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TAI-PING REVERSES IN CHEKIANG.
as at his release from the post of honour his junk had been made to occupy near the Hardy, where round-shot fell rather plentifully. A large quantity of rice and a gigantic farmyard, the plunder of the surrounding district, was found in this place. The peasants reclaimed their buffaloes, but the victors feasted high on poultry for many a day. The Tai-pings retreated to a chain of intrenched camps about twelve miles distant, and for a month gave no trouble. In that interval Yuyow was placed in a state of defence, and a garrison of 1000 drilled Chinese, half Ward's, half French, were left in it under command of a French artillery officer, Captain Tardiff de Maidrey, who had done good service with an irregular artillery force at Shanghai.
Towards the middle of September the Allies received information that the Tai-pings had collected a large force with the intention of descending on Ningpo on two sides, and on carrying off, if they failed to get the city, the magnificent rice crops now ripening on the plains. The Rebel force first descended into the Ningpo plain and captured from the Mandarin soldiers the walled city of Tseki, situated between Yuyow and Ningpo. Their foraging-parties scattered over the plain, and the villagers came flocking into the Foreign settlement, where volunteers were collected for defence. General Ward arrived at Ningpo on the 18th September, and arrangements were made for the recapture of Tseki. At daylight on the 20th, he and 200 of his men were sent up in boats, while the 400 of his force in Yuyow were brought down, Captain Tardiff undertaking to guard that place with his Franco-Chinese. Round Tseki the whole plain seemed on fire. The terror-stricken inhabitants, many of them swimming on logs, were crossing the river; and for miles the long reeds on its banks gave shelter to men, women,
and children up to the middle in water. Ward, landing with his men, made a short cut across the country to a bridge which he was to hold, supported by the Hardy and by Captain Dew, who was to join next morning with all available forces. He surprised numerous looting parties, and soon gained the bridge, and drove the Rebels into the city. Now and then a Tai-ping would escape into the tall rice, and give rise to an exciting chase on the part of the infuriated villagers. It was a service of much danger for the Hardy to approach, as her decks could be commanded from hillocks on the banks of the canal, which were in possession of the enemy; but the last glimmer of daylight found her close up to the bridge held by Ward.
At midnight a despatch reached Captain Dew which made it imperative for him to give up co-operation with Ward, and return immediately to Ningpo. The town of Fungwha, which held the same relative position to Ningpo on the south that Tseki did on the north, had fallen the day before, and the Rebels were advancing on Ningpo on that side. Weighing at daylight, he anchored off the Salt Gate at 8 A.m., and found Ningpo like a disturbed ant’s nest, the people in their terror not knowing where to go; so he had the gates closed, and landing his men, held the South and West Gates, burning the suburb outside the former. The Mandarins at this time were in a state of great fear, sleeping at night in the gateway, and by day asking for the British gunboat to be in twenty places at once. Advantage was taken of this state of things to get all back pay due to the troops, also to obtain a round sum to raise a permanent force for the defence of the Foreign settlement, and to have the canal and defensive works properly finished..
THE DEATH OF WARD.
The Hardy returned to Ningpo that evening with news of the capture of Tseki by escalade. After the gate had been shelled by Lieutenant Bogle, Ward's bodyguard, led by Captain Cooke, advanced with ladders, and took the wall and city. Ward himself, while watching the advance from the arch of a gate 200 yards from the walls, was mortally wounded by a chance ball. He was conveyed on board the Hardy, and Dr Hogge of the Encounter extracted the ball, which had passed through the abdomen and lodged in his back. On being brought to Ningpo he was carried to Dr Parker's house, and was attended also by Dr Irwin; but there was no hope from medical aid, and he died next day after much suffering. So passed away a man who, as the originator of the idea of disciplining the Chinese, had done good service. Surmounting all difficulties, Ward, in the outset of his adventurous career, had gained a strange ascendancy over Europeans as well as Chinese by his cool and daring courage.
Ever foremost in fight, he was honourably scarred, but his ambition was unbounded; and perhaps it was well for the Imperial Government of China that he was reinoved at this stage of the Rebellion, and that his work was left to be completed by one who, though his equal in courage and in coolness, far surpassed him in all the higher qualities of a soldier. Ward was quite collected during his last hours, and able to give directions for the disposal of the fortune which he bad amassed in China. He estimated it at about £60,000; but his accounts were all in confusion, and mixed up with those of the banker Ta Kee and other Chinamen, so that only about £15,000 were eventually realised
The Allies were rather hard pressed at this time, having to garrison Yuyow and Tseki; so 500 more of Ward's men, now commanded by Colonel Forrester, were brought from Shanghai, and on their arrival along with the Flamer gunboat, Dew's men were re-embarked from duty on the city walls, and preparations were made for attacking Fungwha, which the Rebels had garrisoned in force, and which was a considerable walled town, in a gorge of the mountains, on the south side of the river, and was the key to the vast plain between it and Ningpo. On the 8th October the marines and small-arm men of the Encounter and Sphinx were embarked in the Hardy and Flamer gunboats, and 1000 of the disciplined Chinese under Forrester were also on board, or towed by the French steamers Deroulide and Confucius. On arriving at a large stone bridge about twenty miles up the river, this force was landed. Owing to heavy rain, the narrow road was impracticable for the conveyance of its guns, which had to be placed in boats ; but the rain had swollen the stream, and the boats could not pass under the bridge. A stout bawser, however, with 100 men on it, soon removed the massive blocks of stone that formed the arch, and enabled the boats to get through ; and that night the expedition quartered in a very large deserted village four miles from Fungwha.' The rain had drenched every one, and through the night there had been constant alarms of the enemy and of fire, so the men were not sorry when the morning broke fine and sunshiny. A march of four hours through a golden plain of ripe rice brought them under the walls of Fungwha, where Forrester advanced. with 600 of his men and two guns to attack the North and West Gates, while Dew went to the East Gate, and established a position with three howitzers, under Lieutenant Bosanquet, at 200 yards from the wall. A storming party of 400 men, under Major Rhode, was held ready,
THE ASSAULT OF FUNGWHA.
supported by the marines and small-arm men. The artillery fire having silenced the guns on the walls, and knocked down a portion of the parapet near the gateway, an advance was sounded, and Bosanquet ran his guns to within fifty yards of the walls. When the ladder party reached the bridge, they were met by a heavy fire which killed most of them; and the men following, though well led by their officers, would not face the showers of fireballs, stinkpots, and powder-bags which were hurled upon them, so they fell back. To reassure them, Commander Jones, with twenty small-arm men, went to the front, and most gallantly led on through a similar fiery ordeal, followed by Lieutenants Davis and Tinling, Mr Douglas, midshipman, and Mr Coker, master-assistant, who, clearing off the dead, carried the ladders up to the walls. Ward's troop would not return, so Jones, seeing the folly of attempting to storm with his small force, wisely placed his men in the arch of the gateway, and attempted with axes to cut through the gates, but solid stone-work behind the wood resisted all his efforts. Bosanquet and Lieutenant Rawson and half their crews having been wounded, Captain Dew ordered the remainder to seek cover behind some graves, where the marines were also placed to keep down the fire of the besieged. Commander Jones and his party had to keep in the gateway till dark, when they withdrew, having had a most unpleasant time of it. Stinkpots and powder - bags, with lighted brooms attached, had been dropped over the wall, and had half suffocated them ; but this was not so bad as the continued trickle of the nastiest conceivable liquid manure, which some Tai-ping humorist bad capsized on the top of the arch.
Next morning a large body of 6000 Tai-pings appeared on the plain advancing towards Fungwha, on the walls