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DEATH OF BURGEVINE,
give every assurance to the Chinese Government that no efforts should be spared to prevent American citizens from joining the Rebels, or to punish them for so doing. The case was one of some difficulty, and the Chinese authorities consented to keep Burgevine a prisoner, but unharmed, until the Government at Washington decided what was to be done.
Meanwhile, as they were afraid to leave him on the sea-coast, lest an attempt at rescue should be made, be was sent from Foochow into the interior, to be forwarded overland to the charge of the Governor of Kiangsoo. What occurred to the unfortunate man after this is known only from Chinese statements. It was officially reported that he was drowned, along with ten Chinese, at Lanchi bien in Chekiang, by the capsizing of a ferryboat, owing to a sudden flood in the river. Mr Lewis, the United States Deputy Consul-General, proceeded to the spot to investigate the circumstances; and though rumours of foul play were prevalent among the Foreign community, nothing was discovered to disprove the assertions of the Chinese. The adventurer's body was identified by a fracture which had been inflicted during his service in the Imperialist army; but it was too much decomposed to throw light on the manner of his death, which is said to have occurred on the 26th June 1865. The fact was proved of there having been a heavy flood at that time ; but a certain amount of darkness must ever rest over the circumstances of his death. The Chinese authorities were under a very great temptation to get rid of him in some manner which would effectually preclude his giving further trouble, and wbich at the same time would not lead to any embroilment with the Government of the United States. Dr Williams says that the official correspondence on this subject gives no idea of the alarm which filled the minds of the high officers at Peking, when they heard of Burgevine's attempt to rejoin the Rebels. Beyond this, and a rumour of a piece of flayed skin having been noticed in his coffin, I have no reason to suppose that their account of his death was untrue; and if they did drown him purposely, they saved themselves and the American authorities a good deal of trouble.
THE FALL OF SOOCHOW, AND THE EXECUTION OF
THE INVESTMENT OF SOOCHOW STORMING OF LEEKU - CORDON'S
MAGIC WAND"-DEATH OF CAPTAIN PERRY-DISPOSAL OF THE BESIECING FORCES - THE FAITHFUL KING'S APPREHENSIONSCOMPLETE INVESTMENT OF SOOCHOW-PIRATING OF THE STEAMER FIREFLY-A DISASTROUS NIGHT-ATTACK-CAPTURE OF THE EAST GATE STOCKADES--NEGOTIATIONS FOR SURRENDER-MURDER OF THE MOH WANG -A CHARACTERISTIC LETTER FROM COLONEL GORDON—THE CAPITULATION OF SOOCHOW-GORDON'S PERILOUS POSITION --HIS GRIEF AND INDIGNATION-HIS SEARCH FOR GOYERNOR LI--EXECUTION OF THE WANGS—LI'S REASONS FOR THAT ACT GORDON REFUSES TO ACT, AND REJECTS AN IMPERIAL DOUCEUR IMPERIAL DECREE REGARDING THE FALL OF sòa CHOW,
WHILE the negotiations were going on for the desertion of Burgevine and his friends, the Faithful King came down to the relief of Soochow with a considerable army; but, as was his invariable custom in similar circumstances, refused to trust bimself within the walls of that city, and carried on his operations in its immediate neighbourhood. Colonel Gordon considered the Taipings to be so much weakened by the defection of their European allies, that he resolved to resume the offensive, and pushed on towards the South Gate of the city. Various stockades in that direction were soon taken, and successfully defended against desperate attempts of the Moh Wang to recapture them. In the fighting here, as elsewhere, the steamer Hyson did good service. In one engagement no less than 1300 prisoners were taken, and as many more of the Tai-pings were drowned in their efforts to escape. The taking of Wulungchiao and Patachiao rendered any sortie from Soochow to the south impossible, and also enabled Gordon's force to operate to the north, and thus form a junction with other Imperialist troops, under the Futai's brother, who had advanced from Kongyin. The force which Gordon had under his own immediate command was insufficient to enable him to invest Soochow, yet he was enabled steadily to advance in the work of doing so, because the positions which he took could be left in charge of the Futai's other troops, as those of General Ching, or of the disciplined Chinese under Macartney and Bonnefoi. Thus the Ever-Victorious Army gradually fought its way round Soochow, and left a fortified circle held by its allies encompassing that city.
Among the engagements by which this operation was performed was one on the 1st of November at Leeku, a strong Rebel position five miles to the north of Soochow. This position was carried by storm by the 4th and 2d Regiments, aided by some Franco-Chinese. In almost all these engagements Colonel Gordon was very much exposed, for he found it necessary, or at least expedient, to be constantly in the front, and often to lead in person. Though brave men, the officers of his force would sometimes hang back, and their commander bad occasionally to take one by the arm and lead him into the thick of the fire. He himself seemed to bear a charmed life, and never carried any arms, even when oremost in the breach. His only weapon on these occa
INVESTMENT OF SOOCHOW.
sions was a small cane with which he used to direct bis troops, and in the Chinese imagination this cane soon became magnified into Gordon's “magic wand of victory.” His Celestial followers, finding him almost invariably victorious and escaping unhurt, though more exposed than any other man in the force, naturally concluded, in accordance with their usual ideas, that the little wand he carried insured protection and success to its owner. Every one who knows the Chinese character will be aware that such an idea must have given great encouragement to the Ever-Victorious Army, and was of more service to its commander than could bave been any amount of arms which he himself could possibly have carried. In this engagement at Leeku Colonel Gordon had a narrow escape; for one of his captains, Mr George Perry, was shot dead at bis side under rather peculiar circumstances. Some days previously, Gordon found lying on the ground a letter in the handwriting of this officer to a Tai-ping sympathiser in Shanghai, giving information as to the intended movements of the force. On being shown this letter, Perry confessed that he had written it, but declared he thought the information of no importance, and had only intended to send it to Shanghai as a piece of gossip which might be interesting. On this his commander said to him, “ Very good, Perry. I shall pass your fault over this time, on condition that, in order to show your loyalty, you undertake to lead the next forlorn-hope.” This agreement bad been forgotten by Colonel Gordon when, a few days after, they stood together on the edge of the ditch in front of the stockades at Leeku. They were both, in fact, leading a forlornhope ; and while standing together, a ball struck Perry in the mouth, and he fell into Gordon's arms, where he almost immediately expired.