CHAPTER XVII. THE FIRST FOREIGN WAR
Little permanent good had been effected by these successful operations on the coast, and Taoukwang was still as resolute as ever in his hostility; nor is there any reason to suppose that the capture of Hangchow, or any other of the coast towns, would have caused a material change in the situation. The credit of initiating the policy which brought the Chinese government to its knees belongs exclusively to Lord Ellenborough, then governor-general of India. He detected the futility of operations along the coast, and he suggested that the great waterway of the Yangtsekiang, perfectly navigable for warships up to the immediate neighborhood of Nankin, provided the means of coercing the Chinese, and effecting the objects which the English Government had in view. The English expedition, strongly re-enforced from India, then abandoned Ningpo and Chinhai, and, proceeding north, began the final operations of the war with an attack on Chapoo, where the Chinese had made extensive measures of defense. Chapoo was the port appointed for trade with Japan, and the Chinese had collected there a very considerable force from the levies of Chekiang, which ex- Commissioner Lin had been largely instrumental in raising. Sir Hugh Gough attacked Chapoo with 2,000 men, and the main body of the Chinese was routed without much difficulty, but 300 desperate men shut themselves up in a walled inclosure, and made an obstinate resistance. They held out until three-fourths of them were slain, when the survivors, seventy-five wounded men, accepted the quarter offered them from the first. The English lost ten killed and fifty-five wounded, and the Chinese more than a thousand. After this the expedition proceeded northward for the Great River, and it was found necessary to attack Woosung, the port of Shanghai, en route. This place was also strongly fortified with as many as 175 guns in position, but the chief difficulty in attacking it lay in that of approach, as the channel had first to be sounded, and then the sailing ships towed into position by the steamers. Twelve vessels were in this manner placed broadside to the batteries on land, a position which obviously they could not have maintained against a force of anything like equal strength; but they succeeded in silencing the Chinese batteries with comparatively little loss, and then the English army was landed without opposition. Shanghai is situated sixteen miles up the Woosung River, and while part of the force proceeded up the river another marched overland. Both columns arrived together, and the disheartened Chinese evacuated Shanghai after firing one or two random shots. No attempt was made to retain Shanghai, and the expedition re-embarked, and proceeded to attack Chankiang or Chinkiangfoo, a town on the southern bank of the Yangtsekiang, and at the northern entrance of the southern branch of the Great Canal. This town has always been a place of great celebrity, both strategically and commercially, for not merely does it hold a very strong position with regard to the Canal, but it forms, with the Golden and Silver Islands, the principal barrier in the path of those attempting to reach Nankin. At this point Sir Hugh Gough was re-enforced by the 98th Regiment, under Colonel Colin Campbell. The difficulties of navigation and the size of the fleet, which now reached seventy vessels, caused a delay in the operations, and it was not until the latter end of July, or more than a month after the occupation of Shanghai, that the English reached Chinkiangfoo, where, strangely enough, there seemed to be no military preparations whatever. A careful reconnaissance revealed the presence of three strong encampments at some distance from the town, and the first operation was to carry them, and to prevent their garrisons joining such forces as might still remain in the city. This attack was intrusted to Lord Saltoun's brigade, which was composed of two Scotch regiments and portions of two native regiments, with only three guns. The opposition was almost insignificant, and the three camps were carried with comparatively little loss and their garrisons scattered in all directions. At the same time the remainder of the force assaulted the city, which was surrounded by a high wall and a deep moat. Some delay was caused by these obstacles, but at last the western gate was blown in by Captain Pears, of the Engineers, and at the same moment the walls were escaladed at two different points, and the English troops, streaming in on three sides, fairly surrounded a considerable portion of the garrison, who retired into a detached work, where they perished to the last man either by our fire or in the flames of the houses which were ignited partly by themselves and partly by the fire of our soldiers. The resistance did not stop here, for the Tartar or inner city was resolutely defended by the Manchus, and owing to the intense heat the Europeans would have been glad of a rest; but, as the Manchus kept up a galling fire, Sir Hugh Gough felt bound to order an immediate assault before the enemy grew too daring. The fight was renewed, and the Tartars were driven back at all points; but the English troops were so exhausted that they could not press home this advantage. The interval thus gained was employed by the Manchus, not in making good their escape, but in securing their military honor by first massacring their women and children, and then committing suicide. It must be remembered that these were not Chinese, but Manchu Tartars of the dominant race.