Page images
PDF
EPUB

WARD'S DISCIPLINED CHINESE,

89

him in to Nganwhui to join the remnant of the Ying Wang's force.

During the heats of this summer the Allied forces remained quiet at Shanghai, round which works of defence were completed ; and Admiral Hope and General Staveley went away—the one to Chefoo to recover from his wound, and the other to Japan to recruit his impaired health. The only places near Shanghai from which the Rebels were excluded was Najow, where there was a garrison of British troops, and Sungkiang, which was held by Ward, whose force was now 5000 strong, well armed with percussion muskets, and supported by artillery. This force was still paid by the Chinese merchants of Shanghai, and was only partially under the orders of the Governor of the province. By this time General Ward bad a good position with the Chinese authorities, and could get what money he required without trouble. His higher officers received £70 per mensem, bis lieutenants £30, and the men rather more than 18. 6d. per diem, with free rations when in the field. The non-commissioned officers and men were all Chinese, but the other officers were Europeans with the exception of one Chidaman named Wong Apo* ' A thousand of the men were armed with Prussian rifles of the old pattern, and the Ever-Victorious Army bad by this time assumed, chiefly owing to Ward's exertions, a good many of the characteristics of a regular disciplined force

On the other side, the recall of the Faithful King must bave discouraged the Tai-pings, so on the 6th of August Ward ventured out of Sungkiang with nearly 3000 men and retook Singpoo, leaving it to be garrisoned by the Imperialists.' This event roused the Tai-pings at Soochow, and their bands again appeared in the vicinity of Shanghai, driving the peasantry before them and cramming that city with fugitives. Some good service was done in repelling these marauding bands by the mounted rangers of Shanghai, a volunteer force composed of the Foreign merchants of that place, and not a little confused skirmishing took place. Important events, which are recounted in my next chapter, bad meanwhile been going on at Ningpo, and General Ward went down in September to that neighbourhood, where he unfortunately met with his death-wound. In an attack on Tseki on the 21st of September, he was shot in the stomach at the moment of attack by a stray bullet. Being carried back to Ningpo, he survived for a short time, meeting his fate with much firmness and composure, and disposing by will of the considerable fortune which he had acquired during his military career in China. Ward was a brave, energetic leader, and managed very well both with his force and with the Mandarins. When the news of his death reached Sungkiang, he was deeply lamented both by bis officers and men, and by the people of the city. When his remains entered that place for interment, all the shopkeepers at once shut their shops for the day; several officers of the

* In such names as Apo, Apak, and Atai, the "A" is merely a euphonistic aspirate, and the Chinese characters represent Po, Pak, and Tai

and navy attended his funeral; the usual volleys for a general were fired over his grave, and he was buried in the Confucian University, which the Chinese considered a great honour, and which place had been closed for many years until that day in September 1862. Colonel Forrester, Ward's second in command, was now offered charge of the Ever-Victorious Army, but declined, and the command was accepted by the officer next in rank, Henry Burgevine, a young American

British army

LI BECOMES GOVERNOR OF KIANGSOO.

91

from North Carolina, who, like Ward, bad been a seafaring man, but from an early period had cherished vague dreams of founding an empire in the East. Some weeks elapsed before the new Commander took the field, and at this time an officer of the Russian Government came to Shanghai to offer Li Hung-chang, who was now Futai or Governor of the province, the assistance of 10,000 men. But this offer was calculated to cause the Chinese alarm rather than gratification, and was respectfully declined. The new Futai, who had served long under Tseng Kwo-fau against the Tai-pings, proved to be a man of much more ability than his predecessor, and one likely to follow a definite path of his own.

The country remained quiet till November 1862, when the Moh Wang, who had made an advance from Soochow, was attacked on one side by the forces of Li, on the other by those of Burgevine, and so met with a severe repulse, in which his son, a young man of distinguished bravery, was killed. Before this event there was some bad feeling between Burgevine and Governor Li, which was now increased by the latter taking the credit of this victory to himself. General Ching, an exRebel chief who fought under the Futai, and was jealous of the disciplined Chinese, did all he could to ferment the quarrel, and Burgevine himself increased it by bis peremptory manner, and by rousing suspicions in the mind of the shrewd Futai as to his ultimate intentions. There were also reports that Ward, had he lived, had intended to establish himself as an independent power in the country, and so the Chinese at this time became very distrustful of the Ever-Victorious Army, and of its Commander. One consequence of this was that the merchants at Shanghai, who had hitherto supported the force from dread of the Rebels, were now not disposed to give such large sums for its maintenance as they had formerly paid. Li became so suspicious of the new Commander, that on 1st December he went to General Staveley, begging him to remove Burgevine and to appoint an English officer in his place. He also complained much of the enormous expenses of the force both under Ward and Burgevine; of the interference by the latter with the civil government of Sungkiang; of disputes between the disciplined Chinese and the Imperialist troops; of the way in which the former plundered the people of the country, and in general of Burgevine's independent insulting demeanour. These complaints of the Chinese were not altogether without reason, especially as regarded the expenses of the force, which bad amounted to £30,000 per mensem ; but General Staveley had no wish to interfere in the matter, and stated that he had no power to grant their request, though he would communicate on the subject with the Home Government and with the British Minister at Peking. His own idea was that, if the Chinese Government wished to organise its military forces, it should be assisted in doing so under proper conditions; but he was not prepared to give his support to the EverVictorious Army in its then unsatisfactory state, officered as it was by a body of men who, however brave, were not fit representatives of their respective nations, and who, on any disagreement arising, might turn against the Chinese Government itself. It occurred to him, however, that some more satisfactory arrangement might be made for placing the disciplined Chinese under the joint command of Native and Foreign officers; and accordingly he drew up a rough sketch of the terms on which, if his Government approved, the ser

BURGEVINE'S QUARREL

93

vices of a British officer might be obtained for the purpose.*

The quarrel between Burgevine and the Futai soon came to an issue. For two months the troops had not been paid regularly, and wben 6000 of them were ordered up to Nanking they refused to proceed until the arrears were paid. Their Commander also demanded that a number of other back claims should be cleared off before he left. The fact was, that neither the men nor the officers had much relish for being sent against the Rebel capital ; for the former, being chiefly natives of the Sungkiang district, were averse, like all Chinese, to going far from home, while the latter imagined, and not without some reason, that up at Nanking both their lives and their pay would be very much at the mercy of the Imperialists. On the other hand, the Mandarins were glad to make Burgevine feel how much he was in their power, and they probably expected that this unpleasant demand might enable them to get rid of him. Ta Kee, the banker through whose hands the payments of the force were made, kept back some moneys which he had promised to advance in the commencement of January, on which Burgevine, accompanied by his body-guard, paid him a visit at Shanghai, struck him on the face in the course of the altercation which ensued, and carried off for the troops a sum of money that he found conveniently ready in the banker's house.

Of course Ta Kee reported this affair to the Futai, who determined to dismiss Burgevine; but being in fear of a revolt on the part of the Ever-Victorious Army, he went to General Staveley and the American Consul, and requested they would arrest the Commander. This the General refused to do, but he informed Burgevine that

* See Appendix IV.

« PreviousContinue »