First War with China, and efforts to suppress the Slave-Trade - A.D. 1840.
Finding that the Chinese, though carrying on negotiations, were making strenuous preparations for war, Sir Gordon Bremer resolved to attack Canton. The entrance of the Canton River is called the Boca Tigris, on either side of which were lines of defences known as the Bogue Forts, supposed to be of great strength. These it was necessary to silence. The marines and other troops were sent on shore to assault the fort of Chuenpee, on the land side, while the ships battered it from the sea. The fort having been attacked by the troops, many of the Chinese were shot, and a large number, not aware that quarter would be granted, threw themselves from the battlements. Fort Tykocktow, on the opposite side of the river, was at the same time attacked by the Samarang, with three other vessels, and a breach being effected, the boats of the squadron, with a body of seamen, were sent on shore, who soon mastered the place. On the Chuenpee side was Anson’s Bay, at the entrance of a small river, here protected by an island at its mouth. A Chinese fleet of about 15 war-junks lay moored in shoal water, under the command of Admiral Kwang. The Nemesis, with the boats of several other ships, was joined by Captain Belcher, of the Sulphur, with two of his ship’s boats, and by Lieutenant Kellett, of the Starling, while the Nemesis soon got close enough to bring her 32-pounder pivot-guns to bear; and at the same time one of the Larne’s boats, under Lieutenant Harrison, made her way outside the island to cut off the junks in the rear. The first Congreve rocket fired from the Nemesis having entered a large junk near that of the admiral, she almost immediately blew up, pouring forth a blaze like the rush of fire from a volcano, and destroying all on board. This so terrified the Chinese that, after a few discharges of round-shot had been fired into other junks, the crews of many jumped overboard, while others cut their cables in the hopes of escaping on shore. Some were immediately captured, others escaped up the river, pursued by the Nemesis, which succeeded in bringing one down and burning another which had grounded.