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ATTACK ON SHOWSHING.
high and fifteen broad, and fifteen miles in circumference; it was garrisoned by 40,000 Tai-pings, under the command of the Sing Wang, commonly called “ Cockeye," who was afterwards taken and executed at Soochow. It stands near some hills at the head of an immense plain of forty miles in length, unrivalled even in China for the richness of its soil and the beauty of its scenery. This plain is intersected by thousands of canals which in some parts will scarcely admit the passage of a boat, but open
out at others into vast lakes of thousands of acres in area, and dotted over with picturesque islets, with teinples embosomed among their trees Villages and towns by hundreds lay flourishing and peaceful around, the Tai-pings having spared them for heavy ransoms; but the inhabitants seemed delighted to see the Allies, and insisted on supplying them gratis with cattle, rice, and all other necessaries.
On the evening of the 17th February the attacking force occupied a large untenanted suburb near the Liquo Gate, on an island with a bridge in rear, canals on both flanks, and the city walls and gate in front. The whole of the suburbs within 600 yards of the walls had been levelled, on each side of the paved road leading to the gate only beautifully carved stone pillars, dedicated to the “young widows and virgins of Showshing,” having been left standing. The gate itself was strongly fortified by an immense strong outer wall, loopholed, and with six guns in position. The walls themselves being roofed over all round the city, the defenders took up abode on them entirely. Several bills inside the city were also fortified, while a deep cana), thirty feet in width, encircled the whole city. After a reconnaissance on the following day, it was determined to breach the wall near an angle 200 yards from the gate, while boats and planks were got ready to form a bridge over the canal for the assaulting columns. That night the howitzer, with muffled wheels, was placed in battery 160 yards from the walls with trifling loss, while another battery of four 12-pounder howitzers was planted 100 yards in rear for its protection. On the 19th, by 8 A.M., Tardiff had made all his preparations—the boats in a dense fog were got up and hid under the arch of a bridge under the walls—and at 9 A.M. Captain Ganghan, with his Anglo-Chinese artillerymen, who alone worked the howitzers during the day, opened fire. A few hollow shot sent into the base of the wall soon formed an opening for the 8-inch Moorsom shells, which exploding therein, soon acted like so many mines and brought the wall crumbling down. The defenders meanwhile were not idle ; about thirty guns were well served during the day, and the fusilade of small-arms never ceased. At 10 A.M. Tardiff was mortally wounded by a musket-ball fired by accident by one of his own men who was in
His iron constitution enabled him to live for eight hours, though his brains were scattered over the hair of his head. He had told Dew at breakfast that morning that he bad a presentiment he should not survive the day, and begged the latter to suceeed him in the command, as he had no one competent to undertake it. Under these circumstances Captain Dew appointed the senior instructor, with the rank of colonel, to the command, on the understanding that he carried out Dew's directions. Shortly after Lieutenant Tipling, R.N., was wouvded while watching with his opera - glass the effect of the shell on the walls. He was, as he thought, in a place of safety, but a spent ball from an angle struck the back of his head. Dr Lockhead at once extracted it, and gave it as his opinion that he would be
DEATHS OF TARDIFF AND TINLING.
well in a week; but after being sent down to Ningpo; inflammation of the brain set in and terminated fatally, to the great grief of his brother officers, to whom his many fine qualities had greatly endeared him. By 2 P.m. ninety shells had effected a magnificent breach, though between each discharge of the howitzer the Rebels sent streams of men with sandbags to fill up
. An assaulting column of 800 men then advanced, and, in spite of a heavy fire from the walls, gained the canal, placed a bridge of boats in position, and about twenty men, chiefly Europeans, crossed over and made for the breach, which they had half mounted when they found that the boats had got adrift and they were unsupported. The Rebels soon found this out, rallied in the retreat they had commenced, and, swarming on the walls, repulsed the attack, those of the assailants who survived having to swim the canal. All attempts to bring the Chinese again to the attack were vain, though they were rallied by Lieutenant Holders, R.N., at half musket-shot. The loss of the Allies, was 140 hors de combat ; and much credit was due to Dr Lockhead, R.A., the only medical officer, for his attention to the wounded.
Captain Dew intended to have ordered another assault next morning; but during the night, in spite of the fire on it, the breach had been so far repaired that it was impossible for the ten remaining Moorsom shells to open it again. Pine-trees had been driven in as piles, the upper ends being supported by ropes, while the space between was filled up with debris and sandbags. A regular siege was now commenced, the assailants making their own position secure by throwing up a high wall, cutting ditches, and making batteries and approaches with gabions. This enabled half the force to occupy itself in attacking and dispersing large bodies of Rebels,
CAPTAIN DEW'S OPERATIONS IN. CHEKIANG.
who issued out of the other gates and began to burn the country in the rear.
In four days all those bands had been driven into the city, and the approaches to a third gate were occupied, and the Rebel communication with Hangchow cut off, as were all convoys that attempted to enter. Ammunition seemed plentiful with the besieged, about 300 round brass shot being daily thrown into the besieging lines and among the boats. Captain Dew was most ably assisted by Mr MʻArthur, paymaster of the Encounter, and the various measures employed soon began to damp the spirit of the besieged. Day by day their fire slackened, and the fall of the city soon became only an affair of time. Early in March, D'Aiguibelle, Lieutenant de Vaisseau, having been appointed by Admiral Jaures to succeed Tardiff in the command, Captain Dew returned to Ningpo; and on the 18th of that month Showshing was evacuated by the Rebels, who retreated by the hills to Hangchow. Thus the province of Chekiang was in great part restored to Imperialist rule. The officers who served along with Captain Dew in these operations were killed off very rapidly; but distinguished success attended his movements, and it is a wonder that he has not received the Victoria Cross, for which he was recommended. A British Admiral, under whom he once served, writing to me about the capture of Ningpo, calls it “by far the best thing of the kind done either in China or elsewhere since the peace of 1815;" and really, considering all the circumstances, this praise is not undeserved.