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of which there was an immense excitement and display of banners. From the leisurely manner in which the new arrivals came up, their chiefs being carried in sedan-chairs, it was evident they had not observed the Allies; so they were taken at a disadvantage, and easily routed, leaving on the plain an immense quantity of plunder, ammunition, and stores, wbich had been carried by about 1000 country people, who had nearly all been branded on the forehead as belonging to the “Heavenly Kingdom.” More powder and ammunition having arrived from the river, preparations were made for storming the walls at seven different places at daylight next morning, but the Rebels evacuated the city during the night, and it was garrisoned by Ward's troops. As the force returned to Ningpo next morning, nothing could exceed the gratitude of the country people who passed, flocking back to their homes to reap the harvest that covered the plain, for the fall of Fungwha and Tseki saving them from starvation in the coming winter. As ever, the Rebels left behind them evidences of their brutal nature. In one spot nearly a hundred bodies of peasant men and women lay buddled together, their only crime having been refusal to carry the plunder of their own homes. The loss had been rather serious ; 24 British officers and men, and about 70 Chinese, had been placed hors de combat.
In this way the thirty-mile radius was cleared round Ningpo, to which city the rich merchants were flocking back from Shanghai. A new Tautai who had been appointed was ambitious to regain the other cities in the province, and promised the necessary funds, so Ward : force was raised to 1400 bayonets, and the Franco-Chinese to 1000. Le Brethon de Coligny, being appointed to the command of the latter force, received a commis
THE COUNTRY CLEARED ROUND NINGPO.
sion as commander of 1000 men from the Emperor of China. Early in November Le Brethon advanced on Shungyu, and the Tai-pings evacuated that city. Every 50 or 100 yards along the line of the Rebel retreat lay the bodies of men, women, and children. In Shungyu itself a perfect army of old women and little children were found, cold, starving, and suffering from every imagivable disease. It was well for these poor creatures that Monseigneur de la Place, Roman Catholic Bishop of Chekiang, was with the expedition. It was to the humane and energetic measures he took that many owed their lives on this as on other occasions, when cities were taken or evacuated during the Rebellion. He was wont, when others were seeking for plunder, to search for what he called his own loot—les misérables, whom he gathered together in some joss-house, and for whom he established rice-kitchens. The fall of Shungyu led to the evacuation of two more cities, and the Tai-pings retired across the great river of Shungyu, thus leaving half the province in Imperialist hands.
Shortly afterwards Ward's force went back to Shanghai, and Captain Dew was not sorry to end the connection with them, because he could never fully persuade the men or officers that “soldiers should be content with their pay,” and cases of " squeezing” on their part were continually complained of. On one occasion the major in command at Yuyow, formerly a sergeant in one of our line regiments, sold all ḥe could lay hands on in the city, and was arrested as he was leaving the province with plunder sufficient for a month's pay of the troops. On arrangement with the authorities, an Anglo-Chinese contingent of about 1000 men was raised, the higher officers receiving £1800 and £1000 a-year, and the captains £700, which was an inducement to respectable
CAPTAIN DEW'S OPERATIONS IN CHEKIANG.
imen, and even to English officers, to serve. Several petty officers from the English fleet engaged in it, and by the end of December there was a respectable force ready to take the field. At the same time Le Brethon, at Shungyu, by the sale of rice, wood, boats, and all that had belonged to the Rebels, was enabled to recruit 1200 men, and to clothe and arm them fairly. An arsenal had been established, and lead and powder found in Rebel magazines enabled him to make a good supply of cartridges.
In the end of December an expedition, under Dew and Le Brethon, advanced to the town of Pikwan from a hill near which there was a magnificent view of a noble river winding through an immense and fertile plain (which again was cut by innumerable canals), and at the far end of which lay the great city of Showshing, with walls fifteen miles in circumference, the centre of the silk district, and the key of the province. The Rebel banners thickly fringed the opposite banks of the river, and strong bodies of their cavalry were patrolling the country. The reconnoitring force was attacked by the Rebels, whom it drove back; but, being rather small, set off to return to Shungyu for reinforcements. On the way, the Tai-pings in great numbers overtook and attacked it when it was in a small town; but Dew and Le Brethon suddenly turned and surprised their pursuers, who, firing a volley, turned and fled, communicating their panic to, and throwing into disorder, the dense masses which extended for a mile behind them. As usual, the line of the Rebel march was marked by the smoke of burning villages and hamlets; and now, in their retreat, they had to pass through the still smouldering ruing. They never turned to see by how small a number they were pursued, but, pressing on, threw away
THE VILLAGERS AND THE REBELS.
arms and clothing to aid their flight. A thin coat of snow covered the muddy rice-fields, and it was only possible to travel on the paths between them. The chase lasted for four miles, and many prisoners were taken. Some hundred Rebels had been cut off at an angle near the river, and being hard pressed by the disciplined Chinese, and fearing that the death they would undoubtedly have meted, had positions been changed, awaited them, took to the cold and swollen river, which soon engulfed them. Only a few nearly reached the opposite bank, but being weary from their march, one by one they disappeared. Captain Dew asserts that during the time he was associated with the disciplined Chinese he never knew them murder a prisoner or commit a cruel act; but can it be wondered at that the country people could not refrain from retaliation when the Tai-pings were caught knife or torch in hand ? This officer's instructions limited him to the employment of his own men against the Tai-pings within a thirty-mile radius round Ningpo; but looking to the spirit of these instructions, and the evident and wise wish of the Government to give all moral support to the cause of order, he was wont, in company with his officers and on his own responsibility, frequently to pass up the country and to aid and assist the Imperialist forces with advice, guns, and ammunition. The officers of the squadron were always eager to join in these expeditions, and as they were on leave, he was always happy to have their company and advice.
Towards the end of January Le Brethon advanced on Showshing with 1200 of the Franco-Chinese, the first and only expedition they ever made without being accompanied by the Anglo-Chinese troops. They were very badly pff for guns, having but two 12-pounder howitzers and a couple of old English 9-pounders. A three days' march brought them unopposed to Showshing, which Le Brethon intended to carry by a coup de main, and failing in that, he proposed to commence a siege and wait till he could effect a breach with four 32-pounders which Captain Dew expected from Hongkong. With this view he placed the 9-pounders in position to knock away the parapet over the gateway; but at the first discharge the gun burst, and a large portion of the breech struck Le Brethon, carrying away the whole upper part of his body and causing instantaneous death. The command was now taken by M. Cymer, formerly an officer in the French army, who unwisely determined to retreat to Shungyu.
Captain Dew was at Ningpo when the news of Le Brethon's death reached the Mandarins, and he felt that Ningpo would not be safe so long as Showshing, the key of the province, remained in possession of the Rebels. Hence he sent up some of the Anglo-Chinese contingent to retrieve matters, and procured an 8-inch howitzer with Moorsom shells from Shanghai. Being warned by Admiral Kuper that the Encounter might be wanted for service in Japan, he was anxious to have matters in a secure state before leaving ; and so, when Lieutenant Tinling offered to assist in conveying fresh ammunition to Showshing, leave was allowed bim to take it to Sangkow, a town ten miles from Showshing, where General Tardiff and the Franco-Chinese then were ; but he was also ordered, after doing so, to return to Ningpo. A few days subsequently Dew, accompanied by several of bis officers, joined Tardiff at Sangkow, and meeting Lieutenant.Tinling, allowed him to remain there two or three days.
Showshing was a large city, with walls thirty-five feet