was made under 
difficulties. So bad were the roads that the passage of 
one field gun rendered it necessary for the artillery to 
halt and repair the path for the next gun. Infantry as 
well as pioneers were employed in constructing roads 
from the Peninsula of Tyolsan. In some places the 
ground was very rocky, and involved much labour. 
Elsewhere morass and paddy field had to be spanned 
with timber. There are few districts in Korea that have 
not been denuded of forest, and wood is scarce. For- 
tunately, to the South of Wiju is an Imperial preserve 
known as White Horse Hill, the slopes of which gave a 
plentiful supply of timber. 

When General Kuroki and his Staff arrived at Wiju 
and surveyed the valley of the Yalu from the temple on 


c ^ 

•S f 

C Q. 

•7. "^ 



3 ?: 

Qi o 



TLbc XOallcv of tbe l^alu 53 

the North of the city they were filled with foreboding. 
To cross that network of rivers and attack an enemy of 
unknown strength entrenched in the hills beyond was 
a hazardous enterprise. At first glance it seemed 
hopeless. Even on a clear day field glasses were required 
to see the white walls of Chiu-lien-cheng. From 
the Temple to Conical Hill, North of the village, where 
the Russians had their artillery position, was a distance 
of six thousand metres, and between these points 
were five or six deep and swift streams that must 
be bridged. 

A study of the river is essential to an under- 
standing of the battle. Opposite Wiju the Yalu and 
the Ai-ho flow through a broad delta bounded on the 
North by a steep and rugged mountain range that 
descends West of Antung into small hills and cultivated 
flats. The rivers separate into several streams and form 
many islands over which are scattered tiny hamlets. 
Close to Wiju, between the Yalu and a branch of that 
river, lies the island of Kontonto, seamed with deep 
dongas in which Russian riflemen were concealed. 
North of Kontonto, beyond the main stream, is the 
island of Wozakto, West of which, between branches 
of the Yalu and the Ai-ho, rises Tiger Hill, a 
bold promontory three thousand metres from Wiju. 
Enclosed by the same branch of the Ai-ho and the 
main stream of that river stretches another delta known as 
Chonchagtai, whereon , the most conspicuous building is 
a temple surrounded by a red wall. West of this island 

54 Jfrom tbe l^alu to iport Httbur 

flows the main stream of the Ai-ho, which passes within 
one thousand metres from Conical Hill before it 
approaches Chiu-]ien-cheng. Near to the Korean shore 
the Yalu and another of its branches form the island of 
Nanzato. The South-west of the delta is opposite 
Antung, where the river is five hundred metres wide 
and is deep enough to allow small coasting vessels to 
steam within three or four miles from the town. At 
the Northern extremity of the delta lies the island of 
Kulito. In considering the tactical possibilities of the 
river it is most important to keep in mind the fact 
that at Kulito the main stream of the Yalu runs along 
the Russian side, while near Wiju it flows along the 
Japanese side, making a sharp turn almost North and 
South and bending again toward the South-west. 

Tiger Hill and the heights to the North between 
the main streams of the Yalu and the Ai-ho, stand next 
in tactical importance. Would these mountains admit 
of any big movement of troops ? The experience of 
1894 was of little value, seeing that in the Chinese War 
only one regiment crossed these mountains. At that 
time the Japanese were of opinion that the heights were 
useless for offensive purposes, since they were steep and 
rugged and had no paths running East and West. 
Natives declared that only men and pack ponies could 
traverse them, and that at one or two places alone 
could roads be made with extreme labour owing to the 
hardness of the rock. These difficulties, so far from 
deterring General Kuroki, were a strong incentive. If 

xrbe Dallei^ ot tbe l^alu 55 

these mountains were inaccessible then they were the 
very quarter from which to surprise the enemy and 
turn his flank. 

How and at what points should the river be 
crossed ? The solution of these problems depended on 
several factors that could be ascertained only by careful 
and extensive reconnaisances. In the Autumn of 1894, 
when the Japanese invaded Manchuria, the water was 
low and there was a ford near Suikochin. Now that the 
ice was melting in the mountains the river was deep. 
There was no ford and the Russians had taken away all 
the native boats. Seventy boats had been brought from 
Japan in the hope that they might be of service, but it 
was impossible to bring them up the river under the 
guns and rifles of the enemy. Many soldiers volunteered 
to swim the rivers, to cross on rafts and on inflated 
bladders. But General Kuroki would listen to none of 
these wild schemes, deeming them too hazardous 
before an enemy whose strength and purpose were 

Before the rivers could be bridged it was necessary 
to make sure that the water was not rising, for there was 
always the danger that while the ice on the lower stream 
melted, the upper stream would remain frozen and that 
ice floes would descend and sweep away the bridges. 
Cavalry were accordingly employed to place hydrometers 
in various places and to note the rise or fall of the river. 
As the waters of the Yalu rose or fell so rose or fell the 
hopes of General Kuroki and his stafi\. 

56 ffrom tbe 15alu to port Hrtbur 

To reconnoitre the valley for battle was very 
difficult. All the rivers were wider, deeper and swifter 
than was expected. The main stream was four hundred 
and fifty metres wide, and the smaller not less than one 
hundred metres in width. 

Koreans reported vaguely that near the enemy's 
main position the Ai-ho was fordable in two or three 
places where the water rose no higher than a man's 
chest. A shower of rain or the melting of ice on the 
upper stream would drown these fords. Moreover, the 
lives of men and the issues of war could not be com- 
mitted to native rumours. Careful investigation must 
be made. But the Ai-ho flowed only one thousand 
metres in front of the Russian position and two thousand 
metres behind their outposts. Reconnaissance was 
therefore impracticable as long as the enemy remained 
in possession of the islands, of Tiger Hill and of the 
hills to the North. Cossacks also patrolled the country 
from Tiger Hill to Antung and Westward beyond the 
mouth of the Yalu as far as Takushan. 

General Kuroki was of opinion that no fewer than 
twelve bridges were needed. Before their construction 
could be attempted every stream must be carefully 
examined for places where the water was shallowest, the 
river bed suitable for driving piles, and the distance 
between the banks shortest. It was essential that the 
Russians should be kept as long as possible in ignorance 
of the points at which the Japanese purposed bridging, 
or every yard of the valley was visible from their 






xrbe Dalles ot tbe ^aln si 

position and they had marked the ranges. To make 
many reconnaissances in any quarter would be to betray 
the probable position of a bridge and to offer it for a 
target to the enemy's artillery. 

To transport men was difficult enough, but to pass 
heavy guns across the river in face of the enemy seemed 
impossible. Yet it must be done. The hills North and 
East of Chiu-lien-cheng were beyond the range of Japanese 
guns South of the main stream. Unless both field and 
heavy artillery could be carried across the Yalu they 
could not be used with effect. It was hazardous to carry 
guns over a deep river four hundred and fifty metres 
wide under fire from the enemy. Even in the night the 
attempt might be frustrated, since the range at every 
point was known to the Russians. 

Chapter IX 


It is always an interesting and instructive spectacle to 
behold the inventive genius of man engaged in a struggle 
with mighty forces, and to observe courage, skill and 
endurance overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable. 
The situation in which the Japanese found themselves on 
the banks of the Yalu called for the exercise of all these 
qualities in a supreme degree. How they made a 
passage over this net work of rivers in face of an enemy 
entrenched in the heights and within range of artillery 
will be memorable in the history of war. 

The work of reconnaissance was undertaken by 
officers and men, some of whom swam the rivers and 
brought back reports as to the places suitable for bridg- 
ing, the exact locality of fords and their depth, the 
positions available for artillery, and the nature and 
strength of the forces on the islands and in the hills to 
the north of Tiger Hill. Many of these brave men lost 
their lives, but they did not die in vain. The engineers, 
who had worked without rest for thirty-eight days, and 
had worn their spades and axes down in the wood, dis- 
played daring and energy that seemed to be inexhaustible. 
The sappers of the Second Division, who, since their 
landing in Korea, had constructed one hundred and fifty 


Bribfltng tbe l^alu 59 

miles of road, discovered two or three old canoes which 
the Russians had broken up and left as useless. These 
they repaired, and with them navigated the river at night 
in search of places that might be bridged for heavy 
guns and field guns. 

The howitzers, whose presence was unknown to the 
Russians, were to be taken across the branch stream to 
the island of Kontonto. A suitable place was found 
about two thousand metres West of Wiju, where the 
stream was only seven metres wide, and the bank on 
each side was high enough to screen the pioneers. In 
this work none of the regular bridging material of the 
army was to be used, and pontoons had to be made from 
material collected five miles away. Six boats and several 
rafts were built, and were supplemented by a few old 
boats that were water-logged in the river. On the night 
of April 27th the bridging of the stream was begun, and 
at five o'clock next morning it was completed. Next 
day while some repairs were in progress the Russians 
opened fire on the pontoons, but did no damage, and 
on the night of the 29th the heavy artillery passed safely 
over to Kontonto island, where they were cleverly 
concealed in empalments screened with trees and 

For the field guns a second bridge was built at a 
point two hundred and eighty metres West of Wiju, 
also from material gathered in the neighbourhood. 
Here, in some parts, the stream was two metres deep 
and icy cold. The work was begun on the night of 

6o jfrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

April 25th, and at four o'clock next morning seven men 
were so benumbed that they had to be rescued from 
drowning. In three hours they recovered and resumed 
their labours. On the morning of the 26th the Russians 
discovered the bridge, and bombarded it for three hours 
from Tiger Hill. No harm was done until nine o'clock, 
when the batteries on Conical Hill opened fire, and one 
shell struck the bridge, wounding an engineer. Despite 
the cannonade the work went on without interruption 
until an order came from head-quarters to stop during 
the day time. Anxious that the enemy should not 
think that his men feared shell fire, the officer in com- 
mand told the sappers to withdraw slowly one by one. 
After this the material was prepared during the day 
behind the hills, and the work of construction was 
resumed under cover of darkness. The bridge was 
finished by the morning of the 27th, and on the night 
of the 29th the field guns were transferred to Kontonto 

Next morning it was decided that these guns must 
be carried over the main stream of the Yalu. Bridging 
was impossible, for the river was four hundred and fifty 
metres wide, and within three thousand metres of the 
Russian position. The order was given at nine o'clock, 
and eight hours afterward twenty-one pontoons were 
collected on the river North of Wiju where they could 
not be seen by the enemy. As soon as it was dark 
this fleet of pontoons dropped silently down the stream, 
keeping intervals of fifty metres in case the Russians 

Brt&atng tbe l^alu 6i 

opened fire. At seven o'clock they were in front of the 
Island Chonchagtai, and one officer and one private 
landed in order to find a suitable place for disembarking 
the guns. Three stages were erected on each side of the 
river, and at half-past nine o'clock the infantry guard of 
the guns began to cross the broad and swift stream. 
Each pontoon carried thirty-two men, and the boats 
took from fifteen to seventeen minutes in making the 
journey. A hasty reconnaissance showed that the island 
of Chonchagtai had been abandoned by the enemy, and 
the guns were ferried over in the pontoons. At three 
o'clock the work was completed without accident, 
and before dawn pontoons, tools, and material had 
vanished. Seven hours later some pontoons again 
crossed the river with ammunition for the guns and 
were fired upon. Two pontoons were struck by 
fragments of the same shell, and appeared to be sinking 
under a cloud of smoke, out of which rang triumphant 
shouts of " Banzai ! " Help was sent instantly, and 
the boats were brought safely to shore. One of the 
pontoons had nine holes in it, and one of the planks 
was smashed to pieces ; the other had seven holes — all, 
fortunately, above the water line. Two of the rowers 
were wounded, one severely and the other slightly. 
Neither left the oars for a second, though both fainted 
as soon as they were carried ashore. 

Another bridge was ordered to be thrown across 
the main stream in front of Tiger Hill, where the 
water was very deep, the river bed too hard for piles 

62 jfrom tbe Jffalu to pott Httbuc 

and the current so swift that two or three anchors were 
required for each boat. Neither nails nor anchors were 
in store and the pontoons had to be made from material 
collected about two thousand metres further up stream. 
An ingenious officer ordered his men to search the 
Korean houses for ploughshares, horse-shoes, sickles, 
hatchets, and any metal tools. The ploughshares were 
turned into anchors and the rest into nails. The work 
began on the night of April 28th, and by noon on the 
30th seventy-five pontoons were ready to span the 
river, which at that point was three hundred and 
thirty metres wide. West of Tiger Hill the branch of 
the Ai-ho is very deep, and here another bridge was 
made, two companies of infantry having been sent to 
drive the enemy from Tiger Hill and to select positions 
for a battery of field guns. 

It was of vital importance that the enemy should 
not discover the point at which the Twelfth Division, 
which was to make the flanking movement, would 
cross the Yalu. Suikochin, to the North-east of Wiju, 
was the place selected, and was bridged with the greatest 
secrecy and in the shortest possible time. Material was 
collected higher up the river and floated down stream 
in the darkness. As the road from Wiju to Suikochin 
was visible to the enemy the utmost care and vigilance 
had to be exercised, and the bridges had to be put 
together under cover of the hills. 

Before the battle began ten bridges were con- 
structed. Their united length was 2,126 metres ; half 

Btlfe^lng tbe l^alu 63 

of them were made from material found in the neigh- 
bourhood ; the other half were the regular pontoons 
of the army. 

The positions of the bridges are shown on the 
accompanying map. 

These elaborate preparations were made with 
remarkable speed and secrecy. The terrain was on 
the whole favourable. The low hills about Wiju 
concealed the movement of troops and the work of 
engineers. Every part of the road under the enemy's 
observation was screened by artificial avenues of firs 
and arches of maize straw which, from a distance, 
looked like natural growth, so that neither battallions 
nor batteries could be seen and counted as they 
descended the higher ground towards Wiju. 

It must not be imagined, however, that these 
plans altogether escaped the vigilance of the Russians 
or were effected without opposition. 

Chapter X 


To associate violence and death with the valley ot 
the Yalu seemed a sacrilege, so tranquil it looked and so 
beautiful. The sun lighted up the dark ridges and 
gilded the tawny sand through which flowed rivers that 
separated the broad plain into islands. Away to the 
East lay a wild forest country given over to hunters. 
Westward, as the estuary opened its arms to the embrace 
of the sea, rose the smoke of a city in the shadow of 
receding hills. Between city and forest were scattered 
hamlets and homesteads that sheltered a race of white- 
robed peasants. A strange stillness brooded over the 
valley : the air was charged with mystery : and mountain 
and river were heavy with portent. The great heart of 
nature had ceased to beat and life in the delta was 
suspended. With furled sails the junks rested in the 
yellow creeks : no oxen wandered in the fields or 
bemoaned their burden of rice straw : no husbandman 
made ready for seed time. The whole scene looked 
and felt like painted canvas. 

This was the valley of the Yalu, which from its 
source to the sea forms the frontier between Korea and 
Manchuria. The black specks that crawled like insects 
over ridge and flat were men awaiting the word of 





pteparino tor Battle 65 

command that was to make these silent hills resound 
with the thunders of battle. Our horses picked their 
way through the squalid streets and halted at the head- 
quarters of the Guards. A wooden gate, shaped like 
a temple, told us in Chinese characters that this was 
Wiju — "The Stronghold of the West." Through the 
walls of the city have poured again and again the 
invading armies of China, for Wiju is the ford of the 
Yalu, and along the track that resumes its march among 
the mountains has been borne for centuries the tribute 
paid by the Emperor of Korea to his suzerain in Pekin. 
Most of the inhabitants had fled and the mean lanes of 
thatched hovels had a depressing aspect. 

Passing through the North Gate we came to a 
steep hill crowned with a temple — Toguntai, or "The 
place from which to command an Army" — and saw far 
below us a splendid panorama of mountain and river. 
In bands of green and gold the delta meandered seaward 
among streams of dark blue and tawny brown. Rugged 
heights, seamed with deep gorges, reached down to the 
Northern shore. Against the blue sky beyond, range 
after range of hills purpled in the distance. The slopes 
were scored with passes through which rode Russian 
horsemen. Westward the mountains recede and are less 
precipitous, leaving ample space for the group of houses 
known as Chiu-lien-cheng, which is not a walled town as 
the name implies. Near slate-roofed barracks stood a 
few Cossacks : others rode slowly down towards the 
river Ai that flows within two thousand metres of the 

66 jfrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

hamlet. On the hills above Chiu-lien-cheng could be 
traced earth works and trenches that commanded the 
highway along which an army from the South must 
pass. Seaward, in the shadow of low receding hills, lay 
the Manchurian town of Antung with a population of 
150,000 and a considerable trade in nankeens, oil, iron, 
and timber, as the junks in the creek testified. 

This was the Russian position on the North bank 
of the estuary of the Yalu. In physical aspect it bore a 
strong resemblance to the position that confronted 
General Buller on the Tugela. There was the plain of 
the delta with the unfordable river beyond, and behind 
that were the pugged heights in which the Russians were 
entrenched. Their left flank rested on mountains that 
appeared inaccessible to large bodies of troops and 
unsuited to any operations other than those of guerilla 
warfare ; their right wing was covered by a broad deep 
river, while their front must be approached over a 
network of streams and flat country. According to the 
rules of war the position was impregnable. The only 
vulnerable point seemed to be on the right, where the 
Yalu is navigable by ships of shallow draft, and a 
cultivated plain stretches to the foot of receding hills 
that diminish in height as they draw nearer to the 
mouth of the estuary. 

On Friday, April 22nd, the Russians made their 
first effort to discover the strength of their adversaries 
and to ascertain at what point an attempt would be made 
to force the passage of the river. Four junks manned 

ptepartng tor Battle 67 

by infantry crossed over from the West of Antung. 
They were driven back by rifle fire and returned to the 
Manchurian side under cover of guns on a hill to the 
North-west of Antung. About the same time a 
thousand Cossacks were despatched to feel for the 
Japanese right flank. Fording the Yalu at Piek-tung, 
they disarmed some Korean soldiers and left three 
hundred troopers to occupy the place until the 28th, 
when they fell back across the river to Tcho-san before 
the advance of a Japanese battalion. 

The Japanese completed their preparations on 
April 24th ; their pontoons were ready and in their 
appointed places ; their troops were massed in Wiju 
and behind the hills to the South ; their gun positions 
had been well chosen to cover pioneers and landing 
parties and were artfully masked. But before the 
streams could be bridged the enemy must be driven 
from the islands of Kulito and Chonchagtai as well as 
from Tiger Hill. On the evening of the 2 5th5 two 
gunboats, two torpedo boats, and two armed launches 
entered Yongampo and made a demonstration in the 
direction of Antung with the object of deceiving the 
enemy as to the direction of the real attack. 

At half-past three o'clock on the morning of the 
26th, our camp, two miles South of Wiju, was roused by 
Captain Okada with a message from Head Quarters. 
We were to witness the operation of driving the 
Russian outposts from the islands. At eight o'clock the 
sound of rifle fire on the East told that the landing had 

E 2 

68 jfrom tbe 13alu to port Httbur 

begun and that the enemy had not been taken by- 
surprise. Several boats manned by infantry and sappers 
put off from Kontonto across the main stream. They 
met with but feeble resistance and after a few casualties 
secured a footing on the island. The Russian infantry 
•from the cover of Tiger Hill kept up a show of 
opposition while some Cossacks were sent to reinforce, 
but came too late. Their retirement was covered by a 
Hotchkiss gun on Tiger Hill which afterwards opened 
fire on Wiju, burning two houses and killing several 
natives. The Japanese guns remained silent and refused 
to disclose their position. Next day the enemy's 
cannonade was resumed, being directed mainly against 
the bridge in course of construction West of the town. 

On the 28th, two companies of Guards crossed the 
branch of the Yalu to Tiger Hill and drove the Russians 
from the promontory. At 4 p.m. on the following day 
a Russian battalion, with four guns, attacked the position 
and compelled the Guards to retire to Kulito, leaving 
the enemy again in possession of Tiger Hill. This 
temporary occupation of Tiger Hill caused the Russians 
to abandon Chonchagtai on the 28th. They accordingly 
set fire to the buildings, sparing only the temple, and 
for several hours smoke and flame stretching for nearly a 
mile across the island masked the movements of the enemy. 

Meanwhile preparations were made for the flanking 
movement. The mixed brigade, which had marched 
from Anju through Yusan to Shojo, collected material 
for bridging, and floated it down the river to Suikochin, 

preparing tor Battle 69 

thirteen miles North-east of Wiju, where the Twelfth 
Division were to cross. At first it was proposed to des- 
patch a force from Shojo to the other side of the river 
with the object of drawing the Russians in that direction 
and relieving the pressure on the Japanese front. But 
lack of bridging material and ignorance of the conditions 
North of the Yalu over-ruled this project as dangerous. 
The mixed brigade accordingly retired on April 29th, 
and rejoined the Twelfth Division at Suikochin, leaving 
only a few men to guard against surprise on the 
extremity of the right flank. There was, however, 
little fear that the enemy would attempt to cross at 
Shojo, where they would find themselves in moun- 
tainous country, and have diflliculty in obtaining 

The general plan of attack was made known in an 
army order issued at ten o*clock on the morning of 
April 28th. Some changes were afterwards made, but 
they did not materially affect the scheme. 

The Twelfth Division were to cross the Yalu at 
Suikochin on the night of the 29th, and by the evening 
of the 30th were to hold the line from Tiger Hill to 
Litsuyen. On the following day they were to advance 
to Santowan. The duty of this Division was to cover 
the crossing of the main army. If possible, General 
Inouye was to send a detachment to Altaokau to 
threaten the left wing and rear of the enemy who were 
entrenched at Makau and Yushukau on the north bank 
of the Ai-ho. 

70 iFrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

The Second Division, which formed the left flank, 
were to assemble at Shasanton, South-east of Wiju, at 
ten o'clock on the morning of the 30th, and to march at 
midnight to Wonfuaton, where four bridges spanned 
two branch streams of the Yalu. From the island of 
Kulito they were to pass by way of Tiger Hill to a 
position in front of the Ai-ho. The Second Regiment 
of artillery (Second Division) were to be stationed on 
the left bank of the main stream at Chonchagtai, and 
were to be ready to open fire at daybreak on the 30th. 

The Guards^ Division, having fewer difficulties to 
overcome, were to follow the same route as the Second 
Division on the night of the 30th, and to take up a 
position between the Twelfth and Second Divisions. 

The howitzer regiment was to occupy a position 
on Kontonto 'island on the 29th. One reserve battalion 
was posted near the howitzers to guard them and the 
field guns. 

The reserve, which consisted of four infantry 
battalions and five squadrons of cavalry, were to muster 
at four o'clock on the morning of May ist on the island 
of Kulito. 

Chapter XI 


The moment was drawing near when the armies would 
meet and the vaunted might of Russia would be put to 
the test. How would it fare with the Japanese ? Vic- 
torious at sea, would they be conquerors on land ? The 
people of Great Britain and the United States were 
divided between amazement at the presumption and 
admiration of the daring of the "little Japs.'' Those 
who measure the strength of armies by statistics of area 
and population, and by quotations from the Stock 
Exchange, had no doubt that the bigger country would 
win. Military men, satisfied by parades, manoeuvres, 
and official reports, were convinced that Russia would 
vindicate the laws of military science and crush her rival. 
Politicians hoped for the best and feared the worst. One 
member of the British Government discovered a new 
ground for faith. He was " sure the Japanese 
would win, because every military man said they 
could not ! " 

As for the Japanese soldiers, never for a moment 
did they dream that they could be beaten by " a corrupt, 
immoral, and illiterate people like the Russians." The 
worst they anticipated was a heavy casualty list. General 


72 ffrom tbe ]])alu to port Httbur 

Fujii, mindful of the Russo-Turkish war, ordered the 
Medical Staff to prepare for five thousand wounded. 

The Russians had plenty of time to make their 
dispositions. For several weeks they had held the 
north bank of the Ai-ho with twenty thousand infantry 
and Cossacks and forty-eight guns. In contesting the 
passage of a river it is obviously necessary to keep a 
large reserve with which to strike the enemy when he 
attempts to cross. But in a country devoid of lateral 
communications — like that occupied by the Russians — 
this precaution could be adopted only on one condition : 
that the point of attack was known. To concentrate at 
Antung, if the Japanese crossed at Suikochin or at 
Fushan, would be fatal. The plan of defence must be 
well conceived from the beginning or it was destined to 
fail. Now the Russian General could not learn the 
direction of the attack. The movements of the Japanese 
puzzled him, as it was intended that they should. 
Some of the younger officers believed that the crossing 
would be effected on the upper reaches of the Yalu near 
Suikochin, and urged that the left flank should be 
strengthened. This theory met with no support among 
the senior officers, who thought that no serious move- 
ment could be made in such difficult country. Others 
maintained that the Japanese would bridge the river 
between Wiju and Chiu-lien-cheng, and would follow the 
Imperial Pekin road. But the weight of authority was 
in favour of Antung, where it was comparatively easy to 
bridge the Yalu. In that belief General Zasselitch was 

XTbe JFitst lEncountet 73 

confirmed by the naval demonstrations that took place 
in front of Antung, and he accordingly posted his 
reserves near that place. 

On the last day of April the Russian front extended 
along the North bank of the river Ai for a distance of 
nearly eighteen miles. Their right flank was at Antung, 
their centre at Chiu-lien-cheng, and their left wing rested 
on the mountains near Wezukau. One regiment was 
stationed at Antung, on the hill to the North of which 
was a battery of eight guns ; a regiment and a half, with 
two field batteries, held Chiu-lien-cheng ; at Yushukau 
was another regiment with one battery ; to the North 
of Wezukau were two companies of infantry and one 
field battery, and in the heights about Hamatan, to the 
West of Chiu-lien-cheng, where the road from Antung 
branches West to Feng-hoang-cheng, were posted two 
regiments in reserve, with one battery. Both flanks 
were protected by cavalry, General Mistchenko being at 
Tajushan, some miles to the West of Antung, where it 
was anticipated that the Japanese would attempt to land 
a small force. The hills were entrenched at several 
points ; trenches commanded the river bank ; upon 
summit and ridge were gun emplacements and sungars. 
These works were constructed by the infantry, aided by 
Chinese, the engineers being occupied with the roads 
and bridges on the line of communication which passed 
through Feng-hoang-cheng to Liao-yang. No attempt 
had been made to mask the trenches, which were of the 
most primitive design, and gave neither head cover nor 
protection against shell fire. 

74 fftom tbe 13alu to port Hrtbur 

The Japanese lay in the hills about Wiju on the 
South bank of the Yalu — an army of three Divisions of 
forty-five thousand men, with twelve batteries of field 
guns, six mountain batteries, and two sections of five- 
inch howitzers. Their line extended from Suikochin to 
the South-west of Wiju. Between the two armies was 
the valley of the Yalu — a plain of sand and bush, inter- 
sected by rivers. 

The position of the Russian flank and the nature of 
the terrain between the Yalu and the Ai called for a 
movement which in face of an energetic and well- 
informed enemy might have proved disastrous. A 
glance at the map will show that if the attack on the 
Russian front and flank was to be simultaneous the 
Twelfth Division must advance twenty-four hours before 
the Divisions at the centre and on the left. To arrive 
in front of the Russian position on the Ai-ho and to 
cover the crossing of the other divisions the Twelfth 
had to traverse the mountainous country between Suiko- 
chin and Litzuyen. General Kuroki determined to 
take the risk of dividing his command by sending one 
division in advance across the river. In order to 
divert attention from this movement the gunboat Maya 
and two torpedo boats renewed their demonstration near 
Antung on the morning of the 29th and bombarded the 
enemy's position North of the Yalu. At eleven o'clock 
forty or fifty Cossacks with two guns appeared in front 
of Suikochin but were compelled to seek refuge in the 
hills. The enemy's outpost having been driven in, a 

TLbc Jfirst lEncountec 75 

covering party of one battalion was ferried over under 
fire from the Russian guns. 

The battery North of Wiju replied, and by two 
o'clock the battalion occupied a position that gave 
security to the engineers, who immediately began to 
bridge the river. This, as we have seen, was a difficult 
task, the current being swift (1.80 metres per second), 
the water eight metres deep and two or three anchors 
being required for each pontoon. The bridge was com- 
pleted by three o'clock on the morning of the 30th, and the 
Twelfth Division crossed to the North bank of the Yalu. 

The night of the 29th of April was one of great 
anxiety to General Kuroki and his staff. The army was 
divided by a deep river, and one division, upon whose 
safety depended the success or failure of the plan of 
attack, was executing the hazardous operation of 
deploying at right angles to its line of march within 
easy range of the enemy's guns. At any moment the 
Russians might seize the occasion to deliver a counter 
attack. General Kuroki had, however, the consolation 
of knowing that in such difficult country it would take 
time to develop such an attack, and that the Twelfth 
Division might be depended upon to hold the line. 
Meanwhile, every precaution was taken to prevent 
surprise. Three batteries and a regiment of infantry 
were posted on Kontonto island ; the guns North of 
Wiju were trained on the point of danger, and two 
divisions concentrated at Wiju were ready to march at 
a moment's notice. 

Chapter XII 


The night passed without alarm, and on the morning of 
April 30th the guns on the heights above Chiu-lien-cheng 
began to speak once more. Soon after dawn the Russian 
General discovered that his left flank was in danger, and 
withdrew it to a position North of the Ai-ho. 

Up to this moment General Kuroki was undecided 
as to the wisdom of disclosing his gun positions. It was 
a question with the staff whether the bombardment 
should begin on the 30th day of April or should be 
reserved for the day of assault. If the artillery opened 
on the 30th its position North of the main stream of 
the Yalu would be known to the Russians, who would 
retire their own guns further into the mountains. 
After anxious consideration it was determined that the 
Japanese artillery should remain silent as long as no fire 
was opened upon the pontoon bridges. In the event of 
any attempt to destroy the bridges the guns were 
ordered to reply. Precisely at eleven o'clock, when the 
sun was at their back and the light was in favour of the 
Japanese, the Russian guns were directed on the 


XTbe ipassaflc of tbe l^alu 77 

There was no longer need for concealment. The 
Japanese unmasked their batteries near Wiju and on the 
island of Kontonto. For two hours the duel raged with 
increasing violence. At first the Russian guns were 
turned upon some infantry scouts and against the 
pontoons, but they speedily abandoned these targets and 
strove to silence the batteries. The gunners on a conical 
hill, East of Chiu-lien-cheng, were especially active and 
were distinctly visible against the sky line. Upon this 
hill the Japanese presently opened a severe and concen- 
trated cannonade with field gun and howitzer. Shell 
after shell crowned the summit with smoke and flame. 
Surely nothing could live in that inferno, yet the Russians 
stood to their guns and answered shell with shell. But 
so deadly was the fire that courage gave place to discre- 
tion, and three dark objects appeared on the slope 
making their way toward the road that wound into the 
valley beyond. 

They were guns and their teams. How slowly 
they moved through the smoke and flame, as shrapnel 
rained upon them and common shell rent the earth about 
them like some mighty convulsion of nature. Not a 
yard did they cover but the iron leapt upon them with 
the force of a hurricane. Now a horse rolled over ; 
now a man stumbled forward to rise no more. Still the 
storm swept over them — one second a blue smoke in the 
air that told of shrapnel, and the next a geyser of brown 
earth that marked the explosion of common shell. The 
scene caught one by the throat and held the breath. It 

78 Jfrom tbe 13alu to port Hrtbut 

lasted little more than half an hour, but it seemed an 
age of agony. Life had departed from the dark objects ; 
they lay on the hillside motionless — the dead gunners 
and their guns. 

Meanwhile along the foot of the mountains across 
the river wound a thin black line like a mamba uncoiling 
its length out of a ravine. The sight of it called to my 
memory the dark cataract that flowed from the heights 
beyond Lombards Kop to engulf the men at Nicholson's 
Nek. This was the Japanese infantry on the right who 
had made good their footing and were swarming up the 
precipitous slopes to storm the left wing of the Russian 
army, and to perform a feat of arms more daring and 
successful than that which gave General de Wet his first 
victory in Natal. Upward and onward they went — now 
vanishing in some dark depression ; now visible against 
the bare rock, until at last they began to fall over the 
crest like a mountain torrent that swept down to the 
banks of the river Ai. The Russians could not have 
been ignorant of this incursion, but for a long time they 
gave no sign. Presently three or four mounted men 
came down from the low hills North-east of Tiger Hill 
and halted under cover of the houses near the river. 
Their mission was quickly apparent. The buildings 
burst into flame and the Cossacks rode off into the 
smoke, followed by shrapnel from the battery East 
of Wiju. 

The night of the 30th was one of crowded yet 
silent activity on the South bank of the Yalu and the 

XTbe passage of tbe l^alu 79 

island of Kontonto. Two Divisions — the Guards and 
the Second — had still to cross and pontoons had to be 
placed. At ten o'clock all was ready and men and guns 
passed over. The speed and silence with which these 
movements were effected was remarkable. Every man 
knew his part and his place : there was no noise or 
confusion : the approaches to the river were screened 
and the men reached them from behind sheltering hills : 
the pontoons were padded with straw and matting. 
Meanwhile two important problems had been solved 
by a few gallant officers — whether the field guns on 
Kontonto island could be moved to Temple island, and 
whether the river Ai must be bridged or could be 
forded. In the event of disaster the guns must 
inevitably be lost, as there was no means of retreat 
across the river and the only way to reach Temple 
island was by pontoon ferries. Late in the night the 
batteries were ferried over to Temple island. For men 
to cross the Ai under rifle fire seemed a hopeless task, 
and many suggestions were made and discussed. One 
proposal was that the men should carry floats of wood 
or small tubs : another that a picked body of swimmers 
prepared to die should cross the river with leading ropes 
for their comrades. 

Happily neither of these adventurous schemes 
proved necessary. A ford was found ; the water came 
up to the neck and was under rifle fire, yet that sufficed 
for the Japanese. On the night of the 30th the 
Twelfth Division occupied a position with its right on 

8o jfrom tbe HJalu to port Hrtbur 

Sandoan and its front toward the river Ai at Ishiko : 
the Guards Division was north of Tiger Hill on the 
South bank of the Ai : and the Second Division formed 
on the South-west of Temple island. Small wonder 
if the Russians were surprised by the rapidity of this 
manoeuvre. According to the story told by prisoners, 
they believed that at least a week would be required by 
the Japanese to complete their crossing to Temple 
island, and they did not credit the report that they had 
with them heavy guns. 

It was on the morning of the ist of May that the 
Japanese won their great victory on the Yalu. A 
strange stillness haunted hill and dale as we rode from 
camp to the scene of the final struggle. The path 
across the cultivated plain was deserted : the sentries 
had left the bridge unguarded, and only deep ruts and 
hoof-prints told that an army had passed. Wiju was a 
city of the dead. 

We entered through the stone arch which was a 
gate in the olden time, and the tramp of our horses' 
hoofs echoed along the silent streets of mean houses. 
Taking our appointed places near the tower overlooking 
the river, we awaited the attack. The sun rose upon 
a scene that banished all thought of war. At our feet 
flowed the rivers that torm the delta. The central and 
main stream of the Yalu has the deep blue of the lapis 
lazuliy and shone like a girdle between the yellow sand 
and the dark green bush. 

Uhc passage ot tbe IJalu 8i 

Away beyond the river plain rose the bare and 
silent hills, in the shadow of which slumbered the village 
of Chiu-lien-cheng with its tiled houses and walls of light 
stone. Only when you looked very closely could you 
discover signs of the impending conflict. Among the 
shrub near the island lurked dark forms denoting men 
and howitzers ; behind the charred ruins of houses on 
Temple island lay more dark figures ; they filled the 
dongas, the trenches and the broken ground. The 
stillness was uncanny and the question rose to every 
lip : " Have the Russians fled?'' The moments crept 
on and still our eyes and ears sought some sign of the 
presence of the enemy. A few scouts were sent forward 
and were not fired upon. Was it the design of the 
enemy to draw the Japanese across the river and fall 
upon them unexpectant ? If that was their hope it was 
destined to fall. At last the silence was broken by field 
gun and howitzer, but it was from the Japanese side. 
The batteries posted under Tiger Hill and the howitzers 
on the South island sent their shells screaming through 
the air to the heights beyond the river. Shot after shot 
was fired, yet drew forth no response save the echo of 
their reverberation among the mountains. Surely the 
enemy had retired, and the order to advance would be 
given. But the Japanese were not lured into reckless- 
ness. The bombardment went on systematically. The 
foothills in front of the Russian position have many 
spurs and ravines. To the slopes East of Chiu-lien-cheng 
was turned the fire of thirty-six guns from Tiger Hill 

82 jfrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtbuc 

while the howitzers bombarded the heights above 
the position. Every nook and cranny was searched 
again and again ; the slopes obverse and reverse were 
rent with common shell and rained upon with shrapnel ; 
and the crests spurted flame and smoke. To anyone 
without experience of shell-fire and its effects it must 
have seemed that nothing could live in such a hell. 
For more than an hour — from half-past five until nearly 
seven o'clock — the hills were ransacked for sign of the 
enemy, but not a sound came back. 

The order for the general attack was given and 
from the plain rose the small sturdy figures of the 
Japanese infantry. Their dark blue uniform showed up 
against the sand and bush. What targets they were for 
gun and rifle 1 Surely the Russians must sleep or have 
gone upon a journey ! The line extended Eastward 
from beyond Chiu-lien-cheng, nearly ten miles, with a 
front of six miles, and the right flank — four miles long — 
thrown forward. You saw the skirmishers advancing 
steadily in open order and behind them the fighting 
line with the reserves well under cover in the rear. 
Near to the left flank a little to the East of Conical Hill 
the troops were in echelon column of company and 
began to deploy only as they approached rifle range. 
On the left the formation was much closer than 
experience in South Africa would have led us to adopt, 
but the Japanese had no faith in what it pleased them to 
call " Boer tactics.** 

Still the mountains in front are silent, though the 

Ube passage ot tbe Iffalu 83 

sound of artillery and rifle fire came feebly back from the 
extreme right, where the enemy was apparently on the 
defensive. At half-past seven o'clock the infantry ob 
the left advanced at the double and began to ford the 
river. A cheer resounded over river and plain as they 
dashed into the stream. The water reached up to their 
necks. With rifles held high in the air, the Japanese 
plunged through the Ai-ho, many of them stripped to 
the skin. Then the hills spoke. From the upper ground 
and foothills about Chiu-lien-cheng : from the slope and 
base of Conical Hill : and from the higher ground came 
the burr-burr of machine guns and sharp volley of rifles. 
Many rolled over in the river and were swept away, but 
the line formed on the further bank and went on. Again 
volleys flew toward them and machine guns rattled. The 
effect of this sudden awakening of the hills was to check 
the advance and to send the front line of the Japanese 
back at the double. They retired in good order, opening 
out as they came and taking cover where the nature of 
the ground permitted. Many fell, however, and there 
were significant gaps in the line when it reached shelter. 
Once more guns and howitzers came into action, and the 
foothills were searched with a destructive fire. While 
this artillery preparation was in progress the troops East 
of Chiu-lien-cheng extended by the left, and changing 
front advanced upon the hills. They met with consider- 
able opposition, but held steadily on their way. 

The spur of the hill East of Chiu-lien-cheng, which 
guards the ravine along which the road ascends was held 

F 2 

84 ffrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbut 

tenaciously. The narrow and precipitous gorge was 
entrenched along the base and slopes, and the crest was 
crowned with earthworks and empalements. Toward 
this point the left, having rallied, advanced once more. 
Steadily, and in more extended order, they moved across 
the plain with their backs to the river. Officers on horse- 
back directed their movements as calmly as on parade, 
and men, now singly, now in groups, dropped into the 
river and forded to their comrades. In a few moments 
the line was moving toward the spur in the shape of a 
bow well strung, and a shield of rifles was cast about the 
foot of the hill. Here they remained and fought with 
the utmost bravery and stubbornness, suffering heavily, 
as one could see from the gaps in their formation. Twice 
the fighting line was reinforced, and all the time over 
their heads sang the shells from the howitzers, rending 
the earth about the trenches, and covering the hill sides 
with clouds of brown dust. Thus the minutes passed, 
and the shield drew closer and closer about the spur. 
But the resistance was desperate, though unaided by 
artillery, and it was clear that the position must be taken 
in reverse. The left centre was already well forward, 
and was rapidly approaching the foot of the ridge from 
which stands Conical Hill. The opposition here was 
feeble, for the enemy was retiring, and made only one 
effort to reinforce the trenches in the pass. Once across 
the flat, the left centre swarmed up the slope, a flag 
marking their progress. Away on the extreme right 
the Twelfth Division was pressing home the flanking 





Ubc passage of tbe jgalu 85 

attack, and the guns on the high ground north had been 
silenced by the batteries on Tiger Hill. 

The position was taken. On the reverse slope East 
of Chiu-lien-cheng the Japanese were now in force. Their 
flag was climbing higher and higher up the hill until it 
waved proudly from the crest, and thunderous cheers 
echoed from the walls and towers of Wiju. The left 
was still advancing on Chiu-lien-cheng under cover of guns 
that searched even crevices in the hills beyond. In a 
moment more they reached the line of stone houses, 
and were moving toward the hills, while others tending 
to the East rushed the shoulder of the heights on the 
West of the pass. Upon this spur, sheltered from 
observation by the peak of the hill they stood in dense 
mass. Suddenly hurtling through the air came two shells. 
A spurt of brown earth sprang from their midst, and 
the mass breaking into fragments scattered down the 
hill. Sixteen inanimate forms showed where the shells 
had fallen short. It was an accident common enough in 
battle — one of the kind witnessed at Elandslaagte when 
our gunners shelled our own advance. 

Hard pressed on both flanks, their communications 
threatened by the rapidity with which the movement of 
their left was developing, there was nothing left for the 
Russians but to retire. Some, who had remained in the 
trenches, fled up the pass. You could see them hurrying 
along the brown road, pursued by shrapnel and common 
shell. The gun empalement on the summit was 
wreathed in flame through which men passed unscathed, 

86 jf rem tbe l^alu to port artbuc 

and disappeared over the ridge. One man I saw turn 
back for a wounded comrade. He did not return. The 
gorge now swarmed with dark uniforms, and an officer 
carrying a flag — white, with the red sun for centre — 
mounted the crest, and planted the Japanese ensign on 
the Russian earthworks amid shouts of" Banzai." 

Chapter XIII 


Victory was won, yet work was not over. Reserves 
were called up to pursue, and guns forded the river in 
support. Advancing in three columns the Japanese 
strove to keep touch with the demoralised foe. Well 
forward on the right marched the reserves of the Twelfth 
Division ; in the centre, on the Pekin road, were the 
Guards' reserves, and on the left, near Antung, were 
those of the Second Division. On each flank rode a 
regiment of cavalry, and lumbering well in the rear 
came a field battery. The Russians were retreating 
toward Feng-hoang-cheng. Three thousand who had 
been left at Antung were obliged to retire in a North- 
easterly direction as far as Hamatan, where they could 
reach the main road. It was the critical position of this 
detatched force that led to the final disaster. Convinced 
that the passage of the river would be attempted near 
Antung the Russians remained until escape became 
difficult. To hold the junction of the roads along which 
these three thousand must retire was the duty of the 
reserves at Hamatan. One battalion of infantry and 
two batteries of artillery made a desperate stand near 


88 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

these heights upon which the Japanese reserves were 
rapidly advancing. One company of the Twelfth 
Division, outstripping their comrades, seized the high 
ground in rear of the Russians and cut off their retreat. 
And now was waged a combat of heroes. Again and 
again the enemy strove to force its passage through the 
hills. But Captain Makizawa and his handful of men of 
the 24th Regiment were resolved to die rather than 
allow their enemy to escape. Rifle and gun showered 
death upon them, but they held on until the last cartridge 
was spent, and only one officer remained alive. Hope 
was gone, but death remained. One half of this gallant 
company had fallen. The remnant fixed bayonets and 
prepared to fall in a mad rush upon batteries and 
battalions. But help was at hand. The reserves came 
up in the centre and on the right, and, without waiting 
for artillery, charged the position. Led by a priest 
with uplifted crucifix some of the Russians made good 
their escape. Many of the rearguard fell ; the gunners 
fought to the last, and then, disabling their guns, raised 
the white flag. The Japanese fire ceased, and the 
surrender was completed. 

Twenty-one field guns of the latest pattern and 
eight machine guns were among the spoils. One 
hundred dead Russians attested the gallantry with which 
the rearguard had done its duty. Six or seven more 
guns were also found in a ravine about four miles from 
the river where they had been abandoned when the 
Russians discovered that their left flank had been taken 





XEbe pursuit anb tbe Xessons 89 

in reverse. Eight hundred wounded Russians were 
reported to have been carried to Feng-hoang-cheng ; 
the number of slain was 1,362 ; and of wounded 
prisoners 475, making with 138 unwounded prisoners a 
casualty list of 1,775. '^^^ Japanese losses were re- 
markably small considering the nature of the ground 
and the character of the attack. Their casualties were 
returned at 860 : five officers and 160 men killed, 29 
officers and 666 men wounded. Among the Russians 
who died from wounds was General Kastalinsky, who 
was struck by a shell on Conical Hill. 

The theory has been advanced that the Russians 
had no intention of holding the Yalu, and that their 
purpose was to draw the Japanese into the mountains 
of Manchuria. Evidence in support of this theory is 
hard to discover. Surely it was not necessary to lose 
twenty-one field guns and eight machine guns and to 
put three thousand men hors de combat in order to tempt 
an invading force across a river. There can, I think, 
be little doubt that the Russians were confident of their 
ability to defend a position of such great natural 

The general features of the position reminded me 
of the Tugela, with the plain in front, the unfordable 
river, and the mountains beyond. According to the 
testimony of prisoners, the Russians were taken by 
surprise by the rapidity and ease with which the 
Japanese crossed this network of rivers. Never for 
a moment did they dream that the passage would be 

9^ ffrom tbe IJalu to port Hrtbut 

seriously attempted until four days later. Nor did 
they suspect the presence of heavy artillery until the 
howitzers opened fire on the 30th of April. There 
again we have the evidence of prisoners who declared 
that they did not credit the report that the Japanese had 
brought six-inch howitzers over the roads of Northern 

An assumption of this kind was folly on the part 
of men who themselves had carried guns as far South 
as Anju at a time when the roads were in a worse 
condition. Nor could it have escaped their memory 
that the Japanese, having command of the sea, were 
able to land heavy guns within easy reach of Wiju. 
The long silence of the Japanese artillery under severe 
provocation no doubt tended to confirm the enemy in 
this delusion, but on the 30th of April they must have 
been well aware of the strength of the artillery South of 
the Yalu. 

The terrible effect of the Japanese fire, both direct 
and indirect, may have aided the Russian General to 
arrive at the determination to retire his field guns and 
machine guns, but if that was the reason, why were 
they not moved earlier and to a safe distance ? Only 
once in the action on May ist was the Russian artillery 
used, and not more than half-a-dozen shots were fired 
before it was silenced. Seeing that the guns never came 
into action after the bombardment of the 30th, why 
were they not retired into the mountains beyond the 
possible reach of the enemy } It is not easy to explain 

XLbc pursuit an& tbe Xessons 91 

this lack of ordinary precaution on any other ground 
than overweening confidence or hopeless confusion and 

Russian prisoners admitted that six thousand men 
were defending the Yalu, and this estimate probably 
took no account of the three thousand at Antung and 
the force on the left of the line. I cannot help thinking 
that in the hands of half as many Boers such a position 
might have been defended for several days even against 
so determined and gallant an enemy as the Japanese. 
But the Russians displayed little skill in selecting points 
of defence, or in constructing earthworks. Their gun 
positions were exposed. 

The Japanese spoke of the trenches as exceedingly 
strong. 1 can only describe them as primitive and 
ineffective. The enemy's weakness in this respect 
accounts for the comparatively heavy casualties. A great 
proportion of the losses were due to shell fire, against 
which the trenches and sungars gave no protection. 
From the appearance of many of the slain it was clear 
that the explosive used in the Japanese common shell has 
terriffic power. The shells split up into a thousand 
fragments, with sharp edges that must have been so 
many swords hurled in every direction. In no other 
shells have I seen so many sharp pieces : it looked as if 
the shells not merely broke but laminated. One con- 
clusion may fairly be drawn from the use that the 
Japanese made of common shell — that it is more effective 
than shrapnel even against exposed masses of men 

92 ifrom tbe l^alu to pott Httbur 

and guns. The Japanese have learnt this lesson very 
thoroughly and make but sparing use of shrapnel, and 
then only to supplement the effect of common shell. 
They have also confirmed our experience in South Africa 
that the howitzer is a valuable auxiliary in the field, and 
has sufficient mobility so that it need not be tied to any 
fixed position. 

The fight on the Yalu has been described as a 
frontal attack with all its defects. This description 
appears to me inaccurate. It is true that the left front 
was the first to get into close touch with the enemy on 
the 1st of May, and that in crossing the Ai-ho it suffered 
heavier losses than any other part of the line. But at 
least twelve hours before this the flanking movement on 
the extreme right had began to develope, and had shaken 
the confidence of the Russians to such a degree that they 
were falling back and had already withdrawn their guns. 
The Japanese claim that the trenches on the spur East 
of Chiu-lien-cheng were taken by direct assault. From 
that opinion I take the liberty to dissent. I was right 
in front of the position and could see clearly every 
movement of the attacking force. It is detracting 
nothing from the gallantry of the soldiers who fought 
so stubbornly with their backs to the river to say that the 
position was really taken in reverse by the left centre. 
Then only was the attack from the front pushed home 
to the point so stoutly defended by the enemy. No 
praise can be too great for the Japanese soldiers. On 
the eve of the battle they had not slept ; they had to 








XTbe pursuit anb tbe Xessons 93 

march across a great sandy plain and to ford a river 
before they could engage the enemy. The victory 
however was complete, and was gained at a sacrifice that 
must be accounted very small. 

The question naturally arises : Why did not the 
Russians attempt a counter attack as soon as the Twelfth 
Division crossed the river and was divided from the rest 
of the army. The Japanese reserves were at Kurito 
and the mountainous nature of the country did not 
favour rapid concentration toward the East, while the 
guns could not cover the extreme right. In 1894 the 
Chinese descended in great force from these mountains 
on the East and inflicted serious loss on the Japanese. 
Moreover, there was this in favour of a counter attack — 
that the Japanese having crossed the river were 
compelled to move through difficult country along a 
flank at right angles to their original line of advance. 
They would consequently have been under very serious 
disabilities had they been forced to retire. The 
Japanese certainly feared such a counter attack, and 
made preparations to restore the balance by holding the 
Second Division and the reserves in readiness to drive a 
wedge into the Russian centre. They had, however, 
every confidence in the capacity of the Twelfth Division 
to hold their own in the mountains, and that confidence 
was strengthened by manifest want of enterprise on the 
part of the enemy. But the greatest error of all was 
the tenacity with which the Russian commander clung to 
the belief that the crossing would be attempted in front 

94 ifroin tbe ]3alu to port Hrtbut 

of Antung. As a consequence of this conviction the 
reserves were posted on the right wing at the back of 
Antung where they were useless in emergency and it 
was in extracting them from this position that the heavy 
losses in guns and men were sustained at Hamatan. 

Chapter XIV 


The battle was over, and in the courtyard of a Manchu- 
rian house sat victor and vanquished. It was a strange 
and moving picture, such as Verestchagin might have 
painted. In the dark quadrangle flickered the embers 
of a wood fire, and around it were seated a prince and a 
soldier and his captives. The flame threw into relief 
the face of the soldier — a strong, clear-cut face — European 
rather than Oriental, over which a smile came readily. 
Between the firm-set lips glowed the red end of a cigar, 
without which General Kuroki is seldom seen. He sat 
at his ease, with cap pushed well over his forehead, and 
slippered feet crossed. The prince at his side was in 
full uniform, correct in every detail from spurs to sabre- 
tache, and his dark, immobile features wore an expression 
of intense solemnity. In the front of these two on the 
other side of the fire were seated three Russian officers — 
tall blonde men of Teutonic type, with fierce moustache, 
and the air of soldiers who know how to face death. 
They smoked and drank, and talked like comrades who 


96 jfrom tbe Ualu to port Hrtbut 

had fought side by side and were telling to friendly ears 
the story of the passage of the Yalu. One of them — 
the fiercest of all — had taken the cigarette from his lips 
and paused with glass in hand to speak. 

" Completement detruit^' were the words he said. 

Around the circle of illuminated faces stood a group 
of soldiers in dark blue uniform. Some had rifles, that 
showed them to be the guard, but most of them had the 
intent look of men gazing at a spectacle that held 
thought in suspense. In the background, moving like 
shadows in the night, were armed men, whose faces bore 
the marks of exposure and fatigue. One little group 
stood near the low wall of a house examining the long 
line of Russian rifles that rested against the building. 
The stock of one had the deep dark stain of blood ; the 
bayonet point of another was bent and broken, and the 
hands that gripped them that morning doubtless lay cold 
and stiff on the hills beyond. Officers came and went 
with lighted candles in their hands, leaving the darkness 
more intense as they passed hurriedly into houses that 
hummed like hives with the sound of voice and footfall. 

Into this ever-changing throng came presently two 
battle-stained soldiers bearing a wounded man, with 
another limping by his side. They laid their groaning 
burden on the ground, and a figure stirred under the red 
blanket. The hand of the wounded soldier rested on his 
breast where the shirt was crimson. 

" Meine liebe," were the whispered words from 
white dry lips. He was thinking of the dear ones at 



atter tbe JSattlc 97 

home on the far-away German frontier, and the tongue 
of his fireside came back to him. We raised his head, 
and put water to his parched and feverish lips, and the 
soldier sank back upon his bier muttering the prayer 
that is the common heritage of Christendom : " Unser 
Vatery God grant his prayer passed upward with his 

Not a word did the Japanese soldiers understand, 
but wounds and death have a tongue that speaks to 
humanity, if not to men, and that the Japanese under- 
stand as well as any nation in the world. No woman 
could have been more gentle than the dark visaged 
warriors who motioned to the limping survivor of the 
fight to rest upon the ground. There he reclined, like 
an automoton, smoking the cigarette put into his hand, 
and uttering not a sound — the weary and hopeless figure 
of the soldier who has fought and lost. 

While we looked pitifully on this picture of war the 
scene around the fire had changed. The Russian officers 
had risen and saluted their captors, and had passed with 
their armed escort into the darkness. Another circle 
had taken their place. Prone upon the ground lay the 
body of a man, naked to the waist, and over him bent 
the surgeon, whose skilful hand staunched the red blood 
that welled from a gaping wound in the breast. 

The flickering light fell upon the white skin, and 
upon the crimson stain, and upon the drawn face. This 
is the realism of war — not its romance — as the heights 
about the Yalu testified that day. 

9S ifrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

How I came upon this scene is a story that I tell 
only because of certain incidents that illustrate some of 
the phases of a battle. When the fight ended. General 
Kuroki and his staff moved to the Conical Hill, East of 
of Chiu-lien-cheng, and despatched the reserves in pursuit 
of the enemy. They then advanced to the village where 
Head Quarters were established for the night. Mean- 
while we had returned to our camp, two miles South of 
Wiju, and awaited orders. None came, and it was 
necessary to find Head Quarters in order to have our 
messages censored. Three miles from camp we came 
to the river, over which an unbroken line of carts and 
horses and men was passing. The bridge was flimsy to 
look upon, and shook under our horses feet, yet it had 
served the purpose of an army, and was now bearing the 
burden of heavy transport. The stream of stores and 
munitions of war rolled onward unceasingly with the 
dull roar of the ocean. By devious paths we approached 
the second affluent of the Yalu, and crossed over a 
pontoon bridge under which the current raced like a mill 
stream, keeping men busy with ropes and stanchions to 
prevent the boats from changing position in the line. 
Thus we landed on the second island — a plain of sand 
and scrub — the extent of which gave us our first true 
idea of the front across which the Japanese had to pass 
before they approached the hills beyond. Our only 
guide was the field wire, which rested now on the branch 
of a tree, now on a bare stick with a beer bottle for 
insulator, and now on the ground. In due time we 




Httet tbe Battle 99 

came to the main stream of the Yalu, and crossed over 
to the Northern delta formed by the Ai-ho, which flows 
from the Ever White Mountain and joins the Yalu at 
Chiu-lien-cheng. The pontoon groaned under the weight 
of hurrying transport, as heavily laden carts, pack animals 
and coolies in the white dress of Korea hastened in the 
wake of the army. In the middle of the plain crouched 
Tiger Hill, like a huge beast of prey resting in the 
desert. From Wiju the hill is the outline of a tiger with 
his head to the East and his tail to the West. The 
reverse slope has no such shape ; it is a range of moun- 
tains in miniature with broad flat summits and gentle 
inclines — a fortress in the plain giving command of the hill. 
Riding across the level country we drew near to the 
hills on the North, and began to realise better the task 
that the Japanese had performed so brilliantly. Near 
Chiu-lien-cheng the hills descend to a sandy flat, through 
which runs the river Ai, which the soldiers forded up to 
their necks. We passed over at a shallower place where 
coolies were wading through three feet of water, and 
animals were rolling over with their packs. Here the 
river approaches very close to the foothills, but makes a 
bold sweep as it draws near to Chiu-lien-cheng. In this 
arc of a sandy circle we happened upon the field hospital. 
Around the white bell tent, over which floated the Red 
Cross, were gathered the wounded and the dying. Upon 
the ground lay an oflficer shot through the chest ; there 
was blood also on his brow ; his hands moved convul- 
sively, and in his eyes was the look of death. 


100 iftom tbe ISalu to ipott Hrtbur 

The work of saving the living was too urgent to 
spare precious moments upon those for whom there 
could be no hope, and the soldier calmly awaited release 
from suffering. Stretched upon the dissecting table was 
another officer with blond beard and blue eyes. The 
surgeon was dressing a wound in the thigh, while Colonel 
Hagino lighted a cigarette for the patient. The operating 
room of a London hospital could not have been more 
orderly or more clean than this field hospital to which 
wounded Japanese and Russians were borne upon 
stretchers. It was, however, a scene on which I did 
not care to dwell and I rode onward to Chiu-lien-cheng:. 
Passing the base of the Conical Hill where the 
Russian guns fought so bravely on the previous day, 
and where the Russian General was mortally wounded, 
1 came to the foot of the pass through which the 
enemy had retreated. Here along the base and 
slopes were the Russian sungars — very primitive in 
construction and affording no protection whatever 
against shell fire. 

Chiu-lien-cheng is a very small village which owes its 
existence to its position on the Imperial Pekin Road. 
It consists of little more than a street of houses with 
stone walls and tiled roofs, yet you no sooner enter it 
from Korea than you breathe a cleaner and a freer 
atmosphere. The filth and lethargy of Korea are most 
oppressive, and after a few weeks experience of the 
people and their dwellings even China is a white 
man's Paradise. 


Hfter tbe Battle loi 

It was dark when we turned our backs upon Chiu-lien- 
cheng and set out for camp. The distance by way of 
the pontoons was ten miles, whereas it was little more 
than five if we crossed the islands direct. We 
decided to take the short cut, believing that the rivers 
in our line of march had been pontooned for the 
artillery that passed us on the way. At the first stream 
we found no bridge, but were directed to a ford by a 
soldier who kept watch by the bivouac fire on the bank 
of the river. For a hundred yards or so the water was 
shallow enough, but it grew deeper and deeper, until 
two of our horses were swimming and another 
was struggling on the edge of quicksand. There was 
nothing for it save to turn back and seek the aid of 
pontoon boats in which guns and horses were being 
transported. As we rode along the bank our horses 
shied at several dark objects on the sand. They were 
dead soldiers, who lay as they had fallen in the fight of 
that morning. 

The boats took us to the other side, and we felt 
that our troubles were over. They had, however, only 
begun, for at the main stream, which is several feet in 
depth, and four hundred yards wide, there was no pon- 
toon, and the boats were carrying soldiers. It looked as 
if we must retrace our steps or remain on the island 
all night. Long and diligent search was made for an 
officer who would give us authority to commandeer a 
boat, but none could be found. For an hour or more we 
stood helpless in the shadow of the temple, where a 

I02 jfrom tbe J^alu to iport Hrtbur 

sergeant was sorting official papers by the feeble light of a 
Chinese lantern. At last we determined to take a boat and 
row ourselves across. Our craft was made of two pon- 
toon boats held together by a platform that gave room 
for four horses, and was propelled by heavy sculls. In 
due time, and without great difficulty, we landed half 
our party on the south island, and some rode away, 
leaving others to return for their comrades. I remained 
to take charge of the horses, and was looking anxiously 
over the dark river when two soldiers approached very 
cautiously, and with their rifles ready. Halting about 
twenty paces distant they spoke, but what they said I 
could not understand. 

^^ Akokojifty' I replied. "Englishman.'' Whereupon 
they came up and went through a little pantomlne, which 
I have no doubt was intended to convince me that I had 
come very near being shot for a Cossack. With a soldier 
for guide we reached at last the bridge that spanned the 
south stream, and at four o'clock in the morning were in 
camp. It had taken twelve hours to get those messages 
censored, and they had still to be carried hundreds of 
miles on foot through Korea before they could arrive at 
a telegraph office. 

Chapter XV 



Within the limit of five degrees the earth offers no 
stranger contrasts than those of Japan, Korea, and China. 
The fairy who watched over the birth of Japan was of 
dainty form ; Korea had a slut for godmother, and China 
an opulent dame. Japan is a land for the poet who 
sings in dithyrambics ; Korea calls for the scavenger ; 
while China would gladden the eye of the farmer. But 
the contrast goes deeper than the soil. The people have 
differences more manifest. In Japan is a race new-born 
— a brave, hardy, energetic race, with the assurance and 
vanity of untried youth inspired with a boundless 
patriotism. Koreans walk their dung heaps in winding 
sheets like corpses looking for an undertaker. Life has 
gone out of them, and nothing remains save dirt and 
decay. Cross the Yalu and you have journeyed on the 
magic carpet so wonderful is the change. Here is a 


I04 jfrom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbur 

fine, healthy, vigorous people, instead of a moribund ; 
here industry takes the seat of lethargy ; here is pride 
of race which awaits only the awakening voice of 

Strangers in all countries are apt to form hasty 
conclusions, and to pronounce very decided opinions on 
insecure basis. But war is a good crucible in which to 
sift all character. Its terrors and surprises ; its privations 
and sacrifices bring into instant and bold relief the 
qualities of a people. You have not to grope for them 
in metaphysical darkness. They stand out before you 
by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar ot 
fire. The people of Manchuria, whether Manchu or 
Chinese, have proved themselves men. They are the 
victims of war who have not the satisfaction of shoulder- 
ing a rifle ; yet they stood firm and received the victor 
without cringing and the vanquished without insult. 

When 1 rode into Antung two days after the 
passage of the Yalu the town had a holiday aspect. The 
streets were filled with people, above whose bare heads 
and black pigtails towered posts that looked like glorified 
Venetian masts. They are flat boards, thirty feet high, 
stained a dull black and covered with ideographs in 
relief. Near the top is a disc of tin that catches the rays 
of the sun and shines with the fierce light of the dragon's 
eye. The ideographs arc in gold, and live and talk as 
only Chinese letters live and talk among all the written 
characters of the world. Standing in rows a few paces 
from the doors these glittering boards proclaim the merits 

** XTbe peace ot tbe East " 105 

of Wang Fungtsao's merchandise and Yuan Siekai's 
skill as a builder of Pekin carts ; but to the stranger 
they are more than sign posts ; they are monuments the 
brilliance and magnificence of which are stars in the drab 
dulness of a Chinese town. 

What brought the citizens into the streets ? With 
eager outstretched faces they lined the high footway ; 
their blue cotton garments and felt shoes filled the road, 
and on every intelligent yellow face was a look of 
earnest anticipation. Yet not a sound came from them. 
The mob divided, and there appeared the dark blue of 
Japanese soldiers. They marched with rifles shouldered, 
and their immobile faces actually betrayed excitement. 
The crowd opened, and behold a long dark line of men 
walking in couples — men of a different race, fair men 
with blue eyes and blonde moustache, wearing caps of 
Astrakan and dyed sheepskin. They had the erect, easy 
carriage of soldiers, and each man's earth-stained face 
wore the impress of his mood. The glance of the youth 
with the fierce moustache wandered over the crowd with 
haughty disdain ; the man with the scar on his brow had 
his eyes in infinite space — he was seeing visions of 
vengeance — the comrade near him scowled under a 
blood-stained sheepskin ; while the veteran behind 
accepted the fortune of war with easy indifference. A 
soldier in the hands of his enemies arouses a great 
compassion. He is the embodiment of helplessness and 
despair, to whom his bitterest foe will render aid and 
comfort. But a band of prisoners excite many emotions. 

io6 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

They have the semblance of strength and purpose 
strangely out of keeping with the idea of captivity. 
One wonders how they allowed themselves to be taken, 
and if they will not arise and burst their bonds. I 
would like to know what thoughts were passing through 
the minds of the Japanese soldiers who looked on. 
They must have been the thoughts of men vowed to 
death or victory, for every soldier of the Mikado is 
nurtured on the traditions of the Samurai, who counts 
life nothing if the cause be lost. The Chinese watched 
with eager curiosity the march of their late masters 
under a foreign guard. He does not love the Russian 
who stole his country, but with the Chinaman love of 
self is stronger than love of country ; he is before all 
else an individualist, and knows not what a day may 
bring forth — it may be a Siberian guard or a Japanese 
procession. He prudently waits upon events which are 
his true master. 

" The Peace of the East " — that is the literal 
meaning of Antung — was one of the immediate causes 
of the war. In accordance with commercial treaties 
concluded between China on the one part and Japan and 
the United States on the other, it was a treaty port 
open to foreign trade. Russia had another destiny in 
view for Antung, but the new diplomacy which ratifies 
and signs treaties with an electric pen that reaches on the 
instant across the world, proved too quick for the fate 
ordained in St. Petersburg, and "The Peace of the East'* 
is still nominally an open port. An American Consul 

'' Xlbe peace of tbe lEast " 107 

had been appointed, and was reported to be on his way- 
hither. Antung is situated on the right bank of the 
Yalu, about twenty miles from its mouth, in the 
province of Feng-t'ien. The approaches and estuary 
are not charted, but are well known to the masters of 
coasting vessels who make occasional visits in the 
Autumn to purchase raw silk and cocoons. Navigation 
is rendered difficult by shoals and sandbanks, yet junks 
can ascend the river for fifty miles, and the Japanese 
gunboats that bombarded the Russian position North- 
west of Antung have shown that a channel may be found 
for steamers of deeper draft than was generally supposed. 
A large number of junks are employed in the commerce 
of Antung which is considerable, the imports consisting 
of nankeens, oil, iron, and provisions ; while the exports 
are timber, planks, bean-cake — an excellent horse feed 
—liquorice, and " wild '' silk. 

Measured by our own standards Antung is not clean. 
The smells that rise up from unexpected places and 
assault you are occasionally alarming ; dust and dirt 
affront you on all sides ; and the people are unwashed. 
Yet compared with most Chinese cities, Antung is a 
Dutch kitchen, and to step from Korea into Manchuria 
is to step out of a noisome swamp into a clear cool 
stream. The streets are fairly wide and the footpath, 
where it exists, is raised two or three feet above the 
road. The houses are one storied and are built of dark 
stone roofed with heavy tiles. At its best the town has 
a mean and dingy aspect, and does not improve on 

io8 jfrom tbe J3alu to port HrtF)ur 

closer acquaintance. When the Japanese entered, the 
streets looked like rows of poor shops with the shutters 
up, for Chinese doors are shutters, as you discover 
when in answer to knock and cry of " Kaimeni ** the 
side of a house begins to come away in sections. Those 
of us who kept up with the advance were quartered 
upon a wealthy merchant at whose door stood one 
of the glorified sign posts. His house is a type of 
all well-to-do houses in Manchuria. On each side of 
the entrance hall is a large and lofty room with shelves 
along the walls, and at one end a broad platform covered 
with straw matting. These are the shops or warehouses. 
The shelves are empty, for everything has been removed 
and hidden until confidence has been restored by the 
proclamations which the Japanese make haste to post 
upon the walls calling upon the people to resume their 
ordinary pursuits and assuring them of protection to life 
and property. Between these two apartments the 
entrance hall leads direct into a courtyard, on one side 
of which are stables and piggeries, and on the other a 
row of small rooms used as dwellings. These rooms 
also have mat covered platforms which serve the purpose 
of beds and lounges and are lighted by windows of oil 
paper attached to moveable wooden frames. The floors 
are of beaten earth and the furniture consists of a table, 
a chair, one or two stools and a wooden bench. The 
ceiling has a picture paper and the blackened walls show 
traces of a paper of geometric design. Everything about 
the place is solid and substantial after the manner of 
things Chinese, but dirt and squalor prevail. 

*' XTbe peace of tbe lEast '' 109 

The Manchus having given the dynasty to the 
Empire claim the privilege of conquerors. They pay no 
taxes ; the examinations that open the door to prefer- 
ment are made easy for them ; they draw pay and 
rations from the government and do no work. With 
such incentives, it is not surprising to find them indolent, 
ignorant and self-satisfied. They have lost all manly 
qualities except pride of race. A Manchu may con- 
descend to marry a Chinese woman ; but a Chinaman is 
not permitted to marry a Manchu woman though the 
Empress Dowager has issued an edict recommending 
such marriages. Between the Chinese, who call them- 
selves Min-jen or civilians, and the Bannermen or 
Ch'i-jen, it is hard to detect any difference in dress or 
appearance. The Manchu women dress their hair 
differently and do not bind the feet of their daughters ; 
although in order to imitate the tottering gait of their 
Chinese sisters they wear shoes with thick soles curved 
inward from toe to heel. But the Manchus are only a 
very small part of the population of Antung ; their 
number throughout the Empire probably does not 
exceed three millions. It is the industrious Chinese or 
Min-jen who make the trade and commerce of this 
treaty port. 

The Japanese troops had not been twenty-four 
hours in the town before it began to put off its 
impoverished look. Small and mysterious packages 
appeared on shelves that had gaped in emptiness : bean 
cake and chopped straw were dragged out from dark 

no jfrom tbe l^alu to port Httbur 

corners : horses and mules and Pekin carts walked out 
of space : and that which seemed a famine-stricken and 
denuded city became a mart. The change was gradual, 
for the Chinese are suspicious and demanded proof of 
the good intentions of the new invaders. The vendor 
of sweet cakes and eggs and a vile concoction of alcohol 
and fusil oil was the first to hazard his wares, and the 
result must have been satisfactory, since the cashier 
presently took his seat at the desk in the warehouse, or 
large store, and goods were exchanged for military notes 
issued by the Japanese. These notes, by the way, were 
at first accepted with great reluctance, and at a discount 
of ten per cent., which made the purchaser anxious to 
avoid them : but confidence was soon restored and 
they were accepted at face value, though the cost of 
everything which was previously measured by the 
Mexican or silver dollar was fixed by the Japanese yen : 
in other words prices rose fifty per cent. 

When you leave the dingy heart of the town and 
approach the river you realise that Antung is a place of 
considerable importance. The Yalu at this point is 
about a mile wide and the river front is crowded 
with junks — those square-built square-rigged boats that 
swarm over the Yellow Sea and are capable of sailing 
one hundred miles in six hours or in sixty. Many are 
engaged in trade with Yong-am-po, the head quarters 
of the Russian Far Eastern Timber and Mining 
Company, on the other side of the Yalu, while others 
run between Manchuria and Chinese and Japanese 

**Ubc peace of tbe Bast** m 

ports. In the creeks are more junks building or being 
repaired, and on the banks are piles of timber and bean 
cake awaiting shipment. A busy and picturesque scene 
the river presents with its tangle of brown sails ; its 
blue-gowned sailors ; and its wooden ships with all their 
strength and grace of line. 

After two nights 1 quitted the house of the mer- 
chant to make my abode in a temple on the outskirts of 
the town. The temple stands near the foot of a green 
hill, and is one of the richest in the Empire. Before its 
walls stretches a broad open space, in the centre of which 
is a stone building — an open-air theatre, with a beautiful 
roof decorated with dragons and bells that breathe sweet 
melodies to the gentle breeze. The theatre used for 
religious celebrations was closed. The outer wall of the 
temple is of stone, with a broad band of pink wash along 
the middle, and you reach the outer court through a cir- 
cular gate. Flights of stone steps lead to a stone balcony, 
from which gates give access to smaller courtyards, on 
each side of which are spacious rooms that appear to 
have no sacredotal use, and are probably the apartments 
of the priests. The temple proper forms the outer wall 
of the square, and is separated into several shrines, each 
of which has its particular deity and images. The 
interiors of these shrines resemble Roman Catholic 
chapels in their elaborate decoration, their lamps and 
candles and their graven images. This temple, I was 
told, is dedicated to Taoism, which was imported from 
India long before the Christian era, and numbers its 

112 if torn tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

votaries by millions. It is named the Temple of the 
River God, though all the gods and goddesses of Olmpus 
appear to be gathered under its roof. Here, in a shrine 
which the aged priest showed to me with conscious 
pride — an ornate and beautiful shrine — sits the god of 
war gorgeously apparelled, a pompous rather than 
terrifying figure, with full red cheeks, a straggling black 
beard and dark oblique eyes. In a neighbouring shrine 
images of goddesses, some of them carrying infants that 
might have been modelled from Italian masters. The 
priest exhibited these treasures with the languid air of 
one who took pity on the ignorant Western devil who 
had invaded these sacred precincts. He was a courteous 
old gentleman, wrapped up in that impenetrable conceit 
which protects China against the influence of the West. 

I pitched my tent in the outer court, and woke 
every morning to a new admiration of the beauty and 
simplicity of the roof of the temple. It was a source 
of unending delight to the eye. The form, I am sure, 
is taken from the tent — that square tent of the nomad — 
for it falls in simple and graceful lines from the ridge 
pole, and is picked up at the corners as a dainty maid 
holds her skirts. Tiny dragons and devils sit upon the 
ribs and grin down from the eaves : they look as if they 
had just alighted and were about to take flight again. 
And the colour is splendid, with rich greys and deep 
browns above a border of crimson and gold. 

One morning I was aroused by the droning of 
pipes, the clashing of cymbals, and the beating of a 

**Ubc peace of tbe JEast" 113 

drum. Looking out of my tent I saw three men in the 
outer court whose poor dress and unwashed faces led 
me to believe that they were itinerent musicians, of 
whom it was desirable to be rid by the present of a few 
cash. They were, however, the temple minstrels, and 
this was a feast day, for trooping through the gates came 
crowds of citizens of Antung, all clean and well dressed 
for the occasion. Some of them bore gifts of money : 
others of kind, such as pigs and wheat : but the majority 
were content with loss sticks. Entering the temple in 
small parties they spread carpets before the images and 
performed the rites of genuflection and raising of hands, 
precisely like the action of the Roman Catholic priest at 
the altar. Lighting their joss sticks they placed them in 
a box before the shrine and left them to pour incense of 
smoke, while some minor priest beat the tom-tom and 
clashed the cymbals to call the attention of the god to 
this act of worship. In the little courtyard before the 
shrine stood a stone lamp — a pillar of stone with a 
cavity on the top. To this lamp were attached long 
strings of crackers that produced much smoke and noise 
to the satisfaction of the multitude. The scene and the 
ceremony were familiar rather than strange, and carried 
my mind to the house on the hill where the Danish 
Lutheran missionary — the Rev. J. Vyff — preaches 
against an idolatry in which he recognises many points 
of close resemblance with the religions of the West. 


Chapter XVI 



"The merciful man has no enemies." This was the 
legend that met the eye of General Kuroki when he 
dismounted to receive the welcome of the Governor of 
Feng-hoang-cheng. Despite the cyclones of passion 
that sweep over this Empire the Chinese are no lovers 
of brute force. The Confucian doctrine of life which 
has dominated China for two thousand five hundred 
years does not tend to develop the aggressive virtues, 
and this legend, inscribed in crimson upon a scroll of 
white silk, represents the attitude of the Chinaman 
toward all matters that do not appear to touch his rights 
or his dignity. The Chinese are punctilious in the 
discharge of all the obligations of courtesy, and their 
greeting of the victorious soldier was marked with a 
kindliness, a dignity and an aesthetic taste of which I 
found evidences in every direction and among all 


City Wall, Feng-Hoang-Cheng. 

A Street Scene, Feng-Hoang-Cheng. 

i facing p Hi 

Ube /IDarcb Into /IDancburla 115 

classes. The scene was more strange than impressive. 
Upon the dusty plain, which stretches before the city 
down to the bank of the shallow river, was assembled a 
crowd of civilians and soldiers and officials. Under a 
rude pavilion, draped with crimson and adorned with the 
motto "The merciful man has no enemies," sat the 
Governors of the Province, the city and the garrison, 
with others who were in authority over the people. 
Their loose surcoats were of many colours — deep violet, 
and crimson and blue, and the sheen of their silken 
garments was lustrous in the brilliant sunshine. They 
sat by the roadside after the manner of the East. In 
the dark shadow of brick walls lounged soldiers whose 
dress differed little from that of the civilian — a loose 
robe of indigo blue and a pair of wide trousers ending 
in a pair of felt shoes. 

The Manchu soldier is not a martial figure. He is 
without discipline or organisation, and in the guard of 
honour I noted that nearly every man had a different 
arm from his fellow ; one an old carbine, another a 
muzzle loader, a third a Winchester, a fourth a Mauser. 
Moreover he is indolent and wanting in intelligence and 
is addicted to opium. There is a rule excluding opium 
smokers from the ranks, but you have only to look at 
officers and men to know that nine out of ten are victims 
to this destructive habit. Its calls are imperious and 
unless they are obeyed the men collapse. In the Japanese 
war, I am told, the Manchu troops halted to smoke, no 
matter how pressing the urgency. Near the river were 

H 2 

ii6 ffrom tbe 13alu to port Hrtbur 

more soldiers and officers in scarlet surcoats, and straw 
hats shaped liked cones, that come well over the face. 
With these were the colours — great banners of white 
silk with crimson characters denoting the regiments. 
The Governor invited us to be seated in the pavilion, 
but we choose to mingle with the crowd, who greeted 
us with the word " Ingwa " or " Englishman." We 
were curiosities in their eyes — the Governor of the city 
afterwards told me that he had never seen an Englishman 
before — and our clothes were examined with interest. 

Presently there was a movement in the ranks ; the 
soldiers rose and left their shelter under the walls ; the 
guard of honour stood at attention on each side of 
the road ; the banners were unfurled ; and four trum- 
peters in yellow jackets blew a fanfare. General Kuroki 
and his Sraff appeared on the far bank of the river. As 
they rode through the shallow stream the banners waved ; 
the trumpets sounded, and the guard presented arms. 
At the pavilion they dismounted and were received by 
the Chinese authorities, the Taotai or Intendent of the 
Eastern Marshes speaking a few words which, I was 
told, were distinguished by the grace and good breeding 
in which these people excel. Cards were exchanged — 
long strips of crimson paper with the names in black — and 
the General and his Staff were invited to enter the 
pavilion. General Kuroki offered the place of honour 
to Prince Kuni, but he refused to supercede the Com- 
mander-in-chief who accordingly seated himself in the 
centre of the bench at a table spread with sweet cakes. 

xrbe /IDarcb Into /II>ancburia n? 

Tea was served with due ceremony, and the General 
and his Staff rode away amid bows and music and 
waving of flags that set the horses prancing. 

Feng-hoang-cheng is about thirty miles, or two 
two days' march from Antung. We left the treaty port 
on Wednesday the nth, and halted for the night at 
Tang-chan-cheng which is midway on the Imperial 
Pekin Road. Crossing the ridge that forms the 
Northern boundary of the river Yalu, we descended 
into a broad valley shut in by mountains. The land is 
rich and well cultivated, and on every side were the 
charred ruins of substantial homesteads. The Russians 
in their retreat had set fire to every building and but for 
their haste would have given Antung to the flames. 
This destruction of private property was wanton and 
senseless and had not even the pretext of being directed 
against combatants. In this two days* journey I saw 
more ruined houses than in six months' trek in the 
Transvaal, and I wondered if the Continent of Europe 
would be as deeply agitated over these acts of war 
against a harmless and peaceful peasantry as they were 
over the firing of houses used as trenches with the white 
flag over them. Away to the East of this desolated 
valley rose a range of hills dominated by a mountain 
that springs from the plain like a huge knife with the 
edge of the blade toward the sky. The summit is sharp 
and precipitous and the slopes are dark and rugged. It 
was near this razor-like ridge that the Russian guns 
were lost and a regiment was decimated. 

ii8 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

It is said that the Chinese care nothing for the 
provinces of Manchuria. They form no part of the 
Eighteen Provinces which fill the Chinaman's conception 
of his native land, though they gave birth to the ruling 
dynasty. This indifference may be real and may 
account for the ease with which the Russians have 
overrun the country : yet Manchuria is a land worth 
fighting for. It covers an area of 336,000 square 
miles : it produces grain of all kinds, vegetables in 
plenty, tobacco, hemp, indigo, and opium ; silk culture 
flourishes in the South : the forests and mountains 
supply skins, furs, and timber : on the Eastern steppes 
sheep, cattle, and horses are reared in inexhaustible 
numbers : gold is found in the North and along the 
Eastern frontier to the Upper Sungari in the South : 
the climate is good, though somewhat rigorous : and 
the inhabitants are a fine, hardy, industrious people, 
much more friendly toward foreigners than the people 
of China proper. And it is a beautiful country, with 
rich valleys, clear streams, and mountains clothed with 
forests of pine and oak. Our camp at Tan-chan-cheng 
was pitched in an orchard, and pear blossoms fell upon our 
tents like flakes of snow. The homestead was foul and 
neglected : the farmer and his family were dirty and 
indifferent to comfort, yet the fields were carefully 
cultivated and there were evidences of abundant 

Next morning we resumed our march along the 
bank of an affluent of the river Tsao, which stream 

ZCbe /IDarcb into /IBancbutta 119 

the Imperial Pekin Road follows northward to the 
Mou-tien-ling pass. The country is mountainous and 
the river winds among hills clothed with emerald green 
woods. A plain brought us to Kao-li-men, where the 
mountains converge to form a broad pass guarded by 
a conical hill. Kao-li-men is known as the Gate of 
Korea and through this pass ran the willow palisade 
which marked the Chinese possessions in Manchuria 
when the Ming dynasty occupied the throne. 

This palisade, which for two hundred and ninety 
miles is still the frontier of Manchuria, enclosed the 
fringe of the Western coast of the Gulf of Liao-tung, 
and the valley of the Lower Liao river, reaching its 
most Northerly point at Wei-yuan-pu-men, eighty 
miles to the North of Mukden, on the Imperial Pekin 
Road. Bending South-east and South from this gate 
the palisade ran through Kao-li-men and rested its flank 
on the Yellow Sea. The country within the pale was 
formerly known as Liao-tung and Liao-hsi, that is, the 
territory East and West of the Liao river. I am told 
that the gates and traces of the fence exist to this 
day, but I looked in vain. The only evidence I could 
discover was in the termination of the name Kao-li-men, 
for "men*' means "gate.'' Outside the pale, inhabiting 
the mountains and forests, were clans, half Mongol, 
half Tungusian — a race of mighty hunters who lived by 
the chase. As many of the names of places show, a 
great part of the Southern province of Manchuria was 
at one time Korean. 

I20 ifrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

When we crossed the Yalu there was a report that 
the Russians would make a determined stand at Kao-li- 
men. The country is well adapted to defensive tactics. 
An enemy advancing from the South must pass over 
open ground and through defiles commanded on both 
sides by hills, and the approach to the Gate of Korea is 
dominated by a semi-circular range. The strategic weak- 
ness of the position — like that held by the Russians on 
the Yalu — was the want of lateral lines of communica- 
tion, and the fact that the Pekin Road, which is the only 
communication to the North, is open to flank attack. 
However, it was clear that the Russians had contem- 
plated holding this pass. The roads in the neighbour- 
hood of Kao-li-men were entrenched, and the trenches 
were deep and better made than the primitive death 
traps on the Yalu. But they had evidently changed 
their minds and fallen back upon Liao-yang, a position 
of greater strength and strategic importance. Our 
progress to Feng-hoang-cheng was accordingly uninter- 
rupted, and we rode leisurely along the bank of the 
river, over cultivated plains and in the shadow of green 

Feng-hoang-cheng is situated on the plain in the 
apex of an angle of hills, one side of which extends 
towards Antung and the other South-west in the direc- 
tion of Ta-kou-chan. It is the only town on the Pekin 
Road between Liao-yang and the coast, and has a popu- 
lation of twenty thousand peasants and small traders. 
Like most Chinese towns, Feng-hoang-cheng consists of 

Ubc /IDatcb Into flDancburta 121 

compact rows of one-storied houses and shops with tiled 
roofs. The streets are unpaved and fairly wide, and the 
general aspect is dingy and poor. At the Northern end 
of the town, where the hills begin to converge, is a 
walled enclosure three or four hundred yards square, 
within which dwell the Governor and officials — a small 
village, shut in by brick walls eighteen feet high 
and three feet in thickness. No architectural feature 
relieves the dull level of one-storied buildings, and no 
touch of colour stands out of the drab dinginess. 

The Intendent of the Eastern Marshes is a man of 
consequence. He is responsible for the administration 
of one of the three Provinces that occupy the North- 
east corner of the Chinese Empire. His capital is Feng- 
hoang-cheng — a city with a record of two thousand 
years — and his province of Feng-tien has an area of 
fifty-five thousand square miles. The importance of this 
district is to be measured at the moment not by its 
extent or by the undoubted richness of its soil but by 
its position on the map. Feng-t'ien borders on Korea, 
on the Yellow Sea and on the Gulf of Liao-tung. It 
was, therefore, in the heart of the war and among its 
mountains and valleys would be determined the fate of 

Before I called upon the Intendent I learned a few 
elementary facts of the elaborate system of the Chinese 
civil service with its checks and balances. There are 
three Governors in this Province, and though their 
authority and duties differ, each exercises a moderating 

122 jftom tbe l^alu to Iport Httbut 

influence on the other. The Military Governor is, of 
course, a Manchu, and commands the Manchu soldiers 
or bannermen, of whom nearly eighteen thousand are 
stationed in the province, four thousand six hundred 
being "foreign" drilled. 

Being of the race from which sprang the ancestors 
of the reigning dynasty the Military Governor ranks first 
in the administrative hierarchy. His powers, however, 
are limited, and he serves only as a visible sign of the 
predominance of the Manchu race. After him ranks the 
Taotai, known as Tung-pien-tao, or Intendent of the 
Marshes, whose authority is wider and more real, and 
under him again is the Governor of the City with duties 
more defined and circumscribed. When he is master in 
his own house the Intendent lives within the citadel or 
walled enclosure. The necessities of General Kuroki's 
Staff have banished him for a time beyond these brick 
walls, which have only the semblance of strength, despite 
their iron crusted doors and deep gates. 

In a dusty forecourt, the entrance to which was 
guarded by a Japanese sentry, was a stand of colours 
denoting the presence of the Governor of the Province. 
Passing through a small apartment draped with crimson 
cloth I came to an inner court and the seat of justice. 
Here, in a crimson-draped alcove were a crimson chair 
and table. Upon the table were several narrow wooden 
boxes, in which stood wooden labels inscribed in Chinese 
characters, and at one end encased in yellow cloth was 
something that looked like a triple crown. The labels 

TLbc /©arcb into /IDancburta 123 

were tablets stating the nature of the punishment 
inflicted on criminals — a space being left for the judge 
to write the number of strokes or other directions — and 
the crown was a casket containing the official seals. 
While these mysteries were being explained for my 
instruction, the Governor appeared and invited me to 
enter a room adjoining the seat of justice. 

Chang-shi-lam is a man of commanding presence, 
tall and graceful of figure in his robes of black silk, with 
a face of the keenest intelligence — strong, mobile, and 
pleasant to look upon. Dressed in European clothes he 
might easily have passed for a well-bred and cultured 
Englishman. He received me with a smile, and we took 
our seats at a round table, over which hung a cheap 
paraffin lamp of European or American ugliness, and on 
which were cigars and cigarettes of Japanese make. 
Conversation was difficult, for it had to be conducted 
through two interpreters^ — first into Japanese, and then 
into English — but so keen and responsive was Chang- 
shi-lam that after the usual compliments we found 
ourselves engaged in most animated talk. The face of 
the Governor was as expressive as that of an accom- 
plished actor, and his dark eyes lighted up with eloquence 
as he spoke of the war and the condition of his people. 
Twenty years ago Chang-shi-lam was appointed Governor 
of this province, but in the interval he has filled other 
offices, and had returned to Feng-hoang-cheng only 
within the last six months. He is evidently a man in 
whom the Central Government have confidence, for they 

124 ffrom tbe l^alu to iPort Hrtbur 

have placed him in a very difficult and delicate position. 
I began by speaking of the satisfaction it must give him 
to see the people ploughing the land and conducting 
themselves as if war was far removed from the 

" Yes," he replied, " the attitude of the people 
toward the Japanese is altogether different. The 
Russians took our goods, our horses and our mules, 
paying nothing for them or only half the price at which 
they were valued. It may be that the needs of the two 
armies are different, but at least the Japanese pay for 
what they take and leave us the means of ploughing 
the land." 

The Governor spoke without bitterness, ascribing 
this difference in treatment to the pressing needs of the 
Russian army. I asked if they had done much damage 
to the town. 

" No," was the answer. " Before they retired they 
wanted to set fire to the stores, but the people implored 
them to spare the buildings and undertook to bring out 
the stores so that they might be destroyed. While 
this work was in progress report came that the 
Japanese were at hand and the Russians fled, leaving 
behind many things, including winter clothing and 

" How long was the column that passed through 
here after the passage of the Yalu ? " 

" The head of the retreating army entered the 
town at four o'clock in the afternoon and marched 

XTbe /Iftarcb into /IDancburia 125 

without a break until three o'clock on the following 
afternoon. A few hundred stayed behind to destroy 
the stores but went away very quickly." 

From the war we passed to the history of the city. 

" Its records go back two thousand years," said the 
Governor. " In those days the country hereabout 
formed part of Korea, as many of the names indicate. 
There is a tradition that Feng-hoang-cheng once 
sheltered a Chinese Emperor, but it is only a tradition. 
If you go into the hills, however, you will find many 
tablets of stone recording the visits of men famous in 
letters and in war. The country is very beautiful 
though it contains few things that would interest the 
archaeologist beyond the traces of the willow palisade." 

I spoke of the condition of the people. 

"They are very poor and very ignorant," replied 
Chang-shi-lam. " Few of them would know what that 
is " — taking up a box of matches from the table — " and 
they would not know what to do with these " — pointing 
to the cigarettes and cigars. " Beyond tilling the 
ground they have no industries, unless you take into 
account the culture of wild silk. When I was Governor 
here twenty years ago I encouraged the people to go 
into the hills and cultivate the ' wild ' silk. It is now 
worth from twenty to thirty thousand pounds a year, and 
brings us into trading relations with the port of Antung." 

" And your people," I asked, " are they well- 
behaved ? Have you many offenders to receive the 
punishment written on the tablets .^" 

126 iftom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

The answer may appear strange, yet it reveals the 
attitude of the Chinese toward Western civilisation, and 
shows their supreme contempt for our commercial 
ideals. The Chinese recognise four grades in the 
social scale — scholars, farmers, labourers and merchants, 
and it was in this order that the Governor spoke of the 
conduct of the people. 

" Our farmers give no trouble ; they are content 
with tilling the soil and reaping the harvest. The 
labourers have employment, and are satisfied with little. 
We have some small traders and shopkeepers, but we 
have few serious offences to punish.'* 

There, I believe, you have the real opinion of the 
Chinese official on the subject of trade. The " shang,'* 
or merchant, as in Japan, is at the very bottom of the 
social scale — a parasite, who adds nothing to the common 
wealth, but exists on the labour and needs of others. I 
was the more surprised to have this quick revelation 
from a man of the character and intellect of the Inten- 
dent of the Eastern Marshes, because when in acknow- 
ledgment of his courtesy I offered to submit myself to 
cross-examination, he spoke eloquently of the wide 
difference between European and Chinese civilisation. 

"It is twenty years," he said, "since I spoke with 
an Englishman in Feng-hoang-cheng, and I have never 
been beyond the borders of China. I have, however, 
read the diaries of many of my friends who have visited 
England, and I am aware how far in advance is the 
civilisation of Europe. I hope that in time we may 

XTbe fJX^avcb into /IDancburia 127 

make some progress in the same direction. We enter- 
tain for England and her people sentiments of gratitude 
and friendship. The English were the first to establish 
schools in Pekin, and to teach us something of Western 
thought and achievement. They taught us also how to 
regulate our trade and how to collect our Custom dues ; 
and we learned from them something of the training of 
soldiers. We have tried to imitate you, but we are still 
far behind, though not without hope." 

I am aware that language of this kind on the lips ot 
an Oriental is nothing more than the compliment which 
good breeding dictates ; but Chang-shi-lam spoke with 
such convincing earnestness, his face was so instinct with 
intelligence, and his eyes had such a look of mournful 
contemplation that I am disposed to count him among 
those progressive Chinamen who are not wrapped up in 
that impenetrable conceit which excludes the very notion 
of reform. In reply to his compliments 1 observed that 
we must become even better friends as our civilisation 
grew more alike, though we could not but venerate a 
civilisation which had given Confucius to the world, and 
had produced so many men of learning. Before taking 
leave of the Governor I expressed the hope that he and 
his people would soon be able to live in peace. 

" Yes,** he answered, " I hope the contest will end 
quickly, and that the fate of Manchuria will be deter- 
mined once for all.** 

The Governor rose and escorted me to the outer 
court through a group of retainers, whose faces had 

128 jfrom tbe 13alu to port Httbur 

crowded the doorway during our interview, and who had 
busied themselves by filling the teacups. As I was saying 
Good-bye this courtly and distinguished-looking gentle- 
man betrayed the first sign of curiosity. He took my 
Panama hat and examined it with eyes and fingers 
expressing wonder that straw or fibre could be woven so 
fine. But for that little lapse I might have felt that I was 
taking leave of a cardinal in the Vatican or some priestly 
chancellor in the mediaeval days. 

Chapter XVII 


The tidal wave of war that swept us over the Yalu left 
us stranded on a hill side in Manchuria. Upon the 
slope of the hill was outspread a forest of green boughs, 
in the shade of which we pitched our tents and awaited 
the next move in the big game. It was a sequestered 
nook, where the moist earth feeds a plenteous crop of 
weeds and clothes with verdure the tiny mounds under 
which generations of Manchus sleep the sleep that 
knows not waking. Among the silent memorials of the 
dead we made bowers of pine branch and oak leaf, and 
wreathed them with snowy hawthorn and scented lilac. 
At dewy dawn we woke to the song of thrush and call 
of cuckoo, and at nightfall we were lulled to sleep by 
the breath of the wind sighing through the woods like 
the murmur of the lonely sea. From our cool covert 
we looked upon a valley embraced by copse-clad hills 
and a mountain that towers like a bastion above the 
plain. Feng-hoang — "Phoenix" — is the name of the 
mountain and fits it well, for this sheer rock with 

129 I 

I30 fvom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

furrowed face and razor crest was born of fire. Along 
the valley winds the river — a strand of blue in a web of 
brown and gold. It was a scene of vernal loveliness. 
When the sun flooded valley and hill with gold, the 
brown earth turned to deep amber, and the groves shone 
like emeralds. Under the lambent moon the landscape 
was a silver shield embossed with hills and dark tree tops 
and a mountain seamed with black ravines. But it was 
in storm that the scene was grandest. Then the riven 
clouds dyed the valley and slopes with deep shades of 
amber and brown, and the hills were veiled with mist 
like white robed giants lifting proud heads into infinite 

In the shadow of our sylvan retreat stands a temple 
— a low roofed building without size or distinction, 
dedicated to the worship of Buddha — and across the 
plain rise the crenelated walls of the city. The hus- 
bandman was at work in the valley turning over the rich 
brown soil with a primitive plough drawn by ox and 
mule yoked together or sowing the furrows with 
millet dropped from a wooden scoop and trodden into 
the soil by the foot of one who comes after. Patches of 
vivid green showed where the seed had already begun 
to sprout, and where in a few weeks would arise a forest 
of tangled corn twelve feet high, through which Cossack 
and cavalry might strive in vain. 

The sounds that reached us were few. Twice a day 
the bronze bell of the temple summoned us to share our 
meals with the flies in the squalid courtyard. Now and 

XTbe SolMcr anb bis XKDlar Songs 131 

again the stillness of the night was broken by a rifle 
shot, and you dreamed of Cossacks and Chinese bandits 
until you woke to remembrance of the sentries posted 
on the edge of the wood, along the hill tops, and at the 
bridge which leads Northward to Liao-yang and Mukden. 
Or it might be that when you were seated round the 
camp fire watching the pine branches change into livid 
tongues of flame, and the pine cones grow into crimson 
chrysanthemum there came through the darkness a 
strange and startling melody. At first a faint murmur 
like the rustling of leaves in the forest, it grew louder 
and stronger till you heard the deep roar of an army on 
the march, mingling with the shock of arms and the 
shout of battle. 

The Japanese soldiers were singing their war song. 
Now, since the olden days when men held that the two 
things worth doing in this world were fighting and love 
making, poetry has busied itself with war. Our fathers 
fought and sang of fighting, both in admirable fashion, 
and many of our songs are instinct with the joy of battle. 
What poetry stirs the blood like Drayton's " Agincourt *' 
with the dash and rush of its metre like the charge of 
a light brigade, or " The battle of the Baltic " with the 
concerted music of its rolling rhythm, or that lofty, 
insolent, passionate song of Sir Francis Doyle, "Red 
Thread of Honour ? *' The true test of a war song is the 
power of exciting the combative spirit and judged by 
that standard, the songs of the Japanese are worthy of a 
place in the anthology of war. The sentiments, I 

I 2 

132 ifrom tbe l^alu to pott Httbur 

confess, seem to me political rather than martial — more 
suited to a leading article than to the battle field. The 
words in the literal translation have none of the real 
Berserkgang for which we look in battle poems, and I am 
driven to the belief that, like the Marseillaisey the 
favourite song of the Japanese owes its power to stir 
the blood to the remarkable way in which it marries 
itself to a magnificent tune. General Sir Ian Hamilton 
has made skilful use of the material in the following 
rendering, which he was good enough to make at my 
request : — 

Sons of Nippon, down with Russia ! 
Lawless Empire — lay her low- 
Faith and Justice she despises, 
Russia is our mortal foe. 

Even kindred foreign nations 
Hate and scorn the Russian brood : 
Like a wild insatiate wolf-pack 
Ravening, they seek their food. 

Fair Manchuria's triple province 
Scarce devoured, ere the band 
Lick their blood-stained lips and fasten 
On Korea — hapless land 

Who, unblushing, urged " for peace sake 
Render back the Liao-Tung ? " 
Scarce had ink dried on the parchment 
Than another song was sung. 

Shameless trampling down the treaty. 
Grasping countries far and wide, 
All the world turned against her 
For her lawlessness and pride. 

Ube SolMer anb bis Mar Soncs 133 

Comrades, can we live oblivious 

Of the blood of comrades slain 

Ten years since ? Oh, Powers Eternal, 

Did their life blood flow in vain ! 

There must be some end to evil 
Even in our life's short span, 
That time is now — for we are marching 
Down with Russia — on Japan ! 

Tell us not of Russia's vastness — 
Vast — may be — but poor and wild : 
Boast not of her swarming millions 
What are swarms unless combined ? 

Thousands starving: traitors lurking: 
Coffers empty : lack of grain. 
How shall Russia stand against us, 
Stand the long and weary strain ? 

But our own dear, precious country 
'Neath its Emperor can combine: 
For one thousand years successive 
Reigns that same immortal line. 

We are true and we are loyal. 

•' Roshia," as its letters say, * 

" Dew," that in the morning sunlight 

From the sword blade fades away. 

March then with our sunlight banner 
Waving proudly in the van : 
March beneath that glorious emblem. 
Down with Russia — on Japan! 

The Japanese character for " dew " and " Russia " is identical. 

134 Jfrom tbe l^alu to pott Httbut 

It was pleasant to live on the hillside instead of in 
the town. The freshness of heaven was above us : 
green trees were about us, and we felt less the restraint 
put upon us, for this valley was our prison. The 
river was our boundary on the North and East : the 
mountain shut out the South, and beyond the Western 
heights we might not go. The order had gone forth 
and we must not ask wherefor. Such was the fog of 
secrecy in which the Japanese strove to hide their every 
movement. In this quality of secretiveness they are 
the most Oriental of people, and observe in all things 
the letter of the injunction, ''Let not thy left hand 
know what thy right hand doeth.'' 

Within these bounds we were free to come and go, 
unless some too zealous sentry determined otherwise. 
It was a new sensation this enforced confinement, but 
we shared it with the military attaches of the foreign 
Powers, and therefore could not complain of unequal 

Chapter XVIII 



The priest stood on the mountain facing the multitude. 
In his uplifted hand was a pine branch hung with strips 
of white paper — emblems of the souPs purity. Swish ! 
Swish ! Swish ! Thrice the branch swept the air above 
the bowed heads in the plain below. The simplicity of 
this act of purification, the silence of the vast con- 
gregation, the beauty of the scene — all combined to fill 
with awe and reverence the alien spectator as well as the 
native worshipper. It has been my lot to attend many 
services on the field of battle. I have knelt with 
soldiers in the desert strewn with ten thousand dead 
outside the grey walls of Omdurman ; I have heard 
the song of thanksgiving echo among the ruins of 
Khartoum over which hovered the Shade of Gordon ; 
and under a shell-swept hill in Ladysmith I have joined 
in the prayer of a besieged garrison. These are 


136 jfrom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbuc 

memories that can never fade. Nor will there pass out 
of remembrance the scene of that day when an army 
assembled among the mountains of Manchuria to do 
honour to its dead. 

No temple raised by human hands could be so 
majestic and so inspiring as this valley edged round 
with purple hills and the deep blue of heaven above. 
The walls of the tabernacle were flowing contours of 
nearer hills clothed with pine trees and the shelving 
side of Mount Phoenix seamed with dark coombs in 
which nestle shrines and sepulchral mounds. Old 
marbles, ever beautiful, were never so rich and rare 
as this carpet of brown and green and gold woven by 
field and grove and river. Through every shade and 
tint they ran — from nutbrown to russet and auburn, 
from verd antique to emerald and the tender green of 
young corn ; from orange to saffron and amber and 
burnished gold — all blended in one splendid polychrome. 
Upon this spacious floor stood the soldiers — eight 
thousand or more. They were men of the Second 
Division. On the right were three regiments of 
infantry in brigade formation ; a regiment of cavalry 
was mounted between them and the artillery, who were 
without their guns, and on the left stood the engineers 
and train battalions. The long lines of khaki looked 
like a border of old gold in a gorgeous prayer mat spread 
before an altar raised upon the heights. 

Afar off on a lofty terrace in the shadow of a green 
bluff the priests had built their sanctuary — an oblong 


5n /IDemori? of tbe Bea& 137 

enclosure marked by banners. The entrance was a gate 
of two slender tree stems with a crossbar from which 
hung two flags — white with a red sun in the centre — 
emblems of Empire and of the Sun Goddess, from 
whom sprang the long line of Mikados who have ruled 
Japan. On the right front of the enclosure floated a 
black banner and on the left front a yellow, symbolising 
victory and the return home. 

At regular intervals were flags of white, blue, 
yellow, black, and red. Each colour has its meaning, 
though what it is must remain the subject of con- 
troversy. Some maintain that these primary colours 
represent five elements — earth, air, water, fire, and 
death : others contend that they are emblems of the 
four seasons and of the end of all things : some hold 
that yellow signifies the earth, blue the East, red the 
South, white the West, and black the North : others 
will urge that blue symbolises the beginning of life, 
red prosperity, white perfection, yellow the earth, and 
black death. That they have meaning is certain, 
though, like much of the ritual of Shinto and Buddha, 
it is lost in the mist of ages. 

At the back of the enclosure was the inner 
sanctuary, formed by four poles hung with rope, from 
which were suspended narrow strips of white paper 
known as "go-hei,'* emblems of purity and resting 
places for the souls of the departed. The altar was a 
table spread with a white cloth upon which rested 
a mirror — symbol of perfection borrowed from the 

138 JFrom tbe l^alu to pott Httbut 

Shingon sect of Buddhists. On each side stood an 
earthen pot from which rose great paper flowers, red 
and white and blue, and before the altar was a small 
table with a porcelain bowl that held a large pine branch 
hung with strips of white paper. At the back of this 
inner sanctuary rose a tablet of plain white wood 
bearing in Chinese characters the legend : "To the 
memory of the souls of the departed." Close by stood 
a wooden pail with a wooden dipper, decorated with 
" go-hei," to perform the ceremony of lustration before 
prayer, and, at a short distance on the right, was a small 
screened enclosure where the offerings were laid. And 
about the shrine stood white covered trays and baskets, 
laden with sacrificial gifts for the solace of the manes — 
heaps of radishes, piles of rice cake, bottles of beer, 
flasks of saki, or rice spirit, fish, and fowl — the fruits 
of the earth and of the waters thereof. 

To understand the ceremony it may be necessary to 
say something about Shintoism. Whatever the country 
of its origin there can be little doubt that in growth and 
development Shinto is a genuine product of Japanese 
soil. The nature worship, which is a distinct part of its 
doctrine, was probably inherited from the Ainu who first 
inhabited the island, while the worship of heroes and 
ancestors was imported, like Buddhism, from the main- 
land of Asia. The Pantheon of Shinto is crowded with 
a host of deities ; every stream, every mountain, every 
tree has its god or goddess ; and every hero and every 
ancestor has its place in Shinto theocracy. Yet it is a 

5n /IDenior^ of tbe 2)ea^ 139 

religion only in name, for the Kannuski, or priests, have 
no code of ethics and no doctrine of the destiny of man. 
They teach no moral duty save that of obedience to 
natural impulses and to the dictates of the Mikado. 
Their prayers are invocations to the spirits of the dead, 
and their sermons are formal addresses, partly eulogies, 
partly petitions, composed in a language of a remote 
period not comprehended by the common people. 
Shinto, in short, is but a shadowy cult of ghosts accom- 
panied with sacrificial rites, and demands of its disciples 
little more than a visit to some local temple at an annual 
festival. Its creed may be summed up in two sentences : 
belief in the continued existence of the dead — whether in 
a condition of joy or pain is not revealed : and belief in 
the divine origin and divine right of the Mikado. Its 
ritual is distinguished by severe simplicity ; its temples 
contain no idols ; its priests wear no splended garments ; 
the only incentives to worship are the mirror which 
symbolises perfection and the white strips of paper which 
signify purity. Despite the absence of inspiration, of a 
code of morals and of a theory of destiny — the essentials 
of all religions — Shinto is still the national religion of 
Japan, and every Japanese from his birth is placed under 
the protection of some Shinto deity. 

The bugles sounded the general salute, and the 
shrill notes lingered in the sun-lit air like dying peals 
of thunder as the solid lines of khaki in the plain below 
came to attention. The ceremony had begun. On the 
left of the sanctuary were arranged the officers of the 

HO jfrom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbur 

First Army — Major General Matsunaga, Major General 
Okaziki, Major General Shibuya, and Major General 
Kodama — not the assistant chief of the General Staff — 
with General Nishi, commander of the Second Division, 
at their head. In this group were the foreign attachhy 
General Sir Ian Hamilton and Colonel Hume having the 
places of honour. On the opposite side stood three 

In ordinary times the Kannuski are not distinguish- 
able from laymen, but on this day they wore their 
sacerdotal robes — long loose gowns with wide sleeves 
girdled at the waist. Upon their heads were black hats 
shaped like the biretta with a widow^s cap and strings at 
the back. The high priest — an old and bearded man of 
solemn and dignified bearing, who looked more like a 
Parsee than a Japanese — wore a sword in a velvet 
scabbard, and his gown was of red and black silk, closely 
resembling the old-fashioned dimity. The gowns of his 
assistants were of drab-watered silk, worn over regula- 
tion khaki trousers and regulation army boots that 
compelled one to the conclusion that they were private 
soldiers clothed for the nonce with priestly authority. 
Advancing toward the altar, the priests stood before the 
shrine, clapped their hands three times, placed them 
reverently together, bowed their heads, and uttered the 
invocation to the dead. It was an invitation to the souls 
of the departed to rest upon the white strips of paper, 
or "go-hei.'* Returning to their original places, one 
of the junior priests took from the table in front of the 

3n /H^emorp of tbe S)ea& 141 

altar the branch of pine. Raising it aloft in his right 
hand he waved the branch over the heads of his fellow 
priests, over the officers and attaches^ and over the 
offerings prepared in the little enclosed space. Then, 
moving to the front of the sanctuary until he stood on 
the edge of the terrace, he swept the air thrice over the 
heads qf the multitude far below. This was the act of 
purification in which the pine, or ever-green, signifies 

The High Priest thereupon drew near to the 
altar, and bowing before it took from his breast a 
scroll from which he recited in murmuring tones 
these words : 

" I, Hirokage Shimizu, Shinto priest, reverently 
speak to the souls of Lieutenant Jiro Takuma and other 
officers and soldiers who died in the battle of the Yalu 
and elsewhere, inviting them to approach the altar which 
we have erected at the foot of Mount Teisen beyond 
the walls of Feng-hoang-cheng. When friendly ties 
were broken and we came to the Russians with weapons 
in our hands, you joined the Second Division and 
marched to the front with the First Army, knowing 
that this was the hour of sacrifice and of duty. Bravely 
did you endure hardship and privation on sea and land, 
on mountain and in valley. But for you the fight did 
not end there. On the first day in May you came to 
the Yalu where the enemy had all the great advantages 
that nature had bestowed on such a position. Here 
you fought with admirable courage amid hail of bullet 

142 ifrom tbe IJalu to port Hrtbur 

and flash of bayonet. Some of you did excellent service 
in the work of reconnaissance, of road and bridge 
building and of transport. All of you helped to achieve 
that brilliant victory which has added lustre to the 
Empire and renown to the Army. Here in the citadel 
of Feng-hoang-cheng we have some leisure and would 
willingly tell again the story of that battle and talk over 
the future — but, alas, you are separated from us by the 
dark veil of death. Alas ! we can neither see your 
brave faces nor hear your cheerful voices. Deeply do 
we feel this separation — we who in brotherly love 
shared with you the hardships and privations of the 
campaign. His Majesty, the Emperor, pleased with 
your victory, has proclaimed his recognition of your 
services ; your countrymen applaud your courage and 
loyalty. Your merit is loftier than Mount Phoenix ; 
your fame is brighter than the waters of the Yalu. 
More than worldly honour have you won. Your 
spirits will be forever with the gods who guard the 
Empire, and your name will be cherished as an example 
of loyalty. Who could withhold his respect ; who 
would venture to disregard your services. The General 
who commands this Division and we also pay respect to 
your loyal souls by this memorial service held on the 
fiftieth day after the battle of the Yalu, and by offerings 
of sacred wine and meats. Humbly and reverently do 
we serve you with the rest of your comrades. We 
pray you to accept our services and the offerings laid 
upon the altar.*' 

5n /nbernor^ of tbe Dea& 143 

This allocution ended, the High Priest stood near 
the shrine with face turned toward the East, while one 
of his assistants received from the hands of a soldier 
offerings to the dead. These sacrifices represent the 
chief substances of human food — rice, wine, fish, fowl, 
vegetables, natural sweets, such as fruit, artificial sweets, 
such as cakes, and water and salt. Each offering rested 
on a ceremonial tray or tiny table covered with white 
paper and was reverently handed to the High Priest who 
placed it upon the altar. For a moment the ceremony 
was interrupted while General Nishi descended the slope 
to escort Prince Kunni to his place at the head of the 
officers. His Royal Highness was attended by General 
Fujii, Chief of the Staff, and Colonel Hagino. 

At the invitation of the High Priest, General 
Nishi stepped up to the altar, saluted and opening out a 
scroll read this eulogy to the dead : — 

" We meet on this sacred spot outside the walls of 
Feng-haong-cheng on the 19th day of June on the 
37th year of Meiji to do honour to the memory of brave 
men, officers and soldiers — one hundred and fourteen in 
number — who belonged to the Second Division and 
died in the service of their country. You, brave dead, 
bade adieu to your native land on the ist day in 
March, and took part in the memorable attack on 
Chiu-lien-cheng on May ist, having reached the banks of 
the Yalu in face of privations and hardships. This our 
first battle was destined to test before the eyes of the 
world the merits of our army, and to influence the spirit 

144 if torn tbe lljalu to port Hrtbur 

of our soldiers. Japanese courage, as the proverb says, 
never fails till death has conquered it. The whole world 
knows how we stood to the proof. Our enemy's . 
defences, strengthened by nature and art, were easily 
won. Thus has the glory of Japan been heightened and 
the prowess of our soldiers has been sharpened. Most 
of you fell on that memorable day. Even now we have 
before our minds the picture of your gallantry. Some 
few died in skirmishes that followed ; and many have 
fallen a prey to disease which pays no respect to 
meritorious deeds. Our hearts bleed at the thought of 
your brave and noble deeds. Rest in peace, precious 
souls ! Be comforted by the sweet consciousness that 
your brilliant exploits will be blazoned in letters of gold 
on the page of history, and that your grand example of 
self-sacrifice will be handed down from generation to 
generation. Our situation at the front renders it 
impossible for us to make fit preparation for such a 
celebration. Our offerings are small, but we commend 
our praise and gratitude to the consecrated memory of 
the dead.'' 

Again the bugles rang out filling the valley with 
the inspiring music of the anthem " Save our Country" ; 
rifles rattled to the salute and the army below stirred 
into life. It was the end. Sharp words of command 
followed the notes of the bugle and the troops marched 
away to their appointed places at the outposts and lines 
of defence. Meanwhile the officers were laying upon 
the altar the last tribute of respect to the manes of their 

Sn /iDemor^ ot tbe Deab 145 

comrades. Upon a table near the shrine there were 
many small branches of pine to each of which was 
attached a strip of white paper. General Nishi strode 
forward and receiving one of these branches saluted the 
altar and laid upon it this emblem of sincerity and 
purity. Prince Kunni followed with other officers and 
the foreign attaches^ each of whom paid this tribute to 
the men who had fallen in battle. 


Chapter XIX 


When the priest of Shinto had bowed before the shrine 
and the last offering had been made, the soldiers 
marched away. But the service for" the dead was not 
ended. Out of the little sacristy came a priest in robes 
of shimmering silk, and placed upon the altar flowers 
and a censer. The pine branches were removed, and, 
behold, the sanctury of the Sun Goddess became the 
shrine of Buddha. There was a time within the memory 
of men still young when they were worshipped in the 
same temple, for the Chinese missionaries who entered 
Japan in the Sixth Century accepted the Shinto deities as 
avatars or incarnations of Buddha, and the two faiths 
were so fused that the number of pure Shintoists and 
pure Buddhists was very small. By its doctrine and by 
its ritual Buddhism appeals to the heart and conscience, 
and for many generations it was the popular religion. 
But with the restoration of the Emperor the position 
was changed. If Japan had to adopt a foreign civilisa- 
tion, she had, at any rate, a religion that was indigenous, 
and suited to the political conditions of the moment. 


H Bu^^bi6t Cetemonp 


Shinto proclaimed the divine origin of the Emperor, and 
its doctrine was implicit obedience to his decrees. 
Therefore, Shinto was made the national religion, and 
the temples were cleansed of idols and incense and 
gorgeous vestments. 

The priest gave no heed to the soldiers, who moved 
away company after company, and squadron after 
squadron, until there remained near the sanctuary only 
the officers of the staff and the foreign attaches. The 
Shinto priests stood on the right of the altar, silent 
and reverent spectators. Making obeisance to the 
shrine the priest recited the prayer invoking the presence 
of Buddha, while an assistant, who acted as precentor, 
muttered the responses. Then the priest drew near to 
the altar, and, taking in the fingers of his right hand 
some fragments of incense, dropped them into the 
censer, out of which arose a tiny cloud of white vapour. 
Thrice he made this offering, and, retiring three steps, 
took from the folds of his green and purple silk robes a 
scroll, from which he read : — 

" On this the 19th day of June, in the 37th year 
of the Meiji, I, Nagao Reirzu, a Priest of Buddha, 
despatched by the Central Homgwanji (Temple) and 
attached to the Second Division of the First Japanese 
Army, set up a shrine at the foot of Mount Teisan, 
outside the walls of Feng-hoang-cheng, invoking the 
presence of Buddha and offering incense and flowers in 
order that he may comfort the noble spirits of the loyal 
and gallant soldiers who fell in the battle of the Yalu. 

K 2 

148 Jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

His Imperial Majesty, our august sovereign, has sought 
peace by every art of civilisation and has striven to 
cultivate the friendship of civilised nations since the 
early days of the Meiji era. His efforts have been 
especially directed to securing the peace and happiness 
of the East by guiding and aiding the countries of 
China and Korea. But Russia, insolent and ravenous, 
taking advantage of the weak and defying the strong, 
has trampled justice under foot and has departed from 
righteousness. To gratify her greed for territory her 
troops have overflowed the plains of Manchuria and 
Korea. The sins of Russia have offended Buddha and 
the gods and have caused our sovereign to issue his 
Imperial decree proclaiming war. Thus we come to 
cross swords with her. You, precious souls, bore many 
hardships and privations after leaving your native land. 
Difficulties of every kind confronted you. Yet amidst 
these trials you did your duty and won the admiration 
of all who were witnesses of your noble sacrifice. At 
last the moment came for the clash of arms. Shielded 
behind defences strengthened by nature and art, the 
enemy confronted you. Without hesitation you braved 
the dangers of shot and shell and charged onward 
against lines of bayonets until the enemy's forts were 
captured and Chiu-lien-cheng was won — thereby achieving 
an unparalleled feat of arms in the eyes of the world. 
Such brilliant exploits are to be ascribed chiefly to the 
virtues and grace of his Imperial Majesty, but your 
strength and your self-sacrifice in the interests of your 

H JSubbbtst Cetemonp 


country did much toward securing the victory. Alas ! 
you have fallen in battle : shot and shell did not spare 
you because of these noble qualities. When my 
thoughts turn to the field of that great fight my flesh 
burns and my senses grow faint. But man is mortal : 
the living shall die : those who meet shall part : such is 
the law of life. Who can escape the clutches of death ; 
death steals into every man's home. But you leave 
behind you a name that shall be a glory to your parents. 
You are good sons and brave men whose dauntless 
deeds will inspire with a strong sense of loyalty all who 
read the story of your death. Noble men and gallant 
soldiers ! The destiny of a nation rested upon your 
shoulders. You knew how to die : you have done 
your duty as loyal subjects and dutiful sons and have 
manifested that spirit of self-sacrifice and of unflinching 
bravery which are among the beautiful traits of the 
Japanese character. Your deeds shall be an example to 
generations to come. Your name shall ring through 
the groves of time as long as the waters of the Yalu 
flow toward eternity. Your fame will never die : it will 
be eternal as the snow on the summit of Fujiyama. 
This knowledge will console you for the sacrifice you 
have made for your native land. In our Buddhist 
philosophy loyalty, truth, filial love and fraternity are 
counted chief among the graces and the root of all 
god-like work. By sincerity one may enter the temple 
of stoicism and by love one may dwell in the realm of 
perpetual peace. These are the workings of the natural 

I50 JFvom tbe 13alu to port Hvtbur 

law. From the secular point of view your death was 
noble : from the philosophic point of view it was grand. 
I recite the sublime words of Buddha, burning incense 
with sincerity that I may appeal to Buddha and the gods 
seated amidst the coloured clouds above and to the gods 
who are in the depths of the earth, invoking their 
protection, and in order that I may offer to your souls 
a taste of the Manna of Heaven." 

If you will contrast this sermon, instinct with 
patriotism and the destiny of man, with the formal and 
uninspired words of the Shinto priest you will under- 
stand something of the difference between the Shinto 
and Buddhist religions. After the sermon came the 
reading of the Sacred Books, and then the offering of 
incense by the officers and attaches. Each in his turn 
strode into the sanctury, stood by the side of the priest, 
raised his hand to salute the shrine, and stepping forward 
dropped a fragment into the censer until its fires were 
smothered and the thin cloud of vapour vanished.^ 
General Nishi, as Commander of the Second Division, 
was the first to make this offering to the spirits of his 
dead comrades, and after him came Prince Kunni, with 
other members of the Staff, and finally General Sir Ian 
Hamilton with his colleagues. 

Chapter XX 


The Japanese have been blamed for not taking advan- 
tage of their victory at the Yalu to press North without 
delay. There were many reasons for hesitation. In the 
first place they did not know the strength of the enemy, 
and feared that General Kuropatkin might descend upon 
them with overwhelming force. Between the Yalu and 
Feng-hoang-cheng were several strong positions, where 
the Russians might have made a stand. General Kuroki 
accordingly determined to seize the heights about 
Hamatan, and to await developments. Cavalry patrols 
were pushed forward, and sent back word that the 
enemy had evacuated Feng-hoang-cheng. These reports 
were hardly credited, for Feng-hoang-cheng was a point 
of great strategic importance — the junction of many 
roads — where it was expected that the Russians would 
offer strenuous resistance. 

General Kuroki advanced upon Feng-hoang-cheng 
with the utmost caution, separating his army into three 


152 ffrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbut 

columns so as to guard against surprise. He was by no 
means certain that with the force under his command it 
would be prudent to remain at Feng-hoang-cheng. 

The landing of a small part of the Second Army 
in the Liao-itung Peninsula on May 5th introduced a 
new factor into the calculations. It was known that a 
large force of Russians confronted General Oku at 
Kin-chow, and there was danger that they would be 
content with holding him while the main army struck 
at General Kuroki. This was a movement greatly 
feared by the Japanese and had a powerful influence 
upon their plans. General Kuroki was of opinion that 
for three or four months he must be prepared to 
encounter an enemy twice as numerous as his own army. 
He had, however, the satisfaction of knowing that if 
the Russians came upon him in force, the landing of 
the Second Army would be assured. Accordingly he 
no sooner entered Feng-hoang-cheng than he proceeded 
to fortify the surrounding hills. Though the position 
was strong for defence, the perimeter was too extended 
for the force at his disposal, and orders were given 
that in the event of attack the Japanese were to leave 
the position and meet the enemy in front. The 
Twelfth Division was posted on the East, the Second 
Division on the West, and the Guard's Division in the 
centre on the Pekin road. 

On May 26th the battle of Nanshan was fought. 
Until that victory was won in the Peninsula it was 
feared that General Oku would be attacked by the 

Japanese at jFeno-boauG-cbeno 153 

Russian forces North and South of Nanshan, and that 
General Kuroki would be compelled to relieve the 
pressure on the Second Army by marching upon 
Hai-chung. The Russians missed a supreme oppor- 
tunity. What they ought to have done was to 
concentrate their forces and make a determined assault 
upon the army in the Liao-tung Peninsula, or upon the 
army at Feng-hoang-cheng. But General Kuropatkin's 
vicious habit of " nibbling *' prevailed, and no big 
movement was attempted. The Russian army was 
split into ineffectual fragments — some at Kin-chow, 
others at Kai-ping, some at Liao-tung, others near 

Through all these alarms General Kuroki held fast 
to his purpose of accumulating stores and strengthening 
the position about Feng-hoang-cheng. He was 
conscious that the Russians feared him, and would not 
willingly leave open the road to Liao-tung, even in the 
hope of crushing General Oku. When General 
Stakelberg moved south to fight the battle of Te-li-tzu, 
it appeared as if the moment had arrived for a rapid 
march on Liao-yang, but the Japanese knew that the 
Russian force in front of them was strong. 

Accordingly General Kuroki remained at Feng- 
hoang-cheng until he had accumulated stores and 
munitions of war that made him independent of the 
immediate control of the sea, and until there was no 
further risk of the Russians concentrating all their 
forces against one of the invading armies. The interval 

154 ifrom tbe l^alu to B^ort Hrtbur 

of forty-five days was not wasted. Engineers were 
occupied in constructing a light railway from the port 
of Antung, in building bridges across the winding 
stream of the Tsa-ho, which follows the North as far as 
the pass of Mou-tien-ling, in making and improving 
roads over mountains and along valleys, in entrenching 
hills that command approaches from the North, and in 
erecting bomb-proof shelters and gun emplacements. 
Warehouses arose outside the ancient and decaying 
walls of the city, and were filled with rice and the simple 
food of the Japanese soldier. 

Nor were the combatants idle while this provision 
was being made for their comfort and security. Mobile 
columns and strong patrols pushed forward on every 
side, scouring the country for miles, penetrating as far 
North as eighty miles due East of Mukden, and 
creating an impression of bewildering activity. On 
the East a Russian cavalry division, under General 
Renekampf — a soldier of great energy and recognised 
ability — struggled for mastery along the banks of the 
Pa-tao river, and for a week or more Saimaki became the 
objective of both forces. Now the town was held by the 
Japanese, and now we learned that two battalions of 
the enemy, with a field battery and a regiment of cavalry 
were in occupation, and that the Japanese had fallen back 
upon Nai-yang-meun on the Ai-ho. The presence of 
this force on our right was an embarrassment, and might 
at a critical moment become a menace. General Kuroki, 
accordingly, determined to remove the risk, and 

Japanese at JFeng-boang-cbeno ^55 

despatched a brigade to Nai-yang-meun with orders to 
get behind the enemy at Saimaki and thus cut off his 
retreat. As fate would have it, the Russians chose the 
very hour of the arrival of these reinforcements to attack 
the town, and were defeated. They retired in confu- 
sion, leaving our right flank unassailed. On the West, 
at Siou-yen the Guards joined hands with the Division 
landed at Takushan, and drove the enemy in the direc- 
tion of Hai-cheng. 

General Kuropatkin, not being gifted with the 
power of divination, was deceived by this activity. He 
evidently believed that General Kuroki was moving 
Westward toward the railway, and would presently join 
hands with the divisions in the Liao-tung Peninsula. 
Appearances lent themselves to this deception. A force 
had landed at Takushan, two brigades of Guards had 
occupied Siou-yen, and every day brought report of 
encounters between patrols and small mobile bodies of 
the enemy. The long halt at Feng-hoang-cheng helped 
to confirm the Russian commander in his delusion. 

Chapter XXI 


The advance of the First Army toward Liao-yang, long 
expected, carefully prepared, began on the 24th of June. 
The Second Division, under General Nishi, moved 
along the Pekin road ; their left flank protected by the 
Guards Division, and their right by the Twelfth Division. 
Our last view of the Phoenix Mountain was from the 
summit of a pass overlooking the river Tsao, and a tract 
of country as beautiful as an English park. 

When we left Feng-hoang-cheng it was with the 
confident expectation that the Russians would oppose 
our advance and that the Second Division would not be 
permitted to occupy Mou-tien-ling without a struggle. At 
our first halt we learned that the enemy had abandoned 
Lun-chen-kwan at the foot of the Pass and set fire to 
their stores. This hasty retirement was not the only 
evidence of surprise. From our flanks came reports 
that the Russians were retreating in confusion. Japanese 
cavalry occupied the foot of Mou-tien-ling on the morn- 
ing of the 27th of June, and save for a Russian post of 


Ubvancc to wart) Xtao-pana 157 

observation in the Pass the road was reported clear as far 
as Chou-chan — eight miles South of Liao-yang. 

The fame of Mou-tien-ling has long been in the 
mouths of men. It is the "Heaven-reaching Pass," 
and is described in all military text books as a position 
of great strategic importance and capable of prolonged 
defence. Great things we expected of Mou-tien-ling. 
Yet when General Fujii was beguiled into speaking of it 
we suspected that it would not bear the test of close 
acquaintance. Our worst fears were realised when we 
ascended the Pass. We looked for a mountain and found 
a hill, for fierce crags and found densely wooded slopes, 
for a dark and threatening defile and trod a winding forest 
path, for a wide field of fire and saw nothing save 
"dead*' grounds. 

Our march was Northward. For three nights and 
days rain had fallen in a continuous torrent ; the rivers 
were in flood ; the loose friable loam of which the roads 
are composed was a treacherous bog, and the hills were 
veiled in clouds of vapour. For several miles we rode 
along a narrow valley shut in by low hills clothed with 
vivid green. This defile ended abruptly in a low ridge 
that closes the North end of the valley like a barrier 
reef — the water-shed of the Tsao-ho. Here, it was 
believed, the Russians would make a stand. The 
position is adapted by nature for defence. The reef 
commands for three miles the narrow valley along which 
an army from the South must advance. On either hand 
are hills seamed with deep dongas and gullies in which 

158 Jfrom tbe JSalu to ff^ort Brtbur 

large numbers of men might rest secure from direct 
fire. Behind these are other hills forming a second line 
of defence, and to the rear of the reef lies a valley 
where an army might be sheltered and whence they might 
approach the first line of defence without exposing a 
man to the enemy. 

The Russians were evidently satisfied with the 
physical advantages of the position, for they had toiled 
long and arduously to strengthen it. On the crest of 
the barrier reef were several empalements for modern 
quick-firing guns that could have swept the valley from 
end to end. Other guns — about fifty in all — were to 
have been posted on the flanking hills. Here, too, were 
trenches, long lines of them ; not the primitive death- 
traps that we saw on the North bank of the Yalu, but 
real trenches, scientifically made, five feet six in depth, 
giving head cover and approached by traverses. And at 
the back of the position — a little to the East — stands a 
bold conical hill, upon which the Russians had con- 
structed a large circular and traversed trench like a fort, 
dominating the road. 

Why had they forsaken these splendid defences ? 
The explanation was simple. They were in momentary 
danger of being outflanked. One division of General 
Kuroki's army was marching along the Pekin road ; 
another was on the left, and a third on the right. Of 
the movements of the flanking columns we knew 
nothing beyond the fact that West of Mou-tien-ling 
there is a point at which they might concentrate and 

B&vance towat^ Xtao-^ana 159 

join forces with the central column. Herein lay the 
danger of the Russian position at the Dividing of the 
Waters. Unless General Kuropatkin was well informed 
of the movements of the Japanese, and unless he was 
better prepared than we had hitherto found him he could 
not hope to check the advance of these three inde- 
pendent divisions. The utmost that could be expected 
from the Russians was that they might hold the central 
column and harass the march of the flanking columns 
long enough to assemble a force to prevent any concen- 
tration West of Mou-tien-lingj on the Pekin road. 
The withdrawal of the main body of the Russian army 
from Liao-yang to Kai-ping and Hai-cheng made this 
impossible, and the road North lay open to the Japanese. 
As the divisions on our flanks advanced the Russian 
troops at Fun-sui-rei, or the Dividing of the Waters, 
had no choice save to retire. When we ascended the 
barrier there was not a sign of the enemy ; the trenches 
were empty ; the empalements were deserted ; the 
Russians had withdrawn four days before. Looking 
South we saw the long line of Japanese transport moving 
along the valley between green hills, and away in the 
distance rose a tumultuous sea of purple mountains with 
crests uplifted to the sky. 

At Lien-chen-kwan — five miles from the water 
shed — we halted once more, and had another oppor- 
tunity of realising that the army to which we were 
attached was only one of the pawns upon the chessboard. 
We had exhausted our moves and must wait. 

i6o fvom tbe Iffalu to pott artbut 

At four o'clock on the morning of July 4th we had 
a surprise. The enemy, who had abandoned Mou-tien- 
ling three days before, returned and endeavoured to 
destroy the outposts on the reverse slope. The head 
quarters of the Second Division to which I was attached 
was seven miles from the scene of the engagement, and 
it was not until the following morning that I received 
permission to visit the Pass. The physical features of 
the country through which we rode are identical with 
those to the South of the watershed — a narrow valley, 
hemmed in by well-wooded hills that extend in every 
direction like furrows in a ploughed field. The road 
runs due West, and two miles from Lien-cheng-kwan 
we halted at the head quarters of the Fifteenth 
Brigade, at the door of which sat several wounded 
prisoners of the loth and 24th East Siberian regiments 
— our old friends of the Yalu. Four miles beyond rose 
a bold forest-clad hill — the famous Mou-tien-ling, or 
Heaven-reaching Pass. The spur springs abruptly 
from the river flats, and the ascent is made by a steep 
and winding path which ends in a ravine before the 
summit is reached. The ridge is narrow, and covered 
with a dense growth of trees and bush, and the descent 
is steep until you come to a path that strikes Eastward 
along a cup-shaped valley, in which are a few scattered 
homesteads. At the end of this path is a temple dedi- 
cated to the memory of a famous emperor named 
Kwan-tai. On the Eastern slope beyond this shrine is 
another temple, and near to it a wood that played an 
important part in the attack on the outposts. 

Hb\>ance toward Xtao-pana i6i 

On the 2nd of July the 2nd battalion of the 30th 
regiment of Japanese infantry occupied the Pass and 
made the temple of Kwan-tai its Head-Quarters. It 
was the commander of the battalion — Major Takakusaki 
— who told us the story of the fight. From the second 
temple we walked along a shady lane to a road over- 
looking a valley on the Eastern slope of the hill. The 
road was stained with blood and littered with spent 
cartridges and scraps of paper inscribed with Russian 
characters. Looking Eastward we saw a broad ravine 
enclosed with hills of sharp ascent. The entrance to 
the ravine broadens to the river bed, and bending 
North is closed by several low spurs from one of which 
rises a white tower or pagoda. In the bed of the 
ravine are some farm houses, and at the South-west 
corner rises a conical hill behind which is a new road 
made by the Russians in order to avoid the steep ascent 
of the Pass. This road sweeps round the Mou-tien-ling 
spur in the shadow of many ridges. On our left was 
the wood near the temple, on our right the new road, 
behind us the ridges, and before us the broad ravine 
with the conical hill on our right. The road on which 
we stood overlooking the ravine had a trench that ran 
up to the wood. 

The disposition of the outposts at midnight on the 
3rd inst. was after this manner. A sentry watched from 
the conical hill, and in the houses in the ravine was a 
piquet commanded by Lieutenant Yoshi Seigo, with a 
sentry three hundred yards in front and patrols beyond. 

i62 jfrom tbe Jffalu to port Hvtbut 

In the hills above the new road was posted one 
company, half of which patrolled the hilly country 
nearest to the enemy. In the second temple was another 
company covering the left flank, two sections occupied 
the wood near the temple, one section lay in the 
trench on the slope of the ravine, and two companies 
were concealed in the valley behind the temple of 

Under cover of darkness two battalions of Russian 
infantry entered the ravine from the Liao-yang road. 
They followed upon the heels of the Japanese patrols 
so closely that the sentry in front of the picquet appears 
to have mistaken them for his comrades. Without 
answering his challenge the head of the leading battalion 
pressed forward and reached the picquet before the 
alarm was given. Lieutenant Yoshi Seigo rushed out 
to find the house in which the picquet lay almost 
surrounded. There was no time to organise any plan, 
and the picquet pouring out of the house engaged in a 
hand-to-hand combat with sword and bayonet. Five of 
them were slain, but not before their commander had 
cut down three of the enemy. About thirty escaped 
and made for the head of the ravine toward the 
Japanese trench. Seeing a black line on the ridge 
Lieutenant Yoshi Seigo came to the conclusion that his 
comrades were on the alert and were holding the road 
against the advancing infantry. Not until he had 
approached within a few yards did he discover that he 
was again in the midst of the enemy, and that the 

H^\>allce towarb Xiao-^ano 163 

Russians had already got a footing on the road. Mean- 
while the company in the wood near the temple, warned 
by the rifle shots, made ready to receive the attack, and 
an officer's patrol of twenty men who were just on the 
point of leaving collected near the wood at the end of 
the trench. Within a few moments after the alarm 
the whole company formed a line from the wood to a 
point half way along the road with the enemy in front 
of them. 

The state of the road showed how fierce was the 
fight. A Japanese sergeant struck off the head of a 
Russian officer and slew two men before he fell pierced 
by five bayonets. The sword of Yoshihara Chuji was 
notched like the edge of a saw. A second lieutenant 
fought like a tiger and died with five bullets in his 
breast. For fifteen minutes or more the road about the 
trench was a tangle of dark figures, hacking and 
thrusting and shooting. At last the company gave way 
and fell back into the scrub behind the ridge, whence it 
poured a deadly fire into the Russian ranks. In the 
meantime, reinforcements were hurrying from the valley 
beyond the temple. One company came racing up, 
dashed into the wood and out upon the road right into 
the thick of the foe. Once more the fight swept on 
hand to hand, with sword and bayonet and revolver. 
Against the ferocity of this attack the enemy recoiled 
and, turning, fled down the slope into the ravine 
followed by the rifle shots of three companies who lined 
the hills. The fourth company had taken a position on 

L 2 

1 64 jfrom tbe ISalu to port Httbur 

the ridge commanding the new road along which an 
attack from the second Russian battalion was expected, 
but this force of the enemy never got beyond the 
conical hill at the corner of the ravine. Finding his 
flank secure. Major Takakusaki led his men to the front 
in time to take up the pursuit. The Russians left fifty- 
three dead on the field and forty-seven wounded of 
whom three died. Three unwounded men and ninety- 
eight rifles fell into the hands of the victorious outpost. 
The two battalions were accompanied by fifty Cossack 
cavalry and brought with them large quantities of 
supplies as well as cooking utensils. It looked as if 
their intention was to stay, though it was difficult to 
imagine that this was a serious attempt to re-occupy the 
Pass which they had abandoned without a struggle. If 
this really was their object it can be explained only on 
the ground that General Kuropatkin sought at the last 
moment to delay our advance until he could make good 
his position on the North road. The attack was badly 
planned and badly executed. The second battalion 
took no part in the action and there was obvious 
miscarriage of the plan for an assault on the right 
flank of the Japanese. The enemy made a gallant 
fight, but courage could not avail where leadership 
was manifestly wanting in skill and foresight. The 
Japanese loss was only thirteen killed and thirty 

Mou-tien-ling, after all, had done something to 
deserve its repute in the war of 1894 when the Chinese 

H&rance towat& Xlao-^ana 165 

on two occasions succeeded in wresting the Pass from 
the Japanese. As we turned to descend the mountain 
we saw on the isolated hill above the ravine — clear 
against the blue sky — the solitary figure of a sentinel 
straining his eyes toward the East where the enemy lay 
in silence. 

Chapter XXII 


At dawn, on the i8th of July, we were roused by 
the sound of rifles and the hurrying feet of armed men. 
A dense mist lay over the valley of Lien-chen-kwan, 
and out of the darkness beyond came the solemn 
booming of volleys. The little stone house on the 
other side of the river slept soundly. Nothing ot 
importance could be happening as long as the General 
was within those silent walls. We went back to our 
tents, but not to slumber. Minutes passed and still 
the volleys echoed among the cloud-capped hills. The 
little house woke with a start. Officers dropped in by 
twos and threes ; orderlies came and went, and the 
hitching posts at the door held a mob of screaming 
horses. Something more than an affair of outposts } 

We dressed and made ready to ride to the front. 
But the Japanese were as careful of us as if they were our 
mothers. They had set their faces firmly against risk on 
our part. "You must wait," said our mentor, and he 
meant it this time. So we waited, booted and spurred — 
waited and watched troops hastening forward, wiping 


Httacft on /Iftou-tien-Ung 167 

the sweat from their brows as they ran : waited and 
watched ammunition wagons rumble by : waited and 
heard the volleys drowned in the roar of artillery, sharp 
and solemn as thunder peals among the mountains. 
To our impatience was the same answer : " You 
must wait." 

The crowd before the little house grew. Foreign 
ailachSSy eager for their first battle, came riding up. 
For them was the same order: "Wait." Importunity 
avails not with a Staff officer whom you must approach 
through an interpreter. Near and more near boomed 
the cannons. They knocked at our very door. But 
the Staff officer was unmoved. "You must wait." 
Chinese women and girls seized their bundles and fled 
into the mountain whence they had come after the 
retreat of the Russians — they did not like the soldiers of 
the Czar. In the little house over the river orderlies 
packed up and prepared for a flitting. Was it so 
serious as that ? A telegraph section crossed the stream 
and ran a wire up the hill where three men stood like 
statues in the mist. We breakfasted and waited and 
watched more soldiers mopping their foreheads as they 
doubled past and more ammunition wagons rolling to 
the front. At last came release, and at a canter we 
started for the scene of action, Mou-tien-ling once 

For days there had been unwonted activity in the 
enemy's camp West of the Pass. Reinforcements 
arrived and preparations were made to renew, on a 

i68 jfrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtbur 

grand scale, the attack of the 4th of July. Meanwhile, 
the Japanese had strengthened their advance post and 
awaited the assault. A strict vigil was kept, and for two 
nights men slept fully armed. Shortly after midnight 
on the 1 6th the officer commanding the brigade on the 
North of the Pass was informed that a body of the 
enemy was moving on his front. The attack was about 
to be delivered. He sent warning to the head quarters 
of the brigade West of Mou-tien-ling, and measures 
were taken to repel the enemy. At half-past two o'clock 
on the morning of the i yth a squadron of cavalry and a 
large force of infantry appeared in the valley that 
debouches on the road to Liao-yang, and reaches by a 
gradual ascent the road over the Pass. Three thousand 
five hundred yards from Mou-tien-ling — on the road to 
Liao-yang — stands a white tower, conspicuous on the 
lower spur of a hill. West of the To-wan — the name 
given to this locality — the road approaches the Pass 
between hills, and enters a narrow valley in which are 
two tiny hamlets — Kinki-hotsu at the Western end, and 
Lika-hotsu in the middle. The sides of the valley run 
North and South and are steep. Leaving the valley the 
road ascends past an isolated conical hill to a sharp low 
ridge, which closes the Eastern end of the defile. Upon 
this road, commanding the valley and its approach from 
the West is a trench — the farthest point reached by the 
Russians on the 4th of July. At the back of the trench 
is some scrub, and to the left of it, facing West, is a 
small plantation, and behind that again a shrine, from 

Httacft on /lDou=tfen-lln^ 169 

which the road dips into a gorge, and then ascends to a 
broad ridge. From the centre of this ridge, which is 
like a bow bent between broad backed hills, rises a 
temple, large and solidly built — the head quarters of 
the post. East of the temple the ridge tumbles into a 
V-shaped valley, the Western slope of which rises 
abruptly to the summit of Mou-tien-ling — the Japanese 
line of defence. 

Orders had been given that picquets and posts were 
not to resist the enemy if he appeared in force. They 
were to fall back upon the defensive line on the summit. 
The Russians advanced "like dark waves of the sea,'' 
and picquet and post withdrew from the hamlet in the 
valley and from the trench and the temple, firing 
a few random shots as they retired. Not being 
accustomed to so gentle a reception the enemy became 
suspicious and advanced very cautiously toward the 
temple. Here they seemed inclined to halt, and a few 
Japanese skirmishers were sent forward to discover their 
position. When day broke the Russians were in posses- 
sion of the Western slopes, ridges and valleys of Mou- 
tien-ling ; their right wing rested on a broad hill eight 
hundred yards from the Japanese trenches below the 
summit of the Pass : on their right rear was a plantation 
filled with riflemen ; their left flank occupied a trench 
on a hill fronting the summit, while their centre held 
the ridge about the temple. In the V-shaped valley were 
more troops who had marched by the road South of the 
Pass and in front of the white tower — three thousand 

I70 ftom tbe 13alu to port Hrtbut 

five hundred yards away on the Liao-yang road — was 
posted a field battery of eight guns. Seven Russian 
regiments or nearly thirty thousand fighting men were 
engaged, for the attack was not confined to Mou-tien- 
ling but covered a front of fifteen miles. Three 
Japanese regiments and one field battery held the Pass. 
Their left wing was secure, close to it lay a division, but 
the right was weak and might have suffered but for the 
magnificent courage of a single company at an isolated 
post six or seven miles to the North. 

The dispositions were made under cover of night, 
and at dawn the two forces confronted each other across 
a steep and narrow valley. Though the mist still shrouded 
the mountain the fight began. At twenty minutes before 
five o'clock a steady fusilade was opened from both sides. 
The road from the temple to the crest has a gradual 
assent, and on one side the ground rises to a height 
of two or three feet. Under this cover a few daring 
Russians pressed forward but they could not hope to 
reach the summit. The bend in the path was quickly 
strewn with dead. And now was approaching the 
moment for energetic action. The Russian guns must 
remain silent ; they could do nothing without endanger- 
ing their comrades in front. The Japanese were 
anxious not to unmask their artillery too early in the 
encounter, for they had on the crest only one battery 
of field guns. Soon after six o'clock this caution was 
laid aside, and the Japanese guns began to speak. The 
air was now clear, and below the guns, at a range of fifteen 

Httacft on ^ou=tten-ltnG 171 

hundred yards, lay a splendid target — the enemy massed 
in the V-shaped valley. A hail of shrapnel tore gaps 
in the close ranks and strewed the valley with dead and 
dying. To this destructive bombardment was added the 
distant fire of a battalion of rifles on the extreme right. 

Notwithstanding these losses in the valley the 
Russians were secure on the ridge about the temple, 
and there appeared no reason why they should not 
remain there until turned out by the bayonet. Their 
right was pushed well forward in trench and wood, from 
which the Japanese advance could be enfiladed and taken 
in the rear ; their left was strongly posted in a trench 
commanding the steep decline down which the Japanese 
must come from the right, and their centre had the 
shelter of the solidly built temple, with a compound 
surrounded by a high stone wall. Any attempt on the 
part of the Japanese to rush the position must have been 
attended with great loss, and might easily have proved 
disastrous. That General Nishi fully realised the 
danger was shown by the rapidity with which the rein- 
forcements were hurried forward. 

A nine o'clock the enemy began to retire. The 
cause of this unexpected determination to abandon an 
obvious advantage was obscure. It might have been 
due to the action of a reconnoitring party from the 
division on our left. At any rate the story was that on 
the morning of the 17th a patrol from our left 
encountered a body of Russians, and was driven back. 
Returning with one battalion and a battery they renewed 

172 JFtom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

the combat and put the Russians to flight. Not content 
with this success, the commander of the force resolved 
to push forward in the direction of Mou-tien-ling, 
whence he heard heavy firing. Having faith in the old 
maxim of " marching to the cannon,*' he abandoned the 
road, led his battalion over the mountains and suddenly 
appeared in the rear of the Russians, about three miles 
beyond To-wan. 

General Keller, who was in command, may have 
imagined that this was a counter attack on his right flank, 
and that his line of retreat was seriously menaced. 
Whatever the cause the result was before us when we 
arrived at Mou-tien-ling. 

The retirement began on the left, the men falling 
back steadily to the shelter of the plantation. Hard 
upon their heels came the Japanese, firing into the scrub 
and young timber, out of which flew thick and fast the 
bullets of the hidden foe. Twice the pursuers tried to 
penetrate the wood, and twice they fell back. It was 
impossible to take aim, for though the trees and under- 
growth were not strong enough to afford cover they 
were dense enough for concealment. When at last the 
Japanese succeeded in entering, the greater part of the 
enemy had descended into the valley and were taking 
up a position on the right to cover the retirement of the 
centre. A few, however, remained, and these the 
Japanese officer invited by a gesture to lay down their 
arms and surrender. Five immediately dropped on 
their knees and fired, without effect. So the combat in 

Httacft on /Rou-tten-ltng 173 

the wood was renewed, and as we passed through we 
saw many a grim evidence of the struggle. The centre 
retired slowly and in good order, covered by a flanking 
fire from the hills on the left. A small rear guard 
remained at the temple, around which lay several dead 
and wounded. Left and centre were now in retreat, 
taking up positions from which they checked any 
disposition on the part of the Japanese to come to close 

In the plantation near the shrine, and on the conical 
hill, the Russians remained for some time, but they made 
no attempt to recover the lost ground. Meanwhile, the 
Russian right had withdrawn from the slopes to the 
crests of the hills north of the temple, whence they 
opened a cross fire upon the pursuit before they 
streamed away into the valley and the Liao-yang road. 
A fine target they afforded on the green hill side, but the 
Japanese guns were silent. Hour after hour went by 
as we followed the firing line and watched the slow and 
deliberate retirement of the enemy. A strong force had 
secured the hills close to the entrance of the valley on 
the North, and here they remained firing volley after 
volley whenever a forward movement was threatened by 
the Japanese. One battalion that ventured too far into 
the valley tempted the Russian gunners to open fire, and 
a dozen soldiers were quickly stretched on the grass by 
one shell. Another battalion pressed along the South 
slope toward the mouth of the valley, but could not 
descend without exposing itself to a ruthless fusilade. 

174 ffrom tbe ]3alu to port Httbur 

Thus the position remained until late in the after- 
noon. From the trench in front of the shrine, and from 
the conical hill we saw the enemy in retreat toward 
To-wan. A long line of ambulance wagons stretched 
beyond the white tower ; behind them marched infantry 
and cavalry in close order ; and in the rear waited a 
strong force of infantry and cavalry with half a battery. 
They were guarding the exit from the valley along 
which strolled an occasional soldier with a gait as 
leisurely and a manner as indifferent as though these 
were manoeuvres instead of war. At any sign of 
advance by the Japanese, the infantry at the entrance to 
the valley formed up to oppose them, and the guns 
were unlimbered and trained. This sufficed ; the 
Japanese were not strong enough to force an attack 
home. Here was the moment when one realised the 
importance of horse artillery. A single battery well 
handled would have turned this deliberate retirement 
into a stampede. The pursuit was not pressed, and the 
army of General Keller drew off with a final cannonade 
directed against our right. 

Away on our right flank was enacted a dramatic 
episode that might have been a tragedy. In order to 
avoid the Pass the Russians had made a road which 
sweeps round the North spur of the mountain, following 
the plain from a point near Lien-chen-kwan to the road 
leading to Am-ping. By this way came a force of the 
enemy. At a point six miles north of Mou-ti en-ling 
they met a Japanese outpost of one company. Though 

Httacft on /lDou-tien=ltnG 175 

greatly outnumbered, the outpost realising the import- 
ance of its position, withstood the onslaught. Hemmed 
in by six companies they fought as Japanese soldiers 
always fight — with the coolness and skill of veterans, 
and the courage of fanatics. Closer and closer drew 
the enemy until the struggle was almost hand to hand. 
Numbers could not avail against courage so desperate. 
The Russians retreated, leaving their dead and wounded, 
and our right flank was safe. But the cost was great to 
this gallant company. All the officers were killed or 
wounded, and of the rank and file twenty were killed 
and forty-five wounded. 

There was a moment when the position on our left 
flank in the Pass looked not less critical, for the enemy 
came within eight hundred yards and had good cover. 
But reinforcements arrived and that interval was soon a 
glacis of bullets across which no troops, however 
desperate, could have passed. 

It is not easy to understand this repeated effort to 
capture a position which was abandoned without firing 
a shot. The explanation has been ofi'ered that Mou- 
tien-ling was evacuated without the knowledge ot 
General Kuropatkin and on the rumour that two 
divisions were threatening to outflank the position. A 
more probable explanation is that General Kuropatkin, 
finding it necessary to withdraw his force from the 
Liao-tung Peninsula, and to fall back on Liao-yang, 
determined to recover the Pass, in the hope of delaying 
the advance of General Kuroki, who was seeking to 
eflFect a junction with General Oku in front of Liao-yang. 

Chapter XXIII 


At Chaotoa the Russians had a position ot the 
highest strategic importance, from which they could 
threaten the advance of our right wing upon Liao-yang 
or Mukden. Bridge Head — as it was called — was 
also a barrier against the junction of our division — 
an armed point thrust between our centre and our 
right flank that an enterprising enemy might use 
to arrest any forward movement or in another attack on 
Mou-tien-ling. The necessity of removing this menace 
became urgent after the second attempt to recover the 
Pass, and the task was undertaken by the force whose 
head quarters were at Saimaki. Chaotoa is twenty miles 
north of Lien-chen-kwan, but in order to reach it safely 
we must retrace our steps toward Feng-hoang-cheng 
and strike North-east beyond the watershed. Leaving 
Saimaki on the right the road traverses a mountainous 
country and in fifty miles crosses the river at a score 
of places. By a rapid ascent we reach the watershed of 
the Eastern range — a lofty eminence whence the eye 











Hssault on Cbaotoa 177 

wanders over a heaving ocean of mountain and valley, 
clothed in many shaded greens of ripening maize and 
cotton and indigo. As you draw near to the Tai-tsu 
river you enter a long defile through which flows a 
stream, and at the western end of the defile rises 
Chaotoa. The strength of the position is at once 
apparent. Its precipitous front is washed by a tributary 
river which flows North to join the valley stream and 
turning West empties its waters into the broad flood of 
the Tai-tsu beyond Amping. In the angle of the 
meeting of the waters was the enemy's fortified position. 
Their front was a sheer precipice with the deep river 
below ; their left flank sloped gently down to the valley 
stream beyond which was a plain stretching to the 
Northern heights, and their right wing was defended 
by hills. From this secure angle the Russian guns 
commanded the valley and road : approach on their left 
was impossible without scaling heights beyond which 
runs the deep broad river Tai-tsu. 

Chaotoa had been chosen as a defensive position 
some weeks before. Trenches and gun emplacements 
had been made and had been abandoned. But when 
General Kuropatkin decided to attack Mou-tien-ling a 
second time, Chaotoa came once more into favour, and 
two brigades with twenty-four field guns, eight mountain 
guns and a regiment of cavalry were sent to re-occupy 
the place. Their first duty was to construct new trenches 
and gun emplacements. The lines of trenches followed 
the contour of the ridge, covering front and flanks save 


178 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

on the left slope by which the united streams flow 
Westward. The right flank resting on hills was thrown 
back toward the river and the gun positions dominated 
road and valley, one battery being posted at the 
right centre. This was the strength and situation of 
the enemy for several days previous to the assault on 
Mou-tien-ling upon the 17th of July. But they were 
not to remain long in uninterrupted possession. On 
the morning of the 17th, the Japanese began their 
advance. One thousand Cossacks appeared on their 
flank to the North-west of Saimaki and souo^ht to arrest 
the movement. But cavalry that must keep to the roads 
is of little use except for reconnoitring and the Japanese 
had ceased to hold the Cossack in much respect. The 
Russians were easily persuaded to retire, and the only 
result of this demonstration of weakness was that one 
battalion, instead of three battalions as was originally 
intended, remained near Saimaki to guard our com- 

On the afternoon of the 1 8th, the advance guard of 
the Japanese entered the valley before Chaotoa. The 
road winds between ranges of hills following the course 
of the river whose banks are dotted with peaceful home- 
steads and are vividly green with the ripening crops. 
As it approaches Chaotoa the valley opens out to the 
South and West into a cultivated plain backed by hills, 
and bounded by the stream which flows along the front 
of the enemy's position. Russian patrols and pickets 
were in the hills along the South of the valley, but they 

Hssault on Cbaotoa 179 

made no efFort to arrest the advance. Before the steady 
movement of our troops, the Russians fell back behind 
the trenches and guns of Chaotoa and awaited the 
inevitable assault. 

At noon a Japanese battalion had taken up a 
position near a village on the South from which the 
movements of the enemy could be observed. Clouds 
of dust indicated that they were withdrawing their 
heavy baggage to a safe distance ; soldiers retired from 
the trenches, and a wild fear seized the Japanese that 
the enemy were about to escape without a fight. 
Orders were given to prepare for the pursuit, and the 
battalion was about to leave the village when a mounted 
officer was seen to ride away, and presently the Russian 
troops re-ascended the slope and lined the trenches. 
At half past four in the afternoon the enemy opened on 
the village with sixteen guns and did considerable 
damage, for the Japanese mountain batteries had not 

From the valley the position looked unassailable 
save by a frontal attack against an entrenched precipice 
— an assault from which even the votaries of frontal 
attacks would shrink. But the Japanese are not easily 
deterred by appearances ; they hold fast to the sound 
doctrine that every position, however strong, has its 
weak point, and that the first duty of a commander is 
to discover that weakness. So the day passed in 
desultory fighting and at night the real preparations 
were made. Among military experts in Europe there 

M 2 

i8o jftom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

is a tradition that the Japanese avoid movements in the 
night. It is the part of wisdom to prefer the light ; 
yet this theory, like many more affecting the Japanese, 
will bear revision. Under cover of darkness General 
Inouye made his disposition for the assault on the 
morrow. His command consisted of three infantry 
regiments, five mountain batteries and some cavalry. 
Two regiments were moved forward to the front of 
Chaotoa. They lay in the maize fields hidden from 
view by the broad green leaves of the rising corn and 
spent the night in making breastworks. This front 
line stretched from the North side of the valley across 
the stream and extended over the plain on the enemy's 
front and right. The Japanese right flank was within 
900 metres from the Russian trenches and their left was 
only 1,200 metres distant. Before them were the deep 
river and the precipitous side of Chaotoa. One 
regiment, commanded by Colonel Hiraoka, who was the 
Japanese attache in the Boer war, remained in reserve 
for a most important mission. 

Night came, and the shadows stole up the hills, 
leaving the valley in darkness. A strange stillness 
filled the air with foreboding. The moon rose and 
flooded the hills with light, but revealed no sign of the 
approaching conflict. Yet, in the corn fields below, 
thousands of khaki clad men burrowed like moles. The 
enemy must have been conscious of their presence, for 
they opened a cannonade that continued at intervals 
through the night. From the trenches also came rifle 

Hssault on Cbaotoa i8i 

fire, and twice in the darkness a small force advanced to 
dispute the passage of the river. They brought with 
them drums and trumpets. Could it be that the 
Russians had adopted Chinese methods of warfare, and 
hoped to scare the enemy with discord, or did they 
imagine that they might delude the Japanese into belief 
that they were an army on the march ? The musicians 
left some of their instruments on the field. But from the 
corn fields came no response. Bullets whistled among 
the green stalks, carrying death and wounds in sharp 
swift notes to two hundred and eighty unseen men, but 
not a sound or a sign was given. On the left, especially, 
our casualties were heavy, for the line of infantry was 
within decisive range. At last day dawned, and the hills 
awoke. Two mountain batteries had been carried to the 
crest of a hill commanding the Russian position from 
the East at a distance of 3,480 metres ; three other 
mountain batteries were posted on the North bank of 
the stream, about half way down the valley ; they were 
in the shadow of a temple, 2,800 metres from the 
enemy. The Russians had no diflficulty in locating the 
first artillery position, but of the second they remained 
long in ignorance. The four hundred shells they 
directed against it fell on a hill upon the opposite bank 
of the stream where there was neither gun nor rifle. 
When they discovered the mistake their range was 
deadly in its accuracy, for it had doubtless been carefully 
measured, but there were defects in the Russian fuses 
that rendered their shells often harmless. 

i82 jfrom tbe Igalu to port Hrtbut 

While the artillery duel was in progress the 
Japanese were launching a bolt more deadly than the 
shells of their mountain guns. I have spoken of a weak 
point in the Russian position. That weakness was on 
the right, where the hills appeared to afford a natural 
defence. But hills are dangerous things unless well 
guarded, and the Russians had not learned the lesson of 
turning movements. Soon after daybreak there came 
from the rear of our position at the Eastern end of the 
valley a regiment of brave and determined men. They 
had before them a long and difficult march, and at the 
end of the journey a desperate task to perform. Their 
leader was a soldier who had learned some useful lessons 
in South Africa, for Colonel Hiraoka did not believe 
that military science began and ended with the Franco- 
German War. He led his regiment into the mountains 
and vanished from our view. Meanwhile, the men in 
the cornfields waited long and anxiously. Already they 
had observed symptoms of uneasiness on the part of the 
Russians, and feared that they might escape before the 
web was spun round them. At one o'clock in the after- 
noon some men left the trenches and did not return. 
Another hour crept by and the Russian guns were 
withdrawn. It was obvious that the enemy suspected 
some deep laid scheme and was making ready to depart. 
General Inouye watched anxiously from the gun position 
in the valley, and his glance was fixed on the hills to 
his left. Moments went by, and half an hour seemed 
an age. 

Hssault on Cbaotoa 183 

At last the signal ! from the Russian trenches on the 
right came volley after volley hurtling over the plain. 
The leaden hail swept across the fields, and the corn 
stalks snapped under the hurricane like the cracking of a 
myriad whips. This sudden storm was directed against 
the defile beyond the plain where the head of Colonel 
Hiraoka's regiment appeared — appeared and vanished 
again to hurl itself on the right flank of the Russians. 
In seven hours they had marched across nineteen miles 
of trackless mountains, and climbed three steep ranges 
under a blazing sun. Their arrival was well timed ; 
had they been half-an-hour later they would have failed 
in their mission. Two companies from the force near 
Lien-cheng-kwan had hurried forward to meet them, 
and were fortunate in effecting a junction. For a 
second or two they stood out against the sky — a dark 
extended line advancing rapidly under a heavy fire. On 
they swept with a cheer ! The mountain batteries in 
the valley — no longer having to face the superior range 
and weight of the Russian guns — moved forward to 
their aid and hurled shrapnel into the position. For 
nearly an hour the fight went on with fury ; but not 
for a moment did the regiment waver or loosen its 
grip on the enemy. Their losses were heavy, and their 
leader fell mortally wounded, yet they held fast, and the 
victory was theirs. With a shout that rang like a 
trumpet among the echoing hills up sprang the fighting 
line from the cornfields ; each maize stalk became an 
armed man. Into the river they rushed. The waters 

1 84 from tbe l?alu to port Hrtbur 

were deep and the current was strong, yet in they 
sprang, holding their rifles aloft. Up to their necks 
they were, and only one man was drowned. Under 
cover of the precipice they darted toward the exposed 
flank of the Russians. Before this desperate onslaught 
the shaken enemy could not stand. They fled down 
the slope, and, massing near a plantation, made ready 
for flight. But their retirement was not so orderly and 
deliberate as at Mou-tien-ling. The guns opened and 
they bolted like hares. 

To complete their discomfiture two companies and 
one section had scaled the heights on the North, and, 
hurrying West, suddenly appeared among the hills on 
the Russian flank. The enemy were now under rifle 
fire from three sides and did not stop to arrange the 
order of their going. The flight spread North and 
West, and at a quarter past five o'clock in the afternoon 
the flag of the Rising Sun floated over Chaotoa and one 
hundred and fifty Russians dead. Sixty-five prisoners 
were taken of whom thirty-three were unwounded. 
Many wounded were carried from the field early in the 
day when the fight was practically suspended. Among 
the spoil were 215 rifles, 17,878 rounds of ammunition, 
three caisons, 152 shells, 26 tents, seven drums and 
four trumpets. The Japanese casualties were 523 — two 
officers and seventy men killed, sixteen oflEicers and 435 
men wounded. The Japanese guns fired 440 common 
shells and 2,500 shrapnel shells. 

assault on Cbaotoa 185 

The capture of Chaotoa was a brilliant exploit, and 
must be accepted as another proof of the immense 
superiority of the Japanese infantry. The Russian 
troops were from Europe ; they outnumbered their 
assailants by nearly two to one ; their twenty-four field 
guns were opposed to mountain batteries ; their position 
was strong by nature and art, and much depended on 
their retention of Chaotoa. The flanking movements 
were splendidly executed ; and the one regret was that 
Colonel Hiraoka did not live to reap the reward of his 

Chapter XXIV 



By the light of the moon we mounted our horses and 
took the road once more to Mou-tien-ling. The valley 
lay before us folded in the death-like slumber that 
precedes the dawn. Against the opalescent sky the 
mountains were dark shadows, and in the pearly mist 
willow and birch took the feathery shape of palm. 
There was a brooding expectancy about the scene that 
worked strongly on the imagination. Our mood was 
attuned to the mystery of the night and we rode on 
in silence. Twelve hours before we were looking 
across the graves of wasted days. For a whole month 
we had camped in the squalid hamlet of Lien-chen- 
kwan and counted ourselves among its oldest habitants. 
When the Japanese army halts it halts with an air of 
permanence. The place is swept, houses are cleaned, 
bridges are built, roads made and repaired, store houses 
erected, trenches dug and earthworks constructed. 












XTbe Ht)t>ance on Xiao-pana 187 

You feel that you are settled for life, and are beginning 
to reconcile yourself to irresistable fate when, presto ! 
the order comes to march. 

"Military auac/ies -Sind foreign correspondents will 
assemble at Head-Quarters at three o'clock in the 
morning." Nothing more was said, but we knew that 
it meant another step in our deliberate progress to 
Liao-yang. How changed was the scene from that of 
two weeks before. Then the road swarmed with armed 
men hurrying to the front ; horses and guns swept 
onward in a roaring cataract and the glowing hills 
echoed with the thunders of war. Now we were a 
solitary troop of horsemen riding through a deserted 
valley, whither and with what purpose we knew not. 
Yet the breathless quiet and the dimness of the 
enfolding mist were filled with vague portents that 
touched deeper chords than those vibrated by the 
tumult of battle. We were conscious of the brooding 
presence of some mighty force which would appear and 
change earth and sky like a tornado, leaving death and 
destruction in its path. 

For many days the storm clouds had been gathering 
'on the Northern and Western horizons. Port Arthur 
was struggling in a deadly embrace ; the army of the 
Peninsula was tightening its grip upon the enemy, and 
we were slowly drawing near to the door through 
which he must escape. In spite of lyrical outbursts on 
the courage and patriotism of the Russian soldier, 
despite plans devised by idle hands in distant countries, 

1 88 from tbe jgalu to pott Hrtbur 

in face of hypotheses about what must happen in this 
and that circumstance, there was only one course open to 
General Kuropatkin. He must get away as quickly as 
possible from a situation that seemed without meaning 
and must end in disaster. If he could not make up 
his mind to escape, then the Japanese must help him. 
In their own practical aud decisive manner they must 
show the Russian commander how imminent was the 
danger menacing his front and flank and rear, on the 
road between Hai-cheng and Liao-yang. With that 
object — and incidentally in the hope of saving the 
Russians from the necessity of continuing an apparently 
hopeless contest — the order was given for a general 
attack on Sunday the 31st of July. 

Military historians are agreed that of all operations 
the most difficult and hazardous is that which demands 
simultaneous action by isolated and widely separated 
bodies of troops. The Japanese, however, are of 
opinion that the axioms of war are not axioms till they 
have been proved upon their own persons. Accordingly, 
with the aid of the telegraph and the telephone, and 
with confidence born of an unbroken series of victories, 
they made this concerted attack at three points on a front 
of sixty miles and added another triumph to their record. 
The force moving from the South met with no opposi- 
tion and entered Hai-cheng, while the army landed at 
Takushan, and operating between the armies of the 
Peninsula and the East struck the enemy's retreating 
flank and left its mark upon it. 

Ube H^t>ance on OLtao-pang 189 

General Kuroki's part in these operations was 
more difficult. In front of him was a force superior to 
his own, with guns of greater range and calibre, strongly 
entrenched in mountainous country, directed by General 
Kuropatkin himself, and animated by the knowledge 
that upon its valour and determination rested the safe 
deliverance of the Russian army in Manchuria. To 
those who judge the strength of armies by their masses 
the task assigned to the First Army seemed hazardous. 
But, as in mechanics, the Japanese calculate the strength 
or momentum of their armies by their mass multiplied by 
their velocity — that is by the spirit of the troops and 
their desire to fight. This factor is of greater value 
than battalions, for men who are as eager to fight as the 
Japanese, always put themselves in the most advantageous 
position for fighting. It was therefore without any fear 
of the issue that General Kuroki made his preparations 
for the attack. 

The position of the enemy on the last day of July 
extended over a distance of twenty-seven miles. Their 
left flank was at Yu-shu-ling, East of Liao-yang, facing 
Chaotoa, which was wrested from them on July 19th ; 
their centre was at Tien-shu-tien, opposite Mou-tien-ling 
and their right wing at Yan-shu-ling, five miles to the 
Southwest of the Pass. The whole region occupied by the 
Russians was like a field over which a gigantic plough 
had passed, leaving mountainous furrows with abrupt 
slopes and narrow valleys. The Japanese right was at 
Chaotoa, twenty miles from Mou-tien-ling, and its orders 

I90 ifrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

were to capture Yu-shu-ling ; the left at Han-cha-put-su, 
seven miles South-west of Mou-ti en-ling, was to take 
Yan-shu-ling, while the centre at Mou-tien-ling was to 
engage the enemy at Tien-shu-tien with a view to assist 
the flanking movements. The general direction of these 
combined attacks was toward Liao-yang, upon which the 
Russians were reported to be retiring from Hai-cheng. 

Nature must have some of the martial spirit in her, 
for she has erected many ramparts in Manchuria. 
Yu-shu-ling is one of them. Situated on the Sai, a 
broad deep river, with a tributary stream flowing in 
front, and flanked by precipieces, Yu-shu-ling seemed an 
impregnable position. Early on Sunday morning a 
detachment from our right was sent to meet the enemy, 
who were reported to be advancing in force down the 
Mukden road. The Russians had doubtless heard 
rumours of our movement, and were preparing to deliver 
a counter attack on our flank, about which two thousand 
of their cavalry and infantry were hovering. This attack 
was speedily repulsed, and the main body of the Japanese, 
dividing into two, moved Westward, driving in the 
outposts. At daybreak they found themselves in front 
of the main body of the Russians posted on the heights 
to the West of Yu-shu-ling. The enemy's line faced 
East, and two thousand metres before it was a strong 
post. Recognising that a frontal attack was impractic- 
able, the Japanese contented themselves with holding 
the Russian front. Meanwhile the second force, moving 
from Chau-to-po-su, South of Chau-tow, made its way 

Ube H^vance on Xiao-i^ang 191 

toward Penlin, a Pass in the range between Chau-tow 
and Yu-shu-ling. At Penlin were two Russian regiments 
whom the Japanese drove out after a sharp contest. So 
far the fighting had been devoid of unusual incident, 
and neither side appeared to have gained any material 
advantage. But a serious disaster was threatening the 
enemy ; one of those unexpected blows that shake the 
nerves of men and leave them powerless against fate. 

To the assistance of our right wing and to make 
some appearance of contact with the centre, there had 
been despatched from Gebato, North-east of Mou-tien- 
ling, a small force of infantry. Marching North-west 
they came to the Pass of Cho-bai-rai which is South of 
Penlin. At that moment three Russian battalions 
appeared, moving up the slopes of the Pass. Each side 
saw at a glance that whoever gained the Pass held the 
other in the hollow of his hand. The Japanese won the 
race, and seizing the crest poured volley after volley into 
the broken ranks of the enemy. 

The attack on our left flank was not so successful. 
The enemy occupied a range of heights West and South 
of Mou-tien-ling. Their right flank was near Sui-cha- 
pu-zo facing South, their right near To-wan fronting 
East, and their centre overlooked the cornfields South 
of Mou-tien-ling. Upon these lofty and steep hills 
they had posted forty-four field guns, eighteen on the 
left, sixteen in the centre and ten on the right. Miles 
of roads had been made up the mountain sides and 
along the summits ; gun emplacements had been 

192 Jfrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtbur 

constructed to sweep the valley, to search the Pass and 
to command the approach from the South-east, and the 
hills were lined with tiers of trenches carefully hidden 
under green branches. 

Against this formidable array of quick firing guns 
which carry a shell weighing fifteen pounds, our left 
flank had five batteries of field guns and one battery of 
mountain guns firing eleven pound shells. But, owing 
to the difficult character of the country, they were 
unable to bring into action more than the mountain 
battery and thirteen field guns. Scouting parties had 
been sent out on the previous night to find positions for 
the artillery, and through the dark hours gunners and 
sappers aided by three battalions of infantry were 
making and repairing roads and constructing emplace- 
ments. Their labours, however, could not overcome 
the natural obstacles, and the use of double teams failed 
to get all the guns into position. Soon after midnight 
on July 30th, a detachment was sent to threaten the 
right rear of the enemy, and succeeded in approaching 
the position despite a counter, attack which was repulsed 
with loss. At one o'clock in the morning began the 
general advance of our left, and at seven both infantry 
and artillery were engaged. The movement was mainly 
directed against the right flank upon which our guns 
made no impression, although before noon nine guns 
had fired a thousand shells at a range of 3,765 yards. 
Ammunition ran short, for it was impossible to get the 
wagons up the slopes and the shells had to be carried by 

Ube HDvancc on Xtao-yang 193 

hand. The Russian gunners displayed unwonted skill 
and energy ; their aim was often deadly in its accuracy 
and drove our men to cover time after time ; their guns 
were served with wonderful rapidity and their superior 
weight and range were only too apparent. 

Nor did the infantry of the left fare much better. 
They were called upon to carry by assault a position 
from which most troops would have recoiled. For the 
first time the Russian trenches were invisible to the 
naked eye. Evidently they had taken counsel from 
disaster and have adopted that concealment which is the 
first principle of war with repeating rifles and smokeless 
powder. Near Sui-cha-pu-zo, almost at the centre of 
the enemy's right flank, one regiment was checked 
before eight o'clock, and the first and second officers in 
command were wounded. Another regiment fought 
hard until eleven o'clock, and three companies, having 
lost their commanders, succeeded in establishing them- 
selves within two thousand metres of the enemy. Here 
they remained, unable to advance in face of the heavy 
rifle and artillery fire. At noon our left was held in 
check and the enemy remained secure in all their 
positions about Yanshuling. 

It was clear that if we were to escape from this 
impasse our centre must emerge from the passive role 
assigned to it in the plan of operations. Since dawn 
we had watched for signs of activity in the Pass. 
Hitherto the only part we had taken in the advance 
was to seize an eminence on the Western front. At 


194 iFtom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

eleven o'clock on the night of the 30th, a company of 
infantry had dislodged the enemy from this position. 
The hill was steep and the Russians defended them- 
selves with stones. An avalanche of rocks swept the 
assailants off their feet and did serious damage. The 
commander of the company was wounded as he led his 
men up the slope : several were killed and more were 
severely disabled — in all the Japanese had twenty-one 
casualties before they drove the enemy from the hill at 
one o'clock in the morning. 

Hour after hour went by and from Mou-tien-ling 
came no sign of the presence of an army. The sun 
stole slowly above the horizon, scattering the morning 
mist and flooding the green slopes with intense light. 
Away in the West, beyond the white tower that rose 
like a lighthouse from a low spur on the Pekin road, 
were small parties of Russian horsemen. Their white 
tunics were distinctly visible and distinguished them 
from a few Chinese who flitted about the entrance to 
the Pass as though uncertain on which side lay safety. 

From Mou-tien-ling the Pekin road runs West 
past the white tower to the village of To-wan and 
divided the Russian position. At right angles to it, 
before you come to the tower, is another road, bounded 
on the East by the steep slope of the Pass and on 
the West by a range of lofty hills. Between these 
boundaries stretches a broad cultivated valley watered 
by a shallow stream, on the West bank of which is 
situated the village of Tien-shu-tien. In these hills 

Japanese Funeral Service. 

The Tower at To-wan. 

[facing p. 194 

Xtbe H&vance on Xlao-^ang 195 

lay the enemy strongly entrenched and protected by 
two gun positions, one of which was between two 
conical peaks on a razor-like ridge flanked by a small 

Six batteries were on our front — four on the ridge 
overlooking the valley and the village of Tien-shu-tien, 
and two on the slope to the south of the Pass command- 
ing the Pekin road and the hills on either side. On 
the slopes behind the guns reclined soldiers waiting the 
order to rise and advance. The artillery duel on our 
left began at seven o'clock, and continued with varying 
degrees of intensity until noon. For four hours the 
hills and valleys re-echoed with the long rolling thunder 
of guns ; ridge and slope gave forth clouds of white and 
brown smoke as if they had suddenly become active 
volcanoes ; and from the blue sky descended tiny white 
clouds with hearts of flame from which dated a hail 
of lead. Now and then you could hear the music of 
the shrapnel like the swish of a mighty rod across the 
heavens, dying away to the lazy humming of bees. It 
is fascinating music, though, like the song of the Syren, 
deadly. To the mere observer, however experienced, 
an artillery duel affords ample scope for speculation. 
When a hundred guns are in action over a wide front no 
eye and no ear can judge either the direction or the 
result with any approach to certainty. More than one 
of the Russian gun positions remained undiscovered 
throughout the day, and our own gun position South of 
the Pass never drew a shot from the enemy. 

N 2 

196 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

Shortly after noon the centre burst into activity. 
The four batteries on the ridge to our right opened with 
energy upon the enemy's position above Tien-shu-tien, 
while the two batteries on our left turned their attention 
to the hills South of Tow-an. New life had come into 
the fight, and through the burning air screamed a hun- 
dred shells. The ridge in front of the Pass smoked and 
flamed, while the cone-like peaks beyond the valley 
seemed to spring from a burning lake. Again the 
Russian gunners displayed their skill, and the range of 
their artillery. Into the batteries on our right burst 
shell upon shell, scattering the gunners and sending the 
infantry to closer cover down the slope. The colonel 
in command of our artillery was slightly wounded, and 
several men were killed and disabled. In vain our 
gunners strove to locate some of the hidden batteries 
that were most active, and in vain thev endeavoured to 
silence those which were unmasked. The enemy's 
guns were skilfully posted, and the gunners had taken 
the precaution to peel some of the trees and to 
measure the ranges on our front. Hence the 
accuracy with which they searched our positions, 
though they did no damage to the guns and put none 
out of action. 

I must now return to our left wing, where the result 
of this activity in the centre was anxiously awaited. 
The infantry had been checked all along the line, though 
the men stuck bravely to their positions in front of the 
hidden trenches, and kept well under cover. 

XTbe Hb\?ance on Xiao-i^an^ 197 

At noon the order was given for our left to advance, 
and after a heroic effort one regiment reached the foot 
of a wooded hill on which the enemy had three tiers of 
trenches. Beyond this point they could not go, for the 
slope was swept with a sheet of lead. Here they lay 
panting from their great exertions, and from the heat of 
the day. The sun beat down upon them with pitiless 
intensity ; the ground was like an oven ; the air vibrated 
with waves of heat like a mirage in the desert. Many 
were already suffering from sun stroke and heat apoplexy. 
The men were enduring all the torments of thirst, their 
lips were dry and cracked ; their tongues were hard and 
parched, and their eyes were scorched with the glare. 
And to add to their agony there ran in front of them a 
brook, clear and cold from the mountains. 

I have seen men and horses stampede at sight of the 
Nile and throw themselves into the yellow flood, and I 
have watched soldiers quench their thirst amid a hail of 
bullets. The risk was great, but the need was greater, 
and across the deadly space dashed the Japanese. 
Plunging their heads into the brook they cooled their 
parched throats and fevered skins, and came back to 
cover. Another regiment had worked its way painfully 
and with loss to a position within six or seven hundred 
yards from a ridge, the approach to which was like a 
glacis. On the ridge were five hundred riflemen. They 
had no trench, yet they held a whole regiment beyond 
that "long deadly zone of horizontal fire which is the most 
powerful factor in battle.*' This small body of Russians 

198 fvom tbe l^alu to povt Httbur 

was composed of determined men ; they took steady and 
careful aim ; the ground was favourable, and the result 
was that which we so often saw in South Africa. When 
a Japanese raised his head it was to receive a bullet ; 
when an officer showed himself it was to have a volley. 
Against such a fire mere masses could not avail. 

With European troops it is agreed that fifteen per 
cent, of casualties will check an advance. A greater 
percentage would be needed to stop Japanese infantry, 
but even to their reckless courage there is a limit and 
that limit was reached on our left. The casualties were 
slowly mounting up. Among the officers slain was 
Lieut. Shirasawa, who played a brilliant part in the 
attack on Hamatan on May ist, leading his section up 
the hill to capture the Russians, and Sub-Lieut. Kiroke, 
member of a noble house, who died crying : " Long 
live the Emperor !'* 

Through the long hot hours the fight went on and 
still no signs of advance. From an eminence near the 
Temple in the Pass General Kuroki and his Staff, with 
whom was General Sir Ian Hamilton, looked on and 
received the reports of orderlies and gallopers. And 
always the sky was flecked with tiny white clouds and 
the hills in front spurted brown dust and clouds of 
smoke. Again the Russian gunners poured a quick fire 
of shrapnel into the batteries and drove the Japanese 
artillerymen to shelter. 

It was manifest that our shrapnel could not affect 
the enemy's positions : the range of the fuse was too 

XTbc U^vmxcc on Xiao -pang 199 

short. Shrapnel was accordingly abandoned for common 
shell, which has a longer range, and once more we 
witnessed the destructive effect of the high explosive 
that Japan has invented for the field gun. 

The moment had arrived for decisive action. The 
centre must push forward and relieve the pressure on 
the left. At five o'clock the order was given and 
from behind the guns rose the ranks of the infantry. 
Descending the ridge they crossed the shallow stream 
before Tien-shu-tien and moved up the green slopes 
toward the enemy's position. As they advanced they 
opened out into two lines of extended order, so as to 
form two sides of a triangle. From a pyramid-shaped 
hill to the South of the white tower sprang another 
battalion. All day they had lain like brown stones on 
the brown slope — hidden from the enemy's view yet 
well within range of their guns. With a shout they 
descended into the valley, crossed the road, and, scaling 
a hill, threatened the right of the position at To-wan. 
The left was already menaced by the advance from the 
Pass through Tien-shu-tien. The Russian guns no 
longer spoke : they had begun to descend the hills in 
haste. The position was at our mercy, and the left was 
free to move. But caution was still necessary, for on a 
wooded hill commanding the advance stood a resolute 
body of men who seemed to have charmed lives, 
neither rifles nor plunging fire of shells could drive 
them from their trenches until they saw that the 
situation was indeed hopeless. Then only did they 

200 jftom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbur 

retire and join their comrades on the way to 

The battle was ended and once more victory was 
with the Japanese. Yan-shu-ling, Tien-shu-tien and 
Yu-shu-ling — all the objectives were in our hands. The 
enemy still held a Pass five miles North, and our left 
flank bivouacked near in the hope of attacking next 
morning. But in the night the Russians withdrew and 
we halted at To-wan and Tien-shu-tien. Next day we 
heard that General Keller, who succeeded to this 
command after the passage of the Yalu, had been 
mortally wounded by a fragment of a shell while visiting 
one of the gun positions. Chinese reported that in the 
retirement the Russians carried two rich Chinese coffins 
from which it was inferred that two officers in high 
command had been killed. We also learned that 
General Kuropatkin was at Am-ping whence he had 
directed the operations. Two guns had been abandoned 
in the flight, and in the gun emplacements were many 
live shells. One of the guns lay on the Pekin road 
near To-wan. Its story was written on the upturned 
limber and the muzzle jammed hard against a tree at the 
foot of a steep hill. The gun was coming down the 
slope when the horses were shot or scared by rifle fire, 
and it went crashing down the height into the road. The 
breach block had been removed ; otherwise the gun was 
intact. Another gun had been hurled down a hill and 
had buried its muzzle deep into the earth ; the breach 
was open and in it was an unexploded shell. Of the 

After the Fight. 

The Red Cross at Work. 

[facing p. 200 

TLbc Hb\?ance on X(ao=^anG 201 

Russians 6 officers and 506 men were buried on the field, 
and 150 prisoners were taken, including the colonel of 
the 12 1st regiment. The Japanese casualties were 86 1 — 
9 officers and 132 men killed ; 33 officers and 687 men 

From the presence of General Kuropatkin at 
Am-ping, and the despatch of a force down the Mukden 
,road, it may be reasonably concluded that the Russians 
intended to deliver a counter attack on our right. 
No fewer than twenty-four battalions were directed 
against that flank which they hoped to crush by superior 
numbers. The attempt failed signally owing to the skill 
of the Japanese in manoeuvring among the mountains 
and to the fortunate chance that placed the detachment 
from our centre in possession of the cliff under which 
the enemy was compelled to retire. On the right and 
centre the Russians fought well and showed greater 
energy and determination. But they were sadly wanting 
in initiative and enterprise. 

A great soldier would have seized the opportunity 
when our left was held in check to deliver a counter 
attack on our right centre where there was a manifestly 
weak point. The distance between our centre and our 
right wing was great, and the only defence was a 
regiment of cavalry and one battalion in reserve. There 
appeared a clear opening for breaking through and 
turning our whole position. The advantages of situa- 
tion, and of artillery were decidedly with the Russians. 
They had had weeks in which to prepare roads and 

202 jfrom tbe Iffalu to port Httbuc 

emplacements, and their guns were, for the most part, 
skilfully placed, though, as usual, they affected sky-lines, 
so that their fire was visible. The Japanese gun 
positions were not well chosen. This defect was due 
partly to the inferior range of their artillery, and partly 
to the extremely difficult nature of the country in which 
they were suddenly called upon to make selection. 
They, too, exposed their guns against the sky-line, not 
having learned thoroughly the lesson of indirect fire. 

Chapter XXV 



For dramatic incident, not less than tactical interest, the 
attack on Yu-shu-ling— to which reference has been 
made in describing the general advance on Liao-yang — 
is worthy of separate record. The action which ended 
disastrously for the Russians brought into relief the 
fighting qualities of the two armies, and proved once 
more that superior numbers, even when joined with 
desperate courage and strength of position, cannot avail 
against a skilful and determined foe. It may be 
urged that the element of chance entered into the 
victory, and that had it not been for the arrival of 
reinforcements from the centre, the Russians might have 
remained undisturbed behind the barrier which nature 
and military art opposed to the advance from the East. 
But chance is always a factor in war, and the greatest 
general is he who neglects no occasion for turning it to 


204 Jfrom tbe IJalu to pott Hrtbut 

account. Nor could the appearance of four battalions 
on the Russian flank be ascribed solely to chance. Their 
presence was designed, their purpose was to threaten 
the enemy's right, and their dramatic success was due to 
the neglect of a precaution as obvious as that which 
placed at the mercy of the Japanese the sleeping camp 
on the left wing. Until the occupation of Mou-tien- 
ling it might have been contended that in every 
encounter with General Kuroki's army the Russians 
were inferior in number, and were fighting in country 
peculiarly adapted to the soldiers of a mountainous 
island. This apology for defeat could be made no 
longer. Since that date the enemy had been in greater 
force ; their artillery had been of greater weight and 
range and mobility ; they had had the choice of 
positions, whether for attack or for defence, yet every 
engagement, offensive and defensive, showed more 
clearly their want of skill in manoeuvring, in determina- 
tion, in enterprise, and initiative. The absence of these 
qualities rendered of no avail the courage of the infantry 
and the skill of the gunners, whose sole achievement in 
the recent action had been to demonstrate that even 
Japanese soldiers might be checked by the rifle fire of 
unshaken infantry properly entrenched. 

The attack on Yu-shu-ling was part of an operation 
that extended as far South as Hai-cheng, over a front of 
nearly seventy miles. Its effect must be judged by the 
success or failure of the whole movement, the purpose 
of which was to harass, if not to prevent, the retreat of 

Httacft on 12u-sbu-ling 205 

the main army under General Kuropatkin upon Liao- 
yang and Mukden. Yet, from a tactical point of view, 
the attack may be treated as a separate and an isolated 

On the 19th of July the force composing our right 
wing drove the enemy from Chaotoa, twenty miles to 
the north of Mou-tien-ling, and proceeded to entrench 
themselves on the ridge West of this position. The 
right was our exposed flank, and General Inouye neg- 
lected no precaution to guard himself against surprise, 
keeping a vigilant eye on his front, where the enemy 
were in force, and on his right flank, about which hovered 
a brigade of Cossacks, who formed part of General 
Renenkampf's division. Toward the end of the month 
the Russians, who had entrenched on the heights beyond 
Yu-shu-ling on both sides of the river Tai-tsu, appeared 
to be concentrating for attack. Spies reported the arrival 
of reinforcements along the Mukden road, and 
unwonted activity in the camps about Yu-shu-ling. In 
order that he might not be taken unawares. General 
Inouye advanced his outposts in front of the enemy's 
flanks. On the 28th and 29th of July a company of 
infantry and a squadron of cavalry occupied Makura-yama 
or Pillow Mountain, facing the Russian position on the 
north bank of the Tai-tsu, while a detachment of 
infantry took possession of the heights of East Penlin, 
overlooking the valley on the other side of which was 
the enemy's right wing. On the 29th these outposts fell 
back on the main body entrenched on the range West 

2o6 jprom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

of Chaotoa, three Russian battalions having menaced 
Makura-yama and a considerable force having appeared 
on the West and North of East Penlin. The enemy 
was also in some strength at Pon-chi-ho, six miles north 
of Chaotoa on the road to Mukden, and a fight seemed 

While our right wing was making ready to defend 
its position the order came for a general attack along the 
line from Hai-cheng to Yu-shu-ling. On the night of 
the 30th General Inouye disposed his force. The com- 
mand of the right was given to General Kigoshi, who 
had under him six battalions of infantry, two squadrons 
of cavalry, one battery of field guns, and four batteries 
of mountain guns. On the left was General Sasaki with 
five battalions of infantry, one squadron of cavalry and 
one mountain battery, and in the centre remained 
General Inouye with three and a half battalions of 
infantry in reserve. Four battalions of infantry detached 
from the centre of the main army were to march from 
Shamatan, six miles North of Lien-cheng-kwan, to 
co-operate with the right wing and to seize the heights 
of West Penlin — the enemy's right flank position. The 
field of operations covered a mountainous country 
enclosed by two rivers, that flow into the Liao-yang 
river almost at right angles, and intersected by roads 
running to Mukden and Am-ping and Liao-yang. As 
the range begins here to descend into the plain about 
Liao-yang the mountains are not so lofty and precipitous 
as in the South and are more suitable for defensive 

Httacft on 15u=sbu-l(nG 207 

tactics. The Russian position was well chosen though 
it had one serious defect, inasmuch as it was divided by 
a broad and deep river. According to their habit, the 
centre was posted at the junction of two roads so as to 
give lateral communications. North of the Tai-tsu 
river the enemy held the summit and slope of a range 
of hills facing East and separated from the parallel range 
of Makura-yama by a narrow valley along which is a 
road. Here they camped under canvass in the corn fields 
to the West of the valley road. South of the Tai-tsu 
the Russians were entrenched on a range of hills run- 
ning North and South and bending Eastward like a bow. 

On the left of this position is the road from 
Chaotoa to Am-ping, and on each side of the road 
were guns commanding the approach from the East as 
well as the heights of Makura-yama, North of the river. 
Behind these artillery positions rose another hill on 
which was posted a battery with the same field of fire. 

In all, the Russians had four field batteries of 
thirty-two guns opposed to one field battery of six guns 
and five mountain batteries of inferior weight and range. 
Behind the enemy's position, South of the Tai-tsu, was 
a broad plain covered with maize crops eight or nine 
feet high, bounded on the West by a river, and traversed 
by the road to Am-ping, through Lackanlei and Kuchaso. 
In front was the road from Penlin to Yu-shu-ling. This 
road runs along the bottom of a valley, shut in on the 
South by hills, and on the East by a ridge which extends 
North almost to Yu-shu-ling. East of this ridge is 

2o8 jfrom tbe l^alu to ff)ort Hrtbur 

another enclosed valley sown with maize, and East of 
that again another ridge, on the Northern spur of which 
was the Japanese gun position. Yet another cultivated 
valley divided this ridge from the entrenched range 
which ran North and South, the right flank overlooking 
the road to Am-ping and the river Tai-tsu, and the left 
flank resting on the road leading direct to Penlin. 

Thus the two armies lay facing each other on the 
night of July 30th. At four o'clock on the morning of 
the next day the force on our right moved from its 
camp at Chaotoa, and fording the deep river advanced 
rapidly and silently upon Makura-yama. Under cover 
of a ridge that zigzags along the North bank of the 
Tai-tsu the Japanese reached the foot of the Pillow 
Mountain, and a battalion crept noiselessly up the peak. 
Below them lay the valley, and the slope of the Western 
hill dotted with white tents. Roused by the picquets, 
the Russians sprang from slumber with the cry "The 
enemy is upon us ! '' Men, scantily clad, ran hither 
and thither with rifles in their hands. Some were in 
their shirts, others in trousers and shirt ; all were dazed 
by the unexpected attack. Forming in the cornfields two 
battalions hurried up the hill and came within ten yards 
of the crest, when the Japanese appeared and poured 
upon them a rain of bullets. The slope was quickly 
strewn with dead. Beyond that point advance was im- 
possible. For thirty minutes the Russians fought hard ; 
then they turned and fled down the hill into the 
valley and the cornfields pursued by a hailstorm of 

Bttacft on 12u-0bu-lino 209 

lead. Throwing aside their weapons they took to their 
heels, leaving tents and carts and cooking wagons and 
equipment. Some fled South-west toward Am-ping ; 
others Nort-west in the direction of Liao-yang, while 
some few brave men rallied and strove to renew the 
fight. In the valley and among the ripening corn lay 
three hundred slain Russian and many wounded. The 
camp was a litter of dead horses, rifles, books, papers, 
letters, great coats, sacks, cooking utensils, carts — all the 
paraphenalia of an army on the march. One thousand 
and eighteen tents fell into our hands. 

The peak of Makura-yama was seized at five 
o*clock and at ten minutes to eight the ridge was 
occupied. Meanwhile the guns on both sides had 
opened at a range of between two and three thousand 
metres. Little damage was done, the enemy failing to 
locate our batteries and firing in all directions. No 
sooner, however, did the Japanese infantry appear on 
the sky line above Makura-yama than the Russian 
artillery turned their attention to that quarter, and at 
a range of fifteen hundred metres kept up a steady 
cannonade. Our right flank was powerless and could 
do nothing more than entrench and await developments. 
But they were not long idle. At ten o'clock the enemy 
appeared on the North-west of the ridge with the object 
of taking it from the rear. To meet this counter attack 
two companies were despatched from the reserves at 
Hoachapaozu — a village between Chaotoa and Yu-shu- 
ling — together with a detachment from the rear guard. 

210 ifrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

Fording the river they moved under cover of the zigzag 
range of hills and coming into the open were under the 
fire of the Russian guns. The officer in command of 
the reserves had his horse killed under him and was 
slightly wounded. While delivering the counter attack 
the Russians renewed their effort to assail the front with 
artillery and rifle, but the arrival of reinforcements 
appeared to damp their ardour, and after a short though 
sharp fight the Japanese were left in possession of 

During this long interval the centre and the left 
were not idle. A regiment advanced along the main 
road to Am-ping and drove the enemy from the 
Northern extremity of the ridge immediately in front 
of the Russian position south of the Tai-tsu. The 
resistance was feeble, but beyond that point the 
Japanese were unable to proceed. Below stretched a 
wide open plain dominated by the sheer precipice that 
guarded the enemy's front. To scale the cliff would 
require wings. Our centre accordingly determined to 
await developments elsewhere, and contented itself with 
containing the Russian front. 

On our left was great activity and early promise ot 
another disaster to the Russians. The force under 
General Sasaki left Hoachapaozu at half past three in 
the morning and marched South to the heights about 
Penlin. This is the name given to mountains that form 
the East, West and North boundaries of a triangular 
plain opening to the South. From East Penlin 

Httacft on ISu-sbu-ltng 211 

General Sasaki saw the Russians erecting earthworks. 
Though ignorant of the enemy's strength and unfamiliar 
with the physical features of the country, he resolved to 
attack. Accordingly he led his troops across the valley 
to the foot of a gentle slope dotted with trees and scrub. 
Fortunately there were no guns to oppose his advance, 
but it was soon discovered that the Russians were in 
greater force than had been anticipated, and that the 
fight would be stubborn. The enemy were not 
entrenched, but had for breastwork the ridge of the 
hills, immediately below which ran a pathway. Our 
guns came to the aid of the infantry which was 
reinforced by one battalion, and the advance went on 
slowly and steadily. Suddenly the extreme right of the 
Russian force changed front to meet an unexpected 
attack from the South-east. Realising that powerful 
help was at hand and that the enemy were shaken by 
the unexpected menace to their rear, the Japanese 
pressed forward with the utmost speed. They raced 
up the hill shouting "Banzai ! *' and found the Russians 
already in retreat. 

In order to explain this diversion on the enemy's 
right it is necessary to recall the fact that four battalions 
from the main centre were ordered to co-operate with 
the right wing at West Penlin. At eight o'clock in the 
morning these reinforcements arrived at Chobairai — an 
eminence on the South-west of West Penlin. Hearing 
the sound of heavy firing, and realising that the enemy's 
front was occupied, the commander resolved to strike 

o 2 

212 jfrom tbe 19alu to port Hrtbut 

from the rear, and urged his troops through the Pass 
along the road to the back of West Penlin. Along this 
road the Russians were retreating in great confusion. 
Precipitous hills enclose the road along which they 
hurried like a flock of sheep. No precaution had been 
taken to secure these hills in order to cover the retire- 
ment. A Japanese lieutenant, running up the slope, 
beheld the enemy in the trap and signalled to his 
comrades to make haste. Then began another race for 
life. The Russians saw the danger and sought to avert 
it by seizing the commanding position. Throwing 
aside great coats and every impedimenta they strove 
with every nerve and sinew to outstrip their competitors 
in the race. But they were too late. The Japanese, 
having dropped their knapsacks, were already lining the 
cliff overhanging the road and emptying their rifles into 
the struggling mass below. 

Shouts of " Banzai r' mingled with the rattle of 
musketry. It was a scene of the wildest excitement. 
For the enemy below there was no escape : they must 
run this fiery gauntlet. To attempt any reply with 
rifles was impossible, for the Japanese were sheltered 
by the ledge of the cliff. In a few moments the road 
was strewn with the dead and dying. Ambulance 
wagons came to pick up the wounded and the Japanese 
chivalrously suspended fire though no white flag had 
been raised. Under cover of the Red Cross the 
Russians carried away their wounded, together with 
many rifles and great coats. Yet three hundred dead 

Httacft on ^W'Sbn-lim 213 

were buried by the Japanese, whose casualties were not 
a dozen. Among the wounded was Lieut. R. Nishii, 
who was the first to reach the clifF and to signal to his 

At noon the range from which the enemy had 
retired was occupied by the Japanese, and the battalions 
from the centre went in pursuit, but were checked by 
guns stationed at Rihikoku and Kuchazu on the North 
Road. At three o'clock the Russian right flank had 
disappeared, leaving the centre undisturbed, and the left 
flank seriously weakened. Later in the afternoon 
another attempt was made to drive the Japanese from 
Makura-yama. A small force again appeared on the 
North-west of the position, but the counter attack no 
longer had the full support of the artillery beyond 
Yu-shu-ling, some of the guns having been withdrawn 
to Kuchazu. The attack was a half-hearted aflPair, and 
was easily repelled. Meanwhile, our left flank made 
strenuous eflFort to drive the enemy from their strong 
position in the centre, and succeeded in capturing two 
peaks. But the valley was deep and exposed, and the 
mountain was steep. The assault was accordingly put oflP 
till to-morrow, and the victorious Japanese bivouacked 
in battle array before the last Russian position. At dawn 
they arose to renew the encounter, and found the enemy 
retiring. Our 'left flank was the first to discover 
the movement, and, hurrying up the heights, saw the 
Russian infantry streaming along the road through 
Laokanlei in the direction of Am-ping. 


yrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbuc 

In this engagement the Russians had 39 battalions 
ot infantry, 32 guns, 2,000 cavalry, two companies of 
engineers, and three balloons. Their casualties were over 
2,000. 600 bodies were buried on the field, and more 
than 200 prisoners were taken. Among the spoils 
were 800 rifles, 20,000 rounds of rifle ammuni- 
tion, 400 engineers tools, 1,018 tents, three cooking 
carts, six ammunition wagons, 1,400 sacks of clothing 
and camp equipment. From the diary of an officer we 
learned that General Kuropatkin was at Am-ping on the 
23rd and 24th July, and was expected on the 31st to 
direct the operations in front of General Kuroki's army. 
The Japanese casualties were 416, of whom fourteen 
officers were wounded and two killed. 


Chapter XXVI 



During the last days of August every soldier felt that 
he was nearing the end of the first phase of the war, 
and that a decisive battle was impending. Three armies 
were concentrating upon Liao-yang, which General 
Kuropatkin had fortified and provisioned to withstand 
prolonged assault. 

After the fight at Mou-tien-ling General Kuroki 
halted to complete his preparations for the advance on 
Liao-yang. The rainy season, though unusually short, 
gave some trouble, and for a time the position of the 
First Army was by no means secure. Each division 
was widely separated and extended over a broad front. 
Half the Guards Division was still at Siou-yen, miles 
to the left rear, while the Twelfth Division on the 


2i6 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

right flank was several miles from the centre and not in 
touch. This distribution of the force could not be 
avoided, for the main road to Liao-yang is too narrow 
to permit the simultaneous movement of two divisions. 

General Keller seized this critical moment to 
deliver his attack on Mou-tien-ling, but failed owing 
to the want of energy and determination. As the 
month of August drew near Russian activity increased, 
and on the 25th of July the Twelfth Division was 
menaced by the advance of two infantry divisions and 
six thousand cavalry, who were riding from the neigh- 
bourhood of Ponchiho. 

Deeming it imprudent to await attack in so divided 
a position, General Kuroki resolved to become the 
assailant and to strike the enemy while their preparations 
were incomplete. The Guards at Siou-yen were hurried 
to Head-quarters, and the lines of communication were 
swept for men to strengthen the Twelfth Division on 
the right. In five days General Kuroki was ready to 
make his counter stroke, and To-wan, or the valley of 
the White Tower, was captured. 

The occupation of this important military position 
removed the peril that had long threatened the First 
Army. The Second Division in the centre was now 
free to move to the support of either flank, and to hold 
its front with a comparatively small force. At the same 
time the right flank near Ponchiho was strengthened by 
men drawn from the second reserves, and the road was 
opened to Liao-yang. 

XEbe Battle of Xlao-yang 217 

Unfortunately, General Kuroki was not able to 
take full and immediate advantage of this improvement 
in his position. He was only a pawn in the game. 
The Central or Fourth Army was not ready to move. 
It awaited reinforcements of infantry and artillery to 
extend the line toward Hai-cheng, and two weeks were 
necessary to complete its preparations. 

Field Marshal Oyama's intention was to begin the 
assault on Liao-yang on August iSth, but again the 
rains descended and the movement was delayed until 
the 25th. The instructions issued from Grand Head 
Quarters were that General Kuroki should attack the 
enemy on the left bank of the Tan-ho which flows in 
front of Am-ping, while the combined armies of the 
West assailed the position at Anshantien. The date 
fixed for the movement against Anshantien was August 
28th, and in order that the flanking attack might be 
developed in time, General Kuroki proceeded on 
the 26th to sweep the enemy from his front. This was 
a most difficult operation. The main force of the 
Russians was on the line Am-ping, Shanleishi, Tohi 
and Shankaen, with its left flank near Housalien — not 
an easy position to assail. Its centre near Daitenshi was 
naturally strong and had been fortified with earthworks 
upon which the enemy had been engaged since the 
month of May. 

The weakness of the Russian position was its 
extended front and the comparative smallness of the 
force with which it was held. Of this defect General 

2i8 jfrom tbe 19alu to iport Hrtbut 

Kuroki was quick to take advantage. Accordingly he 
gave orders that both flanks were to be threatened, 
while a desperate night assault was delivered against 
the centre. 

The orders issued from the Head Quarters of the 
First Army are interesting and instructive : 

" Kinchapoatsa, 

" 5 p.m. August 22nd. 

(1) "The enemy in front of the First Army is composed of the IX 

and XXXI Divisions and the greater part of the III and 
VI Divisions. Its Hne extends from Kosahn through 
Kampalei and Kynchorei to Daitenshi and Daisoton. At 
Ponchiho are a regiment of infantry, six squadrons of cavalry, 
and a few guns. At Liao-yang and on the right bank of the 
Tai-tsu is a superior force of the enemy. 

(2) " The Second and Fourth Armies expect to deHver their attack 

on the position from Anshantien to West Togyoho — eight 
kilometres West — and Kami-sekyo on the 28th inst. 

(3) " The First Army will attack with its main force in the direction 

of Am-ping, and with parts of its force on the Liao-yang 

(4) " The Twelfth Division, plus the mixed brigade of the Second 

Reserve and minus the mountain battery, will attack in the 
direction of Hichihanlei at dawn on the 26th. 

(5) " The Second Division, minus one field battery and one regiment 

of cavalry and plus the mountain battery of the Twelfth 
Division, will attack South-west of Tsuego and Chorei before 
dawn on the 26th. 

(6) " The Imperial Guards Division, plus one regiment of cavalry 

and one battery of field guns, will attack Daitenshi on the 
Liao-yang main road at dawn on the 26th. 

(7) " The G.O.C. will be found at Santolei after 6 p.m. on the 25th." 

The strength of the Twelfth Division was equal to 
one and a half divisions ; that of the Second Division 
was about normal, though half its artillery and the 

Zbc Battle ot Xiao-)?anG 219 

greater part of its cavalry had been transferred to the 
Guards Division. A battery of mountain guns had how- 
ever been added to the Second Division, and proved so 
effective that the Japanese resolved in future to carry a 
mountain battery behind the fighting line. The Guards 
Division, in addition to the cavalry and guns of the 
Second Division, was strengthened by a battery of Russian 
guns captured at the Yalu, and had in all ten batteries 
of field guns. Besides these forces was the Reserve — 
whose position was kept secret — under the direct com- 
mand of Head Quarters. This reserve — the 29th 
regiment of the Second Reserves — was doing garrison 
duty at Feng-hoang-cheng on the 22nd when orders 
came that it must hurry to the front. After a forced 
march of forty-eight hours the regiment arrived at 
Tien-sui-tien at midnight on the 25th and was thrown 
into the fighting line. No one who saw them marching 
to the sound of the guns next morning would have 
dreamed that they had just performed so remarkable a 
feat of endurance. 

Such was the force with which General Kuroki 
succeeded in driving in the Russian left flank and com- 
pelling General Kuropatkin to evacuate Aushantien and 
fall back on his last defences about Liao-yang. Let me 
attempt to describe as clearly and as concisely as the 
multiplicity of details allow, the manner in which this 
great victory was won. 

In the last days of August, the army under General 
Kuropatkin, estimated at two hundred thousand fighting 

220 ffrom tbe ^a\\x to port Httbut 

men, held three defensive lines stretching like bows over 
the hilly country to the South and East of Liao-yang. 
The longest bow was drawn to the South of Am-ping 
across the Pekin road ; the shorter was North of the 
River Tang, while the smallest and strongest bow 
masked Liao-yang from the low hills of Shou-shan. 
The defensive works in front of the Pekin road had 
been constructed months before , those in the neigh- 
bourhood of Am-ping were begun after our advance 
from Mou-tien-ling on the 31st of July. The nature 
and extent of the defences beyond the Tang-ho were not 
known until a few days before the attack on Liao-yang ; 
nor were we sure that the enemy had entrenched the 
heights of Sou-shan. Divided into two main bodies, 
with strong reserves on the inner lines of defence, the 
Russians awaited our advance with the confidence 
inspired by numbers and by the presence of General 
Kuropatkin. Our plan was simple. While the Armies 
of the West and South attacked from Anshantien on 
the road from Hai-cheng, the Army of the East, under 
General Kuroki, was to force the defensive line on the 
Pekin road and at Am-ping. 

Late in the afternoon of August 25th we left Tien- 
sui-tien — the village near the foot of Mou-tien-ling 
Parr, where we had camped for nearly one month. Our 
orders were to march with three days' rations in our 
saddle bags and to halt for the night in a glen four miles 
to the North-west. We bivouacked among the mealies 
near a mountain torrent, and rose at dawn with the 

TLbc Battle of Xiao-ijauG 221 

consciousness that important events had happened in the 
night. Before starting from Tien-sui-tien we were told 
that no match was to be struck, no pipe or fire was to 
be lighted, and that restive and noisy horses were to be 
kept in the rear. These precautions could only portend 
some desperate enterprise under cover of darkness. 

Forcing a path through the tangle of bush that 
dripped with heavy dew, we reached the summit of a 
ridge and looked across the boundless ocean of bare 
hills. Away to the right loomed a bold spur in the 
shadow of which flowed the Tang-ho. Here the column, 
which formed our right flank, was operating, though of 
its progress we saw no sign and heard no sound. The 
heights on our left echoed the thunders of artillery, 
telling us that our left flank had forced the Pass of 
Yang-shu-ling and was hotly engaged. General Kuroki 
and his Staflf watched from the ridge to which we had 
ascended. Across a deep valley on the North ran 
another steep ridge upon which stood General Nichi 
and his Staff. Here was the centre of our advance. 

The Russian line of defence, in front of which we 
found ourselves, was strong by nature, and had been 
improved by art. It stretched across hills, offering an 
extensive field of fire, and must be approached by deep 
and exposed valleys. One weakness, however, it had, 
and the Japanese were not slow to discover it. The line 
was too long to be strongly defended, even by the force 
at General Kuropatkin's command. On an extended 
front the point for attack is the centre, and here General 

222 from tbe ^aln to I^ort Httbur 

Kuroki determined to drive in a wedge that would leave 
the enemy no choice but to fall back on his second line 
beyond the river. 

Artillery positions not being available owing to the 
precipitous character of the country, he resolved upon 
the hazardous expedient of a night attack with the 
bayonet. To ensure the success of such an enterprise 
two conditions are essential. The ground over which 
the troops are to advance in the darkness must be 
carefully studied. With that object many reconnaisances 
were made, company after company being sent out to 
learn the topographical features of the two mountains 
over which the assault must pass. In the second place, 
it is necessary to provide the enemy's flanks with work 
that will prevent them from giving effectual aid to the 
centre. This duty was assigned to the forces on our 
flanks. Taking with them half the field guns of the 
Central Column, our left wing marched from To-wan on 
August 22nd through the Pass of Yang-shu-ling, drove 
in the enemy's outposts on the Pekin road, and on the 
morning of the 25th began their attack on the strong 
postion of Al-tan-ho, or Two River roads. Our right 
wing was ordered to assault the Pass at Han-pa-ling on 
the Am-ping road and to seize the position held by 
the Russian left, while a brigade was detached to 
contain the force of seven or eight thousand left by 
the enemy at Pon-chi-ho to guard the road to 
Mukden and, if practicable, to create a diversion on 
our right rear. 

XEbe Battle ot Xtao-^ano 223 

These were the dispositions of General Kuroki's 
army on the night of August 25th, when the assault 
was made against the Russain centre at Kuchorai, or 
Bowstring Pass. In front of this position were two 
ridges held by the Russian outposts. The movement 
for the night attack began at nine o'clock and at 
midnight the first position was taken. But the really 
difficult task remained. At half-past two the stillness of 
the night was unbroken save by the wolf-like bark ot 
pariahs. Hill and valley were wrapped in deep slumber 
that precedes the dawn and the moon had veiled herself 
in darkness. 

Suddenly the fields of giant maize and millet were 
stirred as by a breeze. Yet no wind blew from any 
point on the black horizon. Ghostly forms flitted across 
the valley. At first a score, the number swelled into 
legions, until it seemed as if all the graves of all the 
townships had given up their dead and an army of 
shades was marching through space. Not a sound was 
heard — no footfall, not a breath. Yet fifteen thousand 
men were advancing with rifle in hand and desperate 
purpose in their hearts. Swiftly and in silence they 
moved until they gained the foot of the heights. Then 
they glided upward, still swiftly and in silence. A shot 
rang out, piercing the night with a shrill note of alarm, 
and a tidal wave of humanity, rising from earth, swept 
onward and upward with irresistible fury. Nothing 
could withstand that steel-crested wave. Not a shot was 
fired. The position was won. It was a magnificent 

224 JFrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

feat of arms, which the Japanese declare is without 
parallel — a whole division of infantry charging in the 
night with the bayonet. Swept off their feet by this 
stupendous assault, the Russians rallied at a point not 
far distant and appeared to be preparing a counter 
attack. The mountain battery borrowed from our right 
wing had followed hard on the heels of the division, 
and, coming into action at close range, quickly dislodged 
the enemy and put an end to all fear of counter-assault. 

The success of this onslaught in the darkness may 
be ascribed to the vigour and secrecy with which it was 
delivered. Not a single foreign attache or correspondent 
who slept upon the wet ground that night with, only a 
a blanket round him dreamed that a stupendous struggle 
was raging on the other side of the mountain. Some 
credit also is due to the divisions co-operating on the 

In order to reach their position on the 26th the 
Guards Division began their advance three days before. 
The roads were quagmires, and had to be made good for 
the passage of field guns. Reaching Karoko on the 
morning of the 23rd the fighting force repaired the road, 
and on the following day came to the high ground 
North-west of Henkowan, and South of Sanuipu where 
it encountered three battalions of Russian infantry from 
Daisotung and a smart skirmish took place. On the 
25th, after another contact with the enemy, the division 
advanced to the appointed line of Heilintzu. The 
Guards having begun their march a little earlier than 

XEbe Battle ot %iao-^anQ 225 

the rest of the army, General Kuropatkin withdrew 
part of his force from Am-ping and Liao-yang, and 
strengthened his army to meet the attack on the main 
road. This movement, while endangering the position 
of the Guards, proved to be of benefit to the general 
plan of the Japanese, for it relieved the pressure on the 
Twelfth Division. Four battalions of this division — the 
the Unizawa Brigade — had been ordered to Kiao-tao to 
protect the right flank against a force of the enemy 
coming from Ponchiho, while the main body of the 
division advanced from Yu-shu-ling, and assumed the 
oflfensive at dawn on the 26th, after the attack made by 
the Second Division. The reason for this was obvious. 
The country in front of the Twelfth Division was 
especially difficult, and they were in close contact with 
the main force of the Russians, who occupied a very 
strong position. Any advance of the Second Division 
would, therefore, be useful to the Twelfth Division, 
whose mountain guns meanwhile were able to harass the 

The situation on the left flank did not improve, and 
threatened to become critical, for the enemy continued 
to strengthen his front. General Kuroki accordingly 
despatched his reserves to reinforce the Guards. This 
decision was arrived at after the most careful delibera- 
tion, and was fraught with immediate consequences that 
menaced the advance of the Second Division. Scarcely 
had the reserves moved away to the assistance of the 
Guards than the enemy delivered a vigorous counter 

226 from tbe J^alu to iport Hrtbur 

attack against the left flank of the Second Division. 
This movement was unexpected. It was too late, 
however, to recall the reserves, and General Kuroki had 
no choice but to order the Guards Division instantly to 
press their attack on the left, in the hope that this would 
lighten the unforeseen strain on his centre. 

Though successful in the night attack, the Second 
Division had not been able to make the immediate 
advance anticipated. On the other side of a narrow 
valley, fronting the ridge which had been carried at the 
point of the bayonet, ran another ridge with a razor 
like summit flanked by conical peaks and traversed by a 
buttress of rock descending almost at right angles from 
the enemy's trenches. There the Russians, re-inforced 
from Am-ping and covered by guns that kept up a 
heavy bombardment, made an obstinate defence. 

From the hill in front I watched the Japanese 
infantry as they moved slowly and cautiously up the 
slope toward the buttress of rock, while another body of 
riflemen advanced from the left and four mountain guns 
were visible on the sky line to the right. The day was 
hot and many of the soldiers had laid aside their tunics 
so that the slope was dotted with white sleeves that made 
every step and every figure clear against the greens and 
browns. Steadily the infantry advanced, taking cover 
and extending until they gained the shelter of the 
buttress of rock from behind which they opened a 
fusilade against the trenches between the conical peaks. 
Their fire was hotly returned, and the shells of field guns 

XTbe JSattle ot Xiao -gang 227 

in the valley beyond began to search the slope near the 
mountain guns. For two hours the situation was 
unchanged, each side holding its own and maintaining 
its iire. After a time the Russian guns compelled the 
mountain battery to retire a little down the slope where 
two guns were directed to keep down the fire from the 
trenches and two guns among the mealies in the valley 
covered the advance of the rifles. The effect was 
magical. In a few minutes the fusilade slackened ; the 
Japanese seized the opportunity to press forward, and 
before noon the flag of the Rising Sun shone blood red 
on the summit. The wedge of steel had been driven 
hard and fast into the heart of the enemy. 


Chapter XXVII 


Although the centre of their right flank had been 
forced, there appeared no urgent reason for the Russians 
to withdraw beyond the river. There were hills in front 
capable of defence, and our losses had been heavy. For 
the explanation we must look to the right, where the 
Twelfth Division was driving back the enemy upon the 
Tang-ho and menacing his flank near Am-ping. At 
dawn on the 26th our right wing made connexion with 
the centre and opened its attack on Hanyaling. The 
country is furrowed with narrow ravines, out of which 
spring precipitous heights, on which the enemy were 
strongly entrenched. Moreover, the Russians fought 
with splendid courage, and with determination born of 
the knowledge that this Pass was the key to the first line 
of their Eastern defence. East and South-east of 
Am-ping were field batteries that gave great assistance in 
checking our advance. 





Ubc IRusstan Hrm^ retires on Xtao-pana 229 

" Do you think you will take the position to-day ?" 
asked a foreign attache^ speaking to a private. 

The soldier hesitated, after the manner of the 

" Yes ; I think so. But to-day the Russians are 
very obstinate ! " 

Dense fog hid the enemy late in the afternoon, and 
the movement was suspended. Yet through the night a 
fierce struggle went on for possession of a ridge on 
which the Russians, deeming the height unassailable, 
had posted a field battery. It was rash, however, to 
set limits to the capacity of mountaineers like those in 
General Inouye's command. The hill was stormed ; was 
defended with stones and avalanches of rock, and was 
captured. From the summit the victors hurled stones 
upon the enemy, whose energies wefe concentrated on 
flight, and both slopes were quickly strewn with dying 
men. The wounds inflicted by the rocks were terrible, 
and the mortality was greater than it could have been 
from rifle fire. Two counter attacks were made and 
repulsed, and seven field guns of the latest pattern fell 
into the hands of the Japanese. When darkness put an 
end to the fight this was the state of affairs : — The 
Russian centre and left were withdrawing to their second 
line beyond the Tang-ho, leaving a force among the 
lower hills to cover the retirement, and their right was 
falling slowly back along the Pekin road. Our right was 
pressing hard on the enemy's flank ; our centre occupied 
the position evacuated by the Russians, and our left was 

230 jfrom tbe IJalu to port Hrtbur 

preparing to follow up the advantage with a vigorous 
bombardment, when rain and mist descended upon the 

At eleven o'clock next morning the enemy began 
to retire across the Tang-ho under cover of guns posted 
South-east of Am-ping. The movement was cleverly 
made, and the spectacle was one of the most remarkable 
witnessed during the war. 

For five long months we had lived in the mountains. 
Day after day we had toiled and sweated up the hill- 
sides, and always our vision had been bounded by a 
narrow horizon. We had grown weary of prison ranges 
and a world that was a tumultuous sea of green. We 
panted for the freedom of the plains, for a distant 
horizon and unfettered vision. And here they lay 
before us. It was on the morning of August 27th 
that we had our first glimpse of the great plain that 
stretches North to the fringe of the Gobi desert. It 
looked unreal — a mirage of yellow and green fading 
into infinite space. The mountain on which we stood, 
among gruesome evidences of the combat, was veiled in 
mist that rolled aside like a curtain and revealed the 
panorama of hill and valley. Bending like a bow to 
the East the river Tang gleamed like an opal set in 
narrow bands of emerald and gold. Along the near 
bank moved dark lines of men and horses and wagons, 
stretching for miles till they vanished behind the spur 
of a hill, and crossing over by a bridge, reappeared on 
the plain beyond. In an unbroken stream they flowed 

TLbc 1Ru95tan Hrm^ retires on Xiao-pano 231 

past the white tents in the bed of the river and vanished 
once more among the trees of a village on the plain. 
From the mountains about Am-ping descended tributary 
rivulets of men and horses, and away to our right tiny 
clouds of white vapour on the dark slopes and crest 
showed that the Japanese were encouraging them to 
flight. What a target they made, and what havoc might 
have been wrought by a few well-placed guns of long 
range ! How great would have been the spoils ! How 
complete the victory ! Again and again did the 
Japanese bemoan the fate that had given them guns of 
short range and light projectile. Pursuit was out of the 
question, for the enemy, conscious of immunity from 
shell fire, concentrated his force with exasperating 
deliberation, being fully alive to the fact that in their 
present formation the Japanese would never venture to 
follow. All we could do was to look upon the spectacle, 
and moralise on the subject of long range artillery. 

We had driven the enemy across the Tang-ho, but 
they still held the heights North and West of Am-ping 
and had a second line of defensive works beyond the 
river. A great change, however, had come over the 
whole situation. The armies of the West and South 
had encountered the Russians at Anshantien and found 
them loth to venture on a decisive issue. At half-past 
six o'clock on the evening of August 27th, General 
Kuroki received the following message from Field 
Marshall Oyama : — " The enemy at Anshantien has 
begun to retire. This may be the effect of the First 

232 Jfrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbut 

Army's attack on its flank. I have given orders to 
the Second and Fourth Armies to pursue." Upon 
this came another communication from Grand Head 
Quarters : — " The retreat of the enemy is confirmed. 
The Second and Fourth Armies are pursuing." Before 
the advancing legions of Japan the enemy were fleeing 
toward Liao-yang and their last defences. 

The news was startling, for it had long been 
known that the Russians had made defensive works at 
Anshantien, where they were expected to offer a stubborn 
resistance. That they should abandon this strong 
position without a struggle was proof that the First 
Army had done its work well, and had inspired the 
enemy with fear lest Anshantien might be turned. The 
situation called for prompt and energetic action. If the 
Russians had made up their minds to evacuate Liao- 
yang and to fall back upon Mukden without striking 
a blow there was imminent risk that all our schemes and 
sacrifices of the last three months would come to naught 
and that our prey would escape the net spread for him. 
Liao-yang without Russian guns and captives would be 
a poor reward at the end of five months' successful 
campaigning. Two alternatives presented themselves. 
By overtaking the enemy we might compel him to 
accept battle at Liao-yang, or we might engage him 
in a rear guard action and detach a strong force to 
cross the Tai-tsu and strike North at his communica- 
tions. The position demanded a General of daring and 

XTbe IRussian Hrmy retires on Xiao-pang 233 

Having withdrawn to their entrenched line at 
Shou-shan the Russians were content with holding 
the defences North of the Tang-ho only long enough 
to ensure the orderly retirement of their forces in the 
neighbourhood of Am-ping. General Kuroki gave 
instant orders for the occupation of the line from the 
North-east of Sobyoshi to Kosanshi through Daisekimon. 
This advance met with feeble opposition. Our work on 
the 28th of August was comparatively easy. We were 
in possession of the South bank of the river, with our 
centre a little way to the West of Am-ping, and our left 
wing established across the Pekin road. 

On the morning of the 28 th I rode toward 
Am-ping to witness the passage of the Tang-ho and 
found myself within fifteen hundred yards of the 
Russian trenches. In the valley behind me, sheltered 
by a precipitous mountain slope, was a Japanese field 
battery, and half a mile in front of it, among some trees 
near a rocky mound, were two batteries, the fire of 
which was directed against a bold ridge on the opposite 
side of the river. No enemy was visible, though the 
trenches could be seen, and an officer on the hill before 
me signalling to the batteries. By the way, the Japanese 
have many things to learn in the art of communication 
on the battle field. They never use the heliograph, and 
only twice have I seen signalling by flags. The range 
and direction of the guns were shouted along a line of 
men posted at regular intervals on the slope and in the 
valley — a slow and cumbersome process. The shelling 

234 Jfrom tbe l^alu to port artbut 

continued, and suddenly out of the trenches rose a con- 
siderable number of the enemy, who fled up the hill 
pursued by shrapnel that did little harm. Away on the 
left front a similar incident happened, though in this 
case nearly a battalion was dislodged and had to climb 
slowly up a precipice, where they offered a splendid 
target. Once more shrapnel demonstrated how ineffec- 
tive it can be even at close range. A single common 
shell would have done more damage than scores ot 
rounds of shrapnel. 

Before noon our troops had marched through 
Am-ping and crossed the Tang-ho at a deep ford. 
Am-ping is a type of all Chinese towns and has a very 
prosperous appearance. The houses are substantially 
built, and those of the merchants are surrounded with 
high walls, loop-holed and crennelated for defence against 
bandits and raiders. General Kuropatkin had lodged in 
the largest of these houses two or three days before and 
drank tea in the courtyard surrounded by flowers. 
The town escaped occupation by the Japanese, for at 
noon General Kuroki received the following orders : — 
" First Army sweep the enemy from its front and 
prepare to cross to the right bank of the Tai-tsu as 
quickly as possible. Second and Fourth Armies expect 
to attack Liao-yang, taking the positions Sofanton, 
Otoen, Shaka, and eight kilometres North-west of 

Chapter XXVIII 


On the morning of August 30th, when we looked down 
upon Liao-yang we believed that this city of the plain 
would be the Sedan of Manchuria. A crescent of steel 
was drawn about it, and armed men were threatening on 
every side. Yet Liao-yang, unconscious of impending 
doom, lay silent and unmoved. We had climbed a 
mountain on the East and saw the plain — a great expanse 
of brown fields and grass with dark patches of wood. 
On the North ran the broad river, in whose embrace 
nestled the city. Grey walls, five miles in circumference, 
enclosed much cultivated land and many houses, above 
the dark roofs of which towered a pagoda dedicated to 
eight incarnations of Buddha. And beyond the walls 
was another and a newer city — European in aspect — an 
ugly straggling line of brick houses and stores, with a 
railway station, towards which a train moved leisurely 
from the North over a bridge across the river. In five 
months this was our first evidence of permanent Russian 
occupation. Upon the flats South of the town were 


236 JFrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

lines of earthworks and two redoubts that looked like 
fortresses, and further South was a line of low hills — the 
entrenched position or Shou-shan. From the centre of 
this line rose a grey mass of rock broken and pre- 
cipitous, and separated from it on the East by the main 
road to Hai-cheng was a low hill with three broad 
peaks that was to be the scene of one of the most 
bloody encounters in the war. 

The stillness that brooded over city and plain was 
charged with portent. A struggle — among the most 
terrific in a quarter of a century — was about to shake 
the mountains and devastate the plain as with some 
mighty convulsion of nature. Yet only to the eye of 
experience was any sign revealed. Save for a column of 
smoke near the base of the pagoda the town looked 
deserted. Over the plain wandered small bodies of men 
and horse, and on the river flats, where the Tang joins 
the Tai-tsu, was a force of infantry and artillery 
guarding the approach from the East. The hills were 
too far off to betray their occupants, yet we knew that 
on the crescent line of ridges was a great Russian army, 
and that on the plain and in the hills beyond were the 
legions of the Mikado. 

The strength of the enemy was estimated at six 
army corps or two hundred thousand men. General 
Kuropatkin*s reason for withdrawing to the defences 
about Liao-yang is clearly stated in his official despatch 
to the Czar. His line of retreat along the Tang river 
was threatened by General Kuroki, while his left flank at 

Ubc Hssault on Xiao=s^no 237 

Anshantien was endangered by another turning move- 
ment. "In order to save time and inflict severe losses 
on the enemy, I withdrew all the army corps from 
advanced positions to Liao-yang." The retirement was 
attended with many diflliculties. " In consequence of 
the mountainous nature of the country on our front and 
the bad condition of the roads toward the South, the two 
days' march toward Liao-yang was of the most difficult 
kind, and only the devotion of all the troops on the East 
front enabled it to be carried out in good order. Only 
after incredible difficulties was it found possible to drag 
all the guns, without exception, and all our baggage 
through the passes. Some of the guns were carried 
through the mountains by infantry. Difficult as was the 
retreat through the passes under pressure from the 
enemy, the march across the open country was still 
more arduous. The left and centre columns succeeded 
in getting all their artillery and baggage to Liao-yang. 
The march of the right column, which was obliged to 
cross Westward to the railway, where the country had 
suffered more severely from rains, was especially difficult. 
Considerable forces of the enemy followed the rear 
guard, which maintained a stubborn resistance. The 
guns of one of the retiring batteries began to sink in the 
mud. Every effort was made to save them. Twenty- 
four horses were hitched to each piece, companies of 
infantry assisting with ropes. The horses and men, 
however, sank so deep that it was necessary for the 
comrades of the latter to haul them out. General 

238 jFtom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

Rutkovsky remained so long covering the extrication of 
the guns, that his forces lost heavily, and the General 
himself and Colonel Raben, commanding the Fourth 
Regiment of East Siberian Sharpshooters, were killed. 
Notwithstanding all efforts, it was finally necessary to 
abandon the guns. On August 29th, the army con- 
centrated at Liao-yang. One corps took a position on 
the right bank of the Tai-ten river, while another held 
the left bank.'* 

The strongest point in the Russian defences was 
Shou-shan, a rocky eminence 300 feet high, four miles 
South-west of the city, on the summit of which stands a 
beacon tower built by the Chinese in olden times. 
Along its North-eastern foot winds the main road to 
Liao-yang, while the railway passes under the Western 
slope. The South side of the hill is enclosed by rugged 
heights, and on the East are three hills on which the 
enemy had constructed triple lines of trenches connected 
with a covered bomb-proof way. In front of the 
position stretched a perfect maze of defensive works — 
barbed wire entanglements, troups de loups^ deep pits 
with a sharp stake to impale any unfortunate, chevaux de 
frise^ and all the strange and terrible devices of the 
military engineer. 

The attack opened at dawn with a prolonged 
artillery duel, the details of which were unfolded before 
us like a panorama, and recalled that volcanic valley 
through which you pass to the King country in New 
Zealand. All day long shells charged with death 

xrbe Hssault on Xtao-^ana 239 

moaned through the air ; the angry snarl of shrapnel 
mingled with the roar of common shell ; tiny clouds of 
white appeared in the heavens and dissolved in a hail ot 
bullets ; and slope and crest and plain spurted fountains 
of black earth. Liao-yang seemed to have become the 
centre of every form of volcanic activity. Hundreds of 
guns were engaged, including many of long range and 
heavy calibre. Several Russian batteries were posted on 
the plain in strong and well-masked emplacements. 
From a semi-circle of earthworks to the South-east 
darted tongues of white flame, revealing the position of 
sixteen guns ; further South near a grove were more 
batteries ; in a ravine at the foot of the grey mass of 
rock were eight guns ; Westward, on the plain, sixteen 
pieces were in vigorous action. 

So much could be seen from our mountain, yet it 
was but a small part of the artillery with which the 
enemy strove to silence our guns and to check our 
advance. On their left alone the Russians were reported 
to have one hundred guns. Their fire was directed 
mainly to the hills on our right, where some of our 
batteries were posted, and battalions of infantry were 
waiting the order to advance. On the plain in front of 
the range of hills that formed the enemy's defence are 
three hamlets sheltered by dark groves. Here was the 
first line of Japanese infantry, and to these points also 
the shells flew fast and furious. The cannonade was 
maintained without pause, and grew in intensity till it 
seemed as if all the powers of Hell had broken loose 

240 ffrom tbe ISalu to port Hrtbur 

and were wrecking the world with fire and thunder. 
After a time the Japanese gunners began to locate the 
enemy's batteries, and their fire became more con- 
centrated ; but the shells fell short and not a gun was 

Again, and again, and again, sharp tongues of flame 
darted out of the brown plain, and the hills were 
wreathed in smoke. Late in the day a little progress 
seemed to have been made, for the hurricane swept 
nearer and nearer to the city, which looked so peaceful 
amid all the turmoil and strife. 

Despite this tremendous bombardment our infantry 
was unable to advance. The army of the South, under 
General Nozu — a famous fighting General — strove to 
drive back the Russian left flank. Three divisions — 
one in the centre drawn from the army of the West — 
opened fire on the positions at Heinytchoan and Shin- 
ryuton, where the enemy had forty guns behind strong 
earthworks. Again and again the infantry tried to move 
forward under cover of the artillery, but were met by a 
fierce cannonade from front and flank, and had to seek 
the shelter of the hills. Our right and centre succeeded 
in advancing a few hundred yards, but they lacked the 
support expected from the division detached from 
General Kuroki's army, which had not yet gained its 
appointed place. Occupying the lower ground, and 
fronting nearly one hundred guns — some of them 
fifteen centimetre guns — they suffered severely. Our 
left took the position near Tsuafauton, but came under 

tlbe assault on Xiao-pan^ 241 

direct and enfilading artillery fire, and was compelled to 
fall back after dark, notwithstanding that the whole of 
the reserve went to its aid. At five o'clock General Nozu's 
batteries were reinforced from the left, and the Russians 
were subjected to a concentrated and continuous bom- 
bardment. But the enemy fought with skill and 
determination, and the situation was unchanged. At 
midnight the cannonade was renewed, and continued at 
intervals, lighting the dark hours with lurid fires. 

The battle began again at dawn. Finding it 
impossible to move forward, the division on our right 
had made trenches and sungars, where they awaited 
reinforcements from General Kuroki. This supporting 
force had great difficulties to overcome, and, after 
a night attack against superior numbers North of 
Muchapoa, ran short of ammunition, and could not 
move. Meanwhile a battery was posted near Sauchazui, 
and opened fire on the enemy. On our left General 
Oku met with desperate resistance ; the supply of 
ammunition was rapidly running out ; the men could 
not advance, and help was sought from the centre. 
Two divisions co-operated in a determined attack, the 
left moving steadily forward in a hurricane of shot and 
shell that destroyed nearly a whole battalion. Still the 
enemy held fast to the main position, and, making 
shelter trenches, our men waited anxiously for darkness. 

During all this struggle the city lay calm and 
undisturbed. Clouds of smoke again rose near the base 
of the pagoda, and on the North-west a village was on 

242 ifrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

fire. Trains crossed the railway bridge and steamed 
into the station or Northward across the plain. On the 
flats East of the town and close to the river, Russian 
infantry and cavalry still guarded the approach from 
Am-ping. It was clear that the enemy expected some 
movement in that direction, for in the afternoon a 
battery of field guns with a force of cavalry and rifle- 
men made a reconnaisance toward the road. Advancing 
cautiously in two files the cavalry-appeared on the bank 
of the river and drew rein ; the guns took position 
among the trees near a village, and the infantry halted 
behind. But nothing could be discovered to arouse 
suspicion, and presently they returned. Had they been 
better informed they might have been bolder, for the 
hills were held by a few military attachts and foreign 
correspondents, and in the ravines were only some strong 
picquets. But they were content with searching our 
mountain with shrapnel, and driving us from the sky 
line, where we had no business. As the shadows 
lengthened, the cannonade, which had been desultory 
and comparatively feeble in the earlier hours, burst forth 
with violence. 

Chapter XXIX 


The supreme moment was at hand. Thousands who lay 
down to rest in the trenches were destined never again 
to look on the face of the sun. The night was clear 
and no sound of strife broke the stillness. Worn 
out with fatigue and excitement and exposure, the 
soldier slept with rifle at his side. A truce had been 
proclaimed — the truce of the night — and darkness 
shrouded the dead. It was the profound calm that 
heralds the storm. Already preparations were being 
made for the great assault that was to drive the enemy 
from his position before Liao-yang. Engineers were at 
work removing obstacles with which the Russians had 
strewn the path. Their efforts were directed especially 
to the hill in front of the village named Shyaoyansui — 
the low hill with three broad crests and a gentle slope 
from the South. Three or four hundred yards from 
the foot of this slope ran a triple line of trous de hups or 
circular pits ten feet deep with a sharp stake in the 

243 Q 2 

244 IFrom tbe ^nlxx to port Hvtbut 

middle of each pit. Nearly a mile long, the line of 
defensive works was broken at intervals to afford 
passage to the Russians. In these gaps were barbed 
wire entanglements and chevaux de frise^ and behind 
them were trenches held by riflemen, while in front 
were mines. At the foot of the hill were other wire 
entanglements, and on the top of the incline, com- 
manding every yard of approach, ran a deep trench with 
a shallow trench immediately behind. Along the summit 
were two lines of trenches, traversed at right angles, and 
on the ridge beyond were emplacements for guns. A 
stronger and more difficult position could not be 
imagined or contrived by military art. It looked 
impregnable to assault. And, to add to its terrors, the 
hill and its approaches were commanded by two hills on 
the East and West — both entrenched and held by strong 
forces of rifle and artillery. The hill on the West was 
Shou-shan, the steep mountain of rock between the 
railway and the road, while that on the East lay beyond 
the village of Shinluton. 

Against this terrible array of pits and wires and 
hills and trenches, bristling with rifles and guns, and 
swarming with brave and resolute foes, the Japanese 
threw themselves with the reckless courage of men who 
know how to die. How they passed the triple line of 
pits with the sharp stakes ready to receive their mangled 
bodies, how they avoided the mines, and how they over- 
came the barbed wire with its cruel entanglements, I 
must leave to the imagination. When they came to 

Capture of Xtao-^ano 245 

the trenches the work was straightforward, though it 
demanded heroic effort unsurpassed in the history of 
war. Thrice they rushed almost to the crest, trampling 
the dead and the dying under their feet ; thrice the line 
of bayonets dripped bloody over trenches piled up with 
wounds and death. Twice they were driven down the 
slope wet with gore and strewn with the bodies of com- 
rades who had fallen to rise no more. The enemy 
fought with the courage of despair, but nothing could 
withstand another onrush, and before dawn they with- 
drew to the trenches and redoubts in the plain. Liao- 
yang was won ! 

The Russians began to retire at two o'clock on the 
morning of September ist, and the Japanese, having 
occupied the heights, sent a mixed force in pursuit. 
The main body halted to complete its preparations for 
carrying the line of fortifications on the plain. Very 
formidable indeed were these fortifications, which, in 
strength and design, might almost be described as 
permanent. Along the front for miles stretched triple 
lines of pits ten feet deep with sharp stakes in the 
centre : mines were placed for the unwary foot : the 
trenches were deep and traversed to give access and exit 
in every direction : gun emplacements guarded every 
approach, and at two angles were redoubts masked by 
moats and pits — massive redoubts against which field 
guns might batter and infantry perform deeds of 
heroism in vain. Each redoubt could hold a garrison 
of one battalion and might be a rallying point in disaster. 

246 iftom tbe l^alu to pott Httbur 

But fortifications of this kind have serious disadvantages, 
especially on a plain and in a defensive scheme that 
demands as its first condition freedom and rapidity of 
movement. The enemy must have recognised this 
weakness, for it was not necessary to carry the redoubts 
by assault. 

The fighting, which begun at ten o'clock on the 
morning of September 2nd, was confined to the 
trenches and the railway embankment, which served 
as a permanent breastwork. From the railway station 
the Russians opposed the advance with heavy guns, 
and from the North bank of the river many batteries 
opened a furious cannonade. Though the enemy held 
stubbornly to this last line of defence, it was manifest 
that they were now fighting only a rear guard action to 
cover the retreat of their army. Their orders were to 
hold the position at all costs and they obeyed. Before 
dawn next morning, Captain Inouye, of the Engineers, 
who blew up the Southern gate at Tientsin in the Boxer 
expedition, passed through the enemy's lines and reached 
the Southern gate of the city. His instructions were to 
destroy the gate, but finding it open he exploded his 
charge of dynamite near a temple. This was the signal 
for the final assault. 

The main army of General Kuropatkin was already 
on its way to Mukden. Over the many bridges thrown 
across the river had passed guns and equipment and 
stores. What remained was of little consequence and 
was now committed to the flames. Several huge sheds 

Capture of Xiao-pang 247 

stocked with flower and wheat and oats began to blaze 
and unmistakable proof was given that Liao-yang had 
been abandoned. But it was still necessary to gain time 
in order to avoid pursuit. A strong rearguard continued 
to hold the trenches in front of the city. Against these 
our infantry advanced early on the 3rd of September. 
With heavy loss they came to within three hundred yards 
of the trenches. One or two battalions moved closer, 
but could make no impression. One method alone 
promised success and from that the Japanese, with their 
inherited love of the arme blanche^ never shrink. The 
order was to fix bayonets and charge. Up sprang the 
fighting line with a shout that must have quickened the 
steps of laggards on the bridges and with a mighty rush 
the last trench was carried. Again our casualties were 
many, but the road to Liao-yang was open at last. 
Rapidly and in good order the Russians retired across 
the river, destroying the bridges, burning their pontoon 
train and the woodwork of the railway bridge. Next 
morning we entered Liao-yang and found to our keen 
disappointment that it was not a Sedan. Historians 
who are prophets after the event, will doubtless prove to 
their own satisfaction that General Kuropatkin^s retreat 
was in conformity with a premeditated plan to entice the 
Japanese into the heart of Manchuria ; that from the 
first it was his design to avoid a decisive battle at 
Liao-yang, and that the losses sustained by his army 
were the natural results of a rearguard action. In this 
theory they may find support among Japanese Staff 

248 jftom tbe 19alu to port Hrtbur 

Officers who become suddenly anxious to explain the 
failure of their Sedan by affirming that as early as the 
evening of August 30th, they discovered indications of 
General Kuropatkin's intention to evacuate Liao-yang. 
To penetrate the designs of the enemy, and to frustrate 
them is the part of military wisdom, and it is not 
pleasant to have to acknowledge want of foreknowledge 
as well as failure in achievement. It is easier to appear 
wise after the event, and some Japanese Staff Officers 
succumbed to the allurement. Yet the fact remains 
indisputable, that until the morning of September 3rd, 
the Japanese never suspected the Russians of any 
intention to flee from Liao-yang. Under that con- 
viction they developed their attack on the triple line of 
redoubts and entrenchments before the town, and made 
heroic though vain attempts to destroy the enemy's 
communications with the North. 

If Field-Marshal Oyama discovered on August 30th 
that it was the enemy's purpose to retire on Mukden, 
to what end did he sacrifice the lives of thousands of 
men by hurling them in frontal attack against redoubts 
and trenches upon which his artillery had made no 
impression ? If he believed that General Kuropatkin 
was already retreating, then with what object did he 
reduce General Kuroki's army to one-and-a-half 
divisions, and send him across the river with orders to 
seize the heights commanding the railway and cut the 
Russian cummunications ? When your enemy has 
bolted the door and is escaping by the window, surely 

Capture of Xtao-^ana 249 

it is wasting time and strength to break down the door 
while you may be at the window. The truth, I fancy, 
will be found in the fear of the Japanese Commander 
that the Russians would not merely offer a stubborn 
resistance, but would attack his own communications 
with the South. Under the influence of that fear he 
concentrated nearly the whole of his great force in front 
of Liao-yang and made a feeble demonstration against 
the railway. His tactics were foredoomed to failure. 
As to General Kuropatkin's real purpose, it must be 
judged not from his defeat and retirement, but from 
the conditions under which he accepted battle. For 
several months he had been accumulating supplies and 
concentrating troops at Liao-yang ; he had guarded the 
approach to the town with a triple line of trenches, 
redoubts, pits, entanglements and military obstacles of 
every kind ; he had many field and heavy guns, and 
he had chosen for his first line of defence the low hills 
South of Liao-yang which have been always recognised 
as an excellent position from which to oppose an 
advance. These are obvious material considerations 
which I admit would not weigh one grain in the balance 
against the security of an army. But their value as 
evidence of General Kuropatkin's intentions is un- 
deniable when we recall the stubbornness with which 
they were defended, and above all when we consider the 
heroic efforts and sacrifices made to destroy the force on 
his flank North of Liao-yang, and to regain a position 
that he must have known was of no strategic and of 

250 iFrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtbur 

little tactical importance to the Japanese. History, I 
think, will confirm the conviction that General 
Kuropatkin intended to make a decisive stand at 
Liao-yang, where he hoped to check the invasion and 
to take the offensive, and that Field-Marshal Oyama's 
purpose was to surround his enemy and to add 
capture to defeat. In achievement both fell short of 
their designs. 

Chapter XXX 


The part assigned to General Kuroki in the attack on 
Liao-yang was worthy of his brilliant record. For five 
months his army had marched and fought in the 
mountains, driving back the enemy to his base and 
suffering not a single reverse. Our position was often 
hazardous, and since the attack on Mou-tien-ling in July 
we had confronted a superior force. We had to feed 
one hundred thousand men — including non-combatants 
and coolies — and were dependent on a line of communi- 
cations always difficult, always vulnerable, and, in the 
rainy season, always precarious. Yet only for a few days 
at Lien-chen-kwan, when the rivers were in flood, were 
the soldiers reduced to short rations, and never once 
were our communications seriously threatened. At no 
time were we in a position to avoid an engagement had 
the Russians cared to attack. Retreat in such a country 
would have meant disaster. General Kuroki staked all 
on the chance of victory. 


252 ifrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

I have described in some detail the movements of 
the First Army from August 25th, when the energies of 
the Japanese were bent on bringing into united action 
the armies of the West, the South, and the East, and 
on completing their strategy by leaving General 
Kuropatkin no choice but to accept a decisive battle that 
under conditions that would involve the capture of a 
large part of his defeated army. Driven back along the 
railway, the Russian leader showed a disposition to stand 
at Anshantien where he had a strong and well fortified 
position. But his ability to hold that position rested on 
his power to check, if not to repel, the advance of 
General Kuroki on his left flank. Once the Japanese 
penetrated the line of defence on the Tang-ho, they 
could menace the rear of the enemy's position and 
Anshantien must be evacuated. To protect himself 
against this danger. General Kuropatkin detached a con- 
siderable force to oppose General Kuroki, and was 
evidently satisfied that he could hold the line of the 
river Tang while his main body engaged and defeated 
the inferior force marching on Anshantien. We have 
seen how this plan was brought to naught by the rapidity 
and success of General Kuroki's operations after leaving 
Tien-tshu-tien on August 25th, and how three days later 
the Russians, outflanked on their left near Am-ping, 
became uneasy about their base and withdrew to their 
last defensive line in front of Liao-yang. 

On August 29th — the enemy having withdrawn 
from Anshantien on the previous day — General Kuroki 

IkuroF?! crosses tbe ICat-tsu 253 

prepared to cross the Tai-tsu. His orders were to 
threaten the enemy*s flank and to strike at the railway. 
Such a manoeuvre, if successful, must have turned defeat 
into disaster, and the mere threat of it was likely to 
disconcert the enemy and arrest any offensive measures 
he might be contemplating. But in order to gain the 
point aimed at it was necessary to deceive the Russians 
and to act with the utmost rapidity : while to ensure the 
destruction of their direct line of retreat a strong force 
was imperatively demanded. Every one of these 
conditions was absent. The enemy knew the hour and 
the place of our passage over the Tai-tsu : our attack 
was delayed for two days, and General Kuroki's force 
was not more than one and a half divisions. The 
Guards were in difficulties and the Unizawa brigade 
was watching the flank near Ponchiho, which was 
threatened by a considerable force of the enemy. There 
remained only the Twelfth Division and a brigade of the 
Second Division. The river is broad and deep, and on 
the North bank are mountain ranges and isolated hills, 
beyond which lie the plain and the railway to Mukden. 
Having driven back a small party of observation, the 
Twelfth Division forded the stream near Kuanton at 
eleven o'clock on the night of the 30th and proceeded 
to occupy the hills East of that place. Half the Second 
division crossed over at the same ford and took up 
a position to cover their comrades in case of attack. 
Next day the artillery passed over by a pontoon bridge 
masked by a rocky escarpment out of range of the 

254 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Bttbur 

enemy's guns. The crossing was made without difficulty 
or opposition. General Kuroki was fighting with his 
back to the river and in front of him was an over- 
whelming force of the enemy. 

This was the position when I crossed the Tai-tsu 
and came to the General and his Staff on a bold eminence 
crowned by the walls of a city from which had long 
vanished every trace of human habitation. We were at 
Kakuanton, about fifteen miles east of Liao-yang. In 
front of uSj across a broad plain dotted with groves and 
hamlets and brown with the giant stalks of ripe millet 
and Indian corn, rose a long low hill with a conical peak 
in the centre. This was Manjuyama — the scene of a 
bloody struggle. On the left, divided from Manjuyama 
by a narrow valley, ran a lofty range of mountains, and 
far away to the right another range with five peaks, at 
the Northern extremity of which was the Russian coal 
mine connected with the city by a railway. These 
positions were in the hands of the enemy, who had 
strengthened them with trenches, and had joined Man- 
juyama with the mountains on our left by a deep trench 
so that men might move from one position to another 
unseen. In the plain beyond the Northern spur of 
Manjuyama were posted two Russian field batteries, and, 
concealed in a ravine in front of the mountain on our 
left, was another battery. The range on our right was 
also trenched, but was not so strongly held as on our 
front and left, where the enemy's force was four and a 
half divisions. 

Ikutoki crosses tbe XTat^tsu 255 

The capture of Manjuyama must be the first step in 
our advance and the attempt was made at once. Three 
batteries of field guns opened a cannonade from our 
front and soon came under the enemy's fire from the 
plain beyond. The range of the Russian guns was fairly 
accurate, and to an observer at a distance must have 
appeared to do great damage. But from our position 
we could see that the direction was invariably wrong, 
and never changed even by accident. Hundreds upon 
hundreds of shrapnel burst to the right of the Japanese 
batteries and made the air hum with the hail of their 
bullets, yet at the end of the day only one man was 
killed and seven were wounded. Our guns gave no heed 
to the enemy's artillery, but turned their energies to 
Kuropatkin's Eye, where the Russians showed them- 
selves boldly on the skyline. Again and again the slope 
was swept with shrapnel and common shell that drove 
the men from the trenches and sent them hot-footed to 
the shelter of the crest. Reinforcements came from the 
mountain on our left, moving unseen along the trench 
to Manjuyama and appearing on the slope and summit 
in long dark lines. They had to pass through an 
inferno. Every foot of the hill was flecked with tiny 
white clouds of shrapnel, and threw up showers of black 
earth from common shell charged with a terrible explo- 
sive. It seemed madness to face such a fire, yet the 
Russians came and went and moved along the summit 
and disappeared behind the conical peak as though 
proof against shot and shell. Meanwhile, our infantry 

256 jFrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

were making ready for a desperate enterprise. We saw 
them moving forward in front of the guns — line after 
line, in close formation. 

Now they blackened some green field and looked a 
target that none could miss. But the country was 
broken and the corn was uncut, and though the enemy's 
guns searched for them again and again they passed 
unscathed. Now the giant millet hid them, and they 
vanished as if the earth had opened under their feet. 
Again they came into view above the ^reen bean stalks, 
they halted as if uncertain of their direction — for you 
can soon be lost in the corn — came back and plunged 
once more into the millet. Their objective was the 
North slope of Manjuyama, to the right of a village 
almost in the shadow of Kuropatkin's Eye. 

So the hours dragged on, our guns covering the 
advance until rifle shots were heard, and the movements 
of the enemy, like ants disturbed, showed that our 
infantry was engaged at close quarters, and the fight for 
Manjuyama had begun in earnest. Wildly and with 
frantic haste the Russian guns in the ravine searched the 
fields in front of us, and a battery on our right joining 
the fray, tore up the crest of Manjuyama with deadly 

The sun sank blood-red below the horizon, and the 
Western sky was flooded with a crimson glow. The 
guns were silent, and we heard only the rifles like the 
crackling of thorns in the fire. Suddenly, and with one 
accord, every battery opened, and out of the darkness 

Ikuroftt crosses tbe XTat-tsu 257 

leapt tongues of flame. Hill and plain shook with 
thunder, and the air was filled with the roar and shriek 
and snarl of shells. It was a splendid, yet a dread 
spectacle. All night Russian and Japanese fought for 
possession of that hill, charging and counter-charging 
until the ground was sodden with blood and the trenches 
were filled with dead. 

At two o'clock next morning the enemy fell back 
under cover of their artillery and Manjuyama was ours. 
Meanwhile, reinforcements were hurrying out of 
Liao-yang, and a strong column marched against the 
division on our right. With sixty guns the Russians 
defended the five-peaked range near the coal mine, 
and our position looked critical. But help was coming 
— another brigade was marching to the rescue — and the 
fight went on with renewed confidence. The Unizawa 
brigade had been ordered to seize Ponchiho and to join 
the main body without delay. It was imperative that 
we should secure this range of hills, and on September 
2nd General Kuroki endeavoured to take it with one- 
and-a-half battalions. From three positions the enemy 
shelled our advance, and in front were three Russian 
battalions. Under a devastating fire from flank and 
front the Japanese infantry fought heroically, but 
without avail, and were finally compelled to withdraw. 
Then, indeed, we began to feel the need for an army, 
and in the words of a brave General, the meal of rice 
"tasted bitter in the mouth." We still held Manjuyama 
— -won at terrible sacrifice — though stormed at by shot 


258 jftom tbe l?aln to port Hrtbur 

and shell from every side. Night and day the Japanese 
infantry endured this ordeal on a few handsful of 
uncooked rice, and at night were called upon to repel 
two terrific assaults. 

Fully appreciating the danger that threatened his 
retiring flank, General Kuropatkin had given orders 
that Manjuyama must be retaken at all costs. Covered 
by darkness, six regiments hurled themselves upon the 
position held by four Japanese regiments. It was a 
combat of heroes. Charge and counter-charge were 
delivered with fury on summit and slope and among the 
corn below. So close were the combatants that they inter- 
mingled and the utmost confusion prevailed. Leading 
a regiment from the brigade that had crossed the river 
by a forced march, the General found it impossible to 
distinguish friend from foe until the bugle had sounded 
" Cease fire," and the flash of the enemy's rifles in the 
darkness revealed the point of greatest danger. Placing 
himself at the head of two companies, the brigadier 
charged across this zone of fire, and the fight went on 
through the night with unabated fury. While the fate of 
Manjuyama still trembled in the balance, an assault was 
made against the mountain on our left, and one battalion 
succeeded in gaining a foothold. But their ammunition 
gave out, and only a few stragglers returned to tell the 
story of how they captured the enemy's guns, and had 
to flee just when victory was within their grasp. 

Chapter XXXI 


Exhausted by long hours of continuous combat upon a 
few handful s of dry rice, the Japanese were unable to 
make any progress. To add to their troubles the field 
wire failed and General Kuroki was ignorant of the 
movements of the armies in front of Liao-yang. All he 
could hope was that the last report was an accomplished 
fact, and that they had advanced as far as the river. 
But so far from showing signs of retreating, the enemy, 
under General Kuropatkin himself, continued to receive 
reinforcements, and pressed hard upon the Twelfth 
Division. Throughout the 2nd of September, General 
Kuroki*s divisions were merely a target for the Russian 
guns. No advance was possible until the Guards on his 
left could make good their position. As this appeared 
remote, the commander ordered them to leave three 
batteries with a small force to occupy the Russians, while 
the greater part of the division joined the main body at 
Kokanton. Meanwhile the fight went on with unabated 

259 R 2 

26o J'roni tbe l^alu to port Hitbut 

At three o'clock on the morning of the 3rd, the last 
desperate assault of the Russians was repelled and 
Manjuyama was silent. Upon the reverse slope within 
a few yards from the summit lay a triple line of 
Russian dead. They lay as they had fallen — like brave 
men with their faces to the foe — in almost perfect 
alignment as if stricken down by one blow. Already 
the air was tainted with corruption and the Chinese were 
robbing the dead. An awful sight was that hill, littered 
with blood-sprinkled equipment, broken bayonets and 
shattered rifles. Dark stains showed where many had 
fallen, and out of the reeking earth that strove to hide 
them many a blackened hand was raised in mute appeal 
to Heaven. Talk of the glory of a soldier's grave 1 
The poet who sings of it cannot imagine its horrors. 
Though driven from the hill the enemy held stubbornly 
to a position three thousand yards South, and a great 
force was concentrated at Yentai on the railway, and at 
another point to the North. Anxious to push on and to 
turn the Russian retreat into a rout. General Kuroki 
found it impossible to advance. He had now two 
divisions, and another brigade was hurrying to his 
support. But his men were exhausted by many days of 
hard fighting. Two army corps confronted him, and all 
he could reasonably hope and expect to do was to hold 
his ground in the event of attack. Moreover, he 
knew nothing of the situation South of Liao-yang, 
for his communication by wire was still interrupted. 
Had he been informed of the success of the assault on 

IRetreat of tbe IRusslans 261 

the trenches before the city he might have taken the 
risk and pushed on toward the railway. In the 
circumstances, his hesitation was natural and perhaps 
prudent, for it is open to doubt whether he could have 
succeeded, and failure would have meant disaster. 

On the 4th of September, having been reinforced 
by one brigade and having command of two and a half 
divisions. General Kuroki decided to advance. A dense 
fog screened our front and compelled us to proceed with 
caution. But little or no resistance was encountered. 
The five-peaked range was in our possession : the 
enemy had been expelled from the colliery, and it was 
apparent that the Russians on our front had retired. A 
mixed brigade marching from the coal mine discovered 
a strong force in the hills four miles North and drove it 
out. Two and a half miles to the South-west of the 
colliery another body of Russians was encountered and 
engaged us in a confused sort of way until six o'clock 
on the morning of the 5th, while five miles North-west 
of the mine another skirmish lasted until morning. 

At one o'clock on the morning of the 5th we 
occupied Sautowha, on the main road ten miles north of 
Liao-yang, and in the afternoon shelled the retreating 
columns of the enemy along the railway. Our losses 
were heavy. From August 24th to September 5th the 
division operating on our left flank had 2,082 casualties : 
21 officers killed, 61 officers wounded, 2,000 non- 
commissioned officers and men killed and wounded ; 
the central division had 2,024 casualties : 25 officers 

262 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

killed, 58 officers wounded, i officer missing, 1,940 
non-commissioned officers and men killed and wounded ; 
the division on our right lost 1,540 : 16 officers killed, 
36 wounded, 1,421 non-commissioned officers and men 
killed and wounded, and 67 missing. The reserves had 
490 casualties, making a total of 6,136 casualties, 
including 234 officers and 5,902 men. The proportion 
of killed to wounded was about five to one. The army 
on our left in front of Liao-yang had 6,853 casualties, 
including 1,328 killed, of whom ^6 were officers. The 
army on the extreme left lost nearly 10,000. 

Even this heroic struggle against overwhelming 
odds failed to turn the Russian retreat into a rout. To 
effisct the retirement of a defeated army of two hundred 
thousand men without leaving captives and spoil in the 
hands of the enemy requires time as well as adroitness. 
In the opinion of men best qualified to judge, General 
Kuropatkin had ample time in these three days. The 
resources at his command were great ; the country was 
in his favour, and his communications were never in 
serious danger. He had many bridges across the river ; 
many trains were waiting on the railway to carry stores 
and equipment ; his horses and wagons were practically 
unlimited. The country over which he had to retreat is 
a broad open plain without a single defile or range of 
hills that the enemy might seize. Once over the river — 
and there was none to oppose his crossing— General 
Kuropatkin*s army could move along a front of three 
or four miles without risk or interference, and fifteen 

"Retreat of tbe IRussians 263 

miles North of Liao-yang he was beyond any danger of 
effective pursuit. General Kuropatkin received all the 
credit due to so successful a retreat, but it is well to 
point out that the conditions were altogether on his side, 
and that in five months his troops had had abundant 
experience to perfect themselves in these essential 

Chapter XXXII 



On October 8th General Kuropatkin issued an address 
to the army in Mukden giving reason for the retreat 
from Liao-yang, and announcing that the time had come 
to roll back the advancing tide of Japanese and restore 
the fortunes of Russia. Hitherto the enemy had been 
able to keep the initiative by reason of their numbers. 
But the Czar had at last given him a force great enough 
to abandon the defensive and to ensure victory. Papers 
found on the body of a Staff Officer were more precise. 
The orders from St. Petersburg were to take the offen- 
sive as soon as possible, to march to the relief of Port 
Arthur, and on no account to retire from Mukden. 
The army that was to attempt this herculean labour con- 
sisted of sixteen divisions of infantry, and one division 
of cavalry, the strength of which may be put at two 
hundred thousand rifles and four thousand sabres. 


Battle of tbe Sba-bo 265 

One month had passed since General Kuropatkin 
retreated from Liao-yang and, fearing pursuit, withdrew 
his defeated and demoralised troops to the North. 
Finding that the Japanese were not pressing close upon 
his heels, the Russian leader took measures for defence. 
Tieh-ling, forty-five miles North of Mukden, was chosen 
as a base, and the hills on both sides of the road were 
fortified. Wushun, thirty miles East, on the upper reaches 
of the river Hun, was garrisoned by a large force to 
guard against a flanking movement and connected with 
Tieh-ling by a new road. The mountain pass that had 
served as the means of communication with Wushun 
was strengthened with earthworks. Near Tahaitun, 
seven miles South of Tieh-ling, the range of hills that 
cross the road from East to West were entrenched ; the 
right bank of the river at Ilu, twenty-two miles 
South, was fortified ; defences were made in front of 
Mukden, and trenches were dug on the North bank of 
the river Hun. At the end of September General 
Kuropatkin had completed his preparations, and in the 
first days of October the army began to move South. 
Small parties of Cossacks and infantry appeared on our 
front, which extended from Pintaitsu, North of Pon- 
chiho, to the railway at Yentai — a distance of about 
thirty miles from East to West. Their mission was to 
ascertain our strength and disposition. On October the 
4th Japanese patrols on the Mukden and Wushun roads 
were attacked, and two days later the brigade on our 
right wing was ordered to fall back on the river Taitsu 

266 jfrom tbe l^alu to pott Hrtbut 

at Ponchiho. The enemy on that day established them- 
selves along a line stretching from Pintaitsu through 
Sankwaisu to the North of Yentai. 

The advance of the Russian army had begun in 
earnest, and we were to witness a struggle that has few 
parallels in the annals of war. For one long week half 
a million of men held one another in close and deadly 
grip, and night and day before our eyes were performed 
deeds of heroism that have never been surpassed. 
Attack and counter-attack followed with bewildering 
rapidity ; position after position was stormed and 
stormed again ; now a brigade and now a company 
pressed forward with the bayonet, and on the hill tops, 
clear against the sky, men faced each other within a 
dozen paces or rushed together in one bloody scrimmage. 
The Russians fought with the courage and fatalism of 
their race. Never have they displayed such reckless 
bravery and resolution. But they have lost their aptitude 
for war. Within twenty-four hours they had ceased to 
be the assailants and were fighting for their lives against 
the irresistible tide that swept toward Mukden and 
covered mountain and plain for thirty miles with dead 
and dying. 

The plan of attack was simple and resembled that 
of the Japanese on the Yalu. General Mistchenko was 
to turn our right flank in the mountains near Ponchiho, 
and crossing the Tai-tsu to threaten us in the rear at 
Liao-yang. A strong force was to engage our centre 
East of the coal mine at Yentai, while our left flank on 

Battle ot tbc Sba-bo 267 

the railway was to be held and prevented from giving 
help. Against our right wing, from Ponchiho to the 
coal mine, were hurled nine divisions of infantry with 
one division of cavalry and a detachment of mounted 
infantry under General Renenkampf ; four divisions 
confronted our centre and left flank and three divisions 
were in reserve. The assault was made with energy and 
determination on our extreme right, and until the 
morning of the 14th the force defending that flank was 
in serious danger, General Mistchenko having succeeded 
in isolating it from the main body and crossed the 
Tai-tsu with a brigade of infantry and a regiment ot 
cavalry. The failure of General Kuropatkin's plan may 
be ascribed to the obstinate courage of the brigade on 
our extreme right, who fought for days against over- 
whelming numbers, and to the fact that, as on the 
Tang-ho before Liao-yang, General Kuroki drove a 
wedge into the heart of the enemy*s front. 

At noon on October the 9th I left Tong-kin-ryo, 
the Tomb of the Eastern Capital, a village four miles 
East of Liao-yang where ancestors of the Emperor of 
China sleep in the shadow of pine trees and marble tablets 
recording their virtues. The tide of war had swept 
over the hamlet, leaving it silent and deserted. From 
the Temple of Buddha, which had been my solitary 
abode since the Japanese entered Liao-yang, I heard the 
sound of rifles in the hills two miles away and learned 
that mounted bandits or Hunghutse had encountered 
the Chinese troops and were being driven into the 

268 jfrom tbe 13alu to povt Hrtbur 

mountains whence they had emerged on the departure 
of the Japanese, 

At Taiho, a squalid collection of houses South of 
the coal mine, where I arrived in the afternoon, were 
evidences of the battle. That morning the brigade on 
our right had been attacked from three sides by a great 
force, and a brigade of the enemy's infantry with a 
division of cavalry and two guns, had crossed the 
Tai-tsu and was threatening Ponchiho from the South. 
Our right wing was practically surrounded, and a 
division was ordered East to reinforce the garrison. At 
the same time the enemy appeared on our front. They 
occupied Shaliuho, a hamlet North-east of the coal mine, 
and Pachiatsu, further to the East, and strengthened 
their force at Ponchiho. 

Next day the struggle on our extreme right grew 
more severe and the position of the brigade became very 
serious. The division sent to its aid had not reached 
its destination when the Russians made a determined 
assault from all sides. Prince Kun-in led his cavalry 
brigade East and crossed the Tai-tsu in pursuit of the 
enemy, who had gained the South bank of the river, 
but before effective help could be given Ponchiho might 
fall and the Japanese army be compelled to retire to a 
defensive position before Liao-yang. 

Our situation on the loth looked extremely critical 
and called for decisive measures. Field Marshal 
Oyama showed himself equal to the gravity of the 
occasion. He determined to rob the enemy of the 


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Figure of Buddha. 

[facing p. 268 

^Battle ot tbc Sba-bo 269 

initiative by delivering an attack upon their centre. 
Once more the brunt of the battle had to be borne by 
General Kuroki's army. From the uniforms of dead 
and wounded soldiers, from papers found upon officers, 
and from statements made by prisoners, we learned that 
in the Russian lighting line were thirteen divisions : — 
ist, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th Sharpshooters ; ist, 2nd and 
3rd Siberian ; 22nd, 35th and 71st Line ; one division 
of cavalry and a detachment of mounted infantry. In 
reserve were three divisions : — The 9th and 31st of the 
Tenth Army Corps, and the 54th of the Fifth Army 
Corps. Nine divisions of infantry and one cavalry 
division confronted General Kuroki from the coal mine 
to Ponchiho. 

The scene of these operations lies to the South of 
the Sha or Sandy River and East of the railway. Though 
within twenty-two miles from Mukden, the country 
may be described as mountainous. Ranges of hills run 
in broken lines from West to East with a tendency to 
the South as they approach the rising sun. The hills 
are bare of vegetation and have many spurs shaped like 
the spine of some monstrous saurian — a semblance that 
doubtless gave birth to the Chinese superstition that 
certain hills are the backs of dragons and may not be 
disturbed with impunity. The ranges are divided by 
cultivated valleys dotted with villages and farmsteads, 
and seamed in many places with ravines and nullahs that 
give excellent cover. From the plain West and for five 
miles East of the railway, rise isolated and rocky hills 

270 ifrom tbe Iffalu to port Hrtbur 

that command a wide field of fire and make good 
infantry positions, while toward Ponchiho the ranges 
draw closer together and are loftier and more 

On the morning of the loth, the two armies lay 
among the hills South of the Sha-ho, our left wing 
resting on the railway and our right in the mountains 
near Ponchiho. Both armies were entrenched and on 
our front were few signs of activity. Our batteries were 
masked at the foot of the hills near the coal mine and in 
the Eastern heights across the plain, while our infantry 
was concealed in trenches on the level ground and on 
the slopes. Early in the day the enemy's guns dis- 
played great energy, their fire being directed against the 
ridges and villages that might shelter riflemen. The 
key to the Russian position was a hill about six 
thousand yards from the coal mine — a broad shouldered 
height crowned by a rocky escarpment that looked like 
a fort. 

Bastion Hill, as we named it, is flanked on the East 
by a range traversed by spurs on which the Japanese 
artillery and infantry had established themselves. Front- 
ing it on the South rose a mount connected with the 
Eastern range by a saddle. Behind this lower eminence 
is a ravine and a dense grove. The Western slope of 
Bastion Hill descends into a plain through which flows a 
shallow stream almost washing the walls of a village 
hidden among trees to the North-west. The approach 
from the South is over the flat commanded from a deep 

J3attle ot tbe Sba-bo 271 

gully running like a trench under the hill. On the 
North stretches another plain with a range of mountains 
beyond, where the enemy's guns were posted. 

The scene might have tempted an artist and would 
have taxed his palette. Before us lay the valley shaded 
with russet and amber. The sun caught the sheaves of 
harvested millet and transmuted them into gold, and from 
beds of dappled brown rose groves of willow and fir 
whose green branches threw dark shadows over the 
homesteads. And beyond towered mountain and hill 
which Autumn had tinted with purple and amber. It 
was a scene of pastoral beauty into which the spirit of 
war had entered unbidden. The husbandmen were 
leaving their houses among the trees and hastening 
through the stubble, but not to garner their sheaves 
which stood ripe in the sunshine. They were fleeing 
with wife and child like Lot from the city of Gomorrah, 
" and the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of 
a furnace '* as gun answered gun. 

After noon there appeared on the plain to the West 
of the Bastion Hill a large force of the enemy. Their 
serried lines made a dark mass against the russet fields 
on the right of our batteries, from which leapt yellow 
tongues of flame that seemed to lick the lowest slope. 
In front of this mass, near a cluster of trees, rode two 
squadrons of cavalry, who appeared to have made up 
their minds to show us that Cossacks have some use in 
war. Knee to knee they came onward and we held our 
breath. At the trees they drew rein, broke line. 

272 ftom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

reformed and rode back. Presently they returned and 
treated us to the same performance. It was a pretty 
spectacle, but the meaning of it was beyond our compre- 
hension. The dark lines or infantry behind also began 
to move. For a moment we imagined that they were 
about to advance across the valley, but they wheeled to 
the right, and, marching and counter-marching, went 
back to their original position near the guns. On our 
left, within range of our artillery, several companies 
were digging trenches on the side of a low hill. They 
were at no pains to conceal themselves or their work, 
and our guns left them unmolested. 

Whatever the night might bring forth, it was soon 
clear that the Russians had no intention of renewing the 
attack on our centre, and we concluded that their 
immediate purpose was to demonstrate to a watchful 
foe that they were present in force. Soldiers who go 
into battle with brass bands are capable of extraordinary 

Chapter XXXIII 


The weak point in the Japanese line of defence was on 
the right near Ponchiho, twenty miles East of General 
Kuroki's main position at Yentai. To this flank 
General Umizawa had returned after the battle of 
Liao-yang in order to keep watch on the enemy's 
movements. The greater part of his brigade was ten 
miles north of Ponchiho — an important depot — but was 
withdrawn as soon as it became evident that the 
Russians were advancing in force. The retirement 
began at noon on October 7th, when stringent measures 
were taken to prevent the Chinese from communicating 
with the enemy. Stores enough to feed the brigade for 
three days and one hundred thousand rounds of 
ammunition were removed during the night, and the 
last straggler reached Karensei at six o'clock next 
morning before the Russians discovered that the 
position had been abandoned. 

The enemy did not lose much time. At ten 
o'clock on the Sth, infantry, cavalry and artillery 

273 s 

274 fvom tbe 33alu to (port Hitbur 

appeared in front of Ponchiho, and it was manifest 
that General Umizawa's small force was about to engage 
in a desperate struggle, upon the success of which 
depended the security of the whole Japanese army. 
On the following day the garrison found itself threatened 
in front and on a flank. Its position was extremely 
hazardous and the peril increased hourly. A battalion 
of infantry, a regiment of cavalry, and three field pieces 
had crossed the Tai-tsu with the intention of taking 
Ponchiho in the rear. Had the Japanese been able to 
command even a mountain battery they might have 
prevented the passage of the river, which was effected 
with provoking coolness under their very noses. 
General Umizawa at Tumentiutzu was appealed to for 
help, but was so hard pressed that he could spare only 
two companies of infantry and two field guns. The 
enemy on the other hand continued to receive large 
reinforcements and pressed the attack with fury. After 
a short artillery preparation they made a fierce assault 
on the position. Working their way up a steep and 
rugged mountain, three hundred Russians charged the 
trenches. Only fifteen lived to carry back the tale of 
heroism, which brought fresh troops to the venture. 
Overwhelmed, the Japanese had to abandon the heights. 
The hills on the road between Ponchiho and Tumen- 
togling also were captured after a Titanic struggle. 
The field wire was cut and communication with the rest 
of the army was impossible. Couriers were dispatched 
with messages for instant aid. Most of them fell by 

H (Ballant Ifiobt 275 

the way, but one or two succeeded in carrying the news 
to Head-Quarters and returned with the command : 
" You must hold the position to the last man/' A 
Japanese soldier hardly needs to be told that. Like the 
Old Guard he dies — never surrenders. 

But help was at hand. General Kuroki and his 
staff were keenly alive to the critical state of the right 
flank. As General Fujii graphically remarked : " My 
food tasted bitter in my mouth/' for he realised that 
unless aid was given without delay the whole army must 
fall back upon Liao-yang. Though he covild ill spare a 
man from any part of the line, General Kuroki ordered 
the Twelfth Division to march to the relief of Ponchiho. 

The advance guard under General Shimamura came 
upon the scene late in the afternoon and was received 
with frantic shouts of " Banzai " as they rushed forward 
to the aid of their sorely pressed comrades. But 
this accession by no means restored the balance, for 
the enemy received fresh reinforcements and showed the 
greatest valour and determination. Many and desperate 
were the encounters by day and by night. Rocky Hill, 
to the North-west of Ponchiho, which commanded the 
neighbouring heights, was assailed again and again and 
was finally retaken by the Japanese. A company of 
infantry, sleeping near the foot of the hill, was roused 
by its commander who had climbed the height and found 
the Russians in possession. 

Seizing the regimental colour the officer placed himself 
at the head of the company. So swift and desperate was 

s 2 

276 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

the counter attack that the enemy was swept headlong 
down the slope and threw into confusion the advance 
line of a battalion coming to the rescue. Before the 
Russians recover themselves the Japanese were pouring 
volleys into their ranks. The victory was complete and 
no attempt was made to recapture the position. 

On the same night the enemy approached a narrow 
defile, and finding no Japanese marched boldly into 
the Pass. Both sides of the defile however where held 
by men who watched the advent of the Russians and 
waited silently until they had entered. Crowded together 
in this narrow space the enemy suffered severely. 
Throughout the day both sides fought with indomitable 
courage and energy, attack and counter-attack following 
in swift succession. The advantage however was with 
the enemy, who threw upon our flank ever increasing 
numbers and brought to bear on our position no fewer 
than eighty guns — -among them howitzers, against which 
mountain guns were as children's toys. Our losses were 
heavy, and it was with profound relief that we heard 
that the division sent to aid Ponchiho was in sight. The 
arrival of reinforcements gave new energy to the gallant 
brigade that had so long withstood this desperate 
onslaught, but produced no immediate change in the 
situation. The force in front was still overwhelming, 
and had by no means abandoned the hope of conquest. 
Attack was therefore impossible, and for a time, at any 
rate, the Japanese were content to maintain their 

B Oallant iflGbt 277 

The 9th of October was one of the most critical 
days of the war. The Japanese losses near Ponchiho 
had been great ; important positions had been abandoned ; 
ammunition was running short ; the men were without 
food, and communication with the rest of the army was 
difficult and precarious. 

Field Marshal Oyama recognised that the situation 
demanded desperate measures. Though anxious to 
await the fall of Port Arthur before taking the offensive, 
he felt that his hand had been forced. Orders were, 
therefore, given for a general attack. When I left the 
field on the night of the loth it was manifest that 
passive resistance was at an end, and that darkness would 
bring important developments. During the night an 
attack was made by the Guards Division against the 
heights in front of Bastion Hill. The enemy had 
adopted several ingenious devices to guard against 
surprises. In some places they had stretched wires 
and chains charged with electricity of high potentiality. 
Their latest artifice was a string of camel bells, against 
which an unwary enemy stumbling announces his 
approach, and is welcomed with a volley. 

Despite this warning and the use of hand grenades 
the attack was so far successful that at daybreak we had 
strengthened our hold on the hills North of Yentai, 
though the Russians continued to occupy Bastion Hill 
and the spurs in front. 

With dawn the battle began. A mist hung over 
the plain and clung to the skirts of the hills, making it 

278 jprom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

impossible to see what progress was on our front. Out 
of the white vapours came the rattle of rifles and the 
roar of artillery resounding through the valley like a 
tornado. The Pride of the Morning soattered, and the 
sun lit up the scene with a gentle radiance. Before us 
lay the broad valley with its sheaves of giant millet 
among the brown furrows and yellow stubble. The 
villages were deserted save for a few of their blue- 
gowned habitants who stood in terrified groups behind 
the outer walls. Chentow, a large village nearest the 
hills, was under fire from two batteries at the foot of 
Bastion Hill. Behind the walls lay our riflemen listening 
to the angry snarl of the shrapnel as it burst overhead, 
and laughing as they felt the solid stone masonry throb 
and sputter under the leaden hail. Our batteries had 
moved from under the hills near the coal mine. One 
stood in the open South-west of Chentow masked by 
millet, striving to silence Bastion Hill and drawing 
upon itself the concentrated fire of sixteen guns. 

I have called attention to the grave disability under 
which the Japanese labour by reason of the inferior 
range and weight of their artillery. Never was the 
disadvantage more painfully demonstrated than on this 
day, when the infantry were in need of their support, 
and when the chances of a whole lifetime escaped under 
their very muzzles. The ground about the battery 
was covered with shrapnel as the tiny white clouds 
burst in the sky, the bases of shells throwing up brown 
clouds of earth, and the bullets rippling over the loose 

a (Ballant iftobt 279 

friable loam like heavy rain drops. Very terrible it 
looked, yet no damage was done. The men took 
refuge in deep pits, out of which they came occasion- 
ally to serve the guns, or to bring ammunition from the 
wagons. The practice of taking shelter when a battery 
is under fire is one that commends itself at first sight, 
but reflection and observation shew that it may become 
a vicious and a dangerous habit, and may seriously affect 
the usefulness of artillery in action. In every other 
respect the Japanese guns are skilfully handled. 
Happily, the Russian gunners are not without defects. 
Their shrapnel bursts high, and the French system of 
Rafale — that is giving each gun in a battery a slightly 
different range — is not a success in their hands. For 
several hours the unequal artillery duel went on. 
Occasionally the batteries at Bastion Hill would seek a 
new objective, and the tree tops about the villages would 
be flecked with white clouds. From the mountains 
beyond Bastion Hill to the East the enemy's guns kept 
up a desultory cannonade against the hills on our front, 
and from one of our batteries on the plain to the West 
came spasmodic replies. 

At noon there was no apparent change. Our 
infantry remained in the same positions ; some like 
locusts in the hollows ; others behind the walls of Chen- 
tow ; still more in the brown seams of the heights 
beyond the valley. Suddenly all eyes turned to the 
flowing contour of the ridge in front of Bastion Hill. 
The advance had begnn. With heads bent, as in a 

28o ffrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

hurricane, a company of Japanese were racing up a hill, 
on which were two trenches. Taking them in reverse, 
they charged the Russians, and shot them down before 
they seemed aware of the approach. The fight was short 
and sharp and bloody. Then they vanished. Presently 
I saw them again coming over the brow of the hill. 
They descended the slope to the saddle and threw them- 
selves into a deep gully on the flank of another eminence. 
Here they lay to recover breath, and prepare for another 
charge. Out they came in a few minutesj; at first a 
dozen, then six, then in twos and threes. Never were 
soldiers fleeter of foot than these brave Japanese, and 
never did men stand in greater need of speed and 
daring. Scattering, they ran, some to the right, others 
to the left — all making for the summit. Bullets swept 
over and around and among them. I could see the tiny 
spurts of yellow earth that rose in their path as the zip, 
zip, zip of lead lashed the air with invisible whips. 
One fell, and another and another. Would they ever 
gain the crest ? We held our breath. Now they have 
returned to the left, and are lying down hugging the 
ground while the leaden storm sweeps over them. They 
are up again, and moving forward more slowly in 
extended irregular line. Half a dozen men are in front. 
They reach the summit. Then out of the earth spring 
grey forms to meet them. Rifles flash and the dark 
blue uniforms vanish. The noble six have fallen. But 
their comrades are advancing. Another second, and 
they appear on the crest. Again the grey figures rise — 

H Gallant jftGbt 281 

a steady resolute line tipped with steel. Back fall the 
Japanese. Even in that terrible moment they obey the 
voice of their officer, who stands before them with drawn 
sword. They have formed line. Their bayonets flash 
in the sunlight. Twenty paces divide the lines of grey 
and blue. In the twinkling of an eye they meet. One 
mad rush, and they are welded together in a grip that 
nothing save death can loosen. For a moment I see the 
thrusting of cold steel and the scorching flash of rifle. 
Then the grey line breaks into fragments and rolls out 
of sight. The dark blue uniforms draw closer together. 
Their ranks are thinned, yet they never look back. 
Again they move forward, and from a second trench 
springs another line of grey. 

They are brave men these Russians, and face death 
unflinching. Another rush — another wild scrimmage 
of steel and lead and human forms, and all that is left of 
the grey line tumbles like a wave over the hill. The 
slope is strewn with dead. Even now there is no pause 
in the Japanese advance. Closing their broken ranks 
they run to the crest of the hill, and standing boldly on 
the sky-line raise their rifles to the shoulder. Not until 
I passed over this dreadful hill could I realise what was 
happening in the ravine beyond. Here were trenches 
and gullies out of which the enemy were fleeing into 
the wood and along the valley hidden by low hills. 
The dead lay everywhere — in the trenches, in the gullies, 
in the valley and in the wood — shot down by the rifles 
on the hill. Few escaped that terrible battue. A score 

282 jfrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

of fugitives we saw running for life out of this valley of 
the shadow of death. They had thrown aside great coat 
and rifle. Now and then a man would fall forward and 
rise no more ; here and there a man would stumble and 
rise to limp along painfully. The hurricane of lead 
followed close on their tracks. 

West of this ravine out of which the enemy ran in 
ones and twos and threes the two Russian batteries were 
still at their ineffectual work, and a large force of cavalry 
and infantry were massed. The front of the plain near 
Bastion Hill was black with them. After a time they 
moved. Column after column passed behind a grove 
of firs into a village at the foot of the Northern heights. 
Had the retreat begun ? Outside the village they 
halted and faced to the front. Were they about to 
deliver a counter attack ? We looked again and saw a 
column return and march away into the mountains. 
From the East along the plain beyond came more 
Russians — infantry and cavalry and guns. They, too, 
crossed the stream and made slowly for the hills. Two 
batteries with an escort of Cossacks and infantry came 
from the village and moved Eastward as if to meet some 
unseen danger where guns had been booming solemnly 
all day. There was much marching and counter-march- 
ing that brought to the lips of the observer the military 
adage : " Order, counter-order, disorder.'* Doubtless 
all these perplexing movements of the enemy had their 
meaning. To us they admitted of one interpretation. 
The Russian attack had failed all along the line and the 
retreat had begun. 

Chapter XXXIV 


Now was the moment to strike and to strike hard. Out 
of the South came a double line of men. They 
stretched Westward across the brown sunlit plain — a far- 
flung battle line. War is full to the lips with horrors, 
yet it has its crown of glory. And this is the crown — a 
line of battle advancing to the attack. The blood raced 
hot and fast through our veins as we watched them 
moving over the plain. Two paces between each man ; 
forty paces between the lines ; khaki tunics and dark 
blue trousers ; rifle in hand. Onward they marched in 
long steady unbroken lines. No parade was ever finer. 
The brown furrows and yellow stubble were crushed flat 
under their feet. In their path lay a deserted hamlet, 
over whose grey walls hung the shadows of fir trees. 
Near the village they halted, and knelt with rifle at the 
shoulder — ready for attack. The supports came up at 
the double. Then the lines rose and passed into the 


284 jfrom tbe l?alu to port Hrtbur 

A moment or two and they reappeared in the fields 
beyond, where sheaves of millet caught the glow of the 
setting sun. On the right rose a solitary grey rock 
crowned by a temple, whose hoary towers and cren- 
nelated walls seemed to have been hewn out of the 
mountain. In the shadow of a sheer cliiF lay a cluster 
of peasant cottages, and on the Western incline was 
a dark grove. This was their objective, for here in 
trenches and among the escarpments was a rearguard of 
Russians ready to shed their blood for the safety of the 
army. Away to the left stood another grey rock, shaped 
like the segment of a basin upturned, and isolated on 
the plain. One side fell sheer into a deep bed, through 
which flowed a shallow stream. On the near bank 
behind a little grove and a few houses were posted two 
Japanese batteries, the escort of which covered the 
Western slope of the rock. The lines were advancing 
upon Temple Hill when the enemy's guns found them. 
From Bastion Hill and from the heights to the North 
came the roar of artillery, and over the unswerving lines 
burst clouds of shrapnel. The effect was hardly per- 
ceptible, and not for a second did the guns check the 
advance. Swinging toward the East the lines moved 
steadily forward. On our front appeared another line 
advancing from the South-west, so that Temple Hill lay 
within a triangle of rifles. Shrapnel continued to rain 
upon the open ranks, but the forward movement went 
on, the lines converging upon the Temple until they 
faced opposing rifles. North of Temple Hill runs a 

H 1bar^-won Dictori^ 285 

road on which the Russian infantry were preparing to 
withstand the onset. Their rifles were already making 
gaps in the rapidly advancing ranks, but the progress 
was unchecked. 

Shouting their battle cry the Japanese rushed upon 
the line of bayonets fringing the road. It was thrust 
and thrust, and in a few moments all was over. The 
scattered remnant of the enemy was in full flight along 
the road to the North. Half a company posted in a 
field to the left rear of the Japanese remained until the 
last. Few escaped. While we watched this hand-to- 
hand contest, the troops on the Eastern side of Temple 
Hill were hotly engaged. From the houses at the foot 
of the cliff rifles rang out, and from the heights on the 
North flew shell after shell. The advance over this 
front was difl!icult, for Temple Hill was strongly held 
and the Russians fought with the courage of despair. 
Flight was not less perilous than combat, and upon their 
efforts depended the safety of the retreating army. 

While the attack was being pressed from the West 
a large force of the enemy came down from the hills 
and drew near to the Temple. They appeared to be 
contemplating a counter attack. But with the Russians 
nothing happens as you expect. Well out of rifle 
range they halted, faced about and retired, leaving two 
companies on the rising ground to check the advance on 
our right front. Two new batteries in the hills to the 
North opened fire and the air swirled with the angry 
snarl of shrapnel. From the trenches and walls of 

286 from tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

Temple Hill the devoted rear guard emptied their 
magazines and strove like heroes to stem the torrent 
that swept toward them. They might as well have tried 
to withstand the long roll of the Pacific. The wave 
rushed on and engulphed them. When I reached the 
hill it was a sorry sight. The walls of the Temple were 
riddled with shot : the painted mud gods through 
whose breasts the Russian soldiers had thrust their 
bayonets a few days before looked placidly down upon 
the broken and bleeding bodies of the scoffers. One 
shrine had caught fire and amid the charred ruins stood 
the gods shorn of paint and ornament — pathetic idols of 
mud in all their nakedness. Upon the slope, under the 
trees, lay rigid forms holding fast to rifles, and on the 
road below men seemed asleep. 

Temple Hill was ours, but Bastion Hill was still in 
Russian hands, and further advance on our front was 
impracticable. The enemy's troops massed at the foot 
of the hill had greatly diminished in number, column 
after column having marched North into the mountains. 
The two batteries, however, maintained their activity, 
searching the empty fields, bombarding the villages, and 
finally turning their attention to the guns near the 
rocky height on our left. Their shells did little or 
no damage, though they kept our batteries silent. 
Only towards sunset, when the Russians appeared to 
be making preparations to withdraw their guns, was there 
any display of energy on the part of the Japanese 
artillery. Shrapnel being fused at too short a range. 

Temple Hill : Ruins of Temple and Gods. 

A Manchurian Scavenger. 

[facing p. 286 

^ H 1barb-won Dictori^ 287 

common shell was used, and clouds of earth and smoke 
rose about the enemy's batteries, but not for a moment 
were they silenced or their position endangered. 

Meantime Bastion Hill began to give signs of life. 
Hitherto it had been only a prominent feature in the 
landscape, though its tactical importance could not 
escape recognition. At five o'clock dark figures suddenly 
appeared on the sky line along the Northern slope. 
They grew rapidly in multitude and began to descend. 
Pouring over the edge of the height, they spread like a 
flood on the Southern slope. What a target for guns ! 
How the Japanese artillery-men must have fretted and 
fumed to miss such an opportunity. Along the foot of 
Bastion Hill stretches a deep gully into which the 
Russian infantrymen dropped. Presently a few emerged 
and ran forward into another nullah within easy range 
of a bluff held by the remnant of the gallant company 
that had stormed the lower height and wrought such 
havoc earlier in the day. Again we looked for an attack 
by the enemy and again we were disappointed. At 
Ponchiho, on our extreme right, the struggle had con- 
tinued all day with increasing fury. The Russians had 
pushed forward reinforcements and four divisions with 
eighty guns were engaged. Our comparatively small 
force suffered heavy losses, but succeeded in holding 
back the enemy who made no further progress on that 
flank. At night when hostilities were suspended our 
position was this : — Our left flank had moved some 
miles along the West of the railway ; our centre 

288 jfrom tbe l^alu to Jbort Hrtbut 

threatened the Russian line of retreat from the East ; 
the pursuit of the left wing of the Eastern army was 
checked by a crossfire from hills North of the Temple, 
and from the foot of Bastion Hill, while at Ponchiho, on 
our extreme right, the position was still critical. There 
were unmistakable evidences, however, that the attack 
on the Russian centre had shaken the confidence of the 
enemy, and that they were already making preparations 
to retreat behind the Sha river. 

Ponchiho continued to be a source of the greatest 
anxiety. Though the brigade which formed the original 
garrison had heen reinforced, the enemy showed no 
disposition to relax their hold. On the iith they 
renewed the attack with great energy, and on the follow- 
ing day made a supreme effort to capture the range of 
hills North of Ponchiho. This position was held by a 
single company of reserves of the Guards. At four 
o'clock in the morning, a large force of Russians attacked 
the hill from three points. As they approached the 
Japanese sprang out of the first trench and charged with 
the bayonet. But what were fourteen men against so 
many ? The first line of trenches was quickly in the 
enemy's possession, and the remnant of the Japanese 
company formed up on the crest of the hill. In the 
darkness took place a terrible scrimmage. Friend was 
indistinguishable from foe. Despite heroic efforts the 
Japanese were driven back and the heights appeared to 
be lost when another company came to the rescue. The 
officer who led these reinforcements came to the crest of 

H 1bart)-won IDictor^ 289 

the hill shouting, "Slay! Slay!'' and fell instantly 
with a bullet through the heart. Colonel Ota and 
his adjutant were wounded and the colour bearer fell. 
Lieutenant Kiritani seized the flag and the gallant 
remnant of the company fought till dawn. On the 
first streak of grey in the East, the Japanese guns 
opened on the position and the Russians retired, 
leaving on the hill eight officers and one hundred and 
forty men dead. 

To add to the difficulties a new and unknown force 
came up from the South on the morning of the 12th 
and Ponchiho was surrounded. But when things looked 
most serious an unexpected change happened. The 
enemy who had crossed the Tai-tsu began to return and 
the pressure from the South was relieved. It was clear 
that the Russian infantry brigade and cavalry regiment 
had met with some disaster and that the attempt to strike 
from the rear had failed. The explanation was to be 
found in the action of Prince Kun-in's cavalry brigade. 
When news came of the danger threatening Ponchiho, 
his Royal Highness marched from the neighbourhood 
of the coal mine, crossed the Tai-tsu, and appeared in 
the rear and on the flank of the enemy. Coming upon 
the Russian reserves, who had posted no vedettes, the 
Prince took them by surprise and opened fire with his 
machine guns from the cover of a wood. In a few 
seconds three hundred dead lay on the field and the 
whole force of the enemy retreated in confusion across 
the Tai-tsu. The Cossacks made no eflFort to retrieve 

290 ifrom tbe Kalu to port Hrtbur 

the disaster, but fled East, pursued for thirty miles by 
the Japanese cavalry. 

This is the first occasion that I have known cavalry 
to be of service in Manchuria except for reconnaisance 
work and masking the advance of large bodies of 
infantry. In the mountainous region, where the 
movements of cavalry must be confined to bad and 
often impassable roads, it was admitted that the Cossacks 
had no chance of displaying their boasted dash and 
prowess. When we approached the plains and when 
the harvests were reaped we looked for some activity 
on the part of Russian horsemen : but the furrowed 
fields of friable loam, bristling with millet stubble, hard 
as bamboo and sharp as razors, evidently acted as a 
strong deterrent. Save when dismounted to cover the 
flank of the army retiring from Liao-yang, the Cossacks 
have done nothing more than demonstrate how great a 
reputation may be built on tradition. On the other 
hand, further observation has tended to modify the 
opinion of experts as to the quality of the Japanese 
cavalry and to acknowledge that it has some merits. 

On the South, then, Penchiho was saved by the 
cavalry brigade, but North of the Tai-tsu the situation 
was unchanged. The strength and determination of the 
enemy were undiminished, and though the Japanese 
fought with courage and skill they could do no more 
than hold their positions. 

Chapter XXXV 


The end was drawing near. Under cover of darkness 
attacks were made on Bastion Hill and the heights to 
the South-east. They began at one in the morning and 
were attended with some loss, the enemy using hand 
grenades charged with tiny sharp-edged lozenges of 
steel that inflicted cruel wounds. At five o'clock a 
general advance was ordered, and we occupied the 
heights on the other side of the stream North of Bastion 
Hill. Progress, however, was very slow, the Russians 
remaining in strong position to the North whence they 
maintained a heavy cannonade. The army on our left 
continued to harass the railway North of Yentai, and 
strove to drive the enemy into the mountainous 
region on the East. The operations of the I2th were 
not very ejffective, though preparations had been made 
to envelope the Russians in three loops — one on the 
East, another on the South, a third on the West. 

The 13th witnessed events of supreme importance, 
and was made memorable by one of the most desperate 

291 T 2 

292 jfrom tbe Jgalu to port artbur 

and daring encounters that history records. North of 
Temple Hill rises a cluster of mountains united by 
broad ridges, and from the centre of which springs a 
lofty peak. Here the Russians were entrenched in 
force, and it was necessary to expel them before any 
further advance could be made. These heights lay 
directly in the path of the Okasaki brigade, which has 
distinguished itself for reckless courage and stubborn 
tenacity. Covered by the fire of six batteries at the foot 
of Bastion Hill and on the plain to the North-east, this 
brigade advanced to the assault. As they crossed the 
valley they came under heavy artillery fire from guns 
posted on the Northern heights. The movement began 
at dawn, and the sun was still low in the heavens when 
at the base of the mountains appeared lines of khaki and 
blue. Here progress was arrested. Stormed at by 
shot and shell the Japanese clung close to the side of 
the hill. Overhead screamed the shrapnel of their 
batteries searching the crest and reverse slope. From 
summit and ridge a brigade of the enemy swept their 
front with a blizzard of lead. Over the heads of the 
Russians, too, came the shells of their own batteries. 
It was a strange artillery duel, and raged with unabated 
fury the live-long day, making that cluster of brown 
hills a real inferno. 

To advance looked impossible ; to remain seemed 
certain death. Yet the Japanese held fast with amazing 
courage. As the sun drew near to the West we saw 
them creeping slowly up the hill. Russians came out of 

^be Xast StruQQle 293 

the trenches over the crest and poured into the prostrate 
ranks volley after volley. Guns drove them back to 
cover and the Japanese struggled upward a few paces. 
Again the rifles appeared above and again they vanished 
under the showers of shrapnel. So the conflict went 
on hour after hour, and with every hour we saw that 
our thinned lines were advancing. 

It was nearly six o'clock in the evening when a 
company struggled to the summit. Then was witnessed 
a terrible combat that held us breathless. Every move- 
ment was distinctly visible from the plain. Thirty or 
forty men of that gallant company had resolved to 
capture the hill or die. Springing to their feet they 
dashed toward the enemy, who rose to meet them. The 
onset was fierce, but the advantage was altogether in 
favour of the defenders. Against that terrible fusilade 
no man could stand however brave and reckless. The 
survivors of the little band turned and fled. One man 
did not stop till he reached the bottom of the hill. 
Undismayed, another section ran forward and was rolled 
back, leaving several dark figures prone on the slope. 

Out of this carnage rose a handful of desperate 
men. Without pause or hesitation they charged right 
to the crest. Fronting them stood a line of stalwart 
Russians, and again we saw as in a troubled dream the 
bloody work of bayonet. In a minute or two the end 
came. Another company ran forward to the edge of the 
slope, and over the summit tumbled the fragments of 
the heroic defence. 

294 ffrom tbe IBalu to port Hrtbur 

When I passed over the hill it was strewn with 
dead — many of whom had fallen under shrapnel fire. 
To the onlooker it is often a surprise that any survive 
these fierce assaults, but experience has shown that rifles 
at two hundred yards are less dangerous than at one 
thousand yards. The aim is less steady ; the firing is 
nearly always wild, and most of the shots fly overhead. 
The slaughter begins a few moments after flight. 

In this attack the Okasaki Brigade received indirect 
aid from a brigade of Guards who engaged the enemy 
on the East. A battalion advanced toward the high 
ground, two companies extended three paces apart, a 
second company at a distance of six hundred yards, and 
a third in column. They crossed the open, the leading 
company at the double, the other companies at a walk. 
The second line suffered, but the advance was not 
checked, and in time the troops came to the village of 
Karikilon at the foot of the hill. Here the second line 
took cover, while the first continued its rapid progress. 
The hill was steep ; the grass was slippery, and there 
was no room for an extended front. The casualties 
were many, and two more companies were sent to 
reinforce. Ammunition ran short, but the attack was 
pressed until many of the Japanese came within twelve 
paces of the enemy's first line of trenches. Realising 
that the loss of this hill would bring disaster upon their 
entire force, the Russians fought with stubborn courage. 
Fresh troops poured into the trenches and prepared to 
deliver a counter attack, but at the critical moment the 

Ube Xast StvuflQle 295 

artillery of the Guards opened with so much vigour and 
accuracy that the counter attack had to be abandoned. 

Still the Japanese were unable to advance, and in 
order to retain their ground were obliged to entrench. 
Two more companies, under Colonel Ota, went forward 
to aid their sorely-pressed comrades, and throwing aside 
everything except rifle and bayonet, rushed into the heart 
of the battle. 

"It is life or death ! *' shouted their commander as 
they swept into the firing line, and carrying the other 
companies with them, charged the trenches. 

Nothing could withstand so fierce an onset. The 
first position was won, but the enemy clung gallantly to 
the second line of trenches, and their artillery devastated 
the front. Colonel Ota essayed an assault from a valley 
to the right, but was slain with a hundred of his men. 
Lieutenant Nakamura, sword in one hand and the flag 
of the Rising Sun in the other, fell within a few paces 
from the Russian trench, and the narrow valley was 
heaped up with dead and dying. The assault had failed, 
but the enemy withdrew in the night. 

The way was now open for further advance, and 
after sunset two brigades marched North, and drove 
the enemy from the heights on which their guns were 
posted. These guns inflicted severe losses on the 
infantry, and delayed so long that they ought to have 
been captured. But the advance was not quick enough, 
and only ammunition wagons fell into our hands. Next 
day — the 14th — the enemy was retreating hurriedly on 

296 ffrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbut 

all sides, and strenuous efforts were made to close in the 
three loops. While the army of the West pressed hard 
upon the railway and fought with the object of turning 
the enemy's right flank, the army of the Centre drove 
them back upon the Sandy river. Here the Russians 
did not escape without enormous losses. Across a broad 
cultivated valley North of the heights stormed on the 
previous day runs a low range of hills. Upon two of 
these eminences the enemy were entrenched, and had a 
strong rearguard of infantry to cover the retreat. 
Against this position the Japanese advanced in the 
afternoon. I watched them from a neighbouring hill as 
they approached from a flank and moved steadily for- 
ward in extended order under heavy rifle fire. But it 
was soon manifest that the morale of the enemy had been 
shaken by the disasters of the preceding days, for the 
resistance was not great. The hill on the South-west 
was carried with a rush, while that toward the East 
was still defended. Pressing slowly onward, the 
infantry drove the enemy across the low saddle, over 
which two or three thousand Russians were retiring. 
Then began the slaughter. The retreating force was 
caught between two rapidly converging fires. From the 
summit of the Western hill the Japanese swept the 
saddle and the plain beyond with rifle fire, while from 
the East came advancing lines. Through this deadly 
pass streamed the enemy. It was a spectacle terrible to 
behold. Over a thousand dead bodies marked the path 
of the Russians, yet never a white flag was raised. Even 

XTbe Xast StruGGle 297 

on the plain they did not escape. Shrapnel pursued 
them beyond the banks of the river. On our right 
flank the pursuit was not so vigorous though the enemy 
suffered very severely, leaving many dead and wounded 
on the field. Our men were too exhausted to continue 
the carnage. They had fought without rest for seven 
days and the units had become mixed. On the night 
of the 14th hostilities were practically suspended. We 
were in possession of the South bank of the Sha-ho, and 
the Russians were entrenching on the North bank. 

Thus ended General Kuropatkin's offensive move- 
ment. Fifty guns fell into our hands. We buried ten 
thousand dead Russians — funeral pyres blazed in every 
direction ; and everywhere we came upon new and 
ghastly evidences of the disaster that had overtaken the 

Chapter XXXVl 


Panlasantzu, Nov. i. 

On the brown plain to the North-west of Temple 
Hill rises a rocky mound — the scene of one of the 
most stirring episodes in the battle of the Sha-ho. The 
Chinese call it the Three Pillars of Stone, and hold it 
sacred to the god who is good to little children in the 
realms of Pluto. Grey craigs spring from the two 
extremities, and fall abruptly into the valley. In the 
centre, where the ridge bends like a strained bow, 
stands a Temple. Tower and walls are dark with the 
twilight of a thousand years, and look as old as the three 
pillars of rock that shoot up in their midst. It is a 
miniature Pantheon. From the gate over which that 
fierce warrior and national hero Kwan is the sleepless 
sentinel, you ascend to a series of tiny shrines crowded 
with painted images of Buddha and his many incarna- 
tions, and come at last to the altar of the god to whom 
bereaved parents pray for the repose of the souls ot 


H Jforlorn Ibope 299 

their little ones. In the shadow of the grey craig, 
within hexagonal walls, sits the great god, Buddha, 
serene and contemplative, with a circle of disciples about 
him. Alas ! the images are broken, and lie prostrate at 
the feet of the great Bud. From their placid brows 
have been plucked the gems with which piety adorned 
them, and in their breasts are gaping wounds made by 
sacriligious hands in search of hidden treasure. But the 
gods of the heathen have been avenged, for great was the 
slaughter of the men who overthrew their images and 
polluted their shrine. 

At sunset on October the nth the Three Pillars of 
Stone were held by the Russians — wardens of the moun- 
tain range against which the might of Japan had hurled 
itself on that fearful day. Under the hills to the South- 
west lay our infantry waiting the signal for a night 
attack. Until the sun sank below the red horizon the 
men looked intently across the furrowed fields and noted 
every feature of the landscape, for the night would be 
dark, and upon the accuracy and precision of every step 
hung victory or disaster. Under the best conditions a 
night assault is hazardous, and when a whole division is 
involved the difficulty is immense. How shall the 
soldiers keep touch in the darkness ; how shall they start 
and arrive on the instant ; how shall they know their 
objective ; how shall the units be kept separate ; how 
shall they distinguish friend from foe ; how shall the 
attack be delivered simultaneously at several points on 
an extended and unseen front — in a word, how shall 

300 Jfrom tbe l^alu to iport Hrtbur 

eight thousand blind men act as one man endowed with 
vision, with the same purpose, the same impulse ? That 
is the problem which the General had to solve. Every 
precaution was taken. Watches were set by one 
standard ; a signal was agreed upon ; the physical 
features of the country were carefully studied : the men 
put on their dark winter overcoats ; a white band was on 
the left arm of each man. At midnight everything was 
ready. The scouts lay in the furrows. Behind them 
were six battalions extended in one close line with fixed 
bayonets. Fifty yards to the rear were the supports in 
column of company, and one hundred and fifty yards 
behind them in double column of company were the 
reserves. The orders were that the scouts should 
advance until they came under the enemy's fire, and 
then lie down while the first line moved forward to the 
attack, and supports and reserves waited the moment to 
join in the combat. 

The horror of great darkness had fallen on the land. 
Not a star shone in the heavens. Suddenly the veil was 
rent asunder and from the Southern heights lept a 
tongue of flame. The signal ? A pillar of fire and then 
darkness — even darkness that might be felt. Six 
battalions sprang to their feet as one man ; the scouts 
rose from the furrows and moved forward swiftly and 
silently. It was one o'clock in the morning and the 
advance had begun. They passed through the village 
and came out upon the plain. The stubble crackled 
under their feet ; no other sound broke the silence, and 

H iForlocn 1boi>c 301 

darkness swallowed up the long line of bayonets. In 
the Mansion of Devils — that name the soldiers have 
given to the hill — the strength of the enemy was 
unknown. From the middle of the plain rose two small 
eminences and in the shadow of the Three Pillars stood 
a dozen houses surrounded by high mud walls. The 
eminences were trenched and on two sides of the cluster 
of cottages ran a seven-fold line of trenches — one close 
to the other like a maze. Toward these points the 
infantry moved slowly and silently in a wide crescent. 
On the left marched the Himaji regiment under Colonel 
Yasumura, and on the right was the Fukuchiyama 
regiment under Colonel Shiniozu. The brigade was 
commanded by Major-General Marui. 

Shortly before three o^clock the scouts came upon 
the enemy and, obedient to orders, lay flat on the 
ground, while the bullets swept over them. In the 
darkness men always fire high and most of the shots fell 
among the reserves, and among the divisional staflF 
behind the village. General Kanamura's horse was 
wounded by a stray bullet. The fight was raging when 
General Nozu left the Central army reserves in the 
valley behind the hills and rode toward the village. 
General Ramamura sent warning of the danger and 
implored him to return. The advice, however un- 
welcome, was sound, and General Nozu, with great 
reluctance, acknowledged that the Commander of an 
army has no right to expose himself without due cause. 
He accordingly withdrew. 

302 iFrom tbe IJalu to port Bttbur 

Slowly the line of bayonets pressed onward, closely 
followed by the supports, who had now deployed and 
advanced in fighting formation. The objective of the 
right flank was a hill in rear of the Russian position ; 
the left directed its steps to the Western spur of the 
Three Pillars of Stone ; the centre marched against the 
cluster of houses. The right carried one of the 
eminences on the plain and, meeting with little 
resistance, began to close in upon the Three Pillars of 
Stone. Here, round the little cluster of cottages, was 
the heart of the fight. In front of the maze of trenches 
the ground was swept by a horizontal sheet of lead. 

Into that deadly zone men rushed again and again 
to their fate. The frenzy of battle had seized them and 
they heeded not the prostrate forms under their feet. 
The trenches spurted fire and death, for the men who 
held them were brave, and their orders were to die to 
the last man rather than leave the position. They were 
the 37th Imperial Regiment fresh from Europe. Their 
faces were untanned by the heat and cold of Manchuria ; 
their uniforms were new and clean, and the gold crowns 
on their shoulder-straps were untarnished. 

We had been told more than once that the Japanese 
had not met the flower of the Russian army, and that 
from Europe would come another race of soldiers who 
would roll back the tide of war to the very walls of 
Tokyo. Here were the men from Europe : soldiers of 
the Imperial Regiment, brave as lions and sworn never 
to surrender. Long and stoutly they fought till the 

H fforlorn 1bope 303 

trenches ran blood. Again and again the Japanese 
returned to the assault, and again and again they were 
driven back leaving a trail of dead. Fiercer and fiercer 
grew the conflict. At last the remnant of the Russians, 
losing hope of keeping the trenches, withdrew behind 
the walls of the compounds and into the houses. Here 
they had great advantage and availed themselves of it 
to the utmost. In vain the Japanese threw away their 
lives. Every wall was a fortress manned by fearless and 
resolute men. 

"Who is ready to die for his country ?' cried the 
colonel in command of the left flank. " Who will set 
fire to the houses ?" Instantly came answer. 

" I will lead the forlorn hope ! '' said Captain 
Sumita, and from the ranks stepped two hundred 

Captain Sumita placed himself at their head and 
forward they went shouting their dread battle cry. 
One mad rush and they were over the trenches and 
under the wall. Many had fallen, and from walls and 
houses swept a tornado of bullets. Reckless of life a 
handful of men struggled to pass the fatal barrier. One 
by one they dropped until not a man in that forlorn 
hope remained. The desperate enterprise had failed, 
and the enemy was still in possession of the houses. 
Near the front of the hamlet is a pool of stagnant water, 
close to which lay the Russian commander — wounded. 
To him an appeal was made. 

304 JFrom tbe ISalu to pott Hrtbur 

"Why should your brave men sacrifice their lives ?" 
asked an officer. " They have done enough to prove 
their courage. They are surrounded and cannot escape. 
Go into the village and advise them to surrender.'* 

The wounded Russian gave the answer that might 
be expected of a gallant soldier. 

" My orders were never to leave this place alive. 
My men must and will fight to the end." 

A wounded sergeant was appealed to. He went 
into the village with what message none can say. 

But the end was drawing near. The right flank 
met with little resistance and moved toward the centre 
of the fight. In time they came to the South of the 
hamlet where the enemy held the houses on each side 
of the road. The only approach was a fire-swept 
triangle commanded by a low wall and flanked by 
cottages. It was still night, and out of the black veil in 
front of the Japanese sprang tiny jets of flame from the 
rifles of the enemy. Into this deadly angle our infantry 
crowded after their leader. The officer who bore the 
regimental flag was shot down. From his nerveless 
hand the flag was taken by a second officer, who carried 
it forward a few yards and then dropped with a bullet 
through his body. 

To the front sprang the regimental commander — 
Colonel Yasumura — and seizing the flag bore it onward. 
The air hummed with rifle bullets and men fell on every 
hand. Still they pressed into the front rank, trampling 
dead and dying under their feet. No man paused or 

H jforlorn Ibope 305 

looked back after entering that deadly angle. The wall 
was nearly reached when the flag dropped from their 
leader's hand. He, too, had fallen. 

" Fire the houses ! '' was the cry that rang through 
the night. Toward a little mud-walled cottage darted 
a handful of men. Door and window were forced and 
the thatched roof went up in flame. Through the red 
glare Russians and Japanese were seen shooting and 
stabbing. A gap was made in the wall of the compound 
and through it poured a torrent of dark uniforms. 
Another fierce struggle and another house was in flames 
while men fought under the burning rafters. Thus 
from house to house and from compound to compound 
swept fire and bayonet until the sky was crimson and 
the earth red. It was a scene that only Wiertz could 
have painted. 

When I visited the village the Chinese were raking 
among the embers of their homes : the ground was 
littered with pieces of uniform, fragments of rifle stocks, 
charred bones, and here and there a skull which the 
dogs had knawed. Some Japanese soldiers were 
exhuming their comrades, over whom a few shovelfuls 
of earth had been thrown, and were placing the black 
and fearful forms on funeral pyres. 

Step by step the Russians were driven out of the 
houses. On the hill behind they rallied again and 
prepared to renew the conflict. Up the steep Western 
spur the Japanese were already climbing, and toward the 
grey craig on the East another force was fighting its way. 


3o6 jFtom tbe l^alu to ipott Hrtbut 

Dawn was at hand. From the mountains on the 
East stole the grey light that revealed the Japanese 
steadily advancing — a melee of men, units, companies, 
battalions and regiments hopelessly mixed yet impelled 
by one purpose. In the darkness they had stumbled on 
the Russian artillery and had captured two guns. 
While securing these trophies they were thrown into 
a state of great alarm by the sound of horses. 
" Cossacks ! " was the thought that flashed through 
everyone's mind. The Russian cavalry had crossed the 
plain and were about to make a counter attack ! The 
Japanese infantry turned to meet the charge, and fired 
volleys into the horses before the discovery was made 
that it was not Cossacks but terrified and maddened 
horses of the Russian artillery. 

At day-break the hill was in our possession. The 
remnant of the enemy had fled to the North, and village 
and fields were heaped up with dead. The forlorn hope 
had not died in vain. 

Chapter XXXVII 


We were riding over a hill near the Sha-ho. The dead 
lay upon the slope like livid stains on a green carpet. 
In the trench — a deep scar across the brow of the hill — 
was a tangled web of crimson and purple and grey rent 
asunder by black hands and ashen faces. 

Three days before I saw the tidal wave of war 
sweep over this hill of horrors. Out of the clouds 
came men in blue with rifles in their hands — a company 
of Japanese. Scattering, they sped down the slope and 
vanished in a brown cleft ; in a moment they appeared 
once more, racing furiously up the hill. 

From the earth sprang a grey line tipped with fire 
and steel. At sight of the Russians the men in blue 
halted and turned. Were they running away ? A 
sword flashed in the air and the Japanese ranged them- 
selves — a line of blue upon which rushed the grey 
crest like a tumultuous sea. The waves met and 
mingled — a heaving flood over which played the 

307 u 2 

3o8 jftom tbe ISalu to port Hrtbur 

lightning of steel. Blade in hand the Russian leader 
leapt forward to meet his foe. A gleam of light and 
the point of the Samurai sword pierced his neck. A jet 
of blood spurted from his nostrils and the steel dropped 
from his dying grasp. Another moment and the waves 
divided, leaving the hill flecked with grey forms. Broken 
and thinned, the blue wave swept on and engulfed 
the trench where the dead and dying lay. 

Strenuous days followed laborious nights, when 
wounded died and living fought. How could anything 
in that trench be alive ! It was an open grave heaped 
with dead. 

" I saw his leg move," protested my interpreter. 

Prone on his back lay a Russian soldier. His 
eyes looked into mine. Pillowed on a corpse, his couch 
was of dead men. 

In a second we were off our horses and in the 
trench. Hs head was covered with clay that was dyed 
a dark crimson ; his open mouth was filled with earth 
baked hard by the sun. Surely, he must be dead. The 
eyes sought mine and followed me. 

With hasty fingers I probed the clay and found 
where the bullet had struck. It must have penetrated 
the brain. Still the eyes followed me. I probed again. 
The bullet had merely grazed the scalp. It was a case 
of concussion. We took a great-coat from a dead 
comrade at his side and dragged it under him. 
Yielding to threats, a Chinese servant got into the 
trench to help us. As we raised the living from the 

XTbe IDalley of tbe Sba^ow 309 

dead the stiffened limbs relaxed and the leg moved. 
With a cry of horror the Chinaman leapt out of the 
trench and fled screaming down the hill. 

We lifted our burden out of the noisome pit and 
laid him on the ground ; we broke the earthen gag and 
cleaned his mouth, and gave him drops of whisky and 
water. From his wounded head we scraped the 
crimsoned clay and saw that it might yet be well with 
him. And all the time his eyes sought mine. 

Captain Okada rode to a cottage at the foot of the 
hill and brought back some Chinamen. They placed 
the soldier on a door and bore him away. 

Three days later we entered a house filled with 
wounded Russian and Japanese. A wan face smiled 
upon us ; two bright eyes welcomed us. It was our 
wounded soldier. He could not speak, but he nudged 
a comrade and pointed to the men who had plucked 
him out of the grave. 

We rode toward the wood beyond the narrow valley 
where hundreds had fallen before that dread company in 
blue. A voice called to us. We turned and saw only 
the dead. A low, timorous voice haunted the dread 
stillness of this hecatomb. Our eyes wandered over the 
dead in search of a sign of the living. A bush opened 
as though stirred by the wind, and out of the green 
peeped a wan face. 

The man's legs were shattered : one limb hung 
loose like the empty sleeve of a coat. He had bound 
up his wounds and crawled into the bush, where he dug 

3IO Jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

a shallow grave in which to hide himself from the enemy 
whom he had been taught to fear even in death. A few 
crusts of black bread and a bottle of water had kept 
life in him for three days, until the appearance of a 
European gave him courage to betray his hiding place. 
We took a coat from a dead soldier, and with two rifles 
made a stretcher upon which the groaning burden was 
borne to hospital. 

In the nullah through which the enemy fled under 
murderous fire, the dead and dying lay like leaves of an 
autumn forest. Here I happened upon a strangely 
pathetic group — a wounded Russian attended by two 
Japanese soldiers. They had made him a bed of coats, 
had emptied their water bottles down his parched throat, 
had lighted a cigarette for him, and had settled down 
for a comfortable talk, for wounds and death have a 
tongue that needs no interpreter. 

Near the entrance to this valley of the shadow was 
a field of maize. The sheaves stood like towers of gold. 
Days before, when the guns woke the echoes among 
the hill, and this valley was an active volcano, I saw the 
farmer fleeing like Lot from the city of destruction. 
Children clung to his dark blue robe, while his wife 
stumbled with a bundle in her arms. 

The sheaves called in vain to the husbandman, for 
when death is reaper the harvest of the earth is un- 
garnered. Suddenly, as we looked, one of those golden 
towers burst open, and out darted a pale figure with 
uplifted hands. 

TLbc DallCB ot tbe Sba&ow 3" 

" Kick him up ! ** It is not pleasant to see a soldier 
on his knees, and a Japanese is the proudest of men. 
The Russian was unhurt, but had been hiding for three 
days and nights without food. He, too, had waited for 
the sight of a European, and was not content until he 
had from Captain Okada a note in Japanese that gave 
him courage to approach the temple on the hill. 

Thus did we make our way over the field of battle 
until we came again to the hill of the dead. Upon the 
green slope, trampled red with bloody feet, lay the 
drummer who had sounded the alarm. His hands still 
grasped the drumsticks, his face was driven through the 
the drum, and by his side was stretched a charred and 
naked figure upon which the fire of a grenade had fed. 
About him lay his comrades like warriors taking their 
rest. They had fought a good fight, and slept the sleep 
that knows not waking. 

Chapter XXXVIII 



Having struck their blow the Japanese made strenuous 
efforts to envelope the defeated and demoralised enemy. 
Four roads were open to the retreating armies. On the 
East they were falling back through Taelin toward 
Wushun : on the West they had the railway and the 
main road to Mukden : and between these points were 
two roads, from Panlasantzu and Hialiuhotzu, leading 
North. About these communications the Japanese 
strove to cast four loops from which there could be no 
escape. Our left flank endeavoured to drive the 
Russians from the railway into the mountainous region, 
while our right pressed them hard among the hills. 

The failure of this enterprise was due to one cause. 
Our force was too small. Though we had suffered 
serious loss and though the men were exhausted by 


/IDuftt)en in St^bt 313 

continuous fighting, so eager were they to reap the full 
reward of victory that they were prepared to take any 
risk. But the caution ot the older leaders forbade 
pursuit beyond the Sha-ho, and this time their prudence 
was justified. North of the river the Russians had 
entrenched positions and the country was more favour- 
able for defence than we had supposed. Their powers 
of resistance too were still great, and their artillery 
served them well. Yet neither defences nor powers of 
resistance would have availed had the Japanese been as 
numerous as General Kuropatkin seemed to imagine. 

It is a remarkable feature of the war — the complete 
breakdown of the Russian Intelligence branch. From 
the first they grossly and even ludicrously exaggerated 
the forces opposed to them. General Kuroki's army 
was magnified twofold. General Keller reported that at 
Mou-tien-ling he was repulsed by a greatly superior 
force, whereas he was driven back by four companies of 
infantry ! On another occasion a whole division was 
checked by a single battalion whose commander adopted 
the simple and familiar ruse of posting his men in small 
groups over a wide front. The truth is that the army 
was too small to risk vigorous and prolonged pursuit or 
to make those extended flanking movements that were 
so successful before the concentration of the Russian 
forces and the abandonment of attempts to relieve Port 
Arthur. Some critics have sought to prove that the 
Japanese kept Port Arthur as a bait to lure the enemy 
South and that the prolonged resistance of General 

314 JFrom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbut 

Stoessel was of the highest service to Marshal Oyama. 
Nothing could be further from the fact. The Japanese 
considered the fall of Port Arthur essential to their 
command of the sea : it was urgently needed also as the 
only port free from ice in the Winter. Yet had they 
realised for a moment that General Stoessel could hold 
out after the first week of August they would have 
contented themselves with an investment. That, at any 
rate, is the deliberate statement of men responsible for 
the conduct of the campaign. And they had reason, for 
Port Arthur not merely retarded progress in Manchuria 
but twice robbed the Japanese of the fruits of hard won 

From a hill, near the village of Shaho, I saw 
Mukden on the morning of October the i6th. In the 
grey distance, across the plain which autumn had tinted 
with purple and brown, rose wall and towers — a vague 
shadow that melted into mist, like a city of dreamland. 
Away to the West among the pine groves thundered 
the guns of the Western army, and in the little hamlet 
at my feet was assembled the detachment that was to try 
its luck on the other side of the river and to meet with 
the first reverse to the Japanese arms. In the hope of 
striking the enemy from the rear and compelling them 
to abandon their first line of defence, the detachment, 
under General Yamada, crossed the Sha-ho, captured two 
guns, and seemed on the point of accomplishing its 
purpose when a division of the Russians came down 
from the North-east and simultaneously an attack was 







/IDul^ben in StGbt 315 

delivered from the West. Surrounded on both flanks 
the regiment cut its way back, but left behind nine field 
and five mountain guns — the first guns lost by the 

South of the Sha River the enemy still held one 
position until October the 27th. Its tactical value to 
the Russians was insignificant, though its importance 
was great as a post of observation. Whoever retained 
the hill could survey the lines of both armies and note 
their movements. Haitaoshan, which means the 
Mountain of Irregular Crest, is about twelve miles 
North-east by East of the coal mine at Yentai. It is a 
four peaked hill that looks as if it had been riven from 
the wild ranges that run Eastward, like a myriad 
writhing dragons, and set down on the river flat. Bare 
heights bend round it on the South, across the shallow 
stream : to the East rises the land of monstrous 
furrows — brown hills and brown valleys — while on the 
North stretches the grey plain of Mukden. Haitaoshan 
runs almost East and West and from the peaks descend 
ridges like ribs. The Western peak is the highest and 
is crowned with the ruins of a small temple surrounded 
by an ancient wall. The Eastern shoulder falls sharply 
into a green hollow. Between these points are three 
small eminences or peaks joined by bow-shaped saddles. 
The mountain is very steep and the slopes are clothed 
with long fine grass slippery as ice. 

In this stronghold — a spy and a menace to our 
investing lines — lay the 2nd battalion of the i8th 

3i6 iFtom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

Regiment of Sharp-shooters. They had made them- 
selves very snug and secure. Along the summit ran 
a deep trench by which a man might walk from one end 
of the mountain to the other and not be seen. The 
trench was covered and gave access to three breast- 
works built about the peaks like redoubts and flanked 
by trenches. Into these shelters the Russians had 
carried stoves — for the night and early morning were 
bitterly cold — and an abundant supply of food and 
drink as though prepared for a siege. It was evident 
that they feared a night attack and had taken wise 
precautions. Assault whether by night or day must 
come from the Eastern slope, since that alone was 
assailable. Their design was to draw the Japanese — 
ahould they come in the darkness — beyond the first 
line of defence on the East across the narrow ridge 
toward the second peak, behind which were hidden five 
or six machine guns that would sweep the approach 
with a sheet of lead and leave not a man alive. It was a 
very clever scheme, carefully thought out and skillfully 
arranged. Had the Japanese tried to storm the position 
in the night they must have failed and have suffered 
heavy loss. But just when you think that you have 
caught the habit of the Japanese and feel disposed to 
prophesy, they do something quite unexpected. And 
so it happened, unfortunately for the Russian plan, that 
Haitaoshan was assailed not at night but in broad day, 
and was captured with the loss of only one hundred and 
seventy men, of whom seventy were killed. 

/Iftuft&en in St^bt 317 

On the night of the 26th of October a message 
was brought from Head-Quarters that at eight o'clock 
next morning a certain mountain eight miles from 
Bastion Hill would be bombarded. The invitation did 
not sound promising, for artillery duels had long been 
daily episodes, and are rarely interesting save when they 
pave the way for infantry. However, v/e went and 
were rewarded by a notable example of artillery and 
infantry working together as smoothly and effectively as 
if they were the fly wheel and the driving wheel of one 

South of Haitaoshan, at a distance of about three 
thousand yards, rise precipitous hills, on one of which, 
well hidden from the enemy's view, was a field battery. 
To the East, among the heights, was posted another 
battery, and to the West on a lower elevation was a 
third battery of captured Russian guns. North of 
Haitaoshan the hills are more remote, and to bring 
their artillery within effective range of our batteries 
the enemy would have to expose their guns in the open. 

As soon as the morning mist cleared and revealed 
the heights beyond the Sha-ho dotted with dark figures, 
the bombardment began. From the batteries on the 
East and South came a slow and steady succession of 
shells directed against the trenches on the Eastern slope 
and the breastworks on the summit of the mountain. 
The Russians strove to reply from the cover of a low 
ridge on the North-west, but their efforts were futile. 
The range was too great, and our batteries could have 

3i8 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

been hit only by accident. It was notable that whereas 
the Japanese used high explosive shells against the 
trenches, the enemy employed shrapnel. The cannonade 
continued without incident until one o^clock in the 
afternoon, when the infantry began to advance. 

They came out of trenches on the rising ground to 
the South and passed from the green hollow toward 
the Eastern slope. It was a steep climb and slippery, 
but the Japanese, mindful of every detail, had tied 
pieces of rope over their boots and climbed like 
experienced mountaineers. At first one company 
appeared and made quickly for the shoulder of the hill. 
Another followed, and then a third marched out of a 
dark grove on the South and spread along the rib that 
descended from the first peak. On the shoulder of the 
mountain the resistance was slight, though several 
Japanese fell before the enemy withdrew to the first 
breastwork or redoubt. Clustered like bees under the 
shoulder the infantry lay while the reserves advanced 
from the hollow and the guns concentrated their fire on 
the first peak. Here were Russians plainly enough, 
though how many we could not say until the shells 
began to drive them from cover. At first singly, then 
in twos and threes they appeared, running toward the 
second peak and vanished over the crest. Shrapnel 
pursued them, for it was against trenches only that the 
Japanese used common shell. Again the little redoubt 
was wreathed in smoke and clouds of black earth, and 
again men ran from it like ants whose nest has been 

/IDuft^en in St^bt 319 

disturbed. So the bombardment went on until it 
seemed that no living thing could be within the circle 
of fire. And all this time the infantry lay under the 
shoulder of the mountain and on the ribbed slope. It 
was "dead '' ground they clung to — a swift incline that 
shielded them from rifle fire, though not more than one 
hundred yards from the enemy. For two hours they 
remained in this position, while Russians passed to and 
fro between the first and second peaks, and an officer 
raised his head above the breastwork to see if the 
Japanese made any movement. It looked as if the 
attack had failed ; yet so great is the confidence inspired 
by victory that not one of the foreign observers doubted 
for an instant the ability of the Japanese infantry to 
accomplish their purpose. Now the guns were seized 
with new fury and the mountain became an active 
volcano. Another moment and there was silence so 
deep and solemn that you felt as though suddenly roused 
from sleep to discover that the battle and the bloodshed 
were only a dream. 

At three o'clock a movement was observed in the 
black cluster under the shoulder of the hill. A 
sergeant — without orders, I am told — rose and climbed 
rapidly toward the first breastwork. He was followed 
by about a dozen soldiers. As they approached the 
Russians came out of the trench and stood behind the 
redoubt with rifles at their shoulder. A splutter of 
bullets and one or two Japanese rolled over : but the 
rest went on with a rush and came close to the breast- 

320 jFrom tbe JSalu to port Hrtbut 

work almost upon the bayonets of the Russians who 
leapt forward to meet them. Brave and desperate 
men — Russian and Japanese ! They closed for a second 
and then the Japanese ran back — all that was left of 
them. The gallant sergeant quickly found that he had 
ventured into a hornets' nest. On his left was a trench 
lined with riflemen : in front was the redoubt bristling 
with bayonets and darting fire, and suddenly on his right 
came another body of Russians. The position of this 
handful of Japanese looked hopeless, when just at the 
critical moment a shell flew over their heads — it must 
have singed their hair — and burst right among the 
enemy. The half dozen who came out of this fray lost 
no time in seeking the cover of the shoulder of the hill. 
Meanwhile another company was advancing up the 
slope under shrapnel fire from the Russian guns which 
had abandoned the duel with our artillery and sought — 
too late — to arrest the progress of our infantry. Once 
more the batteries pounded away at the breastwork and 
trenches and once more the enemy ran out of the 
inferno. They had done their duty with amazing 
courage and audacity : they had covered the retirement 
of their comrades and now sought safety in flight. As 
yet it was impossible to realise that the position 
had been evacuated and that the second and third 
redoubts and lines of trenches were empty. At five 
minutes to four o'clock the guns ceased fire : the 
infantry rose from under the shelter of the hill ; and 
from the ribbed spur. With rapid strides they drew 

/IDuft&en in Stgbt 321 

near to the first peak and pressed up the steep slope 
from the South. A solitary Russian appeared running 
at full speed and vanished over the crest. There was a 
few minutes pause to take breath and then an officer 
moved on toward the second breastwork followed by a 
soldier waving the flag of the Rising Sun as a signal to 
the artillery. No shot came from the little fort and the 
officer went quickly forward to the third peak. Again 
no enemy. And so to the temple on the highest 
summit. The Russians were scurrying down the hill 
into the valley and across the Sha-ho, while the Japanese 
stood on the crest and fired down upon them. 

Chapter XXXIX 


The record of the Okasaki Brigade covers almost every 
important action in which General Kuroki was engaged. 
It bore the brunt of fifteen great fights and won laurels 
that can never fade. To measure the capacity of a 
General by his casualty list, as was our unfortunate habit 
in South Africa, is folly, yet the test may be applied to a 
brigade that has been in the field seven months. 

On March 26thj when General Okasaki landed at 
Chinampo, he had in his command six thousand men, of 
whom only four thousand were combatants. The 
casualties of the brigade from that date to October were 
3,889 ; 675 men were killed and 3,214 wounded, 
including 32 officers killed and 93 wounded. Only 
three men out of the six thousand died from disease in 
seven months — an almost incredible record and con- 
vincing proof of the immunity of Japanese soldiers 
against the consequences of hardship, privation, exposure 
and insanitary conditions that devastate European armies. 


XTbe Stor)^ of a jfamous 3ISttGa^e 323 

Of the original number of combatants practically all 
were slain or wounded : not a single battalion was 
commanded by the officer who landed with it at 
Chinampo, and one battalion changed its leader no fewer 
than three times. 

These figures prove not only the desperate character 
of the fighting but the unshaken morale of the Japanese 
infantry, for, despite these enormous losses, the Okasaki 
Brigade was as eager as ever to be foremost in battle. 

Success in war depends on the spirit of the soldiers 
and the character and skill of their leaders. Rarely has 
the combination of these qualities been as perfect as in 
this famous brigade which is raised in the Northern 
provinces of Japan. Their commander is a man who 
inspires unbounded confidence in his judgment, while 
his modesty and simplicity of manner have won the 
affection of his soldiers. 

General Okasaki belongs to a race of Samurai or 
fighting clans and enlisted in the Imperial army. At 
the age of eighteen years he fought for the restoration 
of the temporal power of the Mikado and was severely 
wounded — twice by bullets and once by the sword. 
While pursuing an enemy on foot a man darted out of 
a bush and thrust his sword into the young soldier's 
side. Stepping back one pace Okasaki struck off the 
head of his assailant. In the Civil War of 1879 ^^ ^^^ 
again wounded. A subaltern in the force sent to attack 
the enemy's rear, he landed at Nagasaki and received 
two bullets that kept him in hospital for three weeks. 

X 2 

324 3f rom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

In the advance on Kumamoto he commanded a battalion 
and was afterwards promoted to the rank of captain. 
He was a major in 1885 and five years later was 
appointed aide-de-camp to the Prince Imperial. At the 
outbreak of war with China, Okasaki was a lieutenant- 
colonel and acted as chief of the staff to the 4th Division 
in Osaka. In 1897 he was chief of the staff of the 
Japanese garrison at Wei-hai-wei and after the evacuation 
of that port became a member of the General Staff in 
Tokyo. From the chief staff office of the 2nd Division 
he passed in 1901 to the command of the brigade which 
has proved itself in every way worthy of so gallant and 
experienced a leader. 

The brigade sailed from Ujina on March 20th and 
disembarked at Chinampo six days later. It was a 
regiment of this brigade — the i6th regiment — that 
hoisted the Imperial flag on the Conical Hill at Chiu-lien- 
cheng, and another regiment — the 30th — that pursued 
the fugitive enemy to Hamatan and captured the 
Russian batteries. These are the most brilliant episodes 
in the battle of the Yalu. After the occupation of 
Feng-hoang-cheng, General Okasaki was in the first 
fighting line and held the Pass of Mou-tien-ling, where 
he repulsed two counter attacks by greatly superior 
forces. On July 31st he led his brigade from Mou- 
tien-ling through the mountains east to assist the 12th 
Division in the fight at Yu-shu-ling. It was the hottest 
day of the year, and General Okasaki was suffering from 
dysentry. He was unable to ride, and marched the 

Xtbe StotB of a jFamous Btfga&e 325 

whole way in the blazing sun. On the battlefield his 
pain was so intense that he ordered the doctor to inject 
chloroform into his intestines, and continued to direct 
the operations. 

" I never fought a more interesting fight,** observed 
the General. " It was like hunting hares.** 

I need not tell again how the Okasaki Brigade 
struck the right flank of the enemy at Pinlei and rolled 
it back into the mountains ; how it seized the precipitous 
height under which the Russians were retreating ; and 
how it slew seven hundred with the loss of only seventeen 
men. In the advance on the Tang-ho — a movement 
that forced the enemy to retire from Anshantien and fall 
back upon the defences before Liao-yang — the brigade 
was assigned an important part. On the night of 
August 26th General Okasaki made an attack which 
the Japanese claim to be unprecedented in the history 
of war. The whole brigade stormed the position on 
Kyu-cho-lei and carried it with the bayonet. Not a 
shot was fired as the men moved silently forward 
through the millet fields, keeping in close touch so that 
when they reached the hill the brigade charged as one 
man. The moon shone with greater brilliance on that 
night than I have ever seen it shine in any land, yet not 
a sign nor a sound came from the valley. The men 
had wrapped their bayonets in millet straw. 

The days that followed were crowded with stirring 
incident. On the 27th of August General Okasaki 
assaulted and took Tsuego, on the 28th Sonkasai, on 

326 ftom tbe igalu to port Hrtbut 

the 29th and 30th Sekisoshi, and on the 31st Kantong, 
thereby opening the way to Am-ping and the passage of 
the Tai-tsu river — the flanking movement that sent 
General Kuropatkin in flight to Mukden. 

In four previous chapters I have described the 
fierce struggle on the North bank of the Tai-tsu, where, 
with one and a half divisions. General Kuroki kept at 
bay and finally drove back upon the railway five Russian 
divisions led by General Kuropatkin himself. Without 
exaggeration it may be said that General Kuropatkin was 
defeated by one regiment of the Okasaki Brigade, for he 
made the hill known as Manjuyama the pivot of his 
attack, and on September ist that position was won by 
General Okasaki and held after three days and nights of 
the bloodiest work in this or any war. Again and 
again did the Russians strive to recover the hill. Nor 
did they abandon the attempt until two thousand had 
been slain. The scene on the morning of September 4th 
was one of the most awful 1 had ever beheld. For two 
days the Japanese fought on a few handfuls of dry rice. 
It was during that three days fight that General Okasaki 
put the discipline of his men to the severest test that 
could ever be imposed. During a counter-attack in the 
dark. General Okasaki, leading some reserves into 
action, found friend and foe so mingled that he could 
not tell at which point help was most needed. He 
solved the difficulty by ordering the trumpeter to sound 
the cease fire. Despite the fact that the Japanese were 
scattered and were engaged in a hand to hand struggle 

XTbe Stori^ ot a jfamous ffirtaa&e 327 

in which a second's hesitation meant certain death, they 
obeyed the signal as one man. 

" When I saw that/' said the General with a proud 
look in his eyes, " i was sure that we could keep the 

Manjuyama has been named Okasaki-yama, or 
Okasaki Hill, in honour of that great victory. 

These achievements might well suffice for the 
record of any brigade, yet they are only the preface to 
the chronicle of the deeds of Okasaki. In the seven 
days fighting that repulsed the Russian assault and 
swept General Kuropatkin across the Sha-ho with the 
loss of sixty or seventy thousand men and fifty guns, 
the Okasaki Brigade was the steel wedge that General 
Kuroki drove into the heart of the Russian centre, and 
that forced the enemy to act on the defensive once more. 
On the afternoon of October nth General Okasaki took 
Temple Hill — the isolated rock crowned by a temple 
three or four miles North-west of the coal mine. It 
was at first intended that the Matsunaga Brigade should 
occupy Bastion Hill — the lofty height with a bastion- 
like summit — which was the centre of the Russian 
resistance on the morning of the nth. Three battalions 
of the Matsunaga Brigade marched from camp at three 
o'clock in the morning and advanced against this 
formidable position. Forcing back the enemy from 
their front they came to the Western slope of the hill, 
where the guns began to play upon them. With one 
battalion on the right and two on the left, the brigade 

328 jfrom tbe 19alu to port Hrtbut 

pressed on under showers of shrapnel. The Japanese 
batteries were to have supported the assault by engaging 
the Russian artillery, but our guns were outranged and 
could not reach the enemy's batteries. Seeing the 
disadvantage under which their assailants laboured from 
want of this support, a considerable body of Russians 
attacked the flank of the battalion on the left. This was 
the opportunity for which our artillery in the shadow of 
a rocky hill had been anxiously watching. In a moment 
the shells began to fall thick and fast among the enemy 
who retired in great disorder pulling their wounded 
comrades into the pine grove in the ravine. Undaunted 
by this failure, the Russians held fast by the right and 
delivered another counter-attack which was repelled by 
a small company of Japanese. 

Meanwhile, General Okasaki, whose brigade was 
posted on our left in front of the coal mine, waited the 
moment to advance on Temple Hill. Hours passed 
and Bastion Hill remained in the hands of the enemy. 
At last General Okasaki decided that it would be 
imprudent to wait longer. An attack on Temple Hill 
might relieve the pressure on the Matsunaga Brigade. 
Accordingly the order was given to advance. At eleven 
o'clock the 30th regiment on the right moved forward 
to the village of Kuchapuzu, about two miles to the 
South-west of Temple Hill, while the i6th regiment 
reached Palasantzu, a village about the same distance to 
the South-east. Happily, the Russians appeared not to 
notice this movement, although it was made across the 

XTbe Stori5 of a Jfamous JSriGabe 329 

open fields. Only after the regiments were under cover 
in the villages did the enemy's guns pay them any 
attention. Little or no damage was done. At half past 
four in the afternoon the brigade left the villages and 
advanced in line of battle, forming a great crescent with 
Temple Hill between the two points. The left moved 
swiftly over the furrowed fields among sheaves of giant 
millet, while the right descended into the deep bed of a 
shallow stream and presently appeared on the plain. I 
need not tell again the story of that splendid advance. 
Forty guns opened on the lines, yet on they went, 
quietly and steadily, now kneeling to return the rifle 
fire from the road under Temple Hill : now at a double. 
At last they came to the foot of the hill, having driven 
North the remnant of the first line of Russian rifles. 
The 1 6th regiment on the left was a little in advance and 
fought its way up the hill, suffering heavily from 
shrapnel. A private was the first to reach the temple 
and had climbed several feet up the stone wall when a 
shell scattered his brains. His bayonet — bent, broken 
and bloody — stuck fast in the wall. In this assault the 
brigade had 937 casualties, most of them during the 
advance across the fields. Though every shell killed or 
wounded several, the men never paused to look back. 

While this assault was in progress Colonel Shimada 
was ordered to seize a rocky, hog-backed height to the 
North. The force under his command was only two 
companies, one battalion and two companies having gone 
to the aid of the Matsunaga Brigade. A new battalion 

330 jfrom tbe 13alu to port Hrtbur 

was therefore given to him, and the Colonel advanced 
toward the village of Sanchautsu, North-east of Bastion 
Hill. Behind him in a long, thin column marched his 
men. Arriving within rifle range of the village they 
deployed and went quickly forward. 

Sanchautsu is a long, straggling collection of stone 
houses sheltered by pine trees, on the fringe of which 
appeared a strong force of the enemy. Breaking 
through the left flank of this line Colonel Shimada 
entered the village at the head of his men. Here the 
fight waxed more and more furious, for the Russians 
had taken cover in the native houses and had to be 
driven out with the bayonet. Near the middle of the 
village stands a wine shop — a large, stone building with 
an extensive compound surrounded by a high, stone 
wall, loop-holed for defence against bandits. In this 
compound were many Russians. Mounting to the roof 
of the next house the Japanese opened fire and drove 
them into the wine shop. Ladders were then brought, 
and while the Japanese scaled the wall the enemy fled. 
The sun was setting when this terrible fight ended, and 
left us in possession of Sanchautsu and the rising ground 
to the north. 

Before dawn on the 12th, Bastion Hill was taken 
by the Matsunaga Brigade, and General Okasaki 
advanced from Temple Hill toward the hog-back of 
rock that runs North into a horse-shoe cluster of high 
hills. Only a few Russians remained in the trenches 
and Rocky Hill was easily captured, but when the sun 

XEbe Stots ot a famous Briaabe 331 

rose and the morning mist cleared, the enemy's guns 
concentrated their fire on the position and many were 
killed and wounded. The Japanese sought shelter in a 
pine grove on the left slope and remained there all day. 
On the right flank the situation was the same and the 
troops continued in their positions, awaiting the advance 
of other forces with which they had to co-operate. 
Thus ended the 12th day of October. That night the 
Matsunaga Brigade was ordered East to fill the gap 
between two columns on the right flank, where the 
position near Ponchiho was extremely critical. 

A forced march was necessary lest the enemy 
should discover this weak point in our defence and 
break through. Making tripods with millet stalks the 
men lighted fires and cooked their rice. Fifteen 
minutes after receiving the order they were on the 
road. The night was intensely dark and cold ; a storm 
of sleet and hail overtook them and they lost their way. 
Yet before dawn the brigade reached the foot ot 
Chosen-lei, fifteen miles South-east of Bastion Hill, and 
the gap was covered. Overcome with fatigue of hard 
fighting and hard marching the weary soldiers lay down 
on the cold ground and slept. Their leader did not 
close his eyes that night. 

Walking in the darkness among the prostrate ranks, 
General Matsunaga felt with pride that he need have no 
fear of the morrow. Men who slept so soundly holding 
their rifles in their hands at the foot of a hill occupied 
by an unknown force of the enemy might be depended 

332 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Httbut 

upon in any emergency. At daybreak a few rifle shots 
sounded the alarm. Up sprang the brigade ready for 
action. A regiment of Russians appeared on the hill. 
They were evidently amazed to find Japanese soldiers 
where not a sign of them was visible at sunset. The 
enemy had no guns, whereas the brigade had two field- 
pieces, which opened fire and drove the Russians from 
Chosen-lei. A cause of great anxiety was thereby 
removed, and our line of defence was materially 

On October the 13th the Okasaki Brigade was 
ordered to take the enemy's position on the horse-shoe 
cluster of hills to the north of Temple Hill. The foot 
hills were already in our possession, but the difficult 
task remained. In a former chapter I have described 
the attack as I saw it from a neighbouring height. At 
dawn the brigadier detected a few men on the nearest 
peak, and sent a young officer — Lieutenant Shima — with 
two sections to learn who they were. Ascending the 
slope. Lieutenant Shima found the enemy's trenches 
empty, and was about to return when there suddenly 
came round the corner of the hill a large group of 
soldiers. In the dim light of early morning he was 
unable to discover whether they were Russians or 

" Who are you ? " shouted the officer. Rifles 
replied and instantly the Japanese, dropping into the 
the trench, prepared for the attack which they knew 
would not be delayed. The Russians approached in 

XEbe Stors of a JFamous asrlga&e 333 

overwhelming numbers and a fierce fight ensued. Of 
these two gallant sections and their officer not a single 
man remained alive or unwounded. But help was at 
hand. First a company and then a battalion rushed to 
the rescue and the first position was won. Here the 
Japanese awaited the development of an attack on the 
Russian flank, but the plan miscarried and for hours 
they were exposed to heavy artillery fire from which 
they suflFered severely. The situation grew desperate, 
yet the brigade clung to the slope. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Nihira had foreseen the extreme 
difficulty of the task and realised that the chances of 
living through it were small. Before placing himself at 
the head of his battalion he took out of his pockets all 
confidential papers and the portraits of his children, 
which it was his custom to hang upon the wall of any 
house in which he might be quartered. Having burned 
these papers and photographs he led his men forward to 
the hill where he halted for a moment to impress upon 
them the importance of their mission and urged them 
never to turn their back upon the enemy. Colonel Nihira 
was greatly beloved by his men and they vowed to 
follow him to the death. At three o'clock the second 
height was stormed and then came the final struggle. 
For three long hours the men lay on the slope while 
shrapnel thinned their ranks and shells sweeping over 
them fell among the enemy's rifles on the crest. 

Seeing the terrible position of this battalion General 
Okasaki sent to its aid another battalion commanded by 

334 Jfrom tbe Iffalu to Ipott Httbur 

Lieutenant-Colonel Taniyama who arrived only in time 
to learn that his gallant friend and comrade Colonel 
Nihira and most of his officers had fallen in the fight. 
Dashing out of the trench, Colonel Taniyama cried : 
" How can I alone remain alive ! " and would have 
hurled himself into the fire swept zone had not his men 
dragged him back into the trench. 

The death of Colonel Nihira and of so many 
comrades roused the men to frenzy. Two companies 
sprang from the trench and rushed forward up the hill. 
I have told how they were rolled back and how they 
returned like an ever diminishing wave until at sunset 
I saw against the grey sky line a struggling mass of men 
shooting, bayonetting, wrestling and stoning one 
another. At six o'clock the hill was taken and the 
slope was slippery with blood. It bears the name 
Nihirayama, or Nihira*s Hill, in memory of a brave 
soldier. One battalion lost all its officers save two, and 
of the other battalion only five officers survived. 

Even now the day was not ended though the sun 
was sinking below a crimson horizon. The enemy was 
still entrenched in a strong position stretching due East 
from the plain under Nihirayama. Against this hill a 
regiment of the Okasaki Brigade was moving from a 
grove on the slope of Nihirayama, seventeen hundred 
metres from Lengesan — the name of the Russian 
position. To reach its destination the regiment had to 
descend the slope and cross the open fields under a 
heavy cannonade. Between the two positions is a grove 

Zbc Stor^ of a ifamous BrtGa&e 335 

of pines in which the Japanese found shelter after their 
first dash. In a few minutes they came out and ran 
to the foot of the hill. Many fell in the advance, but 
the survivors struck the enemy hard on the left flank, 
and there was another of those awful hand-to-hand 
fights which one recalls with a shudder. 

In the end the Russians fled with their guns. 
Twice men and horses with the batteries were shot 
down, and twice they were replaced under fire. Had 
the right flank of the Japanese been as fortunate as the 
left, these guns would have been added to the trophies 
of the seven days' fight. 

This is the short record of the Okasaki Brigade. 
It is typical of the Japanese infantry, and will serve to 
show what the unhappy Russians had to contend against. 

Chapter XL 


The reader is now asked to transport himself on the 
magic carpet of his imagination to that great fortress 
at the Southern extremity of the Kwantung Peninsula, 
whose occupation by Russia must be regarded as the 
fons et origo of the war. 1 have already described how 
little the Mikado's strategists suspected that Port Arthur 
was capable of prolonged resistance against determined 
and repeated assault ; how materially their plan of 
campaign would have been modified had their calcula- 
tions been more accurate ; and yet how essential it 
was to their complete command of the sea that this 
ice-free port should pass into their hands. It was on 
October 8th, a month after his retreat from Liao-yang, 
that General Kuropatkin exhorted the army in Mukden 
to renewed efforts, by the assurance that the time had 
come for a triumphant advance, and that the Czar had at 
length given him a sufficient force to command victory. 
But we know that the dismayed and distracted Ministers 
at St. Petersburg had commanded the General to strike 
one last despairing blow for the relief of the fortress. 


Uo port Hrtbut 337 

We know, also, that on the following day Field-Marshal 
Oyama was obliged, by the seriousness of the Russian 
movements, to engage in battle, although his own desire 
had been to refrain from action until the expected news 
of the fall of Port Arthur had arrived. In their estimate 
of the garrison's capacity for further resistance, the 
Russians were more correct than their foes, for had he 
carried out his predilection, Oyama would have lingered 
in his position till the dawn of the New Year. As 
will be shown in the following chapters, the condition of 
the stronghold was by no means so desperate as was 
imagined by friend and enemy alike ; and, as a matter 
of fact, the surrender, when it did come, was, in the 
opinion of many competent to arrive at a verdict, 
premature, and not the occasion of sheer necessity. 

The Japanese in Manchuria, however, seemed 
confident that the end was at hand. One heard the 
capture spoken of as an impending event, that might 
any morning prove to be a reality ; and I have little 
doubt that in the background of the Field Marshal's 
schemes lay the expectation that he would soon receive 
the welcome reinforcement of General Nogi's legions. 
I owe it to the exceptional kindness of the military 
authorities that they fell in with my request to be 
allowed to detach myself from General Kuroki's 
command and to turn my steps southward. When 
we correspondents were released from the wearisome 
and exasperating detention in Tokyo, and were at length 
allowed to land in the theatre of war, we were given 

33^ jftom tbe 18alu to port Hrtbur 

clearly to understand that each must remain with the 
particular command to which he was allotted, and that 
any attempt to break away and attach himself to a 
different portion of the army would render one liable 
to condign punishment, in the form of a restricted or 
cancelled permit. These conditions involved less of a 
lottery than might, superficially, appear to be the case, 
for the scale of operations was so gigantic that there was 
fair reason to hope that everyone would witness a good 
share of the fighting. Some might miss this engage- 
ment and some that, but as it was evident that every 
available Japanese soldier would be required at one 
point or another, there was not much risk of being left 
ingloriously on lines of communication, or of eating 
one's heart out in inaction when stupendous doings were 
being enacted at another part of the area of warfare. 
Still, I must own to a peculiar sense of gratification 
when the permission arrived for me to proceed to Port 
Arthur, and need hardly say that I lost as little time as 
possible in availing myself of the privilege. Of course, 
it entailed the loss of witnessing the fierce struggle 
before Mukden — even a war correspondent cannot be 
North and South at the same time — but I had seen my 
share of the fighting between the armies in the field, 
and was confident of the result. The surrender of Port 
Arthur was a far more important and stirring episode in 
the history of the war than another defeat, on however 
grand a scale, of Kuropatkin's gallant but disheartened 

TLo pott Hrtbut 339 

I will not delay the narrative by describing 
my progress south to General Nogi's command. 
Suffice it to say that fear lent wings to my feet — 
fear, lest I should arrive too late. But, however 
eager my desire to proceed with all speed, the means 
available, the state of the country, and the war 
conditions prevailing, did not conduce to rapid 
travelling, and I arrived almost on the eve of the 
surrender, and counted myself highly fortunate in 
doing so. My credentials at once obtained for me the 
kindest reception from General Nogi and his Staff, and 
I was privileged to be an eye-witness of the proceedings 
that attended the handing over of the proud fortress to 
the triumphant Japanese. Of the awful fighting that for 
months preceded the final act it is not my duty to 
speak. The assaults by land and sea, the mines and 
counter-mines, the spade work above ground and below, 
the gradual advance of the trenches, the nearer approach 
of the crescent of siege artillery, the ferocious bayonet 
struggles in attack and defence, the ghastly stories of 
empalements on merciless stakes, of destruction of 
life by grenade and bomb, of living bodies torn to 
shreds on barbed wire entanglements — these have been 
described by other pens, wielded by those who have the 
authority of personal knowledge. I simply present to 
the reader the record of my own experiences. 

Chapter XLI 


The first day of the New Year was drawing to a close 
when a Russian officer came riding toward our outposts. 
A Cossack mounted on a shaggy pony carried before 
him a flag of truce. Their appearance at such a 
moment not less than the grave looks of the young 
soldier betokened business of importance. Halting 
at some distance from the enemy's lines the Cossack 
sounded a parley, and a Japanese officer whose keen 
eye had followed every movement of the strangers went 
out to meet the envoy of the besieged fortress. He 
returned with a letter in his hand, and the Russian 
ensign rode back to Port Arthur. 

New Year's Day is a Japanese festival, and even in 
the camp of the investing army custom held revel. 
Visits were made and hospitalities exchanged, while 
comrades fought their way up Bodai and looked down 
from the shattered peak into the quivering heart of the 
city. None dreamed that the long struggle was ended, 
and that the gallant defenders were preparing to lay 







Ube Surrender 341 

down their arms. At dawn a strange stillness 
descended upon the narrow peninsula. Under the 
burden of silence, hills that for months had been 
charged with volcanic energies shrank into mounds of 
brown earth, and valleys and gorges that had pulsated 
with the sound of Titanic combat became mute as the 
grave. It was a new land in which we awoke — a land 
of unnatural silence that seemed full of portent. What 
had happened ? Was this weird calm the precursor of 
a hurricane or was it the end ? We wondered as we 
walked to the village where General Nogi had his 

" Port Arthur has fallen ! " 

That was the greeting. Not a trace of exultation ! 
The Staff Officer might have been announcing a fall in 
the temperature. " Port Arthur has fallen ! *' The 
words sounded incredible. Even the most hopeful had 
looked forward to one more month of sapping and 
mining, and had seen in his mind's eye the last glorious 
stand of the garrison sworn to make the fortress its 
tomb. But the silence was convincing. The end had 
come with amazing suddenness, and the walls of the 
" impregnable fortress " had fallen, like the walls of 
Jericho, at the blast of a trumpet. 

The letter brought to the Japanese lines under the 
flag of truce made known General StoesseFs decision : 

" Having regard to the state of affairs at the seat of 
war generally, I find that further resistance in Port 
Arthur is useless, and with a view to avoid fruitless loss 

342 jFtom tbe 13alu to Ipott Hrtbut 

of life I would like to negotiate for the capitulation of 
the fortress. If your Excellency agress to this proposal 
I beg you to appoint delegates to discuss the order and 
conditions of surrender, and to name a place where my 
delegates may meet them/' 

General Nogi received this message at eight o'clock 
on New Year's night. He read it with astonishment, 
for he, too, believed that the garrison would not 
surrender until the last fort had been taken and the last 
shot had been fired. Only three days before General 
Stoessel had convened a council of naval and military 
officers of the highest rank, and had laid before them 
the true state of affairs. The council was attended by 
twenty-two officers, and nineteen of them insisted on 
continuing the struggle. Three were in favour of 
making terms with the enemy. Among these was 
Col. — now General — Reiss, Chief of General Stoessel's 
Staff, who feared that if the resistance was prolonged 
and the city was carried by assault there would be a 
repetition of the incidents of 1894, and the remnant of 
the garrison would be massacred. General Reiss was 
not popular with his comrades, and his fears were 
denounced as a slander on a brave foe. The council 
separated under the impression that its decision was final 
and that the conflict would be continued with vigour. 

It was with amazement and consternation that the 
officers received orders on New Year's day to destroy 
the ships in the harbour and to blow up one of the 
forts. General Stoessel had resolved to surrender. 

Ube Sutreu&er 343 

* General Nogi knew nothing of this council of war. 
He was, however, not ignorant of the fact that since the 
death of General Kondrachenko resistance had weakened 
and dissention was rife among the leaders of the 
garrison. Nor did it escape his notice that the proposal 
to discuss the terms of capitulation was undated, and 
had probably been written some days before. Next 
morning at four o'clock the answer was sent to the 
Russian lines under a flag of truce. General Nogi 
agreed to negotiate, and appointed as delegate the Chief 
of his StaflF, General Kosuke Ijichi, with whom were 
associated Major Yamaoka, Chief of the Intelligence 
Section, Captain Tsunoda, Commander Iwamura, 
Dr. Ariga and Mr. Kowazu. The conference was to be 
held at noon on the second of January in the village of 
Suishiyei. " The delegates on both sides are to be 
invested with full powers to sign the capitulation, which 
shall take place immediately after signing and without 
waiting for further approval." 

From camp to camp ran the rumour of this 
momentous decision, and was received with shouts of 
" Banzai ! " But the dominant note was relief rather 
than exultation. A great burden had been lifted, and 
men breathed more freely when they realised that the 
long struggle was over, and that Port Arthur had 
surrendered without a last and bloody sensation. 

Suishiyei was once a prosperous Chinese village 
between the fort ridges and the mountains on the 
North. Twixt the hammer of Japan and the anvil of 

344 Jftom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

Russia it had been pounded into a heap of stones, out 
of which rose blackened gables and one solitary group 
of thatched cottages. 

To this ruined and deserted hamlet came the 
delegates of General Stoessel and General Nogi. They 
passed through a broad gateway — which bore in 
Japanese characters the legend, " The road to peace ** — 
and vanished from the gaze of a few casual spectators. 
Plum Tree Cottage — named after its owner — was a 
straw-thatched hovel consisting of two small rooms, 
which until a few days before served as a field hospital. 
Here the delegates met at noon. General Reiss, who 
represented the Russians, rode from Port Arthur with 
a small escort of Cossacks, and was accompanied by 
three colonels, the captain of the Retvisan, Count 
Ballascehoff, head of the Red Cross Society, a lieutenant 
and a midshipman. General Ijichi and General Reiss 
having shaken hands and exchanged compliments, 
presented their comrades, who conversed through 
interpreters. At twenty minutes after one o'clock the 
terms of capitulation were handed to General Reiss, who 
was invited to remain with his colleagues and to read 
over the documents. One hour was allowed for their 
perusal. Before the Japanese delegates retired to the 
adjoining room they were asked if the conditions were 
final. General Ijichi replied that they were final, but 
that he would gladly listen to any suggestions. The 
delegates then separated. 

Xtbe Surrender 345 

The conference was renewed at half past two 
o'clock, when General Reiss made several proposals and 
inquiries. He asked that the soldiers and sailors might 
be allowed to return to Russia ; that the horses in Port 
Arthur should not be handed over to the Japanese ; that 
each officer should be allowed one orderly ; that the 
buildings of the Red Cross Society should remain the 
property of the Society and should not be changed ; 
that a telegram might be sent to the Czar requesting 
leave to accept parole ; and that a certain amount of 
personal baggage should be permitted to each officer. 
The battle ships and cruisers, he said, had been 
destroyed, and the regimental colours had been burned, 
so that none of these could be surrendered. 

General Ijichi replied that the soldiers and sailors 
must be treated as prisoners of war ; that the horses 
must be handed over ; that each officer would be 
allowed one orderly ; that the buildings of the Red 
Cross Society would remain untouched ; that a telegram 
would be sent to the Czar provided it was written in 
English ; that officers would be allowed to take with 
them personal baggage equal in amount to that of 
Japanese officers of the same rank. 

While these points were under discussion a message 
arrived by telephone from General Nogi's Head- 
quarters to the effisct that a serious fire had broken out 
in Port Arthur, and that some deserters from the forts 
had passed beyond the enemy's lines. General Ijichi 
warmly protested against such conduct^ and threatened 

346 jfrom tbe l^alu to port artbur 

to break off negotiations if there was any further 
attempt at destruction of property in Port Arthur. A 
letter was accordingly written and despatched to 
General Stoessel, who immediately took steps to 
prevent any further acts of incendiaries. At half past 
four o'clock the conference ended, and messages were 
despatched to General Nogi and General Stoessel asking 
for a suspension of hostilities. The armistice began at 
thirty-five minutes after four o'clock on the second day 
of the month ; five hours later a telegram was sent to 
the Czar, the delegates dined together, and fair copies 
of the terms of capitulation were made in English and 

The negotiations were conducted in English, the 
midshipman who accompanied General Reiss acting as 
interpreter for the Russians. At a quarter to ten 
o'clock on the same night General Reiss and General 
Ijichi signed the articles of capitulation, and Port 
Arthur passed out of Russian control. 

Committees of Russian and Japanese officers were 
appointed to carry out the conditions of capitulation, 
and to attend to details concerning the persons and 
properties of residents in the city. On the following 
day Captain Tsunoda called upon General Stoessel to 
invite him to meet General Nogi, and to inform him of 
the message sent by the Mikado commanding that the 
garrison should be treated with generous consideration, 
and that officers should be permitted to retain their 

Zbc Surrender 347 

General Stoessel was anxious to know the where- 
abouts of General Kuropatkin, from whom on October 
the 6th he had a letter saying that he would soon come 
to the relief of Port Arthur. Toward the end of the 
same month he received another communication to the 
effect that General Kuropatkin had made his attempt 
and failed. Chinese spies none the less reported that 
the relieving force was already in the Kinchaw peninsula. 

" Where is Kuropatkin ? '' asked General Stoessel. 

Captain Tsunoda replied that he did not know, 
though he believed him to be somewhere in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mukden. 

Thereupon the General took out a map, and 
pointing to the Sha-ho remarked that General 
Kuropatkin must be near that river. "Is it not so ?'* 
he asked. 

Captain Tsunoda replied : " Yes. He was defeated 
by the army of Field-Marshal Oyama near the Sha-ho, 
and was compelled to retire after losing between fifty 
and sixty thousand men. Russians and Japanese are 
now facing one another on the banks of that river.*' 

General StoesseFs next inquiry was after the Baltic 
fleet. Where was that ? 

Captain Tsunoda replied that according to newspaper 
accounts the fleet had not yet passed the Cape of Good 

At this news General Stoessel looked grave and 
said with emphasis : " Now that Port Arthur has fallen 
it is useless for the Baltic fleet to come." 

348 iftom tbe lain to pott artbur 

Invited to state what had caused the greatest loss 
and inconvenience to the defenders, General Stoessel 
immediately declared that it was undoubtedly the shells 
of the eleven inch howitzers. Since the arrival of these 
guns the defence works were practically useless. 
Speaking of men the General said that he had strongly 
opposed General Sakaroif*s plan of constructing a 
harbour and dockyard at Dalny before the fortification 
of Port Arthur was completed. When the Japanese 
fleet attacked in February last he was filled with alarm, 
as the forts were only half ready and the garrison was 
between two and three thousand men. If the Japanese 
had known they might have walked into Port Arthur 
at that time. 

General Kondrachenko was killed by a shell in 
North Fort. According to every naval and military 
officer with whom I have spoken, General Kondrachenko 
was the heart and soul of the defence. He was every- 
where, and his influence was felt on all sides. In 
devising schemes of defence his ingenuity and energy 
were unfailing. He was to be found always in the 
thick of the fight, yet no detail escaped his vigilance and 
his resource, while his industry and his contempt of 
danger appeared boundless. With Kondrachenko's 
death the story of the brave defence of the fortress 
ended. There was none to take his place. General 
Stoessel might well speak of him as a hero. 

Referring to the origin of the war. General Stoessel 
declared that from the first he was opposed to hostilities. 

XTbe Surten^er 349 

" Some people/' he added, " believe that Admiral 
Alexieff was the real cause of the war. I deny it. 
Alexieff never wanted war. We were both in China 
during the Boxer trouble and knew the qualities of the 
Japanese troops. In that expedition the lion's share of 
the work was done by the Japanese and by my Third 

The real cause of the war, in General StoesseFs 
opinion, was the ignorance of the Russian people (sicjy 
who knew nothing of the fighting capacity of the 
Japanese. As for himself, he remarked that he ought 
to be in the North with his division. He praised 
highly the pluck and patience of the Japanese soldiers. 
The artillery he did not consider good at first, though 
he had since recognised its excellence, especially in 
concentrated fire. The General went on to speak of his 
own experiences. " I have served in three wars — in the 
Turkish war as a captain and Staff ofBcer, in the Boxer 
expedition, and at Port Arthur. I have been thrice 
wounded. This time a splinter of a shell wounded me 
slightly on the forehead. I have served my country 
well, and desire nothing more than to end my days in 
the country with the members of my family." 

Chapter XLII 


General Nogi is a grim old warrior — a silent, sombre, 
passionate man. Every line of his spare figure and 
dark face, and every hair of his grizzly beard, stands for 
strength and energy and resolute will. That is one 
side of his character graven on the forts of Port Arthur. 
There is another side. When General Nogi grasps 
your hand and holds it fast, the stern warrior vanishes, 
and you are in the presence of a courtly soldier whose 
eye beams benevolence. A frank, cordial man, toward 
whom you are drawn as to an old friend. 

Thus he appeared to General Stoessel when victor 
and vanquished met amid the ruins of Suishiyei. " I 
had not expected to meet so pleasant a gentleman,'* was 
the comment of the Russian commander. " He seemed 
more like a friend of long standing than the leader of a 
hostile army.*' 

The meeting took place in the cottage where the 
capitulation of the fortress was signed. General 
Stoessel came early. The officer appointed to escort 


him galloped through the fragments of the village in 
vain pursuit. Hot and breathless he arrived to find 
that the General had dismounted and was already in 
Plum Tree Cottage. General Nogi followed in due 
time. Firmly seated on a prancing bay he looked a 
born leader. Ten years had been lifted from his 
shoulders since the morning of the New Year. 

Of the interview between the two soldiers I shall 
not repeat the details. It was characteristic that the 
first words should be of the Emperor to whose 
" illustrious virtues '' are ascribed all victories. 

General Nogi made known his Sovereign's command 
that the officers who had gallantly defended the citadel 
should be treated with the greatest consideration. " It 
is his Imperial desire that you should retain your 

General Stoessel was grateful. " By the kindness 
of your Emperor the honour of my family is preserved, 
and that of my comrades.'' Alluding to the death of 
two sons of General Nogi, the Russian commander 
observed : " It is this readiness to sacrifice all on the 
altar of country that makes the Japanese so formidable 
in war." 

Smiling, after the manner of Japanese when 
speaking of a sorrow of their own, General Nogi was 
glad that the lives of his children had not been given in 
vain. One was slain at Nansan, the other on 203 
Metre Hill. "Both these positions were of supreme 
importance, and my sons died well." 

352 jfrom tbe IBalu to port Hrtbur 

At the close of the interview General Stoessel asked 
the Japanese leader to accept his favourite charger. 

The offer was courteously declined on the ground 
that all spoils of war were the property of Japan. " I 
could not think of accepting so valuable a present for 
myself.'* He promised, however, to receive the horse 
on behalf of the Army, and to see that it was treated as 
became the charger of a gallant soldier. 

The Russian commander seemed astonished at this 
self-denial, but appreciated the motive that inspired the 
refusal of his gift. When they came out of the hovel 
General Stoessel mounted his white Arab and, exhibiting 
its paces, rode back to Port Arthur. As he passed from 
the compound into the street his glance rested for a 
second on a burial party. They were exhuming the 
bodies of comrades who had laid long in the shadow of 
the cottage. 

A week later — on the 12th— I saw General Stoessel 
once more. He was no longer on horseback. His 
herculean frame was wedged in a drosky and he was on 
the way to Dalny. In seven days he had grown older. 
His heavy face wore a strained and anxious look, and 
he had the manner of a man whose thoughts were not in 
the present. Such a look I have seen on the face of 
one who had gone through a fierce ordeal and was still 
doubtful of the issue — the face of a man waiting for the 
verdict. He was accompanied by his wife — a big, 
matronly woman — whose motherly eye glanced over a 
procession of orphans each armed with a doll. Madam 

'a:be XEwo Xca&ere 353 

Stoessel was in black, and over her head was thrown a 
black shawl. It was a pathetic little group, though 
somehow it reminded me of Mrs. Cronje, wife of the 
famous Boer general, who also in like circumstances 
showed a fine contempt for feminine adornments. The 
railway platform at Choreisei was crowded with smartly- 
dressed Russian officers and ladies, several of whom 
were in mourning. The long line of open trucks 
filled rapidly with baggage and soldiers and sailors on 
their way to prison in a foreign land. They appeared 
to have no anxiety save that which arose from the risk 
of being left behind. General Stoessel shook hands 
with some of his comrades and embraced his aides-de- 
camp, kissing them on both cheeks. As soon as he 
entered the saloon carriage the signal was given, and, 
amid profound silence, the defender of Port Arthur 
vanished from the scene. 

A veil of mist lay over the narrow peninsula on 
the morning of the 13th when I crossed the mountain 
range for the last time, and, descending into the valley, 
reached the main road to Port Arthur. Carts laden 
with personal baggage and droskies carrying Russian 
officers and ladies — healthy and cheerful — passed me on 
their way to Choreisei. Soldiers were mustering for 
review, and hills that for ten days had been silent as the 
grave awoke to a new and resounding life. Grim 
objects slipped by unheeded — trenches, barbed wire- 
entanglements, chevaux de frise^ trous de loups^ bomb 
proofs. They looked like familiar landmarks, and had 

354 iFtom tbe J^alu to port Hrtbut 

ceased to be engines of death. At the gate leading to 
the Old Town stood a Japanese sentinel keeping watch 
over a park of field artillery. We crossed an open 
space guarded by immense earthworks, and came at 
last to the town of long narrow streets and low houses. 
The shutters were closed and the place was deserted 
save for a few hospital nurses and children. 

As we approached the harbour we began to realise 
that we were in a city that had been bombarded and 
besieged for one hundred and forty-eight days. Nearly 
every building bore marks of violence. When shells 
had been merciful, fire had not spared. A dusty heap 
of stones and charred beams out of which stuck the 
fragments of a printing press, revealed the sudden close 
of newspaper enterprise ; and Sikh watchmen, who 
smiled a welcome to the English sahib y kept ward over 
smouldering shop and warehouse. Havoc reigned close 
to the harbour, which had been shelled from sea and 
shore. In the narrow dock lay the Amur — an inert 
black mass : and in the broader waters beyond were 
piled up battleships and cruisers that had swept the 
Eastern seas and defied the might and majesty of Japan. 
Maimed they were and broken, like warriors sorely 
wounded in battle — not dead, but sleeping with their 
armour laid aside. Crossing the bridge over a lagoon 
we peered into a submarine armoury. The shallow 
waters were paved with rifles and shells, and we felt that 
we had discovered the secret of the failure of ammuni- 
tion, and the surrender of only thirty-five thousand 
small arms. 

What we found in Port Arthur 

What we found In Port Arthur 

[ facing p. 354 


XCbe XTwo Xea&ers 355 

The New Town has none of the characteristics of 
the old. It is essentially new and Western. Trim 
villas and great edifices of brick and stucco rise from 
wide open spaces in which you can breathe and move. 
Here the damage was not apparent, and you had to look 
long and closely to discover traces of bombardment. 
Yet there were signs and tokens in the Red Cross flags 
that floated over every palatial building to tell of 
wounds and suffering that remained after glory had 

There was no time to investigate. Already the 
head of the column was in sight, and General Nogi and 
his StafF had taken their places to witness the march of 
the victorious army. For nearly two hours there 
passed before us a procession of sturdy men in long 
khaki coats, with bayoneted rifles over their shoulders. 
A German drill sergeant would have wrung his hands 
in despair. Even General Nogi was driven to use 
language that sounded expressive to foreign ears. 
Truth compels me to state that the Japanese look not 
well on parade. They are for use, not for show. Yet 
the sternest of martinets could not have withheld his 
admiration. They were soldiers every inch of them, 
and have proved it on many a bloody field. If they 
stepped high, if their faces flushed, if a proud and 
disdainful look came into their eyes as they glanced 
toward their great leader — who will find fault with their 
alignment and the regulated order of their march ? I 
have seen the soldiers of many nations, yet none have 

z 2 

35^ fftom tbe J2alu to pott Httbut 

impressed me more than these men who are worst of 
all on parade. And the flags — the regimental flags. 
There was a romance of war hidden in the folds of 
every one of them that swept proudly past before 
uncovered heads. Some looked as if they had just 
been broken to the breeze ; others were mere rags 
clinging to bare poles. I would that I could tell you 
the story of each scar — how many brave men died in 
defending them, and how again and again they were 
snatched from dead hands to flout defiance in the face of 
the enemy. 

At the close of this eventful day chance threw me 
in the way of some Russian oflrcers, with whom I talked 
of the defence of Port Arthur. Upon one subject all 
were agreed — that General Stoessel was a man without 
real strength of character, who never visited the forti- 
fications, and was always influenced by the presence of 
his wife and by the Chief of his Staff — a man whom the 
late Mr. Parnell would have described as " very good 
for afternoon tea parties.'* Without hesitation, they 
declared that had General Kondrachenko lived the 
fortress would not have surrendered for at least one 
month. " He was the heart and soul of the defence, 
and with his death came the end.*' Their faith in the 
natural strength of Port Arthur seems to have been 
destroyed. The first line of forts was, in their opinion, 
too near to the town ; the forts were not masked ; the 
guns were badly placed, and made excellent targets : the 
siege guns were not in turrets as they should have 

General Nogi enters Port Arthur. 

Breech of Japanese Siege Gun, Port Arthur 

{facing p. 356 

TLbc TLvoo Xea^ers 357 

been ; there was no head cover for the gun detachments ; 
the bomb proof covers close to the parapets were 
insufficient ; there were no covered lateral lines of 
communication ; there was not enough observation 
points ; the reverse slopes of the hills were under 
indirect fire, and gave no cover for men or guns ; the 
second line of defence was too close to the first, and 
was practically useless. These are a few of the points 
upon which experts will dispute for years to come. 
Russian officers who were in Port Arthur are not likely 
to be moved by these controversies. They have learned 
from bitter experience that Port Arthur was not im- 
pregnable, and believe that time will again demonstrate 
the fact. 

Chapter XLIII 


It may seem ungenerous to attempt to pluck a few 
leaves from the laurels that adorn the brow of General 
Stoessel. But even contemporary history — ever in- 
dulgent toward splendid failure — ends by groping for 
the truth. When paeans are exhausted and the defender 
of Port Arthur is arraigned for criticism, his reputation 
is in danger of the reaction that follows a surfeit of 
praise. The Japanese, who are generous apologists of 
an enemy that kept them at bay for five months, wonder 
why the fortress surrendered. Knowledge of the stores 
of ammunition and food in Port Arthur and of the 
conditions of the garrison has satisfied them that the 
city might have been defended for another three months. 
Even Russian officers — military as well as naval — admit 
that they might have struggled one more month. 

The capitulation of a fortress is justifiable on four 
grounds. The purpose for which it is maintained may 
cease to exist ; its defences may be so weak as to lay it 


Japanese marching into Port Arthur. 

Snapshot of Madame Stoessel. 

{.facing p. 358 

Mby M^ ©eneral Stoessel SurrenDet ? 359 

open to immediate capture by assault ; its ammunition 
and food may be exhausted ; and the condition of the 
garrison from wounds and sickness may turn the balance 
of humanity against that of military expediency. Each 
of these reasons has been advanced in support of the 
surrender of Port Arthur. Let us consider them in the 
order of their importance. 

Had the purpose for which the fortress was 
defended ceased to exist ? Port Arthur served two 
objects. Primarily it was a naval base, and the hope of 
Russia was that the battleships and cruisers in its 
harbours would in due time raise the blockade and 
co-operate with the Baltic fleet. To this end, according 
to Admiral Wiren, the remnant of the Pacific squadron 
sought to preserve its existence by avoiding engagement 
with the overwhelming force of the enemy. The 
capture of 203 Metre Hill and the consequent destruc- 
tion of the ships removed that hope and with it one 
purpose of the defence. There was, however, another 
object of almost equal importance. No one who was 
familiar with the conditions in Manchuria could doubt 
that the retention of Port Arthur seriously embarrassed 
the operations of Field-Marshal Oyama. It robbed the 
Japanese of the fruit of victory at Liao-yang, and 
reduced them to three months inactivity before Mukden. 
Every day that General Stoessel held out brought 
reinforcements to General Kuropatkin, and kept from 
him an army of one hundred thousand men experienced 
in the most desperate school of war. For that reason 

36o jfrom tbe ISalu to ©ort Hrtbur 

General Stoessel ought to have kept his flag flying over 
Port Arthur until the last shot had been spent. 

Were the defences so weak as to lay the fortress 
open to capture by assault ? General Reiss, Chief of 
the StaflT, and, probably. General Stoessel himself, held 
that opinion, and sought to avert the horrors of a citadel 
taken by storm. The situation at the moment of sur- 
render may be briefly described. On the morning of 
December 31st the Japanese destroyed Sungshushan at 
the Western extremity of the Eastern fort ridge — the 
centre of the main line of defensive works. Sung- 
shushan occupied a strong natural position, though it 
was under fire from the supporting fort and could be 
enfiladed from Idjesham — also a strong fort — and from 
Antzushan, a battery position, across the gorge of 
Suishiyei valley. These three positions remained to the 
last in the hands of the Russians. Late in the afternoon 
of the 31st the Japanese advanced from Sungshushan 
and seized the battery position, known as Eboshiyama, 
to the rear of the fort. At the same time the 9th Divi- 
sion made an assault on the Chinese wall, breached it 
near East Panlung, and, pouring through the gap, drove 
the enemy along the trenches to the neck between 
H. fort and Bodai, or Wantai. Before midnight 
General Nogi was in possession of all the higher hills 
of the fort ridge from East Panlung Westward to 
Sungshushan, except the supporting fort. On the first 
day of the new year the assaulting force was under the 
battery position of Bodai — a lofty height on the narrow 

XPttlbi^ M5 (Beneral Stoessel Surrenbet? 361 

peak of which were posted two six-inch guns. Again 
and again this hill was stormed, and was finally carried 
with a brilliant rush. 

From Bodai the Japanese looked down over the 
second line of defences into the heart of the city. 
During the night of January ist — after negotiations for 
the capitulation had begun — when the Russians were 
busy exploding their battle ships with torpedoes and 
sinking small vessels at the entrance to the harbour, the 
Japanese advanced from Bodai to the back of East 
Keekwan. At two o'clock next morning the enemy 
blew up several mines in the concrete foundations of 
that fort and reduced it to a heap of debris. At dawn 
of the day on which the capitulation was signed the 
Japanese held the Western half of the Eastern fort 
ridge from East Keekwan to Sungshushan, and were 
firmly established along the centre of the main line of 
defensive works. 

The second line of defence has been described as 
" strong '' — a term that can hardly be applied to a line 
of entrenched hills dominated by the fort ridge in 
possession of an enemy. The fact is that experience 
revealed serious defects in the natural strength of Port 
Arthur. In some respects the Russian line was admirable 
for defence. It had a clear field of fire, excellent 
observation points, and commanded mutual support 
among the forts. But it had one grave and incurable 
defect. The line of forts was too near to the city, so 
that magazines, workshops, supply depots, and barracks 

362 jfrom tbe 13alu to port Httbut 

were under constant fire from the line of hills parallel 
to, and only four thousand yards from, the forts. 

The question whether, under these conditions, the 
citadel was in immediate danger of capture by assault is 
one upon which experts will differ. It must, however, 
be borne in mind that the Japanese were not likely to 
renew the attacks that ended so disastrously in August 
and September. Experience had taught them to temper 
the bayonet with the sap and the mine. They had 
reconciled themselves to a scientific siege, and would 
not easily have been tempted to abandon this slow yet 
sure method for the hazard of another series of hand-to- 
hand encounters. Had General Stoessel been resolute 
to resist to the end there were positions still capable of 
defence that could have been reduced only by weeks of 
sapping and mining. 

I come now to the chief reason assigned by General 
Stoessel, General Reiss, and naval and military officers, 
with many of whom I discussed the subject : — That 
ammunition and food were running short. Except in an 
official report of General Stoessel, it was never pretended 
that these supplies were exhausted. The Japanese 
declared that when they entered Port Arthur they found 
one of the principal magazines untouched. This, Russian 
officers emphatically denied. They asserted that the only 
shells were those in the forts, that there was no reserve of 
heavy ammunition, and that the magazine contained 
nothing save shells for small quick-firing naval guns. 
Of powder and rifle cartridges they acknowledged that 

Mb^ M^ (Bcncval Stoessel Sutren&er? 363 

there was a limited supply, and the shallow waters of 
the harbour showed that many shells and rifles were 
deliberately thrown away. Official statistics published 
by the Japanese gave the number of shells left in the 
fortress at 82,670. We were not told whether they 
were for heavy or for light guns, though we may fairly 
assume that the greater part were for heavy artillery. 
Moreover the Russians were able to make use of the 
eleven-inch howitzer shells of the Japanese, a small 
proportion of which remained unexploded owing to the 
nature of the soil where they struck. The difference in 
the rifling of the Russian and Japanese guns made these 
shells available. Of rifle cartridges there remained 
2,266,800, together with over thirty tons of powder, 
and the means of converting it into small-arms ammuni- 
tion. These supplies cannot be described as great, yet 
they would have sufliced to prolong the defence for at 
least one month. 

Food was abundant, and it can never be maintained 
that the garrison was on the edge of starvation. Some 
figures put this contention out of court. There were 
in Port Arthur at the time of surrender — 1,422,000 lbs. 
of flour, 4,400 lbs. of barley, 176,000 lbs. of crushed 
wheat, 2,970 lbs. of rice, 30,800 lbs. of mealie meal or 
maize, 132,000 lbs. of biscuit, 77,000 lbs. of corned 
beef, 770,000 lbs. of salt, 44,000 lbs. of sugar, 1,375,000 
lbs. of beans, 1,900 horses in fine condition, and 50,000 
roubles in cash. In the naval depot were five hundred 
tons of biscuit, 250 tons of new flour — brought one 

364 JFvom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

month before by the " King Arthur '' — 400 tons of flour of 
earlier import, 40 tons of sugar, 2 tons of butter, some 
barrels of salt beef, 75,000 tons of Cardiff coal, 15,000 
tons of briquette coal, and 55,000 tons of Japanese coal. 

There was an almost inexhaustible store of vodka, 
beer, champagne and other wines — " too great a store,'* 
was the significant comment of a Russian admiral. 
Tobacco, cigars and cigarettes were in abundance. No 
private stores were commandeered, and civilians who 
had foresight or money suflFered no privation — fresh 
beef, pork, poultry and other luxuries being obtainable 
at a price. The poor, for the most part, lived on black 
bread and tea — a diet not less nutritious than that of 
the Japanese soldiers, and one to which the Russian 
peasant and soldier is well accustomed. There was no 
lack of water, and vegetables alone were wanting. 

The civilian population, which included five 
hundred women and children, looked in good health, 
and readily admitted that they had suflFered little or 
nothing from disease or scarcity of supplies. Only 
seventy-five, including Chinese, had been killed or 
wounded by shell fire — about one-third of the number 
of civilians injured by casual shell fire in Ladysmith. 
It is due to the garrison also to state that every officer 
with whom I spoke made no pretence of having suffered 
from failure of food supplies. When a Russian ofl[icer 
admits so much you may rest content that he lived in 
comparative comfort. The men who marched to 
Pigeon Bay and thence to the railway station showed 

Mbu Mb ©eneral Stoessel Surrender? 365 

no signs of starvation. Many had just been discharged 
from hospital, and nine thousand five hundred had been 
almost continuously on duty in the forts. Yet they 
were able to march nearly twenty miles and to bivouack 
in the open. I could not help contrasting their 
appearance with that of the garrison in Ladysmith 
during the last days of the siege. When Sir George 
White sent a few companies of picked men to try and 
cut off the retreating Boers, the men were able to walk 
only three or four miles and had to be carried back to 

There remains the fourth justification for surrender 
— a justification that may be pleaded by humanitarians, 
but not by those who believe that the first duty of a 
commander in the field is toward the living and not 
toward the dead and dying. The condition of the 
sick and wounded in Port Arthur was undoubtedly 
deplorable. Yet it was not so terrible as the first 
Russian statements led us to believe. In his despatch 
to the Czar, dated December 28th, General Stoessel 
wrote : — " The position of the fortress is becoming very 
painful, our principal enemies are scurvy, which is 
mowing down men, and eleven-inch shells which know 
no obstacle, and against which there is no protection. 
There remain only a few who have not been attacked 
by scurvy. We have taken all possible measures, but 
the disease is spreading. The passive endurance of the 
enemy's bombardment, the eleven-inch shells, the 
impossibility of replying for want of ammunition, the 

366 jfrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

outbreak of scurvy, and the loss of a mass of officers — 
all these causes diminish daily the capabilities of the 
defence, and the tale of losses of higher officers is an 
indication of the enormous losses we have sustained.'* 
At the conference which arranged the terms of sur- 
render, Count Ballaschoff, chief of the Red Cross 
Society, stated that in the hospitals were over twenty 
thousand sick and wounded, for whom there were 
neither drugs nor bandages. That number was after- 
wards reduced to fifteen thousand. At the same time 
we were told that when communication with the North 
was broken the garrison in Port Arthur — exclusive of 
naval men — numbered 35,000 ; that between fifteen and 
sixteen thousand had died during the siege, and that 
there remained only between nine and ten thousand 
combatants, of whom five thousand were effective. We 
were also informed that fifty per cent, of the officers 
had been killed, and that only twenty-eight officers 
had passed through the ordeal unscathed. 

It is impossible to reconcile these statements with 
the ascertained facts. Exclusive of those in hospital 
there actually surrendered 28,562 soldiers and naval 
men, not counting volunteers. They are accounted for 
thus : — Generals, 8 ; field officers, 57 ; officers below 
field rank, 531 ; officers in civilian branches, 99; sur- 
geons, 109 ; chaplains, 13 ; non-commissioned officers 
and men, 22,434 — total for the army, 23,251. 
Admirals, 4 ; captains of ships, 100 ; lieutenants, 200 ; 
chaplains, 7 ; sailors and marines, 4,500 ; civilian 

Mb^ Mb (Beneral Stocssel Surrender? 367 

officers of the navy, 500 — total for the navy, 5,311. 
In addition to these were 3,645 men described as non- 
combatants, all of whom had either served in the army 
or were liable to be called to the colours, and most of 
whom had been volunteers during the siege. With 
few exceptions these 32,207 men were able to walk 
twenty miles to the railway outside Port Arthur, and 
to endure the exposure of a winter without bivouack 
without any apparent suffering. Moreover, when it 
became known that they were to be deported to Japan 
four thousand patients quitted the hospitals, fearing, as 
one of their own officers did not scruple to say to me, 
that they might be released and sent back to the war ! 

These figures — even more than the appearance ot 
the prisoners and their capacity to perform a long march 
— show that the conditions of the garrison was not so 
terrible as it was represented by the Russians. Among 
the sick and wounded the suffering was great — as it 
must always be in an invested and bombarded city — and 
General Stoessel may have succumbed to the imperative 
calls of humanity. History will pronounce judgment 
upon his action, and will, doubtless, say that it was at 
least premature. Meanwhile, the impression must 
prevail that the last days of Port Arthur were less 
glorious than the first, and that it was the General, and 
not the garrison that surrendered. | 

Chapter XLIV 


In all respects, save one, the Japanese field guns are 
inferior to the Russian. They have a shorter range ; 
their projectiles are lighter ; they are less mobile, and 
they are not quick firers. Their one claim to superiority 
is the high explosive used in the common shell. The 
battle of the Yalu is, perhaps, responsible for the 
extravagant estimate of the Japanese artillery. But it 
must be borne in mind that in the bombardment of 
April 30th it was howitzers, and not field guns, that 
wrought havoc with the Russian positions, and that on 
May 1st the Russian guns fired only six shots. 

The Japanese are a practical people, and acknow- 
ledge their inferiority in this arm. In the Japanese 
army there are nineteen regiments of artillery, each 
under a colonel. Five of these are mountain and 
fourteen field, and their combined strength is one 
hundred and fourteen batteries of six hundred and 
eighty-four guns. Each battery is armed with the 







Japanese ©un6 an& Iborses 369 

seven-and-a-half centimetre steel gun made at the Osaka 
Arsenal. Field and mountain guns are of the same 
calibre and take the same shell, though the difference in 
length, charge, and range is considerable. The tangent 
sight of the field gun is graduated up to 6,200 metres, 
and that of the mountain gun to 4,300 metres. The 
projectile of each gun weighs about eleven pounds, and 
the guns are not quick firers, though the recoil is 
reduced to a minimum by means of drag-shoes under 
each wheel. The time fuse in field and mountain guns 
can be set up to a range of 4,800 meters ; the ammuni- 
tion is not " fixed,'' but the cartridges are contained in 
brass cases, with percussion caps in the base. 

So much for the gun which may be described as 
inferior — except as to the time and use — to the gun 
used by us in South Africa at the beginning of the war. 

The mobility of the field artillery is seriously 
affected by the inferior quality of the draught horses. 
As we saw on July 31st one division was able to bring 
into action only thirteen field guns, notwithstanding the 
use of double teams. The horses are small and badly 
trained, and the march of the artillery in mountainous 
country is slow. These defects in material are not 
altogether neutralised by the skill and coolness of the 
gunners, who handle their weapons with the utmost 
confidence, and are clever in selecting a target as well 
as in aiming and laying the guns. 

In the use of common shell the Japanese have 
departed from the usual practice of European artillery. 

370 ffrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

There have, it is true, been occasions when they were 
forced to employ common shell instead of shrapnel, 
because of the limitations of the time fuse. But 
experience in Manchuria, as in South Africa, has shown 
that the effect of shrapnel is over-estimated, and that 
common shell with an explosive as powerful as that 
invented by the Japanese is often more destructive, 
even under conditions that would suggest shrapnel to a 
European gunner. 

At the battle of the Yalu the combination of 
common shell with shrapnel proved irresistible against 
trenches and troops scattered as well as massed. In the 
opinion of men qualified to pass judgment we ought to 
pay more attention to the use of common shell, and 
should add a considerable proportion of such shells to 
our field battery equipment. This, I believe, will now 
be done, seeing that a new high explosive for field use 
has been invented. 

On the other hand, the Japanese might learn from 
us the advantage of indirect laying of telescopic sights, 
of avoiding sky-line positions, of not always waiting for 
the enemy*s fire, and of moving their guns in action so 
as to give the infantry their full support at critical 
moments of attack. 

Many censures have been passed on the Japanese 
cavalry. It is only fair to admit that these judgments 
are based on observation of a few isolated units. No 
foreign attachty and no foreign correspondent has 
seen even a troop of cavalry in action or on patrol. 


Japanese ©uns anb Iborses 371 

This is not a country for cavalry, as the Cossacks have 
found. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it is 
impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Japanese 
cavalry horse — like the artillery horse — is poor and 
weak and badly trained ; that his equipment is not 
made on scientific principles, and that the Japanese are 
bad horsemen and worse horse masters. Most of the 
horses that we see are stallions, and are noisy and 
disorderly ; the saddles are ill-fitting, and are often on 
the withers of the horse ; the seat of the rider is not 
well balanced ; the curb and snaffle are in constant use, 
even at a walk. The result of these defects was a very 
large percentage of saddle galls and fistulous withers. 

Having said this much in condemnation, let me 
give the opinion of a Japanese cavalry officer. There 
is, as we in Great Britain have long known, no more 
conservative soldier than the cavalryman — none more 
tenacious in upholding the traditions of the horse, the 
carbine, the lance, and the sabre in war. 

" You condemn our cavalry,'' said the officer, 
" because they look poor and small by the side of your 
European horses. Well, our infantry soldiers are 
darker and smaller than the soldiers of Europe, yet they 
do very well, don't they ?'' 

I had to admit this dangerous argument by 

" Let me begin with the reputed defects," he 
continued. " Our cavalry horse averages between 
fourteen and fifteen hands, and weighs about one 

AA 2 

372 jfrom tbe IJalu to pott artbur 

thousand pounds. The average weight of a cavalry 
soldier, apart from his equipment, is one hundred and 
twenty pounds. He can march twenty-five miles a day, 
and on a good road can trot seven-and-a-half miles an 
hour — a little quicker than the Russian horse, and a 
trifle slower than the German. Judging by camps, the 
speed of the Russian cavalry is not greater than that of 
our cavalry. Horses enter the service when two years 
old ; in the third year they are gelded, and do not go 
into the ranks until the fifth year. They have, there- 
fore, three years training before they become troop 
horses. The object of this preparation is to develop 
their speed, endurance, and carrying capacity, to 
improve their physique, and to teach them habits of 
obedience. In the ranks they are neither quarrelsome 
nor noisy, and one dismounted man can easily control 
twelve or thirteen horses. I admit that there is a large 
percentage of sore backs, but in that respect we are not 
alone. In the Boxer Expedition I noticed that the 
British and German cavalry horses suffered from sore 
backs. At the same time I acknowledge that our twenty 
per cent, sore backs is very high. This is due partly to 
the structure of the Japanese horse, partly to the 
seat of the rider, to the shape of the saddle, to the bad 
roads, and to the constant changes of speed. Our 
saddle is not well made and is still ill-fitting. The 
Russian saddle is much better ; it is lighter and more 
convenient ; the numnah is attached to the saddle, and 
there is comparatively little weight thrown on the 

Japanese ©uns an& Iborses 373 

withers of the horse. In the Russian cavalry there are 
few sore backs. The Japanese soldier is said to be 
always tugging at the reins. This is, no doubt, true, 
but our horses do not hold up their heads like foreign 

I ventured to suggest that this self abasement 
might be cured by not tying up the horses' heads 
between their legs as the habit is in Japan. 

"As to our horses and the possibilities of improving 
the breed. Our original stock came from Korea." 

Having had some personal experience of the 
vicious little brutes that pass for horses in that 
Peninsula, I am not altogether surprised at their 
descendants in Japan. 

" The first attempt at improvement was made in 
Hokaido, where we introduced the American trotter 
and French horses from Anam, as well as a few 
Hungarians. The American and French horses proved 
failures. The breeding of horses for the army is under 
the control of the Agricultural Department — a great 
mistake, in my opinion, for that Department is apt to 
judge a horse by a standard other than the military. 
The Imperial Household Department has two stud 
farms — one in Shimosa and the other in Sendai. The 
Agricultural Department also has two stud farms in 
Kyushu and Osher, and has introduced the English 
hackney, the English thoroughbred, and the Anglo- 
Arab — a breed of pure Arab improved in England. 
These horses are distributed among the stud farms with 

374 Iftrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbuc 

mares from the several localities. To prevent deteriora- 
tion of the stock, regulations have been made as to 
gelding, but owing to the outbreak of war these regula- 
tions have not been rigorously enforced, nor has proper 
care been taken in the selection of brood mares. 

" The organisation for the supply of military horses 
is simple. There is a central depot, with branches in 
Nokaido, Sanbogi, Rokurhara, Kaijiyasawa, Shirakawa, 
Taisen and Takahara. At these branch dep6ts the 
horses are trained and prepared for service. There is, 
of course, some difference of opinion as to the best 
horses for improving our stock, but the judgment of 
the majority is in favour of the English hackney, the 
English thoroughbred and the Anglo-Arab for cavalry, 
and the Anglo-Norman for artillery. 

" Our horses remain in the ranks for eight years. 
Their feed is ten pounds of barley and five pounds of 
grass, or failing grass, three extra pounds of barley. In 
camp they are fed three times a day and on the march 
twice a day. The diseases from which they suffer are 
anthrax, pneumonia, and indigestion. In one division 
fifteen horses died from eating poisonous grass, and two 
hundred from indigestion, due no doubt to the hard 
barley diet. I forgot to say that it is estimated that in 
Japan — which as you know is a mountainous country 
cut up into paddy fields and therefore not adapted to 
horse exercise — there are are 1,280,000 horses, of which, 
perhaps 300,000 are stallions, and that the yearly 
product is about 100,000." 

5apanc0e (Buns an& Iborses 375 

" My deliberate opinion/' added the Japanese 
colonel, " is that comparing one squadron with another 
the Japanese cavalry will not be found inferior to the 
Russian. Hitherto we have had no opportunity of 
testing our capacity in actual conflict. Here among 
these mountains we can fulfil none of the duties 
assigned to cavalry except those of reconnaissance and 
of guarding the flanks. When the army was concen- 
trating at Anju, we acted as a screen through which the 
enemy could not penetrate to discover our force. 
Again at Wiju we covered the army from Yongampho 
to many miles East, so that the Russians were never 
sure of the point of attack. At Chonju the Russians 
had a big force of cavalry, yet they did not even attempt 
to reconnoitre.'' 

Whatever may be my private opinion of the 
Japanese horse and his rider, I am sure that, had a real 
occasion presented itself, there would have been no 
lack of daring. The Japanese cavalrymen are very 
skilful swordsmen ; but they are wise enough to 
recognise that the rifle or even the carbine is a more 
reliable weapon than the lance or the sabre. As to the 
Russian use of the lance. The circumstantial report of 
a French correspondent describing the annihilation of a 
Japanese squadron by the lances of Cossacks was a pure 
invention. No incident of the kind has happened. 
Only two Russian European regiments carry the lance, 
except on parade, and even they appear to have left it 
carefully at home, for not a single lance has been seen 

37^ JFtom tbe Iffalu to ipott Hrtbut 

save in a General Officer's escort. As a matter of fact 
the only regiment that ever carries the lance in Asia is 
the Cossack regiment in Turkistan. However deeply- 
regretted by Lancer and Hussar, this picturesque 
weapon may be relegated to the museum of military 
antiquities, and take its place by the side of the jingal 
and the halberd. 

Chapter XLV 


Children are the true hero-worshippers, and it is their 
nature to set up their high altar on the gory battlefield 
— the gorier the better. If you want to fathom the 
depth of "original sin'' in the hearts of little cherubs 
who adorn the hearths of peace-loving citizens, you 
must become a General and win a great victory. Then 
your mail-bag will come with the seams burst, and the 
bulk of your letters will be in large, sprawling characters, 
that bespeak much travail of soul and inking of rosy 
fingers. You will have little worshippers and sweet- 
hearts in every land, and proud parents will discover 
their innocent babes setting forth in cold ink sentiments 
that might bring a blush to the cheek of Catherine 
of Russia and fill the breast of Torquemada with envy. 
And you will have to pay the penalty. A widow's 
importunity is not greater than that of the child whose 
mission is to write letters to the famous soldier. You 
will have to employ a special staff of corresponding 


378 jfrotn tbe l^alu to port Hrtbut 

clerks ; to keep a stock of signed photographs on hand, 
and to beg your friends to save all their old postage 
stamps, for the worshippers have albums and no scruples. 

Lord Roberts, when in Bloemfontein, showed me 
some of his children's correspondence. One letter I 
remember. It would have driven Dr. Watts to a new 
verse, for it embodied all the terrors of the Spanish 
Inquisition. This is how it ran : — "Dear Lord Roberts, 
I am glad you have caught Cronje. Mind you keep 
him fast, and don't let him escape. Give him to eat 
everything he does not like, and then he will die. Yours 
affectionately. P.S. — Please send me your photograph 
and some stamps." 

I am reminded of this epistle from a Christian child 
— who, doubtless, goes to Sunday school, and could 
recite the Ten Commandments — by a letter addressed 
to General Kuroki's Army from Harada Ishi, a twelve- 
year-old girl, who attends school at Yotsuya, in Japan. 
"One day I was taking a walk with my sister. Before 
the gate of a certain house stood a very little girl — very 
nice looking. She had with her a little dog, very pretty, 
and said to it : — ' Tama, when the war is over, my father 
will bring back a Russian's head and give it to you. 
So you must be a good dog.' When I looked up at 
the gate there was a plate with the name Lieut.-Colonel 
Katsuda." Thus the daughter, not of Herodias, but of 
a gallant soldier in the Twentieth Century ! 

General Kuroki received many letters from juvenile 
admirers in all parts of the world. Most of them seem 

Cbtlbren ant) tbe Mar 379 

to think that he understands English and keeps an 
unlimited supply of photographs and foreign postage 
stamps. Like Lord Roberts, he insists on an answer 
to all these communications. Perhaps I ought not to 
have made known this weakness. Lest he should suffer 
from my indiscretion, let me hasten to add that the 
General is thinking of some automatic and mechanical 
device that will give him time to attend strictly to the 
business of war. 

The teachers in Japan hit upon an ingenious plan 
for diverting the stream of missives into a wider channel. 
They invited their scholars to send letters and drawings 
to the soldiers at the front. With the aid of an inter- 
preter, I have looked over a batch of this juvenile 
correspondence. Some of the drawings are excellent, 
and show originality as well as artistic ability. They 
might astonish a drill-sergeant and make an artilleryman 
forget to load his gun ; but even then the Russians 
would have the worst of it, for in the pictures, as in the 
field, one Japanese is a match for three " Ruskies," and 
a broom serves to empty Liao-yang and Port Arthur of 
the enemies of Nippon. 

About the letters it would be as hard to generalise 
as it would be about the speeches of British members of 
Parliament when a General Election is approaching. 
One thing only is certain. The girls are better letter- 
writers than the boys, and a Japanese letter looks 
infinitely more artistic than the most finished Italian 
hand. Some of these epistles might be framed and 

38o jf rom tbe Ualu to pott Hrtbut 

hung upon the walls of our drawing-rooms at home, in 
order to show how the characters which Japan has 
inherited from China live and breathe, and have form. 
Their contents are as varied as children's faces. 

Here is a letter from a boy in the Higher Grade 
School at Aoyama. Sato Shoichiro evidently knows 
something of the origin of the War, for he writes : — 

" Russia is one of the greatest Powers in Europe. 
Her dominion extends over one-sixth of the globe. She 
has an Army of nine hundred thousand men, and a 
Navy of fifty warships. Ten years ago, when we won 
the Liao-tung Peninsula from China, after great loss of 
brave men, Russia, backed by Germany and France, told 
us that the Japanese occupation of the Peninsula was 
harmful to the peace of the East. Therefore, we gave 
back the Peninsula to China. Then Russia got a lease 
of Liao-tung for ninety-nine years, entered Korea 
through Manchuria, and tried to press upon Japan. 
After many negotiations war broke out. Since hostilities 
began, Russia, one of the greatest Powers in Europe, 
has been beaten repeatedly by Japan — a small country 
of the East. Not a single victory have the Russians 
won on land or sea. Now Liao-yang has fallen, and 
Port Arthur is expected to fall soon.'' 

Tanaka Sumi is a girl, and does not trouble her 
little head about history, though she reads the news- 
papers. She is twelve years old, and full of enthusiasm. 
" ' Extra Special ! Latest Edition ! ' The cry of the 
newsvendor rings through the street. I always buy a 

Cbil&ren an& tbe Mar 381 

' Special ' and show it to my parents. They read it, for 
it contains news of victory. Our soldiers are fighting, 
and endure all sorts of suffering and privation. What 
fortune for us at home to have been born in such an 
age ! Port Arthur will soon fall. Then another ' Extra 
Special ! * Such repeated victories and no defeats are 
unexampled in history. We thank you brave men of 
the Japanese Army and Navy.'* 

There is at least one little girl in Japan who wishes 
she was a boy. " I am sorry for the soldiers. We are 
much obliged to you. I, too, want to go to the front. 
But I cannot, for I am a girl. Please forgive me." 
Chikako Makino is a little Martha of ten years: — "I 
want to send cakes and tobacco to those who have gone 
to the war for our country." Another ten-year-old, 
Masako Asada, also a girl, as you may guess, writes : — 
" Thank you very much for fighting so bravely — fighting 
not only with the Russians, but with a bad climate and 
with bad insects. Thank you very much. Now it is 
getting cold. Please take care of yourselves." 

Uyemura Kei is a poet and a philosopher, though 
only eleven years old, and a girl. Her letter fromFujimi 
School is very pretty, and ought to be treasured by the 
lucky soldier to whom it is given. "There is a Japanese 
spirit, as there is an English and an American spirit. 
Each has its characteristics. The Japanese spirit is pure 
and noble. It is like unto the cherry blossom. The 
cherry blooms beautiful, and without a breath of regret 
is blown to the winds of heaven. So we live and so we 

382 jfrom tbe ^alxx to pott Hrtbur 

die, counting as naught the life we give for our country. 
That is the secret of victory. Japan is small, but every 
Japanese has this spirit at his birth, and is ready to die 
for Emperor and Fatherland. Therefore, great Russia 
is beaten.'' 

Sasaki Shinki, of Koto School, is only ten years old, 
yet he has some of this spirit, and will one day fight for 
his country. " Japanese soldiers are ready to lay down 
their lives for loyalty. They have the Japanese spirit, 
and, therefore, win every battle. When we grow up we 
want to be soldiers and fight for Fatherland.'' Little 
Miss Nagata, who is nine years old, doubtless, speaks 
the mind of many tiny mites in kimonos who had fathers 
and brothers at the war. " You are all very strong. So 
you always win victories. I am glad of it. I hope the 
war will soon be over and you will come home." 
Kamoshita Kan, a seven-year-old boy of Bancho School, 
is a confident prophet, for he writes: — "You fight for 
Emperor and for us. You are victorious always. Very 
soon you will go to Harbin, and the Sun-flag will wave 
over that city. Then I will shout ' Banzai ! ' for the 
Emperor." Yoshida Ryukichi, another seven-year-old 
boy of Mikawadai School, ought to make a good Special 
Correspondent under rigorous censorship : — " When 
Japanese advance, Russians flee. Some Russians are 
captured. The Czar is crying." 

Here is a letter from a sympathetic little miss, 
Nakagawa Tomiyo, first-year girl in the Lower Grade 
School at Awaji : — " Soldiers, give victory to Japan. I 

Cbtlbten anb tbe Mar 383 

am glad. Soldiers, you must be tired. I sympathise 
with you.*' Ten-year-old Yamaguchi Ume, of Okachi- 
mach, writes : — " Soldiers are working hard. Not much 
water to drink. Never complaining: ever striving: ever 
loyal to Emperor. Ah, how I admire them ! '' These 
children's letters all breathe the spirit of patriotism, and 
it must be acknowledged that in the expression of that 
spirit the girls are more eloquent than the boys. 
Kobayashi Fumi, twelve years of age, who is at Bancho 
School, writes : — " In Manchuria the weather is foul, 
and the enemy are said to be quite brave. But by your 
patient labour and courage we win victories, for which 
we have to thank you heartily. We admire the glory of 
our Emperor and the brave deeds of our soldiers. 
Whenever we hear the cry, ' Extra Special,' we jump for 
joy, and at the same time pray for your safety. It is 
getting very cold. Please, honourable soldiers, take good 
care of yourselves and come back to Japan with honour 
and glory." Kishimoto Toshio, though only twelve 
years old, is a thoughtful little fellow, and has a care for 
those who are stricken in battle. " The Red Cross 
Society has hospitals for the sick and wounded in the 
field. In Japan it originated with a so-called philan- 
thropic association during the Civil War. It is proper 
to help soldiers without making any distinction between 
friend and foe. Both are brave men, fighting for their 

The thoughts of the children turn naturally to 
rejoicing, and there are many descriptions of popular 

384 jptom tbe Kalu to iport artbut 

festivities after the news of victory. I give one example, 
from Aoki Ume, who writes from Honmura School : — 
" I am a girl student of the Second Year Grade School. 
1 am told by my teacher to write you a letter. When I 
was thinking what would interest you most, news came 
of the fall of Liao-yang. Then the citizens of Tokio 
assembled to celebrate the victory. Every street filled 
with flags and lanterns, and the night became as bright as 
day. The lights were reflected on the flags. It was 
very beautiful. We owe you much, for these nice scenes 
are the result of your victories. Banzai ! " 

Chapter XLVI 



I TELL the story as it was told to me by an officer ot 
General Kuroki's Staff. On a bare hill-top, strewn 
with the debris of war, lay fourteen wounded soldiers. 
Through the long, hot day they had fought, and now the 
tide of battle swept on, leaving them like wreckage cast 
up by an angry sea. Eight were bearded men and six 
were smooth-faced Japanese. The golden mist that 
glowed among the giant millet was tinged with crimson. 
Night was about to add her terrors to the stricken field. 
As the shadows stole up the mountain a strange fear 
crept into the hearts of these men. Their eyes grew 
wide with dread at the sights and sounds amid which 
they might sleep the sleep that knows no waking. 
Darkness could not hide the horrors that had burned 

385 BB 

386 jf torn tbe 15alu to port Httbut 

into their brains. To each grim detail the waning light 
gave new and awful realism. Dead eyes looked out 
from under the peaked caps : the broken bayonets bled : 
grisly hands held the paper fans : crimson gashes gaped 
under the red shoulder straps : skeleton fingers turned 
over the stained page of pocket book and diary : 
fountains of blood welled out of rent garments and linen 
bands and strips of cloth that anguished hands had 
pressed into riven flesh : writhing forms covered the 
purple stains : livid arms rose from the red earth and 
beckoned to the common grave : the fragments of shell, 
the spent bullets, the empty cartridge cases and shattered 
rifles roared and hissed and spluttered and flashed — all 
the nameless horrors of the battlefield took shape and 
sound in the twilight. 

A great fear fell upon the survivors and drew them 
together. It was a slow and painful muster. Shot 
through the legs, Sato crawled to Tanaka, whose foot 
had been shattered by a shell. With one arm hanging 
limp, Yamada tore a sleeve from his shirt and pressed it 
against a hole in his side. Nakamura had a bullet in his 
brain, and lay on his back sobbing out his life through 
frothing lips, about which the flies made dark, deep 
lines. A shot had entered Matsumoto's right shoulder, 
passed through the muscles of his back, come out at the 
waist and lodged in his cartridge pouch. His foot 
slipped in a pool of blood, and he fell upon a Russian, 
kneeling with rifle clasped in his arms. The figure 
rolled over and rested at the feet of a soldier, with rigid 

Comrades at Xast 387 

arms stretched to Heaven, whose face was a crawling 
mask of buzzing flies. Kimura was mopping the blood 
from his brow, and had ripped up his trousers to dress a 
wound in his thigh. 

At last the muster was complete, and the little group 
of Japanese began to attend to one another's injuries. 
The Russians were less seriously hurt and assembled 
more quickly. Sato had taken off his putties and was 
binding them round his leg, when he saw the eight 
bearded men. Instinctively he looked round for a rifle, 
but Tanaka laid a hand on his arm. " Don't you see 
that they too are wounded ? '' 

Sato went on winding the putties and took no more 
heed of the enemy. The minutes dragged on : the 
golden mist vanished from the millet fields in the valley, 
and a thin line of crimson stretched along the horizon. 
An awful silence brooded over the hill — broken only by 
the sputtering of foam from the open mouth of dying 

Having dressed their wounds, the men began to 
look about them, and presently the eyes of the two 
groups met. A few hours before they were seeking 
each other's lives. They remembered the mad rush, the 
blistering heat of rifle, the thrust of bayonet, the wild 
shout, and the crimson wall that rose out of the earth 
and crushed them into darkness and oblivion. Long 
and earnestly they gazed, each striving to read the 
other's thoughts. Many stories they had heard of 
atrocities — of murder and mutilation and horrors of 

BB 2 

388 yrom tbe l^alu to port Hrtbur 

which men speak in whispers. The Russians were eight 
and the Japanese only five, for Nakamura did not count, 
being as a dead man. Would they fight : would they 
wait until the night and steal upon them unaware : did 
they see how sorely stricken were their enemies : would 
they avenge the slaughter of their brothers ? 

To these inward questionings they sought answer 
in the faces turned toward them. " They look very 
fierce with their great beards, but their eyes are gentle.'* 
It was Tanaka who spoke — he who had checked the 
impulse of his comrade. 

"They are brave men," added Kimura, who had 
bound his leg and was whisking the flies from the mouth 
of Nakamura. " Yesterday, when we stormed the hill, 
the Russians made a counter attack. They were led by 
a young officer who fought like a lion for his whelps. 
He fell, pierced by many wounds, and was about to 
hand his sword to Lieutenant Katsura, but our officer 
motioned to him to put back the weapon and said : ' No, 
I cannot take from a Samurai his soul.' The Russian 
understood. He was of the Samurai." 

" Let us beckon to them to come over," suggested 
Tanaka. " They will then know that we have no evil 
design." The signal was given, and the eight bearded 
men came without hesitation. Gravely saluting, they 
seated themselves on the ground by the side of their 
friends — the enemy. Of one another's language they 
understood not a word. But speech is a habit, and is 
not to be suppressed merely because it is useless. The 

Comra&es at Xast 389 

men talked, and their voices grew louder and louder, as 
voices are apt to do when they produce no impression. 
When your words are simple and clear it is hard to 
distinguish between ignorance and deafness. After a 
time the visitors fell back upon signs, but to the 
Japanese signs are as unintelligible as Sanscrit. Then 
they began to examine one another's wounds, and shook 
their heads over the prostrate body of Nakamura, whose 
breath came in sharp gasps through bubbles of foam. 
Kimura put his hand into the pocket of his tunic and 
drew forth a book. It was a manual of conversation in 
Russian and Japanese — a collection of formal phrases 
and stilted sentences, such as no sane lips would ever 
frame. Yet they served, for presently Kimura and one 
of the Russians were busily turning over the pages and 
putting their fingers on words that seemed to embody 
the wisdom of the ages and the needs of the moment. 

Before night came these men were comrades, 
sharing their black bread and rice. Sympathy gave 
them understanding, and though they spoke in unknown 
tongues it was established beyond doubt how many had 
left wives and children to pray for them in distant 
homes. Tanaka, with much labour and many searches 
through the manual, asked one of them if he was not 
glad to be wounded, seeing that he might return to his 
family and escape the perils of war. But Sato reproached 
him for suggesting that their Russian comrade was 
wanting in patriotism and would shelter himself behind 
a wound. 

390 jprom tbc l^alu to port Hrtbur 

Thus the hours wore on, and night spread her veil 
over the ghastly forms that lay scattered over the hill- 
top and in the trenches. Very soon the wounds began 
to grow stifF, and fever ran like fire through their veins. 
Nakamura's sobbing had ceased, and his face was rigid in 
death. Kimura rambled in his talk and cried for water 
to quench the fires within. Sato lay back, and would 
have groaned in his agony but for the presence of his 
comrades — the Russians. They understood, for one of 
them rose, and taking three wooden bottles, pointed to 
the valley. He would fetch water for his comrades — 
the wounded Japanese. 

Now every man in that little group knew the risk 
of such an enterprise, for he was aware that the hill 
was in dispute, and that Russians and Japanese were 
watching for any sign that might betray the presence of 
the enemy. The Russian soldier walked to the brow of 
the hill, and looked cautiously about him. Nothing was 
to be seen save the forms of dead men and the blackness 
of the valley. Though he stepped warily, his feet often 
slipped in pools of blood, and stumbled into holes dug 
by high explosive shells. His comrades watched him 
disappear over the crest, and waited. The minutes 
passed with painful slowness. Not a sound broke the 
stillness. He must have reached the foot of the hill. 
Even now he might be filling the water bottles from the 
shallow stream below. Perhaps he was returning, and 
this terrible thirst would end. 

(Tomra^ea at Xast 391 

They strained their ears to catch the first sound 
of a footfall. What was that ? A shot rang out, and 
pierced the darkness like an arrow that quivered in their 
hearts. Then all was silence again. The wounded men 
held their breath and listened. No sound came from 
hill or valley, and they feared greatly for the brave man 
who had risked his life. Long they watched and waited, 
none daring to give voice to his fears. He would never 
return, for in the valley he lay close to the stream, with 
a bullet through his heart. 

Kimura*s ravings had lapsed into unconsciousness, 
and Sato moaned aloud. From the little group rose 
another figure, stalwart and bearded. Without a word or 
a sign he departed. His comrades seemed unconscious 
of his movement, yet they felt that he had taken upon 
himself the agony of their thirst. He passed from the 
hill and vanished in the darkness, following the steps of 
his comrade. Hope revived in the breasts of those who 
watched and waited. Surely, he would return. Harm 
could not come to a brave man who risked his life for 
his enemy. Again that terrible note — sharp and clear — 
the note of a Russian rifle. He, too, would never 
return. The bullet of a comrade had dyed the stream 
with his blood, and the half-filled water bottles 
floated by. 

The survivors on the hill watched no more. Night 
hid their suflFering and their sorrow. At dawn some 
Japanese scouts moved cautiously up the slope, and 
from the brow of the hill saw the six Russian soldiers. 


jfiom tbe 15alu to ipott Hrtbur 

Two shots whistled over their heads — three, four ! 
The Japanese knew the sound, and shouted to their 
comrades. The firing ceased, and the story was 

Two nameless Russian soldiers rest in one grave, 
and on a wooden cross is written in Japanese: 

"Comrades at Last ! *' 




General Fujii, Commandant of the Staff College and 
Chief of General Kuroki's Staff, wrote this interesting 
study of the Russian soldier, on the eve of the war. I 
commend it to the attention of military students as a 
valuable psychological document and a model of direct 
and terse expression. 

" Our enemy is he who burned the city of Moscow 
and conquered the great army of Napoleon by cold, and 
hunger, and exposure ; who fought against China with 
the allied forces of England and France, and who in 
1877 defeated the Turks. For nearly thirty years 
Russia has encountered no foe, so that Europe knows 
nothing of her fighting capacity. It is clear, however, 
from careful study of former wars and from the present 


394 HppenMj 

organisation, training, discipline, and morale of the 
soldiers, as well as from the education of their officers, 
that the Russian troops are by no means so good as 
many critics imagine. 

Let me point out their good and bad qualities : — 

The training of the men is too formal. Lack of 
initiative and of independent action is the weakest point 
of all their officers, if we except the Staff and the 
officers of the Guards who are a little better in that 

The physical strength of the men is great — 
especially in their legs ; their shooting is not very bad ; 
their discipline is maintained not by training so much as 
by the remnant of feudal influence, yet they are not in 
any way chivalrous. They are, in short, imperfectly 
educated, strongly religious, and a nai've sort of people. 
Therefore, if there be a great hero to lead them and set 
them an example in the field they are not men to fear 
death, as was seen at Plevna, where they piled up 
corpses for earthworks and dashed into the enemy's 
trenches. Yet, if they meet any little reverse they are 
at once terrified and panic stricken, and run away in 
confusion. It is, therefore, necessary to frighten them 
at the beginning, whenever we meet them. 

Strength and courage are their characteristics in 
battle, and we must, therefore, always be cool and 
careful, and never venture on any rash movement. 

Attacks on a small scale they like to make in the 
night or at dawn. 

HppenDt£ 395 

They appear to have little practice in independent 
firing, and are fond of firing volleys at any distance. 
Such firing is not very effective. 

Sometimes they occupy a position on the enemy's 
flank and try to enfilade. This they call a * rifle fort.* 

If they have even a trifling success they will strive 
to take the utmost advantage of it. We have to 
remember always that they must be beaten at the outset, 
however slight may be our victory. 

Their outposts are usually stationed at a consider- 
able distance from the main body, especially when they 
occupy a defensive position. 

Their infantry often charge with the bayonet — but 
they have little skill in the use of the bayonet, and none 
at all in individual encounter. 

Their infantry is not clever in making use of 
natural objects for cover, and fights awkwardly in 
uneven and mountainous country, though on the plain 
it is very clever. 

Russian cavalry and sometimes infantry when 
retreating set fire to the villages, so that we cannot 
expect to find shelter and supplies in places they have 

The Cossacks often attack transport trains and lines 
of communication, and it is always necessary to keep 
close watch on both flanks. If once successful in these 
attacks they will make many attempts. 

The Cossacks made no heroic movement in the 
war of 1877, and their reports were always exaggerated. 



They invariably retire when met by a stronger force. 
If our infantry is a little careful we need have no fear 
of the Cossacks. 

A Russian battery consists of eight guns ; they 
have few mountain guns. In the war of 1877 their 
artillery was not able to accomplish much. 

When at war with the Turks their higher officers 
were jealous of each other's success and fame ; often 
they could not agree upon strategic plans, and were 
accordingly unable to make simultaneous movements of 
many divisions under one command. Notwithstanding 
that the Russians had a greater force of cavalry than the 
Turks they could not prevent the enemy from bringing 
supplies into Plevna. 

Amid the snows of Shipka Pass the infantry 
suffered terrible hardships and yet made a terrific 
assault, but this was because the defeat of the Turks 
was no longer in question. 

The Russians sometimes try to carry out the 
wildest plans ; and we must neglect no point however 
impossible of approach it may appear. 

In 1877 the men endured hardships well ; the 
officers did not. 

So changeable are the feelings of the Russians that 
though at one moment they may be in the depths of 
despair, a trifling success will make them bold again 
and remove all fear of their enemy. 

In the war with the Turks there were many mean- 
minded Russian officers who placed their personal 
interest and comfort beyond every other consideration. 

HppcnMj 397 

The Russians often endeavour to draw their enemy 
to a short distance, and then open a terrible fire of rifles 
and artillery. In occupying a position they pay little 
attention to their communications." 

This estimate of the Russian army, adds General 
Fujii, is derived " simply from what I have read and 
heard. It is, of course, essential that we should take 
advantage of their weak points and avoid their strong 
points. Their troops are by no means anything to be 
afraid of, yet it would be a mistake to under-rate them. 
The execution of our plans must always be after more 
than sufficient reconnaissance and preparation, but, once 
begun, the battle, in whatever circumstances, must be 
carried right through until the enemy is crushed. " 

398 HppenMy 



From this Russian study of the Japanese army I make 
the following extracts : — 

" The Japanese soldier is short in stature ; his 
physical development is imperfect, but his frame is 
healthy, and though a trifle slow in action he is 
ingenious and quick of understanding. Light hearted 
and ingenious, his chief qualities are perseverance and 
unselfishness. He can march great distances on very 
little. His wants are few because of the extreme 
simplicity of his home life. During the Boxer trouble 
in 1900 some of the Japanese papers complained that 
the soldiers were required to do long marches with 
heavy equipment, and were much exhausted. The 
Japanese are a military race ; they take readily to a 
soldier's life and adapt themselves easily to discipline, 
non-commissioned officers and men observing even the 
minutest detail of their training and discipline. 

The training of the Japanese Army is modelled on 
the German system of 1880, with some modifications. 
The infantry, whether in company or in battalion, are 
clever in manoeuvring ; their movements are rapid and 
precise, and they have wonderful capacity for marching. 
Their non-commissioned officers are soldiers of some 

BppenMj 399 

years service ; they are intelligent and ingenious, and 
are capable of dealing independently with situations as 
they arise. Their company commanders are intelligent 
and skilled in the management of men. 

Japanese cavalry horses are very poor, weak, and 
badly trained, and are not quiet in the ranks. Every 
man rides after his own fashion, and, generally, his seat 
is neither well balanced nor easy. Curb and snaffle are 
used all the time ; the speed of the horses is not well 
regulated, and the horses do not trot. On the march 
they do not keep together. These defects show that 
the Japanese have no good cavalry instructors, and are 
not trained in the management of animals. This is due 
partly to the physical character of Japan, which has few 
wide plains, and offers few facilities for horsemanship. 
The cavalry equipment is not uniform, and is not 
scientifically made. The saddle is often on the withers 
of the horses, so that when they move quickly the 
riders are much shaken, and the animals develop saddle 
galls and fistulous withers. 

The material and equipment of the artillery are 
fairly good. The horses, however, are small and badly 
trained, and on the march the batteries — especially those 
of later invention — are slow. The gunners are clever 
in handling their weapons, in loading, aiming, and 
selecting a target. They are wonderfully cool, and 
handle their guns with the utmost confidence, but in 
training and discipline they are inferior to the infantry. 
In shooting, their accuracy is about the same as our own. 

400 Hppenbfj 

The infantry march in column of fours ; the 
cavalry in column of threes, and the artillery in single 
column. The average speed of a detachment of these 
arms is from four-and-a-half to five Russian miles an 
hour. Twenty-five paces separate battalions ; forty 
paces separate regiments. They march in large bodies, 
their columns extending over a great distance, a halt of 
from one-and-a-half to two hours being made in each 
march. In war, the Japanese send in front an inde- 
pendent body of horsemen, usually the whole of the 
cavalry attached to the column. The advance guard 
consists of about one-quarter of the infantry, from one- 
seventh to one-third of the artillery, a company of 
sappers, and a troop of cavalry. From this is drawn 
the vanguard — a small detachment of infantry and 
cavalry. The "point" is composed of specially selected 
cavalry, and sends out patrols to the front. They have 
neither flank guards, nor fixed patrols. Occasionally 
they send patrols to examine the locality and to report 
upon the character and topography of the district. As 
in the Russian army, the duties of the advance guard 
vary with the force that follows, with the distance 
marched, and the physical features of the country. 
When the advance guard of a division is in hilly 
country, it always sets out one hour earlier than the 
main body. The component parts and order of a 
column are as follows : — As point, a small body of 
cavalry — about half a squadron — followed by a large 
body of infantry, all the artillery, the rest of the 

Hppcn&ij 401 

infantry, the engineers, and the bridging sections, 
followed by a small rear-guard. One or more divisions 
advance along several roads, and the advance guard is 
sent from one column — generally the central. Con- 
nection among columns marching in the same direction 
is very weak. When retiring, the formation is the same 
as when advancing, though the retirement is covered by 
a rear guard, whose strength and distance from the main 
body are the same as those of an advance guard in an 

Five or six military cyclists are attached to each 
regiment, and do the work of orderlies and patrols. 
Sometimes cyclists are with the advance guard or with 
the point. In a country like Japan, where roads arc 
good and horses few, there is room for military cyclists 
to compete with mounted orderlies. The first baggage 
follows the regiment ; the second baggage is two miles 
behind the rear guard. A divisional train is divided 
into two lines, the first line of wagons being a day*s 
march from its main body, and the second line two days 
march behind the main body. 

In choosing quarters the Japanese are nearly always 
indifferent to their distance from the enemy, and to 
any other circumstance. The infantry are placed in 
front, then the artillery, and after these the cavalry and 
transport trains. The advance guard is stationed about 
one mile from the main force, and goes into quarters. 
The soldiers, when in quarter, never undress. 


402 appenMj 

In the service of security, from one to several 
companies of infantry are used. Each company sends 
out a small number of sentries, who are posted at a 
distance of two miles from the main body. About half 
a mile behind these is a larger number of sentries. 
Each post has three men, one of whom patrols a short ■ 
distance in front of the post. From the picquets patrols 
are sent along the line of sentries. Picquets and patrols 
— large and small — go into quarters, but are ready for 
battle at any moment. When the post of an advance 
guard reaches the line of sentries, the men engaged in 
the service of security rejoin the main body. 

The duties of reconnaissance and cavalry patrols 
are the same as in the Russian army. Their 
reports are usually very detailed, accurate, and trust- 
worthy. When a cavalry patrol meets an enemy it 
takes up a defensive position, but retires if threatened 
by a small body of infantry. Japanese infantry patrols 
are clever in reconnaissance. 

The method of fighting, as observed in manoeuvres, 
is after this manner. The fighting body of skirmishers, 
firing line and supports. There is no separate support 
attached to these. Each company sends out skirmishers 
to the number of two sections, and as they are not in 
extended order they are practically in close order of one 
line with a short space between the sections. In the 
firing line the men usually lie down and take advantage 
of any cover. Non-commissioned officers and com- 
manders of sections kneel on one knee three paces 

Hppenbir 403 

behind the firing line. The supports take their place 
from forty to fifty paces behind the firing line, and when 
the skirmishers are stationary for some time the supports 
kneel on one knee with the rifle close to the leg. Before 
the firing line extends for an advance the officers go 
forward to reconnoitre the ground and conditions, 
thereby exposing themselves and ofFering a good 

When a company of infantry is ordered to take a 
position it advances in close order, and on reaching the 
position sends out skirmishers, but has no flank guards. 
Infantry fire is independent or by volleys. Volley firing 
is adopted at long range, independent fire within a 
thousand paces. Fire discipline is regulated by company 
and section commanders, who point out the target and 
give the range. Their estimate of distances is often 
wrong. Independent firing is ordered by whistle of 
the company commander repeated by non-commissioned 
officers. In sighting and loading their rifles the men 
are quick and accurate. To reinforce the firing line the 
supports are added. The supports form in extended 
order and fill up the spaces between the sections. If 
additional reinforcements are needed the supports extend 
and move forward between the companies which are 
already in extended order. When still further help is 
required a part of the supports form a second extended 
firing line behind the first line. In this case the first 
line lies down, while the second stands or kneels. The 
reinforcement of the firing line is very quick after the 

404 Hppenbis 

fight has begun. In short, within a few minutes after 
the firing has commenced the skirmishing line can be 
strengthened, and the firing line consists of many 
extended lines ; and all the supports are in action within 
twenty or twenty-five minutes. In executing this 
manoeuvre the fighting force must move in front of the 
enemy, quite exposed, to extend its flanks. 

We have observed that when on the defensive there 
is great confusion if the flanks are threatened by a 
turning movement. In advancing, the firing line moves 
at the ordinary pace until near the enemy, when the 
advance is at the double. Rushes are made forty or 
fifty paces from the enemy. Sometimes each body 
rushes forward independently. All the supports double 
after the firing line, and the advance is usually 
confused. The men crowd together and move forward 
obliquely, exposing their flank. They seldom fire when 
advancing ; the retirement of the firing line is always 
disorderly and too quick ; they do not fire until they 
have returned to their original position. 

To defend a position the infantry form a long firing 
line in extended order, and the supports are quickly 
extended. When there is time they dig trenches deep 
enough to enable them to fire kneeling. If there is no 
time to make trenches they take cover behind the line 
of defence, and each section sends out one man to a 
distance of twenty or twenty-five paces to watch the 
enemy. The man remains kneeling until the firing 
begins and then rejoins the line. 

Hppen6i|^ 405 

Japanese infantry never attack with the bayonet. 
They believe that against the modern rifle, bayonet 
attacks are impracticable, and that the issue must be 
decided by powder and shot. Accordingly they employ 
rapid fire. The rapidity of the fire varies with physical 
features of the country, and at distances of from three 
hundred to eight hundred paces. The fire tactics in 
defence are as follows : When the enemy approaches 
within eight hundred or three hundred paces, a special 
signal is given and the firing line leaves the trenches, 
shouting, "Yah!" fixed bayonets, advances forty or 
fity paces. At the same moment the supports draw 
near to the firing line, forming a second line and open 
fire standing. Leaving cover the defensive force is 
exposed in the open — an easy target for rifle and 

The cavalry take little part in actual fighting, and 
rarely keep watch on the flanks. They are always 
anxious to seek shelter behind the fighting line, and 
do not take advantage of any opening to attack the 
enemy. Even when they see an excellent opportunity 
they do not ride rapidly forward, being more anxious 
not to fall oflF their horses than to quicken their pace. 

The artillery take up an independent position, and 
in defence of the guns — about one third — are held 
in support. Generally speaking the choice of positions 
is very bad, and the field of fire is very narrow and 
limited. In the open field the artillery constructs 
empalements When advancing to a fighting position 

4o6 appenbis 

the order is not good ; the speed is slow and the 
guns are exposed to the enemy's fire. After reaching 
a position from three to seven minutes elapse before 
they open fire. Though the firing is regular and 
orderly, though the gunners are brave and the handling 
of the guns is cool and collected, the practice is slow* 
The artillery does not change position during a fight, 
so that it cannot give proper assistance to the infantry 
in attack. On the defensive the artillery does not open 
fire immediately, even though it may see an effective 
target, but waits for the enemy's fire. The ammunition 
wagons are placed near the guns, and the rapidity of the 
fire increases more or less as the battle proceeds. In 
the fight at Peichilii in 1900 the Japanese papers 
complained that the artillery was generally unsatisfactory. 

The engineers belong to the advance guard. They 
repair the roads and lay the telegraph and telephone 
wires between the advance and rear guards. The 
telegraph and telephone communications are quickly 
made. The engineers do active work, taking the chief 
part in constructing cover and empalements for the 
gunners. The work is done quickly and looks sub- 
stantial, though not always suited to the local conditions. 

The chief characteristics of the different arms are 
summed up in these sentences. 

In defence they like to take a position with aj 
wide range of front. 

In offensive movements the order and position of 
the different arms are the same whatever the conditions. 

In marching, as well as in fighting, the flank guard 
is imperfect. 

On the march the main body is separated by a long 
distance from the advance guard, which, unaided, must 
engage the enemy for some time. 

The objective in attack is not definitely pointed out. 

They use their supports too quickly, and exhaust 
their strength to repel the enemy when the latter 
attempts a flanking movement. 

They do not recognise the necessity of continuing 
a fight until within reach of the bayonet. 

They avoid covered places, especially in mountainous 

They make frontal attacks without attempting 
turning movements. 

In defence they are at little pains to avail them- 
selves of natural cover, and are content with trenches 
and empalements. 

When a retreat is ordered the main body of the 
infantry is first to retire, then all the guns, and finally 
the remainder of the infantry. 

They do not like night attacks or night marches. 

In an army of more than two divisions each 
division has a commander, so that there is no connec- 
tion among the divisions, and the action of each is 


4o6 Hppenbts 

the order is not good ; the speed is slow and the 
guns are exposed to the enemy's fire. After reaching 
a position from three to seven minutes elapse before 
they open fire. Though the firing is regular and 
orderly, though the gunners are brave and the handling 
of the guns is cool and collected, the practice is slow* 
The artillery does not change position during a fight, 
so that it cannot give proper assistance to the infantry 
in attack. On the defensive the artillery does not open 
fire immediately, even though it may see an eflTective 
target, but waits for the enemy's fire. The ammunition 
wagons are placed near the guns, and the rapidity of the 
fire increases more or less as the battle proceeds. In 
the fight at Peichilii in 1900 the Japanese papers 
complained that the artillery was generally unsatisfactory. 

The engineers belong to the advance guard. They 
repair the roads and lay the telegraph and telephone 
wires between the advance and rear guards. The 
telegraph and telephone communications are quickly 
made. The engineers do active work, taking the chief 
part in constructing cover and empalements for the 
gunners. The work is done quickly and looks sub- 
stantial, though not always suited to the local conditions. 

The chief characteristics of the different arms are 
summed up in these sentences. 

In defence they like to take a position with aj 
wide range of front. 

In offensive movements the order and position of 
the different arms are the same whatever the conditions. 

In marching, as well as in fighting, the flank guard 
is imperfect. 

On the march the main body is separated by a long 
distance from the advance guard, which, unaided, must 
engage the enemy for some time. 

The objective in attack is not definitely pointed out. 

They use their supports too quickly, and exhaust 
their strength to repel the enemy when the latter 
attempts a flanking movement. 

They do not recognise the necessity of continuing 
a fight until within reach of the bayonet. 

They avoid covered places, especially in mountainous 

They make frontal attacks without attempting 
turning movements. 

In defence they are at little pains to avail them- 
selves of natural cover, and are content with trenches 
and empalements. 

When a retreat is ordered the main body of the 
infantry is first to retire, then all the guns, and finally 
the remainder of the infantry. 

They do not like night attacks or night marches. 

In an army of more than two divisions each 
division has a commander, so that there is no connec- 
tion among the divisions, and the action of each is 


A. C. Fowler, Printer, Tenter Street, Moorfields, E.C. 




NOV 15 


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