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CAUSES OF OUR INTERFERENCE IN CHEKIANG. 97
by the lawless soldiery, and many Chinese in the British settlement had been killed by bullets from the city. Expostulations with the Chiefs having failed to prevent recurrence of such insults, Admiral Sir J. Hope instructed Captain Dew to proceed to Ningpo, to use his best endeavours to bring the Tai-ping Chiefs to reason, and to warn them that, while on the one hand we had every wish to remain neutral, such neutrality depended solely on themselves, and that the Western nations would not brook insults to their flags and people. On the 24th April this officer entered the river Yung in the Encounter, passed the walled city of Chinbai, and, after steaming six miles, anchored off Ningpo.
No proper apology was offered, and matters were in an unsatisfactory state, when Captain Dew received intelligence that the late Tautai of Ningpo, Chang, had arrived with a fleet of war-junks, under the command of one Apak, formerly a pirate, but who now, with all his followers, had received pardon, and had become a good subject of the Emperor. Commander Kenney, of the French gunboat Etoile, joined Captain Dew on board the Hardy, and they visited this Imperial force. The Mandarins requested assistance in attacking Ningpo, but this was declined ; at the same time they were informed that if shots were fired either by them or by the Tai-pings in the direction of the settlement, the Allies would return fire. The Imperialist leaders Chang and Apak then stated that it was their intention to attack Ningpo, but were requested to delay for forty-eight hours, till Captain Dew had communicated with the Tai-ping Chiefs, after which time permission would be granted or refused. The latter had built a formidable granite battery, armed with 68-pounders, which both commanded our settlement and the reach of the river up which the Imperial
ists would have to advance. Moreover, fresh guns
had been mounted in the embrasures opposite the English vessels, masked in a crafty manner by loose bricks. Thus it was now quite evident that mischief was intended by the Tai-pings, and that if the Imperialists advanced, our own ships and the settlement would suffer from the fire of both parties. Foreseeing this, Captain Dew wrote a despatch to the Tai-ping Chiefs, in which he informed them that, if they would remove their guns form the walls and battery opposite the settlement, be would guarantee that no attack should be made by the Imperialists by the river, an offer which was positively doing the Imperialists an injustice. Captain Dew also sent a letter to the Tai-ping Chiefs on the 8th May, in which he said :
“ ENCOUNTER, NINGPO, 8th May 1862.—This is to inform you, on the part of the English and French senior naval officers, that had you agreed to their demands, and removed your guns from the battery and walls, they should have felt bound in honour to have acted up to their promise, and have prevented an attack from the river on the settlement side by the Imperialists who now advance to attack you. We inform you that we wish to maintain a perfect neutrality; but if you fire guns or musketry from the battlements or walls opposite our ships or settlement on the advancing Imperialists, thereby endangering the lives of our men and people in the Foreign settlement, we shall then feel it our duty to return the fire and bombard the city.”
The Imperialists were then informed that they were at liberty to attack the city, if they did not fire upon the settlement or the ships in the river, among which were of English vessels, the Encounter, 14 guns, 175 men, Captain Dew ; Ringdove, 4 guns, 90 men, Captain
CAPTAIN DEW'S CAPTURE OF NINGPO.
Craigie; gunboats Kestrel and Hardy, 40 men each, commanded by Lieutenants Huxham and Bogle; and of French (who were placed under Captain Dew's orders by Admiral Protet), the Etoile, 1 gun, 30 men, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Kenney; and Confucius, 3 guns, 40 men, Enseigne de Vaisseau Le Brethon de Coligny.
On the morning of the 10th May, Apak's Imperialist junks sbaved clear of the point below the Foreign vessels, and a heavy fire was opened on them by the Tai-ping Point Battery. At the same time a volley of musketry was poured into H.M.S. Encounter by the Rebels, and so, in mere self-defence, Captain Dew was forced to take part in the engagement. A general fire began from ships and walls. The bastions, guns, and guard-house at the Salt Gate were soon smashed up by the Moorsom shells of the Encounter, while the Ringdove silenced the guns at the North Gate. Lieutenant Bogle, in the gunboat Hardy, did good service, steaming up and down before the walls on the river face, shutting up gun after gun ; and the Etoile, Kestrel, and Confucius were smashing the Point Battery. Apak and Chang, with their Imperialist war-junks, let down their anchors at the first shot, being satisfied with the honour of opening the ball. As the running spring-tide effectually prevented them coming up the river, the Kestrel was sent to tow them up; but this aid they steadily declined, urging paltry excuses, such as having no powder. Captain Dew felt at this moment in rather a dilemma; knew he had no aid to expect from the Imperialists, and it seemed almost too much to hope for success in an assault on Ningpo with the two or three hundred men he could count on, against a garrison of between 20,000 and 30,000, who had been well supplied with arms by their friends in the Foreign settlement. Experienced,
however, in Chinese warfare, he thought that if he could once gain and open a gate of the city while the thunder of his bombardment was still fresh in the enemy's ears, he might count on co-operation from A pak and his
gang, and that a panic would ensue among the Tai-pings. On the other hand, he felt that if he rested content with what he had done, there was great danger of the Taipings taking heart again, letting loose fire-rafts on his vessels, and destroying the Foreign settlement
Having determined to attack, he landed at noon to collect scaling-ladders from the houses of the missionaries, and wrote to Lieutenant Kenney, asking him to join in an assault on the city, with what men he had available, at two o'clock. At that hour Dew landedleaving his ship in charge of the master and the gunner, with a crew of cooks, stewards, and boys—taking with him all his available men, and being joined by about 100 white-turbaned Chinese soldiers. While waiting for Lieutenant Kenney, who could scarcely stem the tide in the Etoile, he planted five ladders against the wall of the city, but soon found he had committed a grave error, for the enemy massed themselves in a graveyard beneath the wall, hove back the ladders with their spears, and with a storm of stinkpots, fireballs, stones, and bricks, forced the British sailors on the other side to take shelter in outhouses, and made the Chinese allies take to the water. On the French Lieutenant joining him with twenty men, another attempt was made with the ladders. Kenney, the first on his, was shot through the lungs ; David Davis, who was foremost on the next, was shot through the head as, revolver in mouth, he topped the wall; and so Captain Dew himself was the first to gain a position on the rampart, which was soon passed by the greater part of his force ; and in less than two minutes
DEATH OF LIEUTENANT CORNEWALL
Lieutenant Tinling and Boatswain Cantlow had a howitzer parbuckled up and ready for action.
In this way the Salt Gate was taken, and a few volleys soon cleared the neighbouring streets ; but Fang, the Tai-ping Chief, soon made a great effort to dislodge the · assailants. Forming his body-guard of about 400 men at the East Gate, he led them along the wall to the attack, and they came on at the double, with their yellow turbans, gaudy silk dresses, and banners, their leader being well in advance. Hastily forming all the men he could spare, French and English, from the defence of the gate, Captain Dew advanced at the charge to meet them. When within about ten yards, Fang fired both barrels of his double gun, but at that moment the whole parapet of the wall which divided the two forces fell down, having been hit by a lucky Moorsom sbell, which was fired by the crew of cooks and stewards which had been left on board the Encounter. On the Allies returning to the gate, a shot came from the houses below which almost avenged the fall of the city, as the gallant First-Lieutenant of the Encounter, William Cornewall, was pierced by it through the heart.
Meanwhile Lieutenants Craigie and Siardet bad taken the North Gate, and Lieutenant Bogle cut through the bridge of boats which had presented an obstacle to vessels advancing up the river. The news of this success soon spread over the settlement, reaching Apak and his followers, who now, inspired with desire for plunder, did not wait for tide or powder, but landing, crossed over the settlement, and seizing boats opposite the city, entered it like a pack of ravenous wolves. From the mastheads of the shipping the Tai-pings were seen streaming out by the West Gate; and so great was the panic that seized them, that hundreds of their number were speared by