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Title: The Japan-Russia War - An Illustrated History of the War in the Far East
Author: Tyler, Sydney
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: A SILENCED GUN IN PORT ARTHUR.]


THE JAPAN-RUSSIA WAR

An Illustrated History of the War in the Far East

The Greatest Conflict of Modern Times

by

SYDNEY TYLER

War Correspondent and Author of
"The Spanish War," "The War in South Africa," Etc., Etc.

Illustrated by Photographs and Drawings Made by Eye-Witnesses



P. W. Ziegler Co.
Philadelphia

Copyright, 1905,
by
Sydney Tyler

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             INTRODUCTION.


The Japan-Russia War goes into history as the greatest military
struggle the world has known. Its story, therefore, rivals in interest
those of the great wars of the past which have been an unceasing
inspiration in every field of art and literature. The political
machinations of great and little kings, of famed prime ministers, of
peoples and states have attracted attention in more or less limited
circles, but the world's wars have appealed to every class and rank.
The world's vast army of readers have never wearied of the classic
stories of feats of arms by men and armies told of the dawning days of
world history; the tales of later map-making struggles of Asia, of
Europe, of America, have never grown old or dull. So in the Orient of
to-day. The great political battles which have centred about China and
Japan for the last half century have interested the few. But to-day the
attention of the world is centred on the lands bordering the Pacific,
because a war has waged; because the whole human family loves the
stories of valorous deeds, of military achievement, of the
history-making that is done with the sword.

The purpose of this volume is to bring American readers face to face
with the events of the struggle of such stupendous magnitude, now drawn
to a close. From battlefield to battlefield the author carries his
thrilling narrative, bringing the scenes before the mind's eye as only
one could do who stood within sound of the roaring guns, within sight
of the onrush of resistless battalions, elbow to elbow with Japan's
brilliant history makers. From the opening of the struggle to its close
there was never a moment when stupendous events were not either in the
process of making or so imminent that the civilized world held its
breath. A single year's campaign in Manchuria and around famed Port
Arthur furnish three land battles, greater in the number engaged in the
awful cost of life, in the period of duration, than is presented by all
of the pages of history. The siege of Port Arthur has no duplicate
among all recorded military achievements. The opening of the second
year of the war added a battle, that at Mukden, so vast, so brilliant
from the standpoint of the victors, so disastrous from the standpoint
of the defeated, that it has been accorded by masters of strategy a
niche by itself in the chronicles of war. The author saw this wonderful
panorama of events unfolded. His story bristles with dramatic touches,
flashes of enlightening description that bring the scene home to the
reader with a vividness that thrills.

American readers have a more immediate interest in the struggle than
the universal love of the stories of battle. With Japan victor over
Russia, with the great Muscovite Empire deprived of a foothold on the
Pacific, Japan and America remain the only Powers there to divide the
rich spoils of Oriental commerce. Our possessions, the Philippines, are
Japan's nearest neighbors, and their proximity to Japan, their bearing
upon the Asiatic problem open the way for events of more than ordinary
importance, if not of seriousness. Already the statement has been made
that Japan covets these Islands. Will the United States, one day be
called upon to go to war in their behalf? The question is one which no
American can ignore. The nation must educate itself to decide one day,
the issue, for or against a struggle with this wonderful little Empire,
the Great Britain of Asia. The volume, therefore, in addition to its
value and interest as a chronicle of a marvelous series of bloody
battles is educational, the pioneer, blazing the way to an appreciation
of events, of possibilities for our own country which lie in the story
of Japan's overwhelming success. Will the Mikado come to believe that
having humbled and crushed what was Europe's mightiest Power, he can as
readily drive from the Pacific the American Republic?

The author in this volume has even more completely demonstrated his
genius as a chronicler of war than in any of his earlier efforts. Step
by step he followed the British in Africa and at the conclusion of that
struggle contributed to British literature a history which was
generally conceded to have been more accurate, more graphic, less
warped by prejudices than any other. Step by step he followed the
unfolding of our own Spanish war and the story of that struggle as told
by Mr. Tyler became at once the standard not only in Great Britain, but
in the several Continental countries in which it appeared. With the
priceless experience of these two wars to ably equip him, Mr. Tyler has
contributed one more narrative of a great war to military literature
and the assertion is unhesitatingly made that it will not be equalled
by any of the hosts of volumes destined to be written of this memorable
war.

Along with the author went his camera. To that fact the reader is
indebted to a series of illustrations never before attempted in the
portrayal of military campaigns. What little the author has left to the
imagination is supplied by these graphic pictures that bridge nine
thousand miles and bring the sights and almost the sounds of battle to
the reader.

In brief, this volume as a description of the succeeding struggles of
the Japan-Russia War, for accuracy, graphic qualities, detail and
literary finish; for its educational value and significance, for the
hitherto unattempted excellence of its illustration is presented to the
American public with confidence that an appreciative reception will not
possibly be denied.

                                                         THE PUBLISHERS.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                           TABLE OF CONTENTS.


                               CHAPTER I.
                  Causes of the War                 13

                              CHAPTER II.
                  The First Blow                    39

                              CHAPTER III.
                  The Korean Campaign               69

                              CHAPTER IV.
                  Naval Operations                 101

                               CHAPTER V.
                  Sinking of the "Petropavlovsk"   133

                              CHAPTER VI.
                  Battle of the Yalu               167

                              CHAPTER VII.
                  Cutting off Port Arthur          197

                             CHAPTER VIII.
                  The Assault that Failed          225

                              CHAPTER IX.
                  Battle of Liaoyang               257

                               CHAPTER X.
                  Naval Battle off Port Arthur     289

                              CHAPTER XI.
                  Battle of the Sha-ho             317

                              CHAPTER XII.
                  The North Sea Outrage            347

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                  Surrender of Port Arthur         379

                              CHAPTER XIV.
                  The First Year of the War        409

                              CHAPTER XV.
                  After Port Arthur                430

                              CHAPTER XVI.
                  In Winter Quarters               453

                             CHAPTER XVII.
                  The Battle of Mukden             467

                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                  Retreat towards Harbin           497

                              CHAPTER XIX.
                  The Battle of the Japan Sea      523

                              CHAPTER XX.
                  The Treaty of Peace              557

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                   Page
  A Silenced Gun at Port Arthur                            Frontispiece
  Japanese Infantry Attacking a Chinese Position                     21
  Map Showing the Area Affected by the Dispute                       25
  The Japanese at Port Arthur                                        27
  Battle of the Yalu--Sinking of the Chih-yuen                       38
  Japanese and Russian Admirals                                      48
  Japanese Generals                                                  57
  Russian Generals                                                   68
  The Harbor of Port Arthur                                          71
  Russian Fleet Trying to Leave Port Arthur                          77
  Russian and Japanese Destroyers at Close Quarters                  88
  The Czar                                                           97
  The Mikado                                                         97
  Raid by the Vladivostock Fleet                                    107
  The Tokio Military Hospital--Officers Quarters                    118
  Sketch Plan of Port Arthur's Main Fortifications                  121
  Funeral Procession of a Japanese Officer in Yokohama              125
  A Skirmish Between Japanese and Russian Cavalry                   129
  Desolation in Manchuria                                           140
  Blowing up of the Petropavlovsk                                   145
  Arrival of a Dispatch for General Kuropatkin                      152
  Russian Concentration on the Yalu                                 161
  Map Showing the Actions on the Yalu, April 29th-May 1st           169
  Hauling a Japanese Howitzer into Position under Fire              171
  Russians Collecting Wounded on the Night after the Battle         182
  A Last Gallant Stand of Russian Gunners                           191
  After Three Months                                                199
  In the Russian Trenches                                           202
  A Desperate Encounter at Port Arthur                              211
  General Stoessel Exhorting his Troops in the Defence of
      Port Arthur                                                   222
  Outside Port Arthur                                               227
  A Skirmish on the Manchurian Railway                              234
  Russians Charging Japanese Trenches at Port Arthur                243
  After Four Months                                                 247
  Russian Priest in the Trenches with General Stackelberg's
      Army                                                          250
  General Nogi before Port Arthur                                   257
  After Five Months                                                 261
  Food for the Japanese Army                                        265
  Map Showing Territory Adjacent to Liaoyang                        269
  After Six Months                                                  273
  Death of Count Keller at Yang-Ze-Ling Pass                        275
  The Six Days' Action Around Liaoyang, Aug. 29-Sept. 3d            281
  Map Showing Route of March and Principal Actions of the
      Four Japanese Armies, Feb. 7th-Sept. 4th                      283
  Japanese Assault on a Russian Position at Liaoyang                286
  Russians Recapturing their Lost Guns at Liaoyang                  295
  On the Deck of the "Rurik"                                        307
  After Seven Months                                                313
  Capture of the "Reshitelni" at Chifu                              316
  Japanese Outpost Relieving Guard near the Sha-ho                  325
  Japanese Scaling Fort at Port Arthur                              335
  The Remnant of a Regiment After the Battle of the Sha-ho          347
  Huge Siege Guns before Port Arthur                                355
  Thirsty Japanese Troops Crossing the Sha-ho                       366
  Fight in Street of Lin-Shin-Pu, Battle of Sha-ke River            375
  Port Arthur and the Surrounding Forts                             381
  Hauling Guns Up a Captured Hill at Port Arthur                    386
  Japanese Eleven-Inch Mortar before Port Arthur                    396
  The Evacuation of Port Arthur                                     405
  After Twelve Months                                               408
  Cossacks in Retreat After a Reconnaissance Near Liaoyang          415
  The Garrison of Port Arthur--Leaving the Fortress                 426
  The Bamboo Gun at Port Arthur                                     435
  On the Slopes of Ojikeishan before Port Arthur                    446
  A Night Attack on a Russian Position                              455
  Japanese Troops Caught in Barbed Wire Entanglement                466
  Map of the Battle of Mukden                                       469
  Russian Retreat in Manchuria                                      475
  Russian Suffering after the Battle of Mukden                      486
  On Board a Japanese Battle ship during the Battle of the
      Japan Sea                                                     496
  The Russian Fleet in the Battle of the Japan Sea                  505
  The Retreat from Mukden                                           519
  Peace Envoys in Session at Portsmouth                             556

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          The Japan-Russia War


                               CHAPTER I.

  Two Irreconcilable Destinies--Progress v.
    Stagnation--Europe's Danger--Insatiable Russia--A Warm
    Water Port--Japan's Warlike Progress--The Chino-Japanese
    War--Russia's "Honor"--M. Pavloff--Russia in China--The
    Russo-Chinese Bank--The Mailed Fist--Russian
    "Leases"--Benevolent Professions--Wei-Hai-Wei--Niuchwang
    Railway--Pavloff in Korea--Russia and
    Manchuria--Russo-Chinese Treaty--Anglo-Japanese
    Alliance--Russians in Korea--Japanese Protests--Russia's
    Discourtesy.

Never since the great Napoleonic wars which convulsed Europe a century
ago has the world witnessed an appeal to arms so momentous in its
issues and so tremendous in its possibilities as that which has just
been tried between Russia and Japan in the Far East. The great
internecine struggle in the United States in the middle of the last
century, the disastrous duel between France and Germany which followed,
and England's recently-concluded campaign in South Africa, have each,
indeed, left a deep mark upon history. But while their import was at
most Continental, if not local, the conflict between Japan and Russia
is fraught with consequences which must inevitably be world-wide in
scope. There is no civilized Power in either hemisphere whose interests
are not more or less directly concerned in the question--Who shall be
the dominant Power in the China Seas? For the whole course of the
world's development in that quarter must depend on whether the mastery
remains to the obstructive and oppressive Colossus of the North or to
the progressive and enlightened island-Empire which, like Pallas in
Pagan myth, has sprung fully armed from an ancient civilization into
the very van of modern progress. It was no mere dynastic jealousy or
racial animosity that brought about this fateful collision. It was the
inevitable antagonism of two irreconcilable destinies. "Two stars keep
not their motion in one sphere"; and the ambitions of Russia and the
aspirations of Japan cannot find room for fulfilment together. One or
the other must be crushed.

[Sidenote: Two Irreconcilable Destinies]

For Japan, the question is one of national existence. With Russia
established in Manchuria and dominating the Yellow Sea, the absorption
of Korea becomes a mere matter of time; and then the very independence
of Japan would be subject to a perpetual and intolerable menace; while
the new life which has dawned for its wonderfully gifted people would
be crushed at the outset. But if Japan is fighting for her life, Russia
is fighting for something almost as precious--the consummation of an
ambition which has been the dream and the fixed goal of her statesmen
for more than a generation. The expansion of the Russian Empire has
been steadily eastwards; and the further conquest and dominion have
spread, the more has the necessity been felt for an outlet to the
navigable seas. Unless all the labor and sacrifices of years are to be
in vain, and the great Siberian Empire is to remain a mere gigantic
_cul-de-sac_, Russia must establish herself permanently in the Gulf of
Pechili, and find in its ice-free ports that natural outlet for her
trans-continental railway which will enable the life-blood of commerce
to circulate through her torpid bulk. The struggle, therefore, was one
between two irreconcilable destinies.

[Sidenote: Progress v. Stagnation]

But if the issue was immediately of such paramount significance to the
two combatants, it was only less charged with import for all Asia,
Europe and America. The victory of Japan would incontestably give her
the predominance in the Far East, commercially as well as politically.
Not only would she be a formidable trade rival to the European nations
whose methods she has so successfully adopted, but she would be able to
influence the conditions under which that trade was carried on. The
immensely valuable and as yet imperfectly developed market of China
would be practically within her control; and European Powers would no
longer be able with impunity to seize naval bases and proclaim
exclusive spheres of influence in Chinese territory. On the other hand,
if Russia were to emerge victorious from the war, the whole of China
would become a mere vassal state, if indeed its integrity could be
preserved. Trade would be discouraged and finally extinguished by the
exclusive methods of Russian policy, and except on sufferance no other
Power could obtain a footing in the Far East. The whole future of this
vast region, therefore, hung in the balance, for the battle was between
freedom, progress and enlightenment, as represented by Japan, and
obscurantism, oppression and stagnation, as represented by Russia.

[Sidenote: Europe's Danger]

But the anxious concern of the world in this Far Eastern war was based
not only upon a calculation of material interests. Every civilized
Government had before its eyes the imminent danger of other countries
being dragged into the conflict. The situation was such that at any
moment some untoward incident might set Europe in a blaze. The specific
obligations of France to Russia under the terms of the Dual Alliance,
and of Great Britain to Japan under the Treaty of Alliance concluded in
1901, made the limitation of the struggle to the original combatants
not only difficult, but even precarious. A breach of neutrality by any
third Power would at once have compelled France to join forces with her
Russian ally, or Great Britain to come to the assistance of Japan. Such
a breach might have been merely trivial or technical, and yet
sufficient to give a hard-pressed belligerent ground for calling her
ally to her assistance. It might even have been deliberately provoked,
in the hope of retrieving disaster by extending the area of conflict;
and if the two Western Powers were once dragged into war, no statesman
would be bold enough to put a limit to the consequences. Both Germany
and the United States are profoundly interested in the Far East and in
the issue of this great struggle for predominance; and one or both of
them might at any moment have been ranged on one side or the other.
From such an Armageddon the factors which determine the balance of
power throughout the world, and therefore the development of national
destinies, could hardly have emerged without profound modification; and
the ultimate establishment of peace would have found many more
international rivalries and antagonisms resolved than those which are
immediately connected with the Far East. Lord Beaconsfield once said
that there were only two events in history--the Siege of Troy and the
French Revolution. It seems more than possible that the Russo-Japanese
war will have to be reckoned as a third supreme factor in the progress
of the world.

[Sidenote: Insatiable Russia]

The outbreak of the present war became practically inevitable as long
ago as 1895, when, on the conclusion of peace between China and Japan
the three European Powers--Russia, France and Germany--stepped in and
robbed the Mikado and his people of the fruits of their hard-earned
victory. From that time up to the present Russia has steadily, and
without ceasing, tightened her grip upon the Northern province of the
hapless Chinese Empire, and has ended by threatening the independence
of Korea, the legitimate sphere of influence of Japan, and the
indispensable buffer between herself and the insatiable and
ever-advancing Northern Power.

[Sidenote: A Warm Water Port]

It must be borne in mind that the determining consideration which led
Russia to cast longing eyes upon Manchuria--apart from that eternal
hunger for territory which is one of her strongest characteristics--was
the necessity of acquiring a warm water port as a naval base and
commercial harbor. The port of Vladivostock--which, by the way, she
acquired from China as early as 1860 by a truly Russian piece of
bluff--has proved of little use in this respect, owing to the fact that
during the winter months it is almost entirely icebound. A striking
illustration of the embarrassment such a state of things must cause was
afforded in the course of the present war by the plight into which the
Russian Cruiser Squadron stationed there fell. There can be no doubt
that the ambitions of the Czar's advisers had for years been directed
towards the acquisition of the fortress and harbor of Port Arthur
(known to the Chinese as Lu-shun-kau), which situated as it is upon the
narrow neck of land at the extreme southernmost point of the Liao-tung
Peninsula, should, if properly served by a strong and efficient naval
force, dominate the Gulf of Pechili, and prove the most powerful
strategic post in Northern China.

[Sidenote: Japan's Warlike Progress]

It is not known, of course, what path the development of Russian plans
in this respect would have followed if they had been allowed to proceed
without interruption; but, as it turned out, they were suddenly
threatened with a dangerous obstacle in the complete and unexpected
success of Japan over China and her capture of the whole of the
Liao-tung Peninsula. This short but sanguinary conflict between China
and Japan is memorable for having first revealed to the world the
amazing progress which Japan had made in her efforts to engraft and
assimilate the characteristics of Western civilization. It proved that
in less than twenty years Japan had earned for herself an established
position in the community of progressive nations. The war also made it
possible for the first time to estimate the influence and effect in
warlike operations of the tremendous engines of destruction with which
modern science has equipped the fleets and armies of to-day. The navy
of Japan had been organized on the latest model, and her officers had
been trained in British schools; and though China's equipment was not
to be compared with that of her antagonist, she possessed several
powerful armorclads of the latest type, officered and engineered by
experienced Europeans.

[Sidenote: The Chino-Japanese War]

The salient features of the war were, at sea, the battles of the Yalu
River and of Wei-hai-Wei; and on land, the rout of the Chinese at
Ping-Yang, the passage of the Yalu and storming of Port Arthur. The
first of these in order of time was the battle of Ping-Yang, a town
situated near the north-west coast of Korea. Here the Chinese troops
under General Tso attempted to prevent the advance of the Japanese
towards the Yalu. By a series of skilful movements carried out on
September 15th and 16th, 1894, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief, Marshal
Yamagata, completely surrounded the Chinese and defeated them with
great slaughter, their General himself falling dead upon the field. On
the next day the Chinese fleet stationed at the mouth of the Yalu,
which had proved entirely ineffective in preventing the landing of the
enemy's forces upon Korea, gave battle to the Japanese. The ships of
the latter Power were mainly cruisers, but the extraordinary skill with
which they were manoeuvred and the rapidity of their fire completely
outweighed the advantage possessed by the Chinese Admiral in
battleships. He sustained a crushing defeat, and eight of his best
vessels were destroyed. In the meanwhile Marshal Yamagata continued his
march to the North, and after a bloody but indecisive conflict near
Wiju on October 22nd he succeeded in crossing the Yalu River and
driving his antagonists in rout before him. The Japanese now proceeded
to overrun Manchuria and the Liao-tung Peninsula, capturing all the
principal positions one after the other with unvarying success. A great
army under Marshal Oyama invested Port Arthur in November, and on the
20th and 21st he took that powerful fortress by storm, the defenders
being massacred to a man. The final and decisive act of the war was the
bombardment of Wei-hai-Wei and the island fortress of Leu-Kung-tan by
the combined naval and military forces of Admiral Ito and Marshal
Oyama. The operations lasted from January 30th, 1895, till February
12th, when, unable to hold out any longer against the terrific assault,
Admiral Ting, the Chinese Commander, surrendered his fleet and the
forts under honors of war. A closing touch of tragedy was the suicide
of Ting and his principal officers, unable to bear the shame of their
defeat. On March 19th negotiations for peace were opened at
Shimonoseki, and the final treaty was signed on April 17th. The Treaty
of Shimonoseki gave Japan unqualified possession of that Peninsula and
also, of course, of Port Arthur--a very moderate territorial prize,
considering the absolute character of her victory over China, and the
sacrifices she had made to obtain it. But Russian susceptibilities were
alarmed, and the Government of St. Petersburg decided upon a drastic
step to avert the calamity which threatened to render its ambitions
futile. Gaining the support of both Germany and France, it compelled
Japan, by threats of force which that Power could not resist, to retire
from Port Arthur and the Liao-tung Peninsula, and to restore the
territory to China. The reason alleged for this high-handed action was
the specious plea that the presence of the Japanese on the Asiatic
mainland would endanger the independence of China and Korea, and would
be a constant menace to the peace of the Far East. Naturally enough the
indignation of Japan was intense, but defiance of three such powerful
antagonists was impossible for her at that moment, isolated as she was
and exhausted by the exertions of a great war. Great Britain was asked
by the other three Powers to act jointly with them in this matter, but
she refused to assist in depriving the gallant Island people of their
rightful spoils of victory. The attitude of Lord Rosebery's Government
on this occasion, although it gave no positive aid to Japan,
undoubtedly led to a better understanding between the two countries,
and paved the way ultimately to the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance,
which, by rescuing Japan from her position of isolation, enabled her to
enter effectively into the momentous and complicated game which the
European diplomatists were playing, with varying fortunes, at Peking.

[Sidenote: Russia's "Honor"]

Meanwhile, however, Japanese aspirations received a check from which
they were to take several years to recover. The statesmen of the Mikado
were even unable to obtain a pledge from China that the territories
yielded back to her by Japan would never be alienated to a third Power.
Russia's delicate sense of honor, it appeared, revolted against the
imputation implied, and therefore China must give no pledge. On the
other hand, Russia would be so generous as to give an assurance on her
own account that she had no designs upon Manchuria. Forced to content
herself with the cold comfort of this empty and meaningless
declaration, and baffled upon all essential points, Japan sullenly
withdrew her troops from the mainland and settled down to nurse her
just wrath, and prepare for the inevitable day of reckoning.

[Illustration: JAPANESE INFANTRY ATTACKING A CHINESE POSITION.]

[Sidenote: M. Pavloff]

The centre of interest was now shifted to Peking, where began that
amazing scramble among the European Powers for commercial, and
especially for railway, concessions in China, which, by unmasking the
ambitions of some countries, and revealing the community of interests
of others, has led ultimately to important modifications of
international policy, and to a re-arrangement of alliances. The
complexity of the game, the swiftness of the moves, and the ignorance
of the average man, not only of the issues involved, but even of the
main geographical and economic features of the immense country which
was the object of the struggle--all contrived to puzzle the mind and to
darken the understanding; but a vague feeling, only too clearly
justified by the events, arose in this country that England and America
were not getting the best of the conflict, and that Russia and Germany
were making all the running. In truth, there is no doubt that the
skill, or perhaps, to speak more correctly, the duplicity, of the
Russian diplomatists both in Peking and in St. Petersburg left their
competitors completely behind. Foremost among them there emerges at
this time the sinister figure of M. Pavloff, the Minister of the Czar
at the Chinese Court. The tortuous diplomacy of the Muscovite has
produced no more characteristic tool. M. Pavloff has been the stormy
petrel of the Far East. Intrepid, resourceful to a degree, unscrupulous
beyond the average, he is ever in the forefront of the diplomatic
battle line. His appearance in any part of the field is the signal for
new combinations, fresh aggressions, the stirring up of bad blood
between nations, and the unsettlement of apparently settled questions.
A man whose god is the Czar; a man with whom the expansion of the
Empire of the Little White Father is an ideal cherished with almost
religious fervor; a man who indeed in all probability honestly regards
the extension of the Russian autocracy over the world as essential to
the due progress of higher civilization--he is thoroughly typical of
the class of agents whose devoted services Russia has always managed to
secure for the spread of her Empire and the gradual but steady
absorption of fresh territory all over Asia, whether in China, Persia,
Turkestan or Tibet.

[Sidenote: Russia in China]

Such was the instrument possessed by the Government of the Czar at the
Court of Peking, and he was not likely to neglect the unique
opportunity which lay ready to his hand. By her action in restoring
Port Arthur to the nerveless grasp of China, Russia naturally assumed
the character of a powerful friend whose smile was to be courted and
whose frown was to be proportionately dreaded. What more natural, in
the circumstances, than that the Emperor should grant to the subjects
of his brother and ally, the Czar, peculiar commercial privileges in
the country which had been so generously rescued from the grip of Japan
and restored to the Empire of the King of Heaven?

[Illustration: MAP OF THE AREA AFFECTED BY THE WAR.]

[Sidenote: The Russo-Chinese Bank]

The first result of M. Pavloff's policy of disinterested friendship
became manifest in 1896, when the Chinese Government concluded an
agreement with the Russo-Chinese Bank, providing for the formation of a
company to be styled the Eastern Chinese Railway Company, the ownership
of which was to be vested solely in Russian and Chinese subjects and
which was to construct and work a railway within the confines of China,
from one of the points on the western borders of the province of
Heh-Lung-Kiang to one of the points on the eastern borders of the
province of Kirin; and to the connection of this railway with those
branches which the Imperial Russian Government would construct to the
Chinese frontier from Trans-Baikalia and the Southern Ussuri lines. The
institution, which went by the plain, solid, commercial name of the
Russo-Chinese Bank, was, of course, merely a sort of Far Eastern annex
of the Finance Bureau of M. de Witte, and the line thus modestly
announced was the nucleus of the great railway which has since played
such a large part in consolidating the Russian dominion over Manchuria.
At the outset it was pretended that the line was to be merely a short
cut to Vladivostock, but the true ambitions at the bottom of the scheme
became apparent when Russian engineers began to pour into the country
followed by squadrons of Cossacks, nominally for the protection of the
new railway, but really in pursuance of Russia's invariable policy of
impressing the natives with a due sense of her enormous military
strength.

[Sidenote: The Mailed Fist]

The construction of the line, however, had not proceeded very far when,
in 1897, an event occurred which gave the Czar's Government the chance
for which they had long been anxiously looking. The massacre of some
German missionaries led to swift and stern reprisals on the part of the
Kaiser. The port of Kiao-Chau, in the province of Shantung, was seized
until reparation was made for the outrage committed upon the majesty of
the German Empire, and to placate the offended "mailed fist," the
feeble Government of China were compelled to hand over this important
position to Germany as a permanent possession, although, by a
characteristic euphemism of diplomacy, the transaction was conveniently
styled a "lease." Russia's opportunity was now too good to be
neglected. Emboldened by the example of Germany, she demanded--for that
is what her so-called "request" amounted to in reality--permission from
the Chinese Government to winter her fleet at Port Arthur. Perhaps it
may be imputed to her for righteousness that, unscrupulous as she is,
she has never found it necessary to employ the missionaries of Christ
as instruments of aggression; at all events on this occasion she had no
such excuse at hand. The helpless Chinese assented, of course, to her
request; but now Great Britain, awake at last to the dangers which
threatened her Treaty rights, endeavored to intervene. Strong
representations were made by the English Minister to the
Tsung-lai-yamen as to the necessity for turning the port of
Ta-lien-wan--which lies immediately adjacent to Port Arthur--into a
Treaty port; that is to say, throwing it open to the trade of the world
on the same terms as obtain at Shanghai, Canton, Hankau, and other
ports of China at which the policy of the Open Door prevails.

[Illustration: THE JAPANESE AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Russian Leases]

English statesmen, however, were no match for the wily Russians, who
had the ear of the Chinese mandarins. The Government of the Czar
successfully opposed the suggestion, and backed up its representations
at Peking by significant display of force, for a considerable fleet of
men-of-war arrived at Port Arthur and Ta-lien-wan in the spring of 1898
and practically took possession. Then, by a mingled process of
terrorism and corruption, the Chinese Government were induced to grant
the Czar a "lease" of the two harbors on the same terms as those on
which Germany had been granted possession of Kiao-Chau, and, equally
important, to permit the extension of the line of the Eastern Chinese
Railway Company to Port Arthur. Thus came into being the Manchurian
Railway, the construction of which was pushed on with feverish activity.

[Sidenote: Benevolent Professions]

The first step towards the complete acquisition and control of
Manchuria had now been successfully accomplished, and English diplomacy
sought in vain to wrest from Russia the advantage she had thus
skilfully acquired. Of course Russia was prolific of "assurances" as
she always has been in similar circumstances. The Government of the
Czar solemnly declared, for the satisfaction of any confiding person
who was willing to believe it, that it had "no intention of infringing
the rights and privileges guaranteed by existing treaties between China
and foreign countries," and that the last thing it contemplated was
interference with Chinese sovereignty over the province of Manchuria.
The sincerity of these benevolent professions was to be judged by the
fact that, having once secured a grip of Port Arthur, Russia hastened
to convert it into a fortified post of great strength and magnitude,
and closed it absolutely against the commerce of the world; and that,
while on the one hand she so far met the anxious representations of the
British Government as to constitute Ta-lien-wan a free port in name, on
the other hand she deprived the concession of all real meaning by an
irritating system of passports and administrative restrictions upon
trade.

[Sidenote: Wei-hai-Wei]

Great Britain attempted to neutralize the advantage her rival had
gained in the Gulf of Pechili by securing a port on her own account,
and, with the support of Japan, she induced the Chinese Government to
enter into an agreement for the acquisition "on lease" of Wei-hai-Wei,
a harbor situated on the southern shore of the Gulf and opposite to
Port Arthur. It was imagined at the time that the port could be turned
into a powerful naval base, but the naval and military surveys
afterwards taken showed that it was of little use for strategic
purposes, and it has consequently sunk into the position of a health
station for the English China Squadron.

[Sidenote: Niuchwang Railway]

In the meantime Russia steadily increased her hold upon Manchuria, and
large bodies of troops continued to be poured into the country. Her
position had now become so strong in the counsels of the Chinese Court
that in July, 1898, she openly opposed the concession, which British
capitalists were seeking, of an extension of the Northern Railways of
China to the Treaty Port of Niuchwang, which lies to the north of Port
Arthur, at the extremity of the Gulf. The importance of this extension
to British and American commerce was immense. Niuchwang is the main
outlet of the trade of Manchuria, and was at that time a busy thriving
town of about 60,000 inhabitants. Its value from the commercial point
of view may be estimated from the fact that its total trade rose from
£1,850,000 in 1881 to £7,253,650 in 1899, the year before it fell
absolutely into Russian hands. Russia's attempt to deprive her
commercial rivals of practical access by land to this valuable port
were, however, on this occasion only partially successful; the
construction of the Shan-hai-Kwan-Niuchwang Railway was finally
permitted; but the agreement was greatly modified to suit Russian views.

[Sidenote: Pavloff in Korea]

Concurrently with these events, significant developments had been
taking place in Korea, which brought Japan once more upon the stage.
For some time after the Japanese had been driven from Port Arthur,
Russia left Korea alone. She even entered into formal engagements with
Japan, recognizing that Power's peculiar commercial rights and
interests in Korea. But now M. Pavloff arrived upon the scene at Seoul.
In March, 1900, he gave the Japanese the first taste of his quality by
endeavoring to obtain a lease of the important strategic port of
Masampo, situated in the southeast of Korea, facing the Japanese coast
and dominating the straits between. At the same time he stipulated that
the Korean Government should not alienate to any other Power the island
of Kojedo, which lies just opposite to Masampo. Japan successfully
resisted this bold stroke of policy; and matters were in this position
when the Boxer rising gave Russia a supreme opportunity. Her troops in
Manchuria were attacked by the rebels, and she at once hurried in
reinforcements and seized the whole country. Resistance to her arms was
put down with relentless vigor--with a vigor, indeed, far transcending
the necessities of the case, and the Blagovestchensk massacres, in
which thousands of unarmed Chinamen were offered up as a sacrifice to
the offended majesty of Russia, will long be a stain upon the
escutcheon of the Imperial Prophet of Peace. In the drastic process of
absorption which was now adopted, the treaty port of Niuchwang was
naturally included, and the interests of other Powers there became of
very small account indeed.

[Sidenote: Russia and Manchuria]

It was evident that the Manchurian question had now assumed a more
serious form. Of course the Czar's Government was profuse in its
explanations. No permanent territorial advantage was being sought, we
were told; as soon as lasting order had been established in Manchuria,
and indispensable measures taken for the protection of the railway
Russia would not fail to recall her troops from the province; above all
"the interests of foreign Powers and of international companies at the
port of Niuchwang must remain inviolate." The restoration of lasting
order, however, appeared to be a very tedious process. More and more
troops were drafted into the province and on the naval side also
preparations were made for an imposing demonstration.

[Sidenote: Russo-Chinese Treaty]

Admiral Alexeieff, commanding the Russian fleet, though not yet
advanced to the dignity of Viceroy of the East, now took charge of the
Czar's interests, one of his first acts being to invite China to resume
the government of Manchuria "under the protection of Russia." On
November 11th, 1900, an agreement was signed at Port Arthur between the
Russian and Chinese representatives. The terms of this remarkable
document, which were promptly disclosed by the able and well-informed
correspondent of the London _Times_ at Peking, were a startling
revelation. They provided virtually for a Russian military protectorate
over Manchuria. Mukden, the ancient capital of Manchuria and the
burial-place of the Manchu dynasty, was to be the centre of control,
and a Russian political resident was to be stationed there. This city,
which now possesses a population of about 250,000, has in modern times
become a great place of trade. It is situated 110 miles to the
northeast of Niuchwang, and its position in the centre of the
Manchurian railway system renders it a place of much strategical
importance. Not only were these vast concessions made to Russia, but
the Treaty rights of other Powers at Niuchwang itself were disregarded.
Great Britain and the United States necessarily entered an urgent
protest against this singular method of preserving their interests
inviolate. But Count Lamsdorff, the Russian Minister for Foreign
Affairs, declared to our Ambassador that the Russo-Chinese Agreement
was merely a temporary arrangement.

The value of the solemn assurance of the Foreign Minister was exposed
to the world almost immediately afterwards by the invaluable
correspondent of the London _Times_, who sent to his paper the terms of
a new and more far-reaching Agreement which the Russian diplomatists
were trying to force upon the Chinese Court.

[Sidenote: Anglo-Japanese Alliance]

The position of affairs was now profoundly altered by the conclusion of
the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. This important Treaty gave Japan the
strength and the encouragement ultimately to intervene on her own
account and endeavor to curb the restless ambitions of Russia. Russia
gave a definite pledge that her troops would be withdrawn from
Manchuria by instalments on the expiration of a certain period. That
period expired on October 8th, 1903, but the pledge was never redeemed.
A show of evacuation was made in 1902, but the troops returned, and at
the end of October of 1903 Mukden was re-occupied in force. Never
during the whole period did Russia lose her grip upon Niuchwang.

[Sidenote: Russians in Korea]

Notwithstanding the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance
in the beginning of 1902, Japan waited for eighteen months before
entering into the diplomatic lists alone against Russia. But at last,
in August of 1903, this course was rendered imperative upon her, not
only by the failure of the Czar's Government to carry out their
engagements in regard to Manchuria, but by their aggressive policy in
Korea. M. Pavloff, rebuffed at Masampo in 1900, had turned his energies
in another direction. He secured for his countrymen valuable mining
rights in Northern Korea, and Russians then began to cross the Yalu
River and ultimately occupied Yongampo, a town of some importance on
the southern bank. Not content with railway enterprises, they even
started to construct fortifications. The Japanese, of course,
interposed energetically and succeeded in modifying the Russian
activity; but it now became apparent that, unless some binding
arrangement could be arrived at, Korea was destined to share the fate
of Manchuria.

[Sidenote: Japanese Protests]

Representations were therefore made at St. Petersburg calling for a
revision of the Treaties of 1896 and 1898, and a friendly settlement of
the respective rights of the two Powers. The story of the negotiations
which ensued is a simple one. It is a story of courteous and moderate
representation on the one side, and of studied delay and contemptuous
refusals on the other. The negotiations on behalf of Russia were in the
hands of Admiral Alexeieff, now elevated to the position of Viceroy of
the East, and it is said to be mainly due to his influence that his
Government adopted such an unbending attitude. Japan asked for a
repetition by Russia of the pledges she had given that she would
recognize the integrity and independence of China and Korea; and,
further, that she should recognize the preponderance of Japanese
political and commercial interests in Korea. Russia haughtily refused
to give Japan any pledge as to the integrity of China, and contended
that her position in Manchuria was regulated by treaties with China in
which Japan had no right to interfere. As to Korea, she proposed the
establishment of a neutral zone in the north of the province, leaving
the south of the country to become a sphere of commercial influence for
Japan, but she expressly stipulated that the latter Power should make
no use of any portion of Korean territory for strategic purposes. The
proposal was so absurdly one-sided that Japan returned to the charge
with the suggestion that a neutral zone should be established both on
the Manchurian and the Korean sides of the frontier. She also
reiterated her request for an agreement as to the maintenance of the
territorial integrity of Manchuria and China.

[Sidenote: Russia's Discourtesy]

Russia contemptuously delayed reply to these representations in spite
of the courteous requests of the Japanese Government. In the meanwhile
she kept augmenting her forces in the Far East till the situation
became impossible of continuance.

Every day that passed threatened to transfer the balance of naval power
in favor of the European Power, for a powerful fleet was being hurried
out to the Far East, and the badly-finished warships in Port Arthur
were being patched up by an army of mechanicians. Mr. Kurino, who
conducted the negotiations at St. Petersburg, pressed for an answer,
but was put off with promises no less than six times. Such discourtesy
could only have one result. The dignity of Japan could brook no further
insolence, and the Czar and his Ministers were politely informed that
under such circumstances negotiations were useless. It was in vain that
hurried telegrams were dispatched to Admiral Alexeieff to present a
reply to the justly incensed Cabinet at Tokio. The die had been cast,
and the big bully of the North, who had for so long baited the plucky
little Japanese, realized at last that threats and bluff no longer were
of any avail, and that the matter was now referred to the God of
Battles.

On February 7th, 1904, Japan formally broke off the negotiations and
withdrew her Minister from St. Petersburg. The war cloud had burst.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF THE YALU--SINKING OF THE CHIH-YUEN.]



                              CHAPTER II.

  Russia Bluffing--Japan's Navy--"Nisshin" and "Kasaga"--New and
    Efficient--Japan's Dockyards--Opposing Figures--Russian
    Navy--Belated Help--Japan's Superiority--Russian
    Harbor--Japan on Land--Russia's Army--East of Baikal--Weak
    Communications--Port Arthur--Korea as Base--Command of the
    Sea--The First Blow--World-Wide Interest--A Graphic
    Account--Russian Losses--The Fight of February 9th--Russian
    Bravery--Japanese Modesty--Damage Understated--Only One
    Repairing Dock--Alexeieff's Reason for Casualties--The Fight
    at Chemulpo--The First Shot--Japanese Disembarkation--A Brave
    Russian Captain--A Target for Japanese Gunners--The Plucky
    "Korietz"--Wounding and Burning--Japan's Handicap.


[Sidenote: Russia Bluffing]

The growing menace of the situation in the Far East had been for months
attracting the anxious attention of the whole world, and at the
beginning of 1904 it became evident that war was inevitable, unless one
or other of the disputants was prepared to make a complete surrender of
its essential claims. The unlikelihood of this remote possibility being
fulfilled was confirmed by the steady and, on the Russian side at
least, the feverish preparations for hostilities which were carried on
as an accompaniment to the repeated protestations of pacific intentions
by the Czar's Government and its diplomatic agents abroad. Those who
still believed in peace were sustained by the conviction that one of
the parties to the dispute was bluffing. Sympathizers with Russia
pointed to the tremendous power and inexhaustible resources of the
Northern Empire, and asked whether it were possible that a young and
small country like Japan should dare to try conclusions with so
gigantic an antagonist. On the other hand, the friends of Japan
emphasized the weakness of the Russian position in the Far East and the
well-known financial embarrassments beneath which her Exchequer was
laboring. It is, therefore, apropos to survey at this point the
military and strategic position in the Far East which revealed itself
immediately before the final rupture of diplomatic negotiations and the
beginning of active hostilities.

[Sidenote: Japan's Navy]

In any conflict between Russia and Japan it was obvious that the first
struggle must be for the mastery of the sea, and it is, therefore,
interesting to consider primarily the relative naval strength of the
two Powers in Far Eastern waters. The navy of Japan has been built, not
only on English models, but for the most part in English yards; and
since the Chino-Japanese War it has been increased by a number of
vessels of the latest and most powerful type. The result is that the
most formidable feature of Japan's naval strength is its complete
homogeneity. The tabular statement on page 41, gives the names and
principal characteristics of what may be called Japan's first fighting
line at sea.

[Sidenote: "Nisshin" and "Kasaga"]

Towards the close of 1903 the Japanese Government, with great
enterprise, managed to secure a powerful accession to this fleet by
purchasing from Argentina two freshly constructed cruisers of the most
modern and efficient type. These two vessels, which have been
re-christened the _Nisshin_ and _Kasaga_, were hastily equipped for sea
at Genoa, and, commanded for the time being by retired English officers
and manned by English crews, started in January for the long voyage to
the Far East. Although war had not yet been declared, it was clearly
imminent, and the Russian squadron in the Mediterranean received orders
to watch the new cruisers closely, with the object, of course, of
capturing them in case hostilities broke out before the vessels had
reached Japan. The taste of their quality, however, which the _Nisshin_
and _Kasaga_ were able to give to the Russians proved how valuable an
addition they were to the Japanese navy, for they easily outdistanced
their slow-footed pursuers, and what promised at one time to be an
exciting race degenerated practically into a walk over. The new
cruisers arrived safely at Yokohama on February 16th, and were at once
sent into dock to refit and prepare for active service. These splendid
fighting machines must, therefore, be added to the list.

                        JAPAN'S UP-TO-DATE NAVY.

                              BATTLESHIPS.

                                       Nominal    Gun       Weight of
     Name          Displacement I.H.P.  Speed  Protection Broadside Fire
     Hatsuse          15,000    15,000  18.0     14--6        4,240
     Asahi            15,000    15,000  18.0     14--6        4,240
     Shikishima       15,000    15,000  18.0     14--6        4,240
     Mikasa           15,200    16,000  18.0     14--6        4,225
     Yashima          12,300    13,000  18.0     14--6        4,000
     Fuji             12,300    13,000  18.0     14--6        4,000

                           ARMORED CRUISERS.

     Tokiwa           9,750     18,000  21.5      6--6        3,568
     Asama            9,750     18,000  21.5      6--6        3,568
     Yakuma           9,850     16,000  20.0      6--6        3,368
     Adzuma           9,436     17,000  21.0      6--6        3,368
     Idzumo           9,800     15,000  24.7      6--6        3,568
     Iwate            9,800     15,000  24.7      6--6        3,568

                          PROTECTED CRUISERS.

     Takasago         4,300     15,500  24.0    4-1/2--2       800
     Kasagi           4,784     15,500  22.5     4-1/2         800
     Chitose          4,784     15,500  22.5     4-1/2         800
     Itsukushima      4,277     5,400   16.7     11--4        1,260
     Hashidate        4,277     5,400   16.7     11--4        1,260
     Matsushima       4,277     5,400   16.7     11--4        1,260
     Yoshino          4,180     15,750  23.0       --          780
     Naniwa           3,727     7,120   17.8       --         1,196
     Takachiho        3,727     7,120   17.8       --         1,196
     Akitsushima      3,150     8,400   19.0       --          780
     Niitaka          3,420     9,500   20.0       --          920
     Tsushima         3,420     9,500   20.0       --          920
     Suma             3,700     8,500   20.0       --          335
     Akashi           2,700     8,500   20.0       --          335

[Sidenote: New and Efficient]

The table, it will be observed, does not include a number of coast
defence vessels, nor--more important for offensive purposes--the
torpedo flotilla, which is of great strength and of remarkable
efficiency, and includes over a score of 30-knot destroyers of the most
modern type. The first four battleships in the list were completed less
than two years before the war, while the armored cruisers were built
between 1899 and 1901. The protected cruisers include several of the
vessels that defeated the Chinese fleet at the battle of the Yalu.

[Sidenote: Japan's Dockyards]

For the accommodation of her fleet Japan possesses four well-equipped
dockyards, capable not only of repairing damaged vessels of any class,
but of constructing new ones; and this is, perhaps, the greatest
advantage which the island kingdom has over Russia in the present
struggle.

[Sidenote: Opposing Figures]

The naval strength of Russia in the Far East at the outbreak of
hostilities is shown in the tabular statement appearing on page 44,
which, again, does not include vessels of the smallest class nor the
torpedo-boat flotilla.

[Sidenote: Russian Navy]

It will be remarked that the Russian battleships offered a great
variety in design and fighting power--a serious disadvantage, for in
manoeuvring the efficiency of the whole squadron sinks to the level
of that of the least effective vessel it contains. The _Czarevitch_ and
the _Retvisan_, which were the latest vessels to arrive at Port Arthur,
were also the most powerful members of the fleet. The former vessel was
built in France after the latest French model, and the latter in
Philadelphia. This fleet was divided, at the outbreak of war, between
Port Arthur and Vladivostock, the four powerful cruisers, _Gromoboi_,
_Bogatyr_, _Rossia_, and _Rurik_ being stationed at the latter port.

[Sidenote: Belated Help]

While negotiations were still proceeding, though at a critical point,
Russia prepared to send out very formidable reinforcements to the Far
East from her Mediterranean Fleet. These reinforcements included the
_Osliabia_, a battleship of over 12,000 tons displacement, with a speed
of 19 knots; the _Dmitri Donskoi_, an armored cruiser of 6,000 tons
displacement and a speed of 15 knots; the _Aurora_, a swift protected
cruiser of the largest class; several cruisers of the volunteer fleet,
with troops, naval drafts, and supplies; and a number of torpedo craft.
This squadron had begun to assemble at Port Said before the outbreak of
war, and the vessels at once began to pass through the Canal. But
before they were ready to sail for the China seas, war broke out, and
the departure was delayed. The initial Russian reverses at sea made it
practically impossible for this reinforcing fleet to proceed to the
seat of war, as it would have been liable to interception by the
Japanese fleet in overwhelming strength. Accordingly, after cruising
aimlessly about in the Red Sea for some weeks, the ships were ordered
to return to the Baltic; and in the beginning of March they passed
through the Suez Canal again on their way north.

                        RUSSIA'S AVAILABLE NAVY.

                              BATTLESHIPS.

                                       Nominal    Gun       Weight of
     Name          Displacement I.H.P.  Speed  Protection Broadside Fire
                       Tons            Knots.     In.          Lbs.
     Poltava          10,950    11,200  17.0     10--5        3,367
     Petropavlovsk    10,950    11,200  17.0     10--5        3,367
     Sevastopol       10,950    11,200  17.0     10--5        3,367
     Peresviet        12,674    14,500  19.0     10--5        2,672
     Pobieda          12,674    14,500  19.0     10--5        2,672
     Retvisan         12,700    16,000  18.0     10--5        3,434
     Czarevitch       13,100    16,300  18.0   11--6-3/4      3,516

                           ARMORED CRUISERS.

                                       Nominal    Gun       Weight of
     Name          Displacement I.H.P.  Speed  Protection Broadside Fire
                       Tons            Knots.     In.          Lbs.
     Bogatyr          6,750     19,500  23.0      5--4         872
     Askold           6,500     9,500   23.0       --          772
     Varyag           6,500     20,000  23.0       5           510
     Diana            6,630     11,600  20.0     4-1/2         632
     Pallada          6,630     11,600  20.0     4-1/2         632
     Boyarin          3,200     11,500  22.0       --          180
     Novik            3,000     18,000  25.0       --          180

                           ARMORED CRUISERS.

                                       Nominal    Gun       Weight of
     Name          Displacement I.H.P.  Speed  Protection Broadside Fire
                       Tons            Knots.     In.          Lbs.
     Gromoboi         12,336    18,000  20.0     6--3/4       1,197
     Bayan            7,800     17,000  22.0      7--3         952
     Rossia           12,200    18,000  20.0       2          1,348
     Rurik            10,940    3,500   18.0       3          1,345

[Sidenote: Japan's Superiority]

Though nominally the fleets of the two Powers were fairly equal, Japan
possessed several very considerable advantages which, in the opinion of
experts, changed that paper equality to marked superiority on her side.
In the first place, the Chino-Japanese war only ten years ago had given
her naval officers and men an invaluable experience of fighting on the
grand scale under modern conditions; in the next place, their fleet was
much more of a pattern; and in the third place it was operating from a
base fully capable of providing all the needs and reinforcements
entailed by losses in war, including a ready coal supply.

[Sidenote: Russia's Harbors]

Russia, on the other hand, had for its only bases Port Arthur and
Vladivostock, the one inadequate to the multifarious needs of her
fleet, and the other ice-bound in winter, and so situated
geographically as to be completely isolated from what promised to be
the main scene of operations. Although Port Arthur had been rendered
almost impregnable as a fortress, the Russians had not had time to
complete it as a naval dockyard, and at the outbreak of war it
possessed only one dry dock, and that not capable of accommodating
vessels of the largest size. At Vladivostock the channel out of the
harbor could only be kept free by ice-breakers. In the event of naval
disasters, Russia, therefore, had no possibility of repairing her lame
ducks, while the radius of her fleet's activity was limited by the fact
that her only supplies of coal were to be obtained at Port Arthur. In
the situation, therefore, which presented itself at the outbreak of
war, this powerful naval force was practically deprived of mobility. It
could not leave Port Arthur for more than a short cruise; and while it
remained there it must be specially vulnerable to attack, lying in an
open roadstead and huddled together in order to enjoy the protection of
the guns of the fortress.

[Sidenote: Japan on Land]

With regard to the land forces of the two belligerent Powers, it was
only possible to reckon with certainty those of Japan; for it remained
doubtful, until the progress of active operations revealed the facts,
how much of Russia's enormous military strength had been concentrated
in the Far East. Broadly speaking, Japan could put into the field in
the last resort an army of between 400,000 and 450,000 men. The
standing army amounts to almost 200,000 men, and it was immediately
available for mobilization. To this number another 35,000 men was added
by the reserve, while the militia of all arms could be reckoned at
200,000 men. The Japanese infantry soldier is armed with the Midji
magazine rifle, and the artillery with the Arisaka quick-firing gun;
but the adoption of this latter weapon has been so recent that the
whole of the artillery is not yet supplied with it, and in this one
respect at least the Russian gunners are believed to possess a very
great advantage. The Japanese army has been organized largely on German
models. It proved its efficiency as a fighting machine in the
Chino-Japanese War; while the Japanese troops that took part in the
relief of the Peking Legations earned the unstinted praise of all the
military experts who watched their behavior. Until the present war,
however, the Japanese army had never undergone the supreme ordeal of
facing a European adversary.

[Sidenote: Russia's Army]

Of the Russian military organization, the strength and weakness have
long been known to the world, and the great question for strategists in
contemplating the present hostilities was the number of troops which
the Northern Power could bring into the field to confront her foe.
Various estimates had been given, from the overwhelming army of 400,000
men confidently claimed by Russia's partisans, to a force of little
more than a quarter of that strength. But though the actual figures
were in doubt, it was possible by collating the information from
various sources to arrive at an approximate estimate of the truth. At
the time of the Boxer outbreak in 1900 Russia had 35,000 men in the Far
East, and that force was, within little more than a year, trebled.
Since the possibility of trouble with Japan had loomed on the horizon,
reinforcements had been steadily dribbling over the Trans-Siberian
Railway and over seas in the volunteer transports, until the army under
the command of the Viceroy of the Far East could not number much less
than 150,000 men of all arms, with 286 guns. Of this force, at least a
half must have been absorbed in the defence of the long line of railway
communications and in garrisoning fortresses; but the troops available
for active operations consisted largely of Russia's most formidable
fighting material--namely, the Cossacks, who possess an endurance and
mobility which must be of the utmost value in such a country as that in
which the present war was to be fought out.

[Illustration:
         ADMIRAL TOGO.                         ADMIRAL KAMIMURA.
                          ADMIRAL MAKAROFF.
       ADMIRAL SKRYDLOFF.                   ADMIRAL ROZHDESTVENSKY.

                     JAPANESE AND RUSSIAN ADMIRALS.]

[Sidenote: East of Baikal]

In the latter part of January the well-informed correspondent of the
London _Times_ at Peking telegraphed an estimate of the Russian forces
east of Lake Baikal, which, in its circumstantiality and
exhaustiveness, bore the evidence of truth. According to this
authority, Russia had available at that time a total of 3,115 officers,
147,479 men, and 266 guns; and these numbers included the railway
guards over the whole of the Manchurian railways and the garrisons of
the principal fortresses. The infantry of this force numbered 108,000
officers and men, and the cavalry 22,000 officers and men, of whom
nearly the whole were Cossacks. The garrisons of Port Arthur and
Vladivostock alone absorbed 45,000 men, and remembering that the
railway line to be guarded, east of Lake Baikal, was over 1,500 miles
in length, and traverses a country of which the inhabitants were more
or less hostile, it is evident that the troops available to take the
field at the end of January could not have exceeded, on this estimate,
more than 50,000 men. Lake Baikal is 400 miles in length, and though a
railway round its southern extremity was in course of construction, it
was far from completion at the outbreak of hostilities. The lake is
frozen over during the winter months, when transit has to be effected
by sledges. But in the emergency the Russians laid railway lines across
the lake, and thus by the end of February had established a through
service of sorts. But even then the number of reinforcements and the
quantity of supplies that could be moved up to the theatre of war were
strictly limited by the delays inseparable from the working of a single
track railway, and it is doubtful whether more than 25,000 men at the
outside had been added to the field force by the beginning of March.

[Sidenote: Weak Communications]

The strategical problem which presented itself at the outbreak of
hostilities was a comparatively simple one--for Japan at any rate. The
power of Russia in the Far East depended on the maintenance of two
great arteries of communication with the heart of the Russian Empire.
One of these was the over-sea passage from the Black Sea or the Baltic
through the Suez Canal and the East Indian Archipelago--a voyage
occupying six weeks at least, and however feasible in time of peace,
rendered particularly difficult and even precarious under war
conditions owing to the possibility of interception and the absence of
any intermediate coaling stations. The other connecting link between
Port Arthur and St. Petersburg was the Trans-Siberian Railway, that
gigantic enterprise which, completed in 1899, brought the capital of
Russia within 15 days' journey of its furthermost outpost in the Yellow
Sea. From Moscow to Port Arthur is a distance of some 4,000 miles, but
at two-thirds of its length the railway is interrupted by the great
inland sea known as Lake Baikal. At this point transshipment across the
lake had to take place, a circumstance that offered an insurmountable
hindrance to rapid transit. In the building of the railway, too,
soundness had been sacrificed to rapidity of construction; the line was
only a single track one, with stations and sidings at intervals of
about 25 miles; and even when the whole service was monopolized for
military purposes the number of trains that could be passed over the
railway in one day was a fixed and very limited quantity. Even with
this line open, therefore, the rate at which Russia could reinforce her
troops in the Far East had to be determined by other circumstances than
military urgency, and the number of her reinforcements also had to be
governed by the capacity of the line to bring up not only men, but
supplies; for Manchuria itself does not provide the means of support
for a large army. The experience of the American Army in Cuba and of
the British Army in South Africa proved what tremendous difficulties
may be encountered in carrying supplies to a large force at a distance
much less remote from its base than Russia's was. For years past Russia
has sent out her troops and supplies to the Far East mainly by sea. For
twelve months before the war broke out a constant stream of transports,
colliers and supply ships had passed from the Black Sea to the Gulf of
Pechili, and this stream was only interrupted on the outbreak of war--a
significant admission of the incompleteness of the Russian
preparations, as well as of the inadequacy of the Trans-Siberian
Railway to supply her needs.

[Sidenote: Port Arthur]

It was evident, therefore, that Japan's first object was to shut off
Port Arthur from the sea, and her next to cut the railway communication
to the North. This done, the Russian fortress, however impregnable to
assault, must ultimately fall to investment. From Port Arthur, which,
as a glance at the map will show, lies at the very tip of Liao-tung
Peninsula, the railway runs due north for six hundred miles through
Niuchwang and Mukden to Harbin, where it joins the branch line to
Vladivostock. Though Russia has for several years been in occupation of
this territory, her hold upon it is by no means secure. The population
is distinctly unfriendly, and for the mere defence of the line
thousands of troops are necessary. Indeed, it was this necessity that
Russia urged as an excuse for her military occupation of Manchuria.

[Sidenote: Korea as Base]

Within the triangle of which Harbin is the apex, of which the lines to
Port Arthur and Vladivostock are sides, and of which the course of the
Yalu River is the base, the sphere of immediate military operations
practically had to be confined, as the ice-bound condition of the coast
to the west of Port Arthur made a landing in force there impossible
till the spring. The necessity of maintaining communications tied the
Russian forces very largely to the railway lines. But for either
belligerent the helpless kingdom of Korea, which lies south of a line
drawn between Port Arthur and Vladivostock, for aggressive operations,
afforded the most convenient line of advance. Through Korea Russia
could menace Japan, and through Korea Japan could most easily march
against Port Arthur. Naturally, therefore, Russia's first care was to
mass her available troops on the line of the Yalu, and concentrate
reinforcements at Harbin ready to be moved to whatever point might
prove the objective of the Japanese attack.

[Sidenote: Command of the Sea]

But the command of the sea was the essential condition to attack by
land by either combatant. With the Russian fleet masked or destroyed,
Japan could choose as a landing-place for her armies any of the
numerous ports on the western coast of Korea, and so approach in force
the Yalu River, which divides Korea from Manchuria and the Liao-tung
Peninsula. With imperfect command of the sea, Japan would have a second
resource. She could land her troops at Masampo, separated only by a
hundred miles of sea from her own ports, or she could, at a push, land
her forces on the east coast of Korea, at Yuen San or Gensan. But the
former plan of operations would have entailed a long overland march
before the objective was reached, and the latter the maintenance of
communications over difficult and mountainous country. Evidently, then,
immeasurable importance attached to the result of the first naval
engagements, and to their influence in giving the command of the sea to
the one or the other of the two belligerent Powers.

[Sidenote: The First Blow]

On February 5th M. Kurino, the Japanese Minister at the Court of St.
Petersburg, announced to the Government of the Czar that Japan could
wait no longer for the long-delayed Russian reply, and that further
negotiations were broken off. This startling news reached Europe and
America on the evening of Sunday, February 7th; and while its
significance was still being anxiously discussed in every capital, and
while statesmen and jurists were still trying to convince one another
that the rupture of diplomatic negotiations did not necessarily imply
the beginning of war, there burst like a thunder-clap the further news
that the first grim and irretrievable blow had been struck. Having
decided that the arbitrament of war was inevitable, Japan acted on her
decision with swift and terrible effect. On the night of Monday,
February 8th, a daring attack by torpedo-boats was made on the Russian
fleet lying at anchor in the Port Arthur roadstead, and at one fell
swoop the boasted might of Russia at sea was hopelessly broken. This
astounding intelligence was first conveyed to the world in an official
telegram from Admiral Alexeieff to the Czar, couched in the following
terms:--

"I most devotedly inform your Majesty that about midnight between the
26th and 27th of January (February 8th and 9th) Japanese torpedo-boats
delivered a sudden mine attack on the squadron lying in the Chinese
roads at Port Arthur, the battleships _Retvisan_ and _Czarevitch_ and
the cruiser _Pallada_ being holed. The degree of seriousness of the
holes has to be ascertained. Particulars will be forwarded to your
Imperial Majesty."

[Sidenote: World-wide Interest]

The stunning effect of this news was only enhanced when fuller details
of the incident so baldly and laconically announced came to hand. No
news of the movements of the Japanese fleet had been allowed to leak
out, and its presence before Port Arthur was wholly unexpected by
others as well as the Russians. On the 3rd of February the Russian
fleet had put to sea, and for twenty-four hours the world was agog with
the news of so momentous a movement. But the speculation died suddenly
when it appeared that the fleet had returned immediately to its
anchorage. The Japanese, with characteristic alertness, realized the
splendid opportunity which the necessarily exposed position of the
Russian ships afforded to an enterprising enemy.

[Sidenote: A Graphic Account]

While everything was still tranquil at Port Arthur, and the Russian
authorities were confidently announcing that the foe could not be
expected for three or four days, the blow fell. According to the
graphic account of an eye-witness, every one at Port Arthur had settled
down for the night, when suddenly across the bay reverberated the shock
of three violent and successive explosions. In a moment all was bustle
and confusion on the Russian warships. Searchlights flashed
bewilderingly and without purpose across the waters, and quick-firing
guns from vessel after vessel began a panic fusillade, which Admiral
Alexeieff, in his official report, euphemistically described as "a well
concentrated fire at the right time."

[Sidenote: Russian Losses]

It was midnight, and in the darkness and confusion it was impossible
for any one to know exactly what was happening; but when the morning
light broke over Port Arthur the two proudest possessions of the
Russian fleet, the powerful battleships _Retvisan_ and _Czarevitch_,
were seen passing slowly towards the harbor entrance, across which they
presently lay in evidently a badly damaged condition. The cruiser
_Pallada_ followed, listing heavily to port, and she also was grounded
outside the entrance to the harbor.

[Sidenote: The Fight of Feb. 9th]

It was at ten o'clock the next day, the 9th of February, that the
Russians obtained their first glimpse of the enemy. In the distance
three Japanese cruisers were described hanging observant upon the
Russian fleet, and immediately what remained of that once powerful
squadron put to sea in pursuit of the audacious enemy. But, as before,
this bold movement had no result, and the Russian ships returned to
anchor. Scarcely had they done so when the Japanese squadron of sixteen
vessels, including six battleships and four first-class cruisers,
steamed into view in fighting formation. As the leading vessels at a
distance of some three miles came into line with the harbor entrance
the flash of their great guns broke through the mist, and for nearly an
hour the Japanese shells continued to burst over the forts, along the
beach and among the Russian ships, who replied vigorously, and whose
fire was assisted by that of the powerful land batteries. Again the
Russian squadron steamed out to meet the enemy.

[Sidenote: Russian Bravery]

Some of the cruisers advanced towards the Japanese fleet with great
gallantry, the _Novik_, the _Diana_, and the _Askold_ particularly
distinguishing themselves, with the result that they were all rather
seriously hit by the Japanese fire and were compelled to retire upon
the main squadron. Several other of the Russian ships were damaged
before the Japanese fleet drew off.

[Sidenote: Japanese Modesty]

The official dispatch of Admiral Togo to his Government upon the
momentous achievements of his fleet during these two days was a model
of modesty and self-restraint. Dated "February 10th, at Sea," it ran:--

"After the combined fleet left Sasebo, on the 6th, everything went off
as planned. At midnight on the 8th the advance squadron attacked the
enemy's advance squadron, the latter being mostly outside the bay. The
_Poltava_, _Askold_ and others were apparently struck by torpedoes.

"At noon on the 9th the fleet advanced to the offing of Port Arthur Bay
and attacked the enemy for forty minutes, I believe doing considerable
damage. I believe the enemy were greatly demoralized. They stopped
fighting at one o'clock, and appeared to retreat to the harbor.

[Illustration:
               GENERAL KUROKI.                GENERAL OKU.
                               MARSHAL OYAMA.
               GENERAL NODZU.                 GENERAL NOGI.

                            JAPANESE GENERALS.]

"The Japanese fleet suffered but very slight damage, and its fighting
strength is not decreased. Our casualties were 4 killed and 54 wounded.
The Imperial Princes on board suffered no harm.

"The conduct of the officers was cool, and not unlike their conduct at
manoeuvres.

"This morning, owing to heavy south wind, detailed reports from the
vessels have not been received, so I merely report the above fact."

[Sidenote: Damage Understated]

This dispatch, as we know both from the Russian official accounts and
from independent witnesses, really understated the extent of the blow
which the Japanese Admiral had dealt to the Russian fleet; the vessels
torpedoed were not cruisers only, but the two crack battleships upon
which Admiral Alexeieff necessarily placed peculiar dependence, and the
"considerable damage" which Admiral Togo believed had been done by the
subsequent bombardment had put out of action, for the time being, the
battleship _Poltava_ and the cruisers _Diana_, _Askold_ and _Novik_. Of
these the _Poltava_ and the _Novik_ were badly hit on the water
line--damage the seriousness of which needs no comment.

[Sidenote: Only One Repairing Dock]

The most significant confession, indeed, of the crushing character of
the blow which at the very commencement of the war the Japanese had
succeeded in dealing to their powerful adversary was contained in a
subsequent dispatch from the Viceroy to the Czar. Telegraphing on
February 11th, Admiral Alexeieff reported "the _Czarevitch_ and the
_Pallada_ were brought on the 9th inst. into the inner harbor. The leak
in the _Retvisan_ is being temporarily stopped. _The repairing of an
ironclad is a complicated business, the period for the completion of
which it is hard to indicate._" This guarded language must be read in
the light of the fact that the Russians had only one repairing dock
capable of holding a large ship at Port Arthur, and the terrible
character of the disaster which within forty-eight hours had befallen
the naval power of the haughty Muscovite in the Far East will be
realized. The losses in men were not very serious, amounting in all to
10 men killed and 2 officers and 41 men wounded, but the injury to the
fleet was practically irreparable. Seven out of Russia's best vessels
had been placed _hors de combat_, her battleships' strength being
reduced to 4, namely, the _Petropavlovsk_, _Peresviet_, _Pobieda_ and
_Sevastopol_ (the last two being themselves under repair when the war
broke out), and her already small cruiser force being reduced to two,
namely, the _Bayan_ and the _Boyarin_. The following is the list of the
damaged ships:--

           _Czarevitch_, battleship, torpedoed.
           _Retvisan_, battleship, torpedoed.
           _Poltava_, battleship, shelled on the water-line.
           _Novik_, cruiser, shelled on the water-line.
           _Askold_, cruiser, shelled on the water-line.
           _Diana_, cruiser, shelled on the water-line.
           _Pallada_, cruiser, torpedoed.

It should be added that the repairs to the _Askold_ were quickly
executed, and that she was able to take part in the subsequent
operations a few days later.

[Sidenote: Alexeieff's Reason for Casualties]

Admiral Alexeieff's dispatch to the Czar stated that the majority of
the wounded belonged to the _Pallada_. The reason for this was that
they were "poisoned by gases produced by the explosion of the torpedo
charged with melinite."

The Japanese fleet, naturally, did not emerge from such an action
unscathed. Its losses in men were officially reported as 4 killed and
54 wounded; and although the fighting efficiency of the fleet was not
seriously impaired, two armored cruisers, the _Iwote_ and the _Yakumo_,
were injured, and, as the casualties show, several other vessels were
struck. But the most remarkable circumstance was that the torpedo-boats
by which the night attack had been delivered escaped scot-free.

[Sidenote: The Fight at Chemulpo]

While the Russian capital was still reeling under the shock of this
unexpected disaster, there came the news of a fresh blow struck by the
Japanese arms in another quarter of the theatre of war. This was the
naval engagement at Chemulpo--a port on the northwest coast of
Korea--in which two of the Czar's warships and one transport steamer
were destroyed. It is true that only one of these vessels had any
fighting capacity, and that the conflict in itself was of much less
consequence than the battle at Port Arthur, but the incident gave a
further and mortifying revelation of the disorganization of the naval
forces of Russia in the Far East, and of the total absence of anything
like a bold and definite plan of operations from the minds of her
commanders. In spite of the critical position in which the negotiations
between the two Powers had been standing for weeks, the Russian fleet
in the Yellow Sea was unconcentrated and generally unprepared for war.
The outbreak of hostilities found two vessels, the _Varyag_, a
protected cruiser of 6,500 tons, and the _Korietz_, a gunboat, old,
indeed, but not without some use for coast defence, quietly stationed
at Chemulpo, a ready prey for a Japanese squadron.

[Sidenote: The First Shot]

On the 8th instant a Russian steamer called the _Sungari_, which was
employed for the transport of stores, entered the harbor with the news
that a large fleet, which her captain believed to be Japanese, was fast
approaching. The _Korietz_ was sent out to reconnoitre. The columns of
smoke on the horizon did indeed come from the funnels of the enemy's
ships. The advancing squadron consisted of a first-class battleship
flying the flag of Admiral Uriu, and the cruisers _Akashi_,
_Takachiho_, _Naniwa_ and _Chiyoda_, as well as seven torpedo-boats,
the whole convoying transports with 2,500 Japanese troops on board. The
_Korietz_ cleared her decks for action and fired--one account says that
the shot was accidental--upon the rapidly approaching foe. The latter
replied by discharging two torpedoes at the daring gunboat, which then
retreated back into harbor. It is interesting to note that, whether the
gunner of the _Korietz_ acted under orders or not, he fired the first
shot in the war, for the incident occurred several hours before the
torpedo attack upon Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: Japanese Disembarkation]

The Japanese took no further notice of the Russian ships until the
disembarkation of their troops had been carried out, a process which
was commenced immediately and was carried out through the night with
great celerity and in the most perfect order. In this matter, indeed,
as in all the preliminary stages of the war, the operations of the
Mikado's forces showed how carefully thought out were the plans of his
naval and military advisers. Not a detail appeared to have been
omitted, every eventuality had been skilfully calculated beforehand,
and as a result the whole machinery of warfare moved like clockwork.

By four o'clock on the morning of the 9th the process of disembarkation
had been successfully completed, and the soldiers had all found their
pre-arranged billets on shore. The Japanese squadron then put out to
sea once more, and waited for daylight before taking any action. At
seven o'clock, however, the captain of the _Varyag_ was served with an
ultimatum from Admiral Uriu declaring that hostilities had broken out
between Russia and Japan, and summoning him to leave the harbor by
midday. Should he refuse to do so, then the Japanese fleet would be
compelled to attack the _Varyag_ and the _Korietz_ within the harbor. A
correspondent of a London paper who was present on the spot states that
the commanders of the other warships stationed at Chemulpo--namely, the
British cruiser _Talbot_, the Italian _Elba_ and the French _Pascal_,
held a meeting and drew up a strong protest addressed to the Japanese
Admiral against his proposal to attack the Russian vessels in a neutral
port. The message was sent out in the _Talbot's_ launch.

[Sidenote: A Brave Russian Captain]

The protest, however, was not needed, for the captain of the _Varyag_,
in spite of the overwhelming disparity of forces, determined to face
his enemies in the open. It was an act of conspicuous gallantry, only
to be expected, it must be said, from the representative of a country
whose sons, whatever their faults, have never been slow to die for her
sake. The manner, too, in which the _Varyag_ set about her voyage to
inevitable destruction was well worthy of the finest naval traditions
of all countries and all ages. We are told that as the drums beat to
quarters, and as the doomed ship steamed out amid the cheers of the
foreign crews in the port, the band was massed upon her deck and burst
into the strains of the Russian Hymn, the National Anthem. It was like
that "flourish of insulting trumpets" with which Raleigh faced the guns
of Cadiz, and the bravado of which Stevenson said he liked "better than
the wisest dispositions to ensure victory; it comes from the heart and
goes to it." No one, indeed, who is capable of generous emotions can
fail to be uplifted by the story of the _Varyag's_ passage to death. It
is well to know that the cold science of modern naval warfare and all
those mathematical calculations and inventions which have displaced the
ancient ascendency of brawn and muscle at close quarters have not
quenched the eager spirit of the sailor, or diminished his "heroic
superstitions and his strutting and vainglorious style of fight." It
was with a spirit not less high and intrepid that the captain of the
little _Korietz_, disregarding the orders of his superior officer to
remain within the shelter of the harbor, followed in his wake and
strove desperately to meet the same fate.

[Sidenote: A Target for Japanese Gunners]

Slowly but steadily the two ships held on their course towards the
Polynesian Archipelago, where lay in wait their powerful foe. The
_Varyag_ had reached Round Island, when at a distance of nearly two
miles the Japanese flagship opened fire with one of her big guns. The
aim of the gunners was true. Right amidships burst the great missile,
doing terrible execution, and shell after shell followed with
relentless rapidity. The _Varyag_, wheeling around in a small circle,
responded dauntlessly with her 6-inch guns, but with little or no
effect upon the battleship, and now Admiral Uriu's cruisers joined in
the cannonade. Within half an hour of this fearful raking fire her
bridge was shot away and her sides were gaping with holes, but she kept
afloat and still withstood the onslaught, endeavoring heroically but in
vain to find an opening by which to break through and escape out to
sea. At last, after an hour's terrible pounding, she was compelled
reluctantly to give up the attempt as hopeless, and, taking refuge
among the islands, with difficulty crept back into Chemulpo harbor,
disabled beyond repair and with her decks reduced to veritable
shambles. Her desperate struggle had not left the enemy utterly
scathless, for there seems no doubt that one of the Japanese cruisers
received a good deal of damage.

[Sidenote: The Plucky "Korietz"]

In the meanwhile the little _Korietz_, with extraordinary bravery, but
with absolutely pathetic ineffectiveness, had been attempting to
imitate the manoeuvres of her consort and to do some injury to the
big ships of the enemy. As well might a warrior with a popgun try to
engage a battery of field artillery. It was magnificent, it certainly
was not war. The range was hopelessly beyond her powers, and perhaps it
was the bitterest drop in the cup of her commander and crew that the
Japanese soon ceased to pay her any attention at all, concentrating all
their efforts upon the more dangerous _Varyag_. When that vessel
retreated at length into harbor, the _Korietz_ followed her unharmed
but undisgraced.

[Sidenote: Wounding and Burning]

The wounded of the _Varyag_, numbering 4 officers and 214 men, were
removed in boats to the British, Italian and French warships. The dead
were left on board, for it was decided to scuttle the ship. At the same
time arrangements were made to blow up the _Korietz_. Just as the
Japanese fleet again appeared in sight the latter vessel blew up, and
the shattered hull, after one great burst of flame and smoke, sank
beneath the waters. The _Varyag_ refused to sink so easily, and the
Russian sailors therefore again boarded her to set her on fire. After a
little more than an hour she had burned down to the water's edge and,
heeling over, disappeared. The _Sungari_ was the next to meet its fate,
the Russians setting fire to it also to prevent its falling into the
hands of the enemy.

The Japanese fleet then steamed out to sea once more, having left
behind it no further obstacle to the landing of troops on the west
coast of Korea.

[Sidenote: Japan's Handicap]

Thus within forty-eight hours of the rupture of diplomatic relations,
the first decisive action in the struggle for sea-supremacy had been
fought, and the result left to the enterprising and intrepid Navy of
Japan not only the immense moral value of a victory well contrived and
unerringly accomplished, but the solid material advantage of a
superiority in fighting strength which was incontestable.

[Illustration:
       GENERAL LINEVITCH.                      GENERAL GRIPENBERG.
                          GENERAL KUROPATKIN.
       GENERAL KAULBARS.                      GENERAL RENNENKAMPFF.

                            RUSSIAN GENERALS]



                              CHAPTER III.

  No Rest for Russia--Port Arthur--The Russian Forts--Another
    Russian Disaster--Second Night Attack--Japanese Daring--Demons
    of the Storm--Moral Effect--Bottling up Port Arthur--The
    Fireships--Fire and Searchlight--Rain of Shell--Russians Still
    in the Woods--The Blockade--Transport Problems--Secrecy of
    Japanese Movements--Admirable Arrangements--A Close
    Censorship--Japanese Landings--Terrible Weather--At
    Ping-Yang--Perfect Organization--At Seoul--The Korean
    Emperor--A Japanese Protectorate--Advantage to Japan--Railway
    Building--Japanese Rapidity--Dismay at St.
    Petersburg--Alexeieff Criticised--General
    Kuropatkin--Confessions of Weakness--Desperate Efforts--On the
    Yalu--Round Niuchwang--Martial Law Proclaimed.


[Sidenote: No Rest for Russia]

If the Russians at Port Arthur imagined that an enemy so resourceful as
Admiral Togo had shown himself to be would rest quietly upon his oars
after the conspicuous successes of the 8th and 9th of February, they
were greatly mistaken. The first course of action for the victor in
such a case is to keep on striking and to give the harassed foe no
rest--in the striking words of Captain Mahan, to "benumb the victim."
This was precisely the plan of campaign adopted by the Japanese, who
continued to show the same remarkable skill and coolness of
calculation, and the same dash and daring in execution as had
characterized their naval operations from the first. On the other hand,
the disorganization of the Russian fleet, and of the defending force at
Port Arthur generally, showed itself more markedly than ever, and the
incapacity of the Czar's commanders conspired to aid the enterprise of
the Japanese.

[Sidenote: Port Arthur]

Before entering, however, upon a narrative of the attacks upon Port
Arthur which followed in swift succession upon the great battle of the
9th, it may be well to give some description of that famous stronghold.
The inner harbor is oval in shape, and two miles long from east to west
and a mile in breadth from north to south. The shores are protected by
hills, which the Russians had assiduously fortified since they obtained
occupation of the place. Entrance is afforded from the south by a
narrow channel, so narrow indeed that while it has the advantage of
being easily held against an enemy, it has the counteracting
disadvantage of being somewhat difficult of navigation for the ships of
the defending fleet. The mouth of this channel is protected on the
southwest by two dangerous reefs, which would prove a snare to an
unwary foe; while on the eastern shore there stands the hill of
Kwang-chin-shan, 250 feet above the sea level, upon which frown the
guns of several powerful batteries. Upon the lower slopes the Russians
had established two batteries of Canet quick-firing 5.5in. and 7.5mm.
guns, with a torpedo and searchlight station. The entrance channel is
flanked along the northwest by a narrow strip of land which goes by the
expressive name of the "Tiger's Tail," and this strip was fortified
with battery of 7 Canet 5.5in. quick-firing guns. The distance from the
Pinnacle Rock, one of the reefs above mentioned as situated at the
western corner of the entrance passage, to the opposite shore, is
nearly 350 yards. In its course the channel narrows, till at one point
it is only 500 feet in width, but it widens out again at the northern
end. At the northeastern end lies the basin, or East Port. There is
accommodation here for about a dozen large men-of-war, and on the north
side stands the one dry dock for repairing large vessels of which Port
Arthur can boast. On the other side of the channel, which at this point
is 430 yards in width, lies the mouth of the harbor proper, facing the
southeast. To enter it, ships have to round the Tiger's Tail, not a
particularly easy process for men-of-war of the largest size. Nor is
the harbor itself yet fitted to receive a great fleet. When the
Russians took it over they found that it was too shallow for berthing
vessels even of a moderate size; and in spite of the feverish activity
of their engineers in the last year or two, the dredging operations
have not proceeded far enough to allow of accommodations for more than
three battleships, together with minor craft. Hence the Port Arthur
squadron has generally been disposed either in the East Port, or basin,
or in the open roadstead outside the entrance channel. It was indeed
the position of the Russian ships in this latter anchorage that gave
the Japanese the opportunity for their fatal torpedo attack on the 8th.

[Illustration: _THE HARBOR OF PORT ARTHUR._]

[Sidenote: The Russian Forts]

The land defences of Port Arthur were exceptionally strong. A range of
forts, of which the Kwang-chin Hill already mentioned was the most
important, commanded the harbor entrance; and another range of
batteries, with the most powerful and up-to-date garrison ordnance,
surmounted the hills which surround the town and protect it on the
other side. Another line of forts guards the entrance channel on the
west side, the most important being Wei-yuen. It seemed, indeed,
undoubted that Port Arthur was impregnable from the sea, though at the
beginning of the war European experts were not inclined to dogmatize as
to the possibilities of its being stormed from the land side. As for
the fleet, if it were lying in the West Harbor or in the East Port
under the shadow of Kwan-chin, it would probably be perfectly safe from
attack; but, on the other hand, it will be seen that there was a danger
that the narrow entrance channel might be blocked up by an enterprising
enemy, in which case the Czar's ships, even if they were the finest in
the world, would be useless for all the essential purposes of naval
warfare. This attempt to "cork up the bottle" was, indeed, nearly
carried out by Admiral Togo in the course of the fortnight following
the outbreak of war.

[Sidenote: Another Russian Disaster]

Two days after the great attack another disaster befell the hapless
Russians. With this the Japanese fleet, which had retired temporarily
to the Elliot Islands in the Korean Gulf to refit and repair injuries,
had nothing to do. It was solely due to carelessness and mischance; and
while illustrating the state of demoralization that existed at Port
Arthur, it contributed to spread that demoralization still further
among the already sufficiently harassed forces of the defenders. The
mine transport _Yenesei_, which, with her sister ship the _Amur_, was
engaged in superintending the mine defences of the harbor entrance,
observing a submarine mine which had become detached floating on the
surface of the water, approached it for the purpose of firing upon it
and thus removing an obvious danger to the ships lying at anchor.
Unfortunately, in the excitement of the process, Captain Stepanoff, who
was in command, allowed his ship to drift upon a neighboring mine. A
terrific explosion followed, and the _Yenesei_, with a yawning hole in
her bows, began at once to settle down. An attempt was made to lower
the boats, but the catastrophe was so sudden and unexpected that little
could be done. Captain Stepanoff went down with his ship, and there
perished also, either from the direct effects of the explosion or from
drowning, the engineer, two midshipmen and ninety-two men of lower
rank. Not only was this terrible disaster damaging to the _morale_ of
the fleet, but it deprived Admiral Alexeieff of a valuable ship and of
stores which he could ill spare. The _Yenesei_ was built at Kronstadt
in 1898. She was of 2,500 tons displacement, with a speed of 17-1/2
knots; was armed with five 4.7-inch and six smaller quick-firing guns,
and was capable of carrying 500 mines. It is, of course, possible that
she had not that full number on board at the time of the explosion, but
in any case the loss in this respect alone must have been very severe.
The accident throws an instructive and rather terrifying light upon the
possible dangers of submarine mines, not only to the enemy who are
attacking a fortified port, but also to the defenders themselves.

[Sidenote: Second Night Attack]

Before the Russians at Port Arthur had recovered from this
nerve-shaking disaster the tireless foe flew at their throat once more.
On the night of the 13th a flotilla of Japanese torpedo-boat destroyers
started out to make another dash at the survivors of the Czar's fleet,
which were still lying in the open roadstead, presenting for a daring
and resourceful enemy a tempting object of attack. The flotilla was
under the command of Captain Nagai. A blinding snowstorm was raging at
the time, and it was no wonder in the circumstances that the vessels
became separated from one another and that some lost their way
altogether. But two, more fortunate than their fellows, hit the right
course. These were the _Asagiri_, under Captain Iakawa, and the
_Hayatori_, commanded by Captain Takanouchi. A snowstorm on that coast
is enough to tax the skill and the courage of the most intrepid sailor,
but the Japanese officers and crews were equal to the occasion. Right
in the teeth of the awful blizzard, their decks sheeted with ice and
snow, but with hearts on board hot with the fire of heroic adventure,
the gallant little craft held steadily on their way. The navigating
lieutenants had to find their course more by instinct than by
calculation, for it was impossible to see anything clearly ahead
through the pitch-darkness and the relentless snow. On, however, they
crept through the terrible night, each working independently of the
other, for under such conditions no concerted plan of attack was
possible.

[Sidenote: Japanese Daring]

At three o'clock in the morning of the 14th, the _Asagiri_ reached the
harbor mouth, and in she dashed regardless of the searchlights, which
made broad, livid tracks even through the storm of snow. A hot fire at
once broke out from the fortress and the ships, but the aim of the
gunners was wild, and, undaunted by the perils of his situation,
Captain Iakawa drove his boat right up to the Russian torpedo flotilla,
and discharged a torpedo at one of the larger vessels, from whose
funnels smoke was seen ascending. The deadly weapon went home, and
after waiting to see that it exploded, the _Asagiri_ engaged in a smart
exchange of shots with the enemy's torpedo boats and destroyers, in the
course of which she sent a "scout" to the bottom. Then, and not till
then, did her brave commander withdraw. Turning out to sea once more,
and still hotly replying to the Russian fire until she was out of
range, the _Asagiri_ safely escaped, covered with honor.

[Sidenote: Demons of the Storm]

Two hours later the _Hayatori_ arrived upon the scene and performed the
same gallant feat. Still facing the terrors of the storm, she
approached the harbor entrance and stealthily crept up to the fleet,
which lay helplessly at anchor. At last the audacious little destroyer
was discovered. Two vessels opened a fierce fire upon her, but without
hesitation, though at the same time with the most deliberate coolness
and perfect aim, she discharged a torpedo at the nearest ship. The
missile was seen to explode, and then, like her consort, the _Asagiri_,
fled safely to sea once more, after spiritedly returning the hot
fusillade directed upon her from all quarters.

[Sidenote: Moral Effect]

In the characteristically restrained dispatch in which Admiral Togo
described this brilliant feat of arms by the _Asagiri_ and the
_Hayatori_, he remarked:--"It is impossible to state the definite
material results, owing to the darkness, but the moral effect was
certainly considerable." From other sources, however, something was
learned of the character of the material damage done to the Russian
fleet Not only was a scout destroyed, but the cruiser _Boyarin_ was
injured by one of the torpedoes, and the Volunteer Fleet steamer
_Kayan_ had her upper works knocked about by a shell from one of the
Russian guns. The exact amount of the damage done was not revealed on
the Russian side, but there can at all events be no doubt that, in the
words of the Japanese Admiral, the moral effect was considerable. It is
clear from the safe return of these two small destroyers out of the
very jaws of the enemy, that the Russian gunners had become
demoralized, and the ineffectiveness of Admiral Alexeieff's own torpedo
flotilla in the face of an attack which it was peculiarly designed to
meet points strongly in the same direction.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN FLEET TRYING TO LEAVE PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Bottling up Port Arthur]

But still a third harassing attack was in store for the Russian fleet.
While one division of his torpedo-boat destroyers was thus carrying
confusion and dismay into the ranks of his opponents, Admiral Togo,
holding his main fleet within the shelter of the Elliot Islands, was
quietly preparing for a larger and more far-reaching _coup_. This was
to be nothing less than the operation of "corking up the bottle," in
other words sinking ships at the entrance to Port Arthur Harbor, and
blocking the fairway against passage of the Russian ships. It was an
enterprise in some ways similar to the famous exploit of Lieutenant
Hobson of the _Merrimac_ at Santiago-de-Cuba during the
Spanish-American War, but in the present case the blockading fleet
attained less success.

[Sidenote: The Fire Ships]

Five old steamers were chartered for the purpose. Their names were the
_Tenshin Maru_, the _Bushu Maru_, the _Buyo Maru_, the _Hokoku Maru_,
and the _Jinsen Maru_. Two of these, under the names of the _Rohilla_
and the _Brindisi_, were formerly in the service of the Peninsular and
Oriental Company. It may here be remarked that the spirit animating all
ranks of the Japanese in this war was shown by the numbers of
volunteers who came forward for the dangerous task of manning the
doomed steamers. The difficulty, indeed, was not to find sufficient
men, but to select the limited force required without giving offence to
the remainder of the host who sought to share in the glorious risk. At
last, however, the officers and crews were chosen, and the vessels,
having been carefully filled with heavy stones and explosives, left for
Port Arthur on the morning of the 23rd of February, escorted by a
flotilla of torpedo boats and destroyers.

[Sidenote: Fire and Searchlight]

In the darkness of the early morning of the 24th, they reached the
roadstead outside Port Arthur, the _Tenshin Maru_ leading the way. The
Russians, however, were more vigilant than on former occasions, and
their searchlights soon revealed the renewed presence of their
insatiable enemy. The _Tenshin Maru_, steering too far to the left,
came within the fire of the batteries on the Tiger's Tail at close
range. She was disabled by a shell, ran upon the rocks three miles to
the southwest of the harbor entrance, and there blew up. The other
steamers changed their course to the northeast, but the attentions of
the Russian searchlight operators rendered their progress highly
difficult and dangerous, and they were soon the object of a positive
storm of fire from the forts on the Tiger's Tail, Golden Hill, and
Electric Cliff, and also from the damaged _Retvisan_, which lay
grounded at the entrance to the channel. The _Bushu Maru_ was the first
to suffer from the cannonade. Her steering gear was carried away, and,
staggering blindly to the west, she grounded close to the _Tenshin
Maru_, blew up, and sank. The fate of the _Buyo Maru_ was no better.
She was raked fore and aft by the Russian shells, and before she could
reach the coveted entrance she also exploded and sank beneath the
waters.

[Sidenote: Rain of Shells]

The _Hokoku Maru_ and the _Jinsen Maru_ were more successful. They made
a rush together for the harbor channel, and got close up to the
_Retvisan_. Disregarding the heavy fire directed upon them from the
disabled but still dangerous monster, the adventurous volunteers calmly
anchored their vessels upon the spot previously selected. Then only did
they set the match to the fuses. Cheering loudly, but with no undue
precipitation, they now took to the boats and pulled away in perfect
order, in spite of the rain of shells and bullets showered around them
on every side. The abandoned steamers blew up immediately afterwards
and sank close to the lighthouse at the channel mouth. The activity of
the Russian searchlights and the hot fire from the guns of the
_Retvisan_ and the forts compelled the men in the boats to take a very
roundabout course, and they could not regain the Japanese torpedo
fleet, which in the meantime had successfully picked up the crews of
the other sunken ships. But the situation of the sailors of the _Hokoku
Maru_ and the _Jinsen Maru_ was full of peril. To add to their
difficulties, the wind rose to a gale towards daybreak, and they were
driven out of their course. But they struggled bravely on, and, after
enduring great hardships, they managed to reach the main fleet about
three o'clock in the afternoon. According to the Japanese Admiral's
report, all engaged returned in safety from this dangerous enterprise,
an achievement comparable to the most daring "cutting-out" expeditions
of olden times. It should be added that not a single destroyer or
torpedo-boat was injured.

[Sidenote: Russians Still in the Wood]

Owing to the failure of three of the steamers to reach the entrance of
the channel, and the insufficient size of the two which were
successfully sunk there, the main object of the scheme was not
attained, but it is thought that some temporary inconvenience was
caused to the Russians, especially as the position of the grounded
_Retvisan_ herself was already something of an impediment to
navigation. Extraordinary jubilation was created in the Czar's
dominions, particularly in the Capital, by the failure of the Japanese
expeditions. It was at first thought by the defending force, in the
darkness and confusion, that the merchant steamers were men-of-war, and
a grandiloquent account was sent to St. Petersburg by an imaginative
correspondent announcing no less a disaster to the Japanese than the
destruction of four of their battleships, after a severe engagement in
which the wounded _Retvisan_ had covered herself with glory. The news
was quickly transmitted abroad by the semi-official agency, and the
greatest excitement was caused in every capital in Europe. Cool-headed
people, nevertheless, waited for some confirmation of this remarkable
story, and when the truth came out the partisans of Russia were
chagrined to find what a different complexion the real facts wore.
Admiral Alexeieff, however, after the previous disasters which had
befallen his fleet, was to be pardoned, perhaps, for the somewhat
exultant tone of his dispatch to the Czar, in which he attributed what
he called "the complete derangement of the enemy's plan" to "the
brilliant resistance and destructive fire of the _Retvisan_."

[Sidenote: The Blockade]

Undiscouraged by the failure of this attempt to bottle up the enemy,
Admiral Togo continued to maintain a strict blockade of the port, and
to pursue the policy of alternate torpedo attacks and heavy
bombardments at frequent intervals. But before proceeding with the
story of these damaging and disconcerting operations, it will be
convenient to describe the course which events were taking in other
quarters of the theatre of war.

[Sidenote: Transport Problems]

The signal success of Japan at sea had reduced to comparatively simple
proportion the problem of the transport of her forces to the seat of
war on land, where the curtain was about to rise on the most desperate
act in the great drama. With half the Russian fleet at Port Arthur
disabled, with the other half confined to the harbor by strict
blockade, and with the Vladivistock cruiser squadron reduced to
ineffective isolation, the Mikado's military advisers were able to
choose the most convenient landing-places in Korea with a freedom which
was only limited by the difficulties of the winter season. This indeed
was a serious impediment to the movement of troops in large numbers.
Not only were most of the available harbors both in Korea and on the
Liao-tung Peninsula blocked by the ice, but when the invading force
landed it found the roads in such a state as to render them almost
impassable. The country was covered with snow several inches deep; the
frost was biting; and even when milder weather began to prevail the
conditions did not at once prove more favorable to marching operations
and to the conveyance of heavy artillery. For the time being, in fact,
they grew worse rather than better, for the thaw produced a perfect sea
of mud, which made progress northwards a terribly slow and painful
business. Anyone who has tried to cross a ploughed field during the
break up of a prolonged frost can form some idea--faint, however, at
the best--of the pleasures of marching in Korea at the beginning of
spring.

[Sidenote: Secrecy of Japanese Movements]

In spite, nevertheless, of all the natural difficulties of the
situation, the Japanese proceeded steadily and systematically to "weave
the crimson web of war." Nothing has been more remarkable in the course
of these operations both by sea and by land than the complete secrecy
with which the Mikado's strategists have veiled all their important
movements until the calculated blow has been struck. In this, of
course, they have been aided by their speedy acquisition of the command
of the sea. All the correspondents who have proceeded to the seat of
war agree in paying mortified tributes to the thoroughness of the
Japanese press censorship. For weeks together a great army of
"specials" were condemned idly to kick their heels at Nagasaki, while
before their eyes transport after transport, crowded with soldiery, was
leaving that port for unknown destinations. It was, however, generally
evident on the face of the broad facts of the situation, that the main
objective of the Japanese armies at that time was the west coast of
Korea; for though the ports in the district were undoubtedly difficult
of access on account of the ice, the condition of things on the
Liao-tung Peninsula, the other probable place of disembarkation, was
very much worse.

[Sidenote: Admirable Arrangements]

Before the end of February over forty transports sailed from Nagasaki,
and a still larger embarkation went on at Ujina, near Hiroshima, where
a great force of horse, foot, and artillery were steadily detrained
every day and sent on board. The admirable arrangements made by the
Japanese directors of mobilization and transport were the theme of
universal praise among unprejudiced observers. Everything had been
carefully thought out beforehand; all the necessary material was ready;
and consequently, when war broke out, there was no confusion, no undue
haste--only the ordered bustle of men who knew exactly what they had to
do and how it was to be done, down to the veriest detail. Special
wharves had been prepared and were in position within a few days, with
railway lines laid upon them, connecting them with the main lines over
which the troops travelled from the interior, so that the trains could
be brought down almost to the water's edge. Here the soldiers were
detrained, and, after a meal, embarked upon lighters and steam
launches, and were conveyed swiftly to the ships to which they were
assigned. These transports averaged 6,000 tons in burden, and were
excellently fitted up for their purpose. An important part of the
vessels' equipment in each case was a number of large surf-boats or
sampans, about the most useful form of boat possible for landing troops
in the shoal waters of the Korean harbors.

[Sidenote: A Close Censorship]

What was taking place in the meanwhile on the other side of the
channel, and particularly upon the western coast of the Hermit Kingdom?
We now know something of the strength and the disposition of the
Japanese forces, although right up to the last moment before the
general advance only the smallest items of information were allowed to
pass through the narrow-meshed net of the censorship.

[Sidenote: Japanese Landings]

According to the most trustworthy accounts, however, there seems little
doubt that the chief point of disembarkation of the Mikado's army was
Chinampo, a small and obscure treaty port situated about 150 miles
north of Chemulpo. We have already related the landing of the Japanese
advance guard at Chemulpo on February 8th, before the naval battle
which resulted in the destruction of the _Varyag_ and the _Korietz_.
This force, which belonged to the 12th Infantry Division under General
Inouye, and consisted of 2,500 men, was billeted at once in the little
town, and was followed during the next few days by the remainder of the
Division, with transport corps, train, and engineers. When the Mikado's
advisers had been assured of the success of the initial naval
operations and of Admiral Togo's supremacy at sea, a small expedition
was immediately landed near Haiju, a place situated about half-way
between Chemulpo and Chinampo, and sent forward by the Seoul-Wiju road
to seize Ping-Yang, a strategical point the importance of which was
amply demonstrated in the Chino-Japanese war. The main body of General
Inouye's Division followed with all possible speed from Chemulpo.

[Sidenote: Terrible Weather]

The hardships which these troops had to face were terrible indeed. The
weather was at its worst. Heavy rain was succeeded by frost, and on the
top of the frost came snow, and cruel blinding blizzards, in the teeth
of which the little Japs, each man burdened with a weight of 100 lbs.,
had to struggle as best they could. In the circumstances the
achievement of these forerunners of the Mikado's main army did an
admirable piece of work. They did a steady march of 25 miles a day,
bivouacking in the dirty Korean villages by night. At last, after four
or five days, the force reached Ping-Yang and proceeded with all
expedition to fortify it against possible attack. By the end of
February a considerable body of troops was in occupation of Ping-Yang,
and patrols were being pushed northwards to Anju.

[Sidenote: At Ping-Yang]

The seizure of this strong position, providing as it did against any
immediate danger from the north, enabled the Japanese to land higher up
the coast than Chemulpo, and henceforth the main work of disembarkation
in this quarter was carried on at Chinampo, access to which is gained
by an arm of the sea called the Ping-Yang Inlet.

[Sidenote: Perfect Organization]

Here we find the complement of the operations which at Nagasaki and
Ujina excited such keen admiration on the part of foreign critics.
Perfect order and discipline characterized the disembarkation of the
Japanese, as it had characterized their embarkation. The Pink-Yang
Inlet is difficult of navigation at the best of times, but the inherent
difficulties were enormously enhanced at this period of the year by the
drift ice, which rendered landing an awkward and, in some cases, a
hazardous undertaking. But the Japanese showed that admirable
forethought which has characterized every step they have taken, and the
transports brought with them large numbers of pontoon wharves, which
enabled the troops to disembark from the sampans at some distance from
the shore, and to march easily on to firm land. Here the hardy
Japanese, in spite of the severe cold, bivouacked for the most part in
the open, and were then pushed forward with all possible rapidity
towards Ping-Yang. By the middle of March, as far as can be estimated,
at least 80,000 men had landed in Korea ready to advance northwards as
soon as the weather would permit; General Kuroki, commanding the 1st
Army Corps, assuming the direction of affairs until the arrival of
Baron Kodama, the Chief of the General Staff, who had been appointed
Commander-in-Chief.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN AND JAPANESE DESTROYERS AT CLOSE QUARTERS, MARCH
9TH.]

[Sidenote: At Seoul]

In the meanwhile a strong force, under General Inouye, had marched upon
Seoul, and without difficulty overawed the feeble Emperor and his
corrupt Court. On the 12th of February M. Pavloff, whose name had for
so long been a word to conjure with in Korea, left the capital for
Chemulpo under the humiliating protection of a Japanese guard. M.
Pavloff, it is said, was thunderstruck by the news of the disasters to
the Russian navy, and by the sudden revelation of the real strength of
the hitherto despised Island Empire. It was now clear to the world, and
not least to his dupes, the Koreans, that the diplomatic bluff in which
he, in common with his administrative chief, Admiral Alexeieff, had
been indulging for so long was ludicrously out of proportion to the
naval and military preparations which would ultimately have to support
it. But the power of this able man at the Court of Seoul, though broken
for the moment, was not by any means destroyed. So well had he done his
work that even in the hour of Japan's triumph he still managed to find
tools in the corrupt servants of the Emperor, and when he had taken his
departure for Shanghai more than one attempt to communicate with him
had to be frustrated by the Japanese.

[Sidenote: The Korean Emperor]

For the time being, however, the star of Japan was unquestionably in
the ascendant at Seoul. The Emperor hastened to congratulate the Mikado
on the victory of his fleet, and assured him that in view of Korea's
position her satisfaction equalled that of the Japanese. At the same
time the Korean local officials were ordered by the central Government
to give every facility to the invading troops.

[Sidenote: A Japanese Protectorate]

But a more definite acknowledgment of Japanese supremacy followed. On
February 23rd an important agreement was signed at Seoul by M. Hayashi,
the Minister of the Mikado, and General Yi-Chi-Yong, the Korean
Minister for Foreign Affairs. By the terms of this Protocol, Korea,
"convinced of Japan's friendship," undertook to adopt the advice of the
Japanese Government in regard to administrative reform "with a view to
consolidating the peace of the Orient." On the other hand, Japan
guaranteed the safety of the Imperial family and the independence and
territorial integrity of Korea. In pursuance of this provision, the
fourth Article declared that an encroachment by a third Power, or an
internal disturbance resulting in danger to either of these interests,
would justify prompt measures on the part of Japan, who would receive
assistance from Korea, and in order to give effect to such action Japan
might occupy strategical points in Korea if necessary.

[Sidenote: Advantage to Japan]

The object of this agreement was, of course, to regularize Japan's
position in the eyes of the Powers and at the same time to give a sop
to the dignity of Korea. Its most important point, as far as the future
was concerned, was the definite guarantee on the part of Japan of the
independence and territorial integrity of the Hermit Kingdom. The
significance of this action of the Mikado's Government, as foretelling
the lines of their permanent policy in the event of a final victory
over the forces of the Czar, was heightened by the visit to Seoul a few
weeks afterwards, on a special mission, of Japan's most famous
statesman, the Marquis Ito. The attention was reciprocated by the
dispatch of a special envoy from the Korean Court to Tokio. The most
important immediate effect, however, of the complete ascendancy now
acquired by Japan at Seoul was of military rather than of civil
interest. This was the granting of a concession to the Japanese under
Article 4 of the Protocol, for the construction of the projected
railway between Seoul and Wiju, on the Yalu River, while at the same
time arrangements were made for the completion of the southern portion
of the line between Seoul and Fusan, a port at the southern extremity
of Korea.

[Sidenote: Railway Building]

Here the marvelous organization of the Japanese War Office came into
evidence once more. All the preparations for acting upon this
concession had already been made. The material which had been intended
for the construction of some unimportant railways in Japan was at hand
ready to be transferred to the seat of war, and the engineer and
pioneer corps only waited for the conclusion of the necessary
formalities to begin operations. On March 8th a body of 8,000 men
started work on the line between Seoul and Wiju, and the enterprise was
conducted at high pressure, the material being conveyed with all
possible speed by steamers from Japan. The value of this railway for
strategical purposes will be obvious to anyone who studies the map;
and, more fortunate than the Russians, the Japanese, provided that they
could hold the northern part of Korea at all, were not likely to be
faced with the difficulties which had proved so embarrassing to their
enemy, in the shape of brigands and train-wreckers, in Manchuria. The
completion of the whole line as far as Fusan would furthermore make
them practically independent of sea transport for men as well as
supplies, except, of course, as far as the narrow Korean Channel is
concerned.

[Sidenote: Japanese Rapidity]

It will thus be seen that, considering the inevitable delay due to the
severity of the season, the preparations for a general advance by the
Japanese army had been conducted with remarkable celerity and success,
and that by the middle of March great progress had been made.

We must now turn to the Russian side of the war.

[Sidenote: Dismay at St. Petersburg]

One of the first consequences of the reverses at Port Arthur was a
change in the commands. The unexpected collapse of the Russian navy
under the attacks of the despised Japanese caused grave searchings of
heart at St. Petersburg, and there can be no doubt that the Czar
himself was greatly shocked by the revelation both of the lack of
readiness of his fleet and of the strange paralysis of enterprise on
the part of the Admiral in command. It was not long before the Imperial
displeasure was visited upon this officer, Admiral Starck. On the 16th
of February he was formally superseded, and Admiral Makaroff,
Commander-in-Chief at Kronstadt, and a sailor of proved energy and
skill, was appointed to the command of the Pacific Fleet in his place.
The official reason, indeed, which was given out for Admiral Starck's
recall was "ill-health," but this ingenious euphemism deceived nobody,
the less so because the same mysterious complaint simultaneously seized
hold of Rear-Admiral Molas, his second Chief of the Staff, who was
recalled in the same Imperial Ukase.

[Sidenote: Alexeieff Criticized]

The Viceroy himself did not escape criticism at the hands of the
Russian public, and in official circles at St. Petersburg keen censure
was bestowed upon him for his share in the disasters which had befallen
the fleet under his control; but he still appeared to retain the
confidence of his master the Czar. It soon became apparent, however,
that the military problem in Manchuria presented difficulties of its
own hardly less embarrassing than those which were being experienced at
sea, and as the magnitude of the task dawned upon the Czar and his
advisers, it was deemed necessary to take drastic measures. On February
21st, therefore, the celebrated General Kuropatkin, Minister for War,
and the first Russian military strategist of the day, was appointed
Commander-in-Chief of the land forces in the Far East. It was carefully
explained that Admiral Alexeieff, as a naval officer, could not be
expected to conduct great operations on land, but it was apparent to
everyone that as these land operations were now destined finally to
decide the issue of the great conflict, the direction of the whole war
on the Russian side had virtually passed to General Kuropatkin.

[Sidenote: General Kuropatkin]

Some slight account of this famous captain may not be out of place
here. Like so many of Russia's distinguished men, both in the past and
in the present, Alexis Nikolaievitch Kuropatkin has owed his rise
rather to merit than to influence. His family was indeed a noble one,
but it was little known, and his early advancement in the service was
due to his own ability and industry, and not to high connections. When
quite young, however, he was fortunate enough to attract the attention
of the celebrated Skobeleff, and he became a great favorite as well as
a zealous disciple of that famous cavalry leader. His opportunity came
in the Russo-Turkish War, where he displayed notable dash and
gallantry, risking his life recklessly in the terrible conflict at
Plevna. In crossing the Balkans he captured a large Turkish force, and
was promoted to the command of a division. Towards the close of the war
he became Chief of the Staff to Skobeleff, and in the campaign against
the Turkomans, which followed, and which resulted in the conquest of
Turkestan, he served that great General in the same capacity. His rise
was indeed remarkably rapid; promotion came to him while he was young
and active enough to make the best use of it; and although he had held
the highest position in the army--the Ministry for War--for some years,
his age was now only fifty-six. Like most successful men, he was not
without his critics and detractors--it was said indeed that among these
was to be found Admiral Alexeieff himself, and that there was no love
lost between the two--but there can be no doubt of the General's
immense popularity with the army. His appointment to the supreme
command caused a universal feeling of relief to spread not only
throughout the Service, but throughout all classes of society in
Russia, while at the same time it proved that the real seriousness of
the task which lay then in the Far East had at last been grasped by the
Czar's Government.

[Sidenote: Confessions of Weakness]

For a time indeed the haughty disdain of their puny foe, which had
characterized Russian official circles before the war, was succeeded by
a feeling of acute pessimism. To prepare the public for the worst, an
official _communique_ was issued at St. Petersburg, in which, after an
outburst of well affected indignation against the so-called treachery
of the enemy, the people were warned that much time was necessary in
order to strike at Japan blows "worthy of the dignity and might of
Russia," while the state of unpreparedness on land as well as at sea
was revealed in the phrase, "the distance of the territory now attached
and the desire of the Czar to maintain peace were the causes of the
impossibility of preparations for war being made a long time in
advance." Simultaneously with the issue of this extraordinary
confession came the news that Admiral Alexeieff with his staff had left
Port Arthur and proceeded to Harbin, at the junction of the Manchurian
railway and the branch line to Vladivostock, there to effect a
concentration of all the available Russian forces.

[Sidenote: Desperate Efforts]

These facts combined were generally taken as indicating the intention
of the Czar's Government to abandon Port Arthur and Southern Manchuria,
for the time being, to their fate, and to make the first real stand
against the enemy on the borders of Eastern Siberia. Desperate,
however, as the situation appeared to be in these early days of the
war, it undoubtedly improved somewhat in the next few weeks, and the
delay which the severe climatic conditions imposed upon the Japanese
advance necessarily aided the Russians. General Linevitch, commander of
the Siberian Army Corps, to whom the direction of military affairs was
entrusted pending the arrival of General Kuropatkin, made desperate
exertions to collect an effective force as far south as possible, and
it was regarded as highly probable, from such scraps of news as were
allowed to creep through the censorship, that by the third week of
March he had at his disposal in Southern Manchuria a force of about
50,000 men, the bulk of which was concentrated at Liao-Yang, some forty
or fifty miles below Mukden.

[Sidenote: On the Yalu]

At the same time a smaller body of troops held the Yalu River, and
patrols were sent southwards. As early as February 28th, one of these
patrols, consisting of three Cossacks under the command of Lieutenant
Lonchakoff, came into touch with a Japanese patrol outside Ping-Yang.
The Japanese retreated, and the Russians, after advancing within 700
paces of the town, retired also before the sharp fire directed upon
them from the walls. This was the first land skirmish of the war; it
was a small affair of outposts only; and a long interval was to elapse
before a more serious conflict could become possible.

[Sidenote: Round Niuchwang]

Important, however, as were the events occurring in Korea, it was felt
by experts in Europe that the most momentous developments on land were
destined to take place on the western shore of the Liao-tung Peninsula,
and that the advance upon the Yalu was really intended to cover a blow
at a spot more vital to Russia's power. But here, by the nature of
things, the movements of the Japanese could not be so rapid. As already
indicated, the ice-bound condition of the Liao-tung coast prevented any
landing operations in that quarter before the end of March or the
beginning of April, when the frozen belt usually begins to break up. As
soon as the advancing spring brought about the changed state of affairs
it was apparent that a descent in force would become practicable to the
Japanese both at Kinchau in Society Bay, where the peninsula narrows
down to a mere neck of land, and, more important still, at Niuchwang,
the treaty port at the north of the gulf. At either of these spots it
would be comparatively easy to cut the Manchurian railway and sever
communication between Port Arthur and the Russian headquarters, but the
seizure of Niuchwang would be of much greater consequence than that of
Kinchau, as it would place the invading army within easy striking
distance of Mukden itself. Furthermore, the very process of the break
up of the ice at Niuchwang, as long as it lasts, is favorable in some
respects to the landing of an army. In winter the river is frozen out
to sea for a considerable distance, and thus, when the spring arrives,
the estuary presents the appearance of several square miles of moving
ice-floes, tossed hither and thither by the swift and devious currents,
and rendering the task of laying mines for the defence of the port
practically impossible. Another advantage possessed by the Japanese in
attacking from this quarter lay in the physical character of the
country and in the friendliness of its inhabitants. The boggy nature of
the land threatened to deprive the Russian cavalry of half its
usefulness, while it was eminently suited for the movements of
infantry, in which Japan found her greatest strength; on the other
hand, the Japanese had made themselves very popular with the
inhabitants during their war with China, and could depend upon the
natives for ample supplies.

[Illustration: THE CZAR.]
[Illustration: THE MIKADO.]

[Sidenote: Martial Law Proclaimed]

The extreme probability on all these grounds of a Japanese descent upon
Niuchwang was doubtless evident to the Russians themselves, for they
made great exertions to put the port into a state of defence, and their
concentration at Liao-Yang, fifty miles or so to the north, was clearly
designed to meet danger from this quarter. Niuchwang itself, however,
is not very easily defended against a strong force attacking from the
sea. The forts are of little avail against the guns of powerful
men-of-war; and therefore, although General Kondrotovitch, the able
officer in command, had done his best to strengthen the defences of the
town, and was said to have some twenty or thirty thousand troops at his
disposal by the end of March, it seemed clear that this was a vitally
weak spot in Russia's extended front. On Monday, March 28th, the
Russian authorities at Niuchwang declared martial law in this "neutral
port" in the following terms:

According to an order issued by the Viceroy of his Imperial Majesty in
the Far East, the Port of Ying-kow has been proclaimed under martial
law. Until the publication of the order the following regulations will
be enforced, and will be brought into immediate operation:

(1) Martial law extends over the town and port of Ying-kow, over the
whole population, without distinction of nationalities.

(2) All passengers and cargoes arriving must undergo examination. For
this purpose steamers, sailing vessels and junks, having entered the
mouth of the river, must anchor at a distance of six miles below the
fort. A steam-launch, during daylight, with a naval and Customs officer
on board, will meet the vessels at that spot. They will examine the
vessels and conduct them to berths allotted by the Customs officers.

(3) The import of arms and ammunition is prohibited.

(4) It is prohibited to export to any ports of Japan or Korea articles
of military contraband.

(5) When exporting articles to neutral ports the shipper must deposit
with the Customs security equal to the value of the cargo, as a
guarantee that the cargo shall not be reshipped from a neutral port to
Japanese or Korean ports.

(6) Lightships and leading marks will temporarily cease to be used at
the mouth of the river.

(7) When dealing with articles of contraband of war, the regulations
sanctioned by his Majesty on February 14th, 1904, are to serve for the
guidance of the military and civil authorities of the town and port of
Ying-kow, who must be guided by the published regulations defending the
administration of the provinces.

(8) If beans and beancake are exported, a sum equal to twice their
value must be deposited with the Customs.

                                                 (Signed) VICTOR GROSSE.



                              CHAPTER IV.

  Firing on the Unarmed--Snowstorms and Bitter Frost--Reconnoitring
    at Vladivostock--At the Mouth of the Golden Horn--Careful
    Japanese Calculation--Bombardment at Long Range--Russian Ships
    Lying Low--Makaroff to the Rescue--A Chance for Russian
    Torpedoes--Sea Fight at Close Quarters--Severe
    Casualties--Another Hot Fight--Unprecedented Japanese
    Daring--Carnage Indescribable--Makaroff Outpaced--A Useless
    Prize--Bombardment by Wireless Telegraphy--Port Arthur a
    Hell--Golden Hill Silenced--Terrific Missiles--A Vivid
    Picture--Blood, Blood Everywhere--Further Naval
    Movements--Hoist with its own Petard--Another Attempt to
    "Bottle"--Makaroff's Feint--Wary Enemies--Russians Taking
    Heart--Individual Heroism.


[Sidenote: Firing on the Unarmed]

We must now return to the naval operations; but before dealing with the
proceedings of Admiral Togo's fleet off Port Arthur, it will be well
perhaps briefly to follow the fortunes of the Russian cruiser squadron
stationed at Vladivostock, of which so much had been expected as an
agency for the destruction of Japanese commerce on the high seas. The
first news received of these cruisers after the outbreak of war did
indeed appear to bear out the hopes which the Russians had entertained
of them in this respect; but after one solitary exploit--the sinking of
a Japanese merchantman--the squadron disappeared from view altogether,
and for several weeks its movements became one of the most remarkable
mysteries of a mysterious situation. It will be remembered that the
vessels composing the squadron were the powerful first-class cruisers,
the _Gromoboi_, the _Bogatyr_, the _Rossia_, and the _Rurik_, and the
whole was under the command of Captain Reitzenstein, formerly the
commander of the _Askold_. Apparently the orders given to the Commodore
were to cruise about the coast of Manchuria and Japan with the object
of picking off stray merchantmen belonging to the enemy, and it was
while he was acting in pursuance of these instructions that Captain
Reitzenstein, on February 11th, fell in with two Japanese steamers--the
_Nakonoura Maru_ and the _Zensko Maru_, off the Tsugaru Straits, which
lie between the islands of Hondo--the Japanese mainland--and Yezo. The
larger of the two, the _Nakonoura Maru_, was an old ship, built in
1865, and of 1,084 tons burden; the smaller, the _Zensko Maru_, of only
319 tons, was quite modern, having been built in 1895. They were bound
in company from Sokata, in the province of Nizan, to Otaru, in Yezo.
The older and slower boat fell an easy prey to the Russian cruisers;
but it would seem that she offered fight, for she was surrounded by the
men-of-war, bombarded, and sunk, her crew being taken on board the
Russian ships. This act called forth a great outburst of indignation in
Japan and also in the United States; for though, of course, a
merchantman can justifiably be captured as a prize of war, it is not
usual to destroy an unarmed ship out of hand. The official telegrams,
however, gave no particulars as to the extent of the resistance
offered, and it must be allowed that if the _Nakonoura Maru_ absolutely
refused to surrender, the Russian men-of-war would have no option but
to fire upon her and let her take the inevitable consequences. The
_Zensko Maru_, more fortunate than her consort, showed the Russians a
clear pair of heels and escaped safely to the shelter of the port of
Fukuyama, in Yezo.

[Sidenote: Snowstorms and Bitter Frost]

This insignificant feat of arms was the sole success in the way of the
destruction of commerce which could be put to the credit of Captain
Reitzenstein's squadron in the early days of the war, and the fates
soon proved unkind to him. The stormy weather which inconvenienced the
Mikado's fleet off Port Arthur raged in the Japan Sea with peculiar
severity, and for three days after the destruction of the _Nakonoura
Maru_ the Russian squadron flew before a heavy gale, aggravated by
snowstorms and bitter frost. An official message from Admiral Alexeieff
reporting these facts was the last authentic news of the Vladivostock
squadron that reached the outside world for many weeks. Rumor upon the
subject was, of course, busy in Russia. Now it was reported that the
activity of Captain Reitzenstein had reduced the over-sea trade of
Japan to a standstill; now it was stated (on the best authority, of
course) that the squadron had escaped, and evading the Mikado's ships
in some marvelous fashion, had joined the Russian fleet at Port Arthur;
still a third and wilder story made out that it was on its way to
Europe to effect a junction with the Baltic fleet, which, it was
declared, was to be dispatched to the Far East in July. The truth
appears to have been that after infinite trouble and hardship Captain
Reitzenstein managed once more to make Vladivostock, and that his
storm-tossed ships took refuge again in the harbor, into which a free
passage was maintained by the efforts of the ice-breakers.

[Sidenote: Reconnoitring at Vladivostock]

The Japanese Commanders, however, were ignorant of the whereabouts of
this dangerous force, and a strong squadron was therefore sent into
Japan Sea to search it out, and, if possible, destroy it altogether.
The fleet dispatched for this purpose consisted of one battleship and
six cruisers, with a torpedo-destroyer flotilla. The cruisers, it
should be observed, included the newly-acquired _Nisshin_ and _Kasaga_,
which had just been fitted up for war. Rear-Admiral Kamimura, Admiral
Togo's second in command at Port Arthur, had direction of the
operations, no word of which was allowed at the time to leak out
through the ordinary channels. A careful patrol was made of the whole
of the coast, both of Manchuria and Japan, several days of this close
search finally bringing the Japanese squadron to the very mouth of
Vladivostock Harbor itself. Considerable excitement was caused in
Russia's northern stronghold when, at 8.50 on the morning of March 6th,
without any previous warning of the approaching danger, the garrison
perceived the hulls of seven great vessels loom upon the horizon to the
south of Askold Island. The presence of the enemy so far north was
wholly unexpected, and for some time the real character of the
advancing squadron was in doubt. But within an hour all speculation was
set at rest and the approaching vessels were seen to be flying the
Japanese flag. The great size and imposing aspect of the new cruisers
led the Russians to take them for battleships, whence they derived the
mistaken idea that Admiral Togo was present himself with his main
fleet. As a matter of fact, of course, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief,
with scarcely diminished forces, was still watching Port Arthur as a
cat watches a mouse, and the circumstance that he could without
difficulty spare so powerful a squadron for operations in a far distant
quarter of the theatre of war was at once a striking demonstration of
Japan's naval strength and of the straits to which the Czar's fleet had
been reduced.

[Sidenote: At the Mouth of the Golden Horn]

By noon Admiral Kamimura's ships were half-way between the coast and
Askold Island, making straight for Ussuri Bay, which lies to the
southeast of Vladivostock. At the southern end of the peninsula on
which the town and fortress of Vladivostock stand, and divided from it
by a broad channel called the Bosphorus Strait, there is situated the
Island of Kazakavitch. The Bosphorus Strait lies in a northwesterly
direction, and on the north side of it are two spacious inlets,
Patroclus Bay and Sobol Bay. Beyond these again lies the mouth of the
Golden Horn, the Harbor of Vladivostock.

[Sidenote: Careful Japanese Calculation]

The Japanese squadron steamed right on into the Bosphorus Strait, and
when opposite Patroclus Bay it assumed order of battle. Admiral
Alexeieff, in his official dispatch to the Czar, declared that it took
up a position 5-1/2 miles from the shore and out of range of the
batteries; but the truth seems to be that, with the skill which so far
has characterized all the Japanese naval operations, Admiral Kamimura
manoeuvred to secure a station, which, while it was sufficiently
within range to enable him to do execution to his foe, was, on the
other hand, outside any possible line of fire from the fortress guns,
with their necessarily limited arc of training. These dispositions for
attack argued not only careful calculation beforehand, but considerable
knowledge of the construction of the Russian forts and of the position
occupied by their ordnance.

[Sidenote: Bombardment at Long Range]

At half-past one the Japanese ships opened fire with their big guns.
Forts Suvaroff and Linievitch and the town along the valley of the
River Obyasseniye were the main objects of the cannonade, and over
these the great shells continued to burst for close upon an hour, while
the guns of the defenders were reduced to inactivity and impotence by
the baffling tactics of the Japanese Admiral. It is true that the
bombardment was rather in the nature of a reconnaissance than a serious
engagement, its aim being to induce the mysterious cruisers which were
suspected of being within the harbor to issue forth and give battle;
but it was an uncomfortable reminder to the Russians of the
vulnerability of their powerful fortress from the sea and of the
comparative immunity which a resourceful enemy might enjoy while making
a dangerous attack. The only account which has been received of the
damage done comes from Russian sources. It does not appear to have been
serious. A house in the town was knocked to pieces by a 12-inch shell,
and an unfortunate woman, who was inside at the time, was killed;
another shell burst in the courtyard of the Siberian Fleet Company,
slightly wounding five sailors; but this was set down as the limit to
the depredation committed by the Japanese gunners. On the other hand,
the Russians consoled themselves for the ineffectiveness of their own
artillery by calculating that the bombardment, by its expenditure of
200 shells, cost their enemy at least $100,000, a somewhat minute and
peddling method of reckoning up the balance of losses and gains in a
great war. It should be added that the Czar did not fail to send the
garrison a rather magniloquent telegram of congratulation, in which he
spoke of their bravery under their baptism of fire.

[Illustration: RAID BY THE VLADIVOSTOCK FLEET.]

[Sidenote: Russian Ships Lying Low]

The demonstration failed to disclose the whereabouts of the missing
cruiser squadron, and a similar result attended the scouting operations
of the Japanese torpedo destroyers which were engaged during the
bombardment in searching Askold Island and the coast along the Ussuri
Gulf. It seemed undoubted, however, in the light of subsequent events,
that the Czar's ships were within the harbor at Vladivostock all the
time, and that they felt unable to cope successfully with the powerful
fleet which was so eagerly seeking their destruction. Admiral Kamimura,
who retired southwards after the bombardment, returned on the following
day to the same position, and attempted once more to lure the hidden
cruisers into the open; but his blandishments were without avail. He
then conducted a thorough search of Amur Bay, which lies on the west
side of the peninsula, and finding no traces of the enemy, departed
finally southwards, leaving Vladivostock, for the time, in peace.

[Sidenote: Makaroff to the Rescue]

The interest now shifted once more to Port Arthur, where exciting
events were on the eve of occurring. Admiral Makaroff, the
newly-appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, arrived at
Port Arthur on the 8th of March. This gallant Admiral's reputation
stands almost as high with the navy as does General Kuropatkin's with
the army. He has gained the confidence of the men who have served under
him to an exceptional degree, and the immediate result of his presence
at the seat of war was the infusion of a new spirit into the fleet and
into the defending force generally. With immense vigor he proceeded to
hurry on the repairs of the damaged warships and to prepare for active
operations as the best means of restoring the somewhat shaken _morale_
of the force under his command. The effect of this bolder and more
enterprising policy soon became evident in the movements of the torpedo
flotilla, which, under the feeble régime of Admiral Starck, had proved
such a futile branch of the service. An opportunity for the trial of
the new tactics came almost immediately, for within twenty-four hours
after the hoisting of Admiral Makaroff's flag on the _Askold_, a
renewed challenge came from the unresting enemy. It was destined to
lead to one of the fiercest and most sanguinary combats yet experienced
in the course of the war, a combat of such a close and hand-to-hand
character as to recall the desperate struggles of earlier days, when
the rival ships were grappled together and the final arbiters of
victory were the cutlass and the boarding-pike.

[Sidenote: A Chance for Russian Torpedoes]

At midnight on the 9th two divisions of the Japanese destroyer flotilla
crept up once more towards the mouth of the entrance channel. The first
division, consisting of three vessels, the _Asashio_, the _Kasumi_, and
the _Akatsuki_, and under the command of Captain Asai, posted itself
outside the entrance to guard against the approach of the Russian
flotilla; while the second division occupied itself in laying a number
of mines of a new pattern in various spots carefully selected
beforehand for the purpose. These operations were carried out with
entire coolness and success, in spite of the flashing searchlights and
the fire from the forts--fire, however, which, according to Admiral
Togo's official report, was desultory and ineffective. The fact was
that on this occasion the Russians were determined to rely upon another
weapon than garrison ordnance. Admiral Makaroff decided to give his
torpedo destroyers the chance for which they must have longed under the
nerveless leadership of Starck, and to send them forth to deliver a
counter-attack upon the audacious foe.

[Sidenote: Sea Fight at Close Quarters]

A flotilla of six of these vessels, under the command of Captain
Matoussevitch, accordingly issued from the harbor and went in quest of
the Japanese. About 4.30 in the morning they fell in with Captain
Asai's Division to the southwest of the Liau-tie-shan Peninsula. Though
his foes outnumbered him by two to one, the Japanese commander did not
hesitate for an instant, but, confident in the skill and courage of his
men, he ordered an immediate attack, and the _Asashio_, the _Kasumi_,
and the _Akatsuki_ flew upon the enemy. A fierce struggle now ensued.
The Japanese were heavily outnumbered, it is true, but their vessels
were stronger individually than those of the Russians, and whereas the
latter were armed only with 3-pounders, the former carried 6-pounders.
Moreover, both officers and men had "found themselves" in previous
conflicts, and were flushed with a consciousness of power and the
memory of past victories. Their shooting, too was superior to that of
their opponents, and speedily made its impression. On the other hand,
the Russians, set free at last from the paralyzing influences which had
so long cramped their energies, leapt to the contest with a glad
eagerness, and fought with desperate gallantry. The combatants drew
closer and closer to one another till they were within a few yards'
distance, and the execution done by the quick-firing guns was terrible.
So near did one of the Russian destroyers approach that some
bluejackets standing on its deck were able to throw by hand a charge of
explosive onto the bridge of a Japanese boat. Fortunately for the
latter, it failed to explode, and the Japanese poured in a withering
fire in revenge. Two of the Russian vessels were so severely mauled
during the early part of the fight that they were compelled to sheer
off and retreat to Port Arthur. The others kept up the conflict much
longer, though they were hopelessly outclassed. But a perfect rain of
shell and small shot fell upon the devoted Muscovites; their engines
were rapidly becoming disabled; some of them were on fire; and at last
it became manifest that if they were to be saved at all they must
retire. Retreat, therefore, they did, fighting hotly all the way, with
the enemy hanging upon their flanks like hounds upon their quarry. At
length they came within the protection of the forts, and the heavy fire
which was directed upon the Japanese from that quarter compelled them
sullenly to give up their hold and in their turn retire.

[Sidenote: Severe Casualties]

The losses suffered by the Russian destroyers, in this hand-to-hand
conflict, which lasted for about forty minutes, were not made public
officially, but they must have been considerable, if we may judge from
the damage incurred by their victorious assailants. Seven of the
Japanese were killed and eight were wounded, some of them severely.
Prominent among these was Engineer Minamisawa, of the _Kasumi_, who
peculiarly distinguished himself, and who received injuries which were
reported as likely to prove mortal. This gallant officer had already
covered himself with glory in the first torpedo attack upon Port
Arthur, and in the heroic but fruitless attempt to block the harbor
entrance on the 23rd of February. The damage done to the Japanese
destroyers themselves was serious enough, but not such as to unfit them
for service in a few days. The _Akatsuki_ received a shell in her
stokehold, which burst a pipe and filled the compartment with scalding
steam--an accident which alone accounted for four of the lives which
were lost. All three destroyers had their hulls and upper works knocked
about by the Russian shells, but the injuries were above the
water-line, and were made good with little difficulty.

[Sidenote: Another Hot Fight]

An even hotter and, for the Russians, more disastrous conflict took
place a few hours later. As the second division of the Japanese
flotilla, under Captain Tsuehiya, was leaving the roadstead at 7 A.
M., having concluded its work of laying submarine mines, it
encountered two other Russian destroyers which had been further out
to sea to reconnoitre, and were now returning to Port Arthur. The
Japanese at once threw themselves across the course of the newcomers
to intercept them. The Russians, though on this occasion the
outnumbered party, were nothing loth to face the danger which
confronted them, and advanced to meet it with unquenchable ardor. An
engagement of an even more terrible character than that held three
hours previously now took place, and lasted for upwards of fifty-five
minutes. The Russians fought with the courage of despair, and
succeeded in putting one of their formidable opponents out of action
for the time, though the damage done was not ultimately irreparable.
This feat was performed by the _Stereguschtshi_, commanded by Captain
Sergueieff, which was more heavily armed than her companion, and
carried a 12-pounder in addition to her ordinary 3-pounders. A shell
from this weapon struck the Japanese destroyer on the water-line and
flooded two of her water-tight compartments. The supply of
quick-firing ammunition was wetted and rendered useless, so that the
vessel was unable to take any further active share in the conflict.
Nor was this the only injury she sustained. Another shell burst upon
her bridge, shivering it to fragments. One man was killed; but a
lieutenant, a sub-lieutenant, and a signaller, who were on the bridge
at the time, in some miraculous manner escaped. The terrible missile
also carried away the binnacle and the engine-room telegraph
instruments, and sent the davits flying.

[Sidenote: Unprecedented Japanese Daring]

It was clear that the 12-pounder of the _Stereguschtshi_ was too
dangerous a weapon to be neglected, and, therefore, the other Japanese
destroyers concentrated their fire upon it, with the result that in a
short time it was completely dismantled and put out of action. In these
operations the _Sazanami_ played the most conspicuous part. She drew up
so close upon the _Stereguschtshi's_ quarter that one of her
bluejackets with extraordinary daring actually leaped on board the
Russian vessel, cutlass in hand. Just as he landed on the deck Captain
Sergueieff emerged from his cabin. The impetuous Jap rushed at him like
a tiger, and, beating down his guard, struck him a fearful blow on the
head with his cutlass, felling him to the deck. The Russian attempted
to rise, but before he could do so his terrible opponent kicked him
overboard and he sank beneath the waves.

[Sidenote: Carnage Indescribable]

Undismayed by the death of their captain, the crew of the
_Stereguschtshi_ still fought on with desperate gallantry against the
raking fire of the _Sazanami_. The lieutenant took over the command,
but immediately afterwards a shell carried away both his legs, and he
fell dead at his post. To him succeeded the sub-lieutenant, who
endeavored bravely but in vain to bring the little vessel, wounded
almost to the death as it was, into the shelter of the forts. He almost
succeeded in his heroic attempt, but the implacable foe was not to be
shaken off. The man at the wheel fell mortally wounded, and as the
young lieutenant stepped forward to take it from his dying grasp he
became himself the target of the terrible fusillade and dropped dead
among his fallen brothers. Now at last, with hardly a man out of her
crew of fifty-five still living, the _Stereguschtshi_ lay a helpless
log upon the waters, awaiting the long-deferred capture, but the fire
from the forts rendered the task of taking her in tow an extremely
dangerous one. Nevertheless, a Japanese lieutenant and a party of
bluejackets from the _Sazanami_ boarded her with a rope and made her
fast. The deck of the Russian destroyer presented a horrible spectacle.
Everywhere lay the corpses of her gallant crew, in some cases terribly
mutilated by shell. Even in the few hurried moments at his disposal the
Japanese lieutenant was able to count thirty bodies; the appearance of
the stokehold defied description. Two stokers jumped overboard, and
were picked up by the Japanese. The only other survivors were two
sailors, who, directly the enemy boarded the vessel, rushed out of the
conning tower, and, taking refuge in the after cabin, locked themselves
in and refused absolutely to surrender.

[Sidenote: Makaroff Outpaced]

Now began the slow and laborious work of towing the captured boat out
of range of the shore batteries, whose attentions were becoming
embarrassing and dangerous. Moreover, a new peril threatened the
Japanese. Admiral Makaroff, perceiving the plight of the
_Stereguschtshi_, had hoisted his flag on the _Novik_, and sallied
forth with that cruiser and the _Bayan_, to the rescue. The other
destroyer, it should be mentioned, thanks to the diversion caused by
the heroic stand made by her consort, had in the meantime managed to
reach the harbor. Things began to look black for the _Sazanami_, as the
Russian cruisers were rapidly approaching; but Admiral Togo was not to
be caught napping, and his own cruiser squadron was not far away.
Several of his ships advanced to the assistance of the plucky little
destroyer, and finding himself outnumbered and outpaced, Makaroff
reluctantly abandoned his attempt and steamed back to the protection of
the forts.

[Sidenote: A Useless Prize]

The _Sazanami_, however, was not destined to save her prize. The sea
was rough, and the Russian destroyer, riddled with holes, steadily
began to fill with water. After two hours' towing it became apparent
that her condition was desperate, and the Japanese were compelled to
cut the rope. A few moments afterwards the hapless prize gave one last
lurch and sank beneath the waves with her tragic freight of dead. It
was impossible to reach the two men in the cabin, and they perished
with their ship.

[Sidenote: Bombardment by Wireless Telegraphy]

Thus ended one of the hottest conflicts yet experienced in the course
of the naval fighting around Port Arthur. But this sanguinary affair
was only the prelude to more important operations. Admiral Togo had
made his arrangement for a bombardment of the town and fortress of the
heaviest description, arrangements which, like the manoeuvres of
Admiral Kamimura at Vladivostock, were conceived in the spirit of the
most scientific warfare. As long as the Russian fleet remained
undestroyed he was under an imperative necessity to risk his ships as
little as possible against the great guns of the Port Arthur batteries,
but to conduct a successful bombardment without coming within the range
of their fire presented obvious difficulties. An indirect cannonade
from Pigeon Bay, on the southwest side of the Liau-tie-shan Peninsula,
would indeed deprive the enemy of any opportunity of replying with
effect, but on the other hand in ordinary circumstances the gunners of
the attacking fleet would also have to aim very much at random, without
being able to judge the results of their shooting. Nevertheless this
difficulty was cleverly obviated by the Japanese Admiral. While
stationing his battleships in Pigeon Bay he dispatched his cruiser
squadron to take a position on the east side of Port Arthur Bay, at
right angles to the line of fire, to observe the effects of the
bombardment, and to communicate suggestions by wireless telegraphy
during its progress. The post of the cruisers in turn was adroitly
selected so that while they could see what was going on, they were
outside the angle of fire of the forts.

[Illustration: THE TOKIO MILITARY HOSPITAL--OFFICERS QUARTERS.]

[Sidenote: Port Arthur a Hell]

These careful dispositions were completed by ten o'clock on the morning
of the 10th, and at that hour once more "the red fire and smouldering
clouds out brake." For close upon five hours a storm of shells was
poured upon the devoted fortress. The defending guns attempted to
return the fire, but their efforts were intermittent and ineffective.
On the other hand, the great projectiles from the 12-inch guns of the
Japanese battleships wrought immense havoc both in the forts and in the
town. A shell burst close to the house of a lawyer named Sidorski, and
wrecked the building; M. Sidorski himself was killed on the spot. The
wife of Colonel Baron Frank, who was in the house at the time,
sustained terrible injuries, and her daughter's head was blown off. A
young lady named Waleritsch was so seriously wounded by another shell
that she died soon after her removal to the hospital. An English
advocate, a Mr. Newton, was blown to pieces. The house of General
Volkoff was completely destroyed, and two sentries only just escaped
death. A train which was entering the town from the North was struck by
a 12-inch shell; the engine was shattered into a thousand fragments and
the driver was killed. And now to add to the horrors of the situation,
fires began to break out in various quarters of the town, and the
panic-stricken inhabitants fled to the race course, where, behind the
shelter of the hills, they were able to find some respite from the
terrible tornado which had burst upon them.

[Sidenote: Golden Hill Silenced]

While all this devastation was being hurled upon the town, the forts
themselves were passing through a hot time. The Japanese, assisted by
the skilful manoeuvre before described, had found the range for their
high angle fire perfectly, whereas the batteries of the defending force
could do little or nothing in return. The official accounts issued from
the Russian side, while admitting the severity when the bombardment
visited the town, said little about the damage to the fortifications or
the losses sustained by the garrison; but the reports received from
other and independent sources, while varying a good deal in details,
agreed in representing the total result as being of the most serious
character. It is said that twenty soldiers were killed and that many
more were wounded. The Governor of Port Arthur himself, General
Stoessel, who was on the batteries during the hottest of the fire, had
a narrow escape. A shell burst near to the spot on which he was
standing with his staff, and bespattered the whole party with splinters
and sand. The forts on Golden Hill suffered severely, and two guns were
put out of action. Nor did the ships in the harbor come off scatheless.
Heavy casualties among their crews were reported, and it was stated
that the unfortunate _Retvisan_, which had already borne so much,
received still further damage.

The Port Arthur journal, the _Novi Krai_, gave a terrible picture of
the scenes on the cruiser _Bayan_.

"The bursting shells," said the writer, "bowled over man after man
until the decks were slippery with blood. Amidst this hell the captain
stood unmoved in the conning tower calmly telephoning his orders to the
captains of the guns. His wonderful coolness had a remarkable influence
on all the officers. The cockpit was soon crowded with wounded,
thirty-nine men being brought down before the fight ended.

"Amid the crash of the guns, the hiss of the flying projectiles, and
the thunder of their explosions, the smashing of splinters, and the din
of the working engines, the surgeons labored quietly among the wounded
on the hospital operating table. Although some of the men suffered
frightful agony, few groans were heard, in spite of the fact that
anæsthetics were only administered in one case."

[Illustration: SKETCH PLAN OF PORT ARTHUR'S MAIN FORTIFICATIONS.]

[Sidenote: Terrific Missiles]

For hours that to the heart-shaken inhabitants must have appeared
interminable, the great shells, each of the enormous weight of 850
lbs., continued to hurtle through the air and to burst over the
harassed stronghold. The sensations of a garrison in such circumstances
are well described in a letter which a wounded Russian officer wrote
from the hospital in Port Arthur to a friend in Russia. He is
recounting his experiences of the first bombardment, but the account is
so vivid and would apply so well to the more trying ordeal of the 10th
of March that it will bear reproduction here.

[Sidenote: A Vivid Picture]

"The sea," he says, "is quite white from the falling shells, and it is
impossible to hear the words of command. I cry out until my voice
becomes hoarse, but cannot make myself heard above the din. There are
more than 150 cannon belching forth smoke, shell and death. There is a
wild, choking sound from the machine guns. Amid the smoke, steam and
dust I hear a groan, it is that of a soldier whose nose has been torn
away by the fragment of a shell. He is surrounded by stretcher bearers.
Someone lays his hand on my shoulder, and I turn and see at my side a
soldier, pale, and his lips trembling. He wishes to speak, but his
tongue refuses to obey. He points with his finger, and I understand
what has occurred.

[Illustration: FUNERAL PROCESSION OF A JAPANESE OFFICER IN YOKOHAMA.]

[Sidenote: Blood--Blood Everywhere]

"There beneath the cliff I hear a little battery of rapid firing guns,
very small and elegant. There are 12,000 bullets speeding on their
errand in sixty seconds. They are destined to defend our shores against
the landing of an enemy. The orgy is at its height. The shells are
bursting around us like fireworks at a feast. A whistle, a hiss, and a
sharp ringing noise, as they rush through the air, then smoke and a
smell of burning, while the sand dances from the earth. I turn from the
battery and see a terrible picture. In the midst of the men a shell
bursts. One soldier is disemboweled, and another is wounded in the
head, a third is shrieking in the height of his delirium. One steel
cannon is broken to pieces as though it were straw. An awful picture,
with blood--blood everywhere."

[Sidenote: Further Naval Movements]

At last, at two o'clock, the inferno ceased. A great calm succeeded to
the thunder of the guns and the screams of the shells, and the
civilians of Port Arthur slowly and timidly returned to their ruined
homes. The separate divisions of the Japanese fleet rejoined one
another, and after the most destructive bombardment yet inflicted upon
the land defences of the Russian stronghold, they quietly steamed away
southwards. While these events were taking place at Port Arthur a
detached squadron of the Mikado's cruisers had proceeded northeast to
Dalny, or Talienwan, as it used to be called, and destroyed the
quarantine buildings erected by the Russians on the Sanshan Islands.
Outside that port the _Takasago_ and the _Chihaya_ scouted the western
coast of the entrance to Port Arthur in the hope that the bombardment
would draw Admiral Makaroff's ships into the open; but no enemy could
be found and the two cruisers then retired in the wake of the main
squadron.

[Sidenote: Hoist With its Own Petard]

It was not long before a Russian vessel fell a victim to the mines laid
by the Japanese destroyers at the harbor entrance on the night of March
9th. On the 16th the _Skori_, a torpedo-boat destroyer of the newest
pattern, was entering the channel when she struck upon a contact mine
and was blown up. Out of her crew of fifty-five men, only four were
reported to have been saved.

[Sidenote: Another Attempt to Bottle]

After an interval of twelve days Admiral Togo made a renewed attack
upon Port Arthur, the fifth in number since the outbreak of
hostilities. It was not so serious an assault as the last, its real
object being to tempt the Russian fleet away from the protection of the
shore batteries and to give battle at sea. In this design it was
unsuccessful, but incidently it was useful, as revealing the strength
of the squadron Admiral Makaroff had at his disposal after the repairs
which had been effected upon the damaged ships. At midnight on the 21st
two Japanese destroyers were discovered by the searchlights approaching
the outer roadstead. The guns of the batteries at once gave tongue, and
a violent fire was directed against the daring craft, not only from the
fortress but from the gunboats _Bobe_ and _Otvagni_; which, according
to Admiral Alexeieff's report to the Czar, compelled them to retire. A
second flotilla crept up at 4 o'clock in the morning, and this too, it
was claimed by the Viceroy, was repulsed. A different complexion,
however, was put upon the operation by Admiral Togo's dispatch to his
Government. The destroyers retired indeed, but seemingly not in
consequence of the Russian fire, which left them unharmed, but as part
of a preconceived plan to lure forth Admiral Makaroff's fleet. The
Japanese Commander-in-Chief's words were: "The combined fleet acted
according to program. Two flotillas of our destroyers were outside Port
Arthur, as instructed, from the night of the 21st till the morning of
the 22nd. Although during this time they were under the enemy's fire
they did not sustain any damage." It is clear from this that the aim of
the Russian gunners leaves much to be desired, for the attacking
flotilla were able to cruise about in the roadsteads without being
touched.

[Sidenote: Makaroff's Feint]

At eight o'clock on the morning of the 22nd the main fleet arrived off
Port Arthur. The same tactics as were employed on the 10th were adopted
on this occasion, but with some modification. Only two battleships, the
_Fuji_ and the _Yashima_, were sent to Pigeon Bay to undertake an
indirect bombardment of the town; while the Admiral, with his main
squadron, took up a position more convenient for an attack upon the
Russian fleet should it put out to sea. The cannonade lasted again for
several hours, but his main purpose, that of drawing Admiral Makaroff
into the open, was not successful. At one period, indeed, the hopes of
the Japanese ran high. The Russian fleet was seen to issue from the
harbor as if ready for battle, with the cruiser _Askold_, flying the
flag of the Commander-in-Chief, at their head. It was now observed that
the available naval force of the Czar at Port Arthur consisted of five
battleships and four cruisers, as well as destroyers, gunboats, and
torpedo-boats. The battleships of course included the _Pobieda_, 12,674
tons, and the _Sevastopol_, 10,950 tons, which were undergoing repairs
when the first battle took place. None of the five, it will be
remembered, was equal to the Japanese battleships, either in size or in
armament, and the cruiser strength was still more disproportionate.
Nevertheless, they made a gallant show, and for a time it seemed as if
they were prepared to come to close quarters on blue water. Admiral
Makaroff, however, bold and enterprising as he is, did not feel in a
position to take such a strong step, and, to the disappointment of the
Japanese, he kept his ships well within the zone of protection afforded
by the shore batteries, while he joined them in returning the fire of
the enemy.

[Sidenote: Wary Enemies]

The objects of the two Admirals were indeed identical. Each sought to
bring about a battle on his own terms, and each was too wary to be
persuaded. The Russian attempted to lure his enemy within the range of
the forts; the Japanese endeavored to draw the Russian away from the
range of the forts; and neither was successful in his blandishments.
Finally, Admiral Togo gave the order to cease firing, and his fleet
retired southwards once more. The Russians claimed to have struck one
of their opponent's battleships; but Admiral Togo in his report
distinctly stated that his ships suffered no damage, though a good many
shells fell near the _Fuji_ in the course of the indirect bombardment.

[Sidenote: Russians Taking Heart]

Although Admiral Makaroff did not venture out to sea with his smaller
squadron when the Japanese fleet was absolutely upon the spot, this did
not prevent him from engaging in active operations of a much more
daring character than any his predecessor had dreamt of. On the 26th,
for example, he took out the whole of the ships under his command for a
reconnaissance to the Hwang-Ching-Tau Islands, a group situated about
thirty miles to the southwest of Port Arthur, a proceeding that must
have heartened both officers and men considerably. No trace of the
enemy's warships was discovered, but while the fleet was making its way
back to Port Arthur, the _Novik_ fell in with a small merchant steamer,
the _Hanien Maru_, on board of which were a number of Japanese
newspaper correspondents. The crew were transferred to the warship and
the steamer was taken in tow and subsequently sunk. The whole Russian
squadron returned safely to Port Arthur after this excursion without
once coming in sight of the enemy.

[Illustration: A SKIRMISH BETWEEN JAPANESE AND RUSSIAN CAVALRY.]

[Sidenote: Individual Heroism]

But in the meantime the Japanese were busy with fresh plans. Unable to
draw Admiral Makaroff away from the protection of the forts when the
whole Japanese fleet was lying in wait, Admiral Togo determined to use
another card in this game of skill. The project of corking up the
bottle at Port Arthur, though a failure on the first attempt, had not
by any means been abandoned, and on the very night of Admiral
Makaroff's cruise to the Hwang-Ching-Tau Islands, a fresh effort was
made to block the harbor entrance. It resulted in operations which,
although again only partially successful, were most brilliantly
executed, and were marked not only by consummate skill, but by acts of
individual heroism and self-sacrifice of the most inspiring kind. Nor
was the gallantry confined to one side alone. The Russians were not
slow to accept the opportunities for glory vouchsafed to them by the
daring of their foe, and one of the features of the conflict was the
attack by a solitary torpedo-boat upon six of the Japanese flotilla.



                               CHAPTER V.

  Volunteers for Fireships--A Drama of Searchlights--The Devil's
    Caldron--The Sacrifice of Fire--Heroic Hirose--Undaunted by
    Death--Covering Themselves with Glory--Casualties Few but
    Terrible--The Hero of Japan--Channel Still Unclosed--The
    Shadows of Fate--The Great Catastrophe--The Story of the
    "Petropavlovsk"--A Double Trap--Captain Oda and his Mines--The
    "Bayan" to the Rescue--Preparing an Ambush--Makaroff Lured
    Out--Cutting off the Unwary--Weather Permitting--Into the Jaws
    of Death--Haphazard Fire--Rescue Work--The Character of the
    Explosion--Accounts of Survivors--Tribute from the Japanese--On
    Land--Chong-Ju--The Advance to the North--Concentration of
    Troops--Kuroki's Line of Front--The Russian Position--Russian
    Confidence.


[Sidenote: Volunteers for Fireships]

As on the occasion of the first effort to block the harbor at Port
Arthur, so upon the second a spirited competition took place among the
Japanese officers and men for the honor of occupying the post of danger
upon the fireships. The claim of the gallant men who had charge of the
previous attempt to finish the work which they had so well begun was
finally conceded, their Commander-in-Chief himself deciding the
question. Four merchantmen, larger than those already sunk, had been
filled with stones and explosives and were ready for the desperate
enterprise. The whole fleet left the rendezvous on the 26th of March
under the cover of night, and accompanied the fireships up to a
distance of some miles from Port Arthur. There the Admiral gave his
final orders, and escorted by a flotilla of eleven destroyers and six
torpedo-boats, which were spread out fanwise in front of them, the
doomed vessels started upon their last and proudest voyage.

[Sidenote: A Drama of Searchlights]

It was midnight when they set forth, and there was no moon. An inky
darkness brooded over the waters, which lay still and calm like a
village pond. No sound was heard, no light was shown on the flotilla
as, steadily and inexorably, it pursued its fateful passage over the
silent sea. The only ray of light visible came from the distant
searchlight on Golden Hill, set like the eye of a Cyclops, in the
forehead of Port Arthur. Slowly and monotonously the broad refulgent
beam swept backwards across the bay, throwing into strong relief every
object upon which it fell within a radius of more than two miles. Every
moment it seemed to the tense expectancy of the advancing force that
their presence must be revealed, but still they held on their course
with calm and patient courage, and still the slow minutes dragged along
without any sign of suspicion on the part of the garrison. At last,
when the Japanese had approached so near that they could make out the
dim contour of the fortress and the surrounding heights, the moving
light settled for a moment upon the lines of the foremost
torpedo-boats. Another instant and a startling change had come over the
scene. Swiftly the searchlight flashed up and down, backwards and
forwards it plunged and replunged upon the stealthy foe until the whole
flotilla, approaching with such grim determination, lay exposed to the
view of the Russian sentries. The trumpets rang out, the garrison
sprang to arms, and a storm of shot and shell once more burst forth
from the great guns of Golden Hill.

[Sidenote: The Devil's Caldron]

As the gallant Japanese made straight for the harbor entrance the
batteries on the Tiger's Tail joined in the fierce cannonade, and from
more than a hundred guns a hail of shells was poured down, till the
still waters of the bay were torn up into a maelstrom of foam, "white
as the bitten lip of hate." But the calm resolution of the attacking
force was undisturbed. The fan-like formation of the escorting flotilla
opened out more widely, and the fireships, passing swiftly through,
drove straight into the devil's caldron in front of them. A mile away
stood the point for which they aimed, a mile charged every yard of it
with destruction and death. But setting their teeth dauntlessly, intent
only on gaining the fateful goal, the picked crews of the merchantmen
pressed forward upon their desperate errand.

[Sidenote: The Sacrifice of Fire]

At last they reached the harbor mouth. The leading steamer, the _Chiyo
Maru_, drove straight from the east side of the channel, heedless of
the terrible fire of which she was the central target. Everything was
ready; the anchor was dropped; the fuse was set; and swiftly but with
precision the crew slipped into the boats and made off. A moment later
a terrific explosion rent the ship from stem to stern, and down she
sank through the boiling waters.

[Sidenote: Heroic Hirose]

The next to take her position was the _Fukui Maru_, which, edging to
the port side of the _Chiyo Maru_, let go her anchor. Now occurred one
of the most heroic acts which had yet characterized the course of the
war--an act which for cool and devoted gallantry has never been
surpassed in the annals of European seamanship. Waiting until the
vessel was securely anchored, the boatswain, Sujino, went calmly down
to the magazine to light the fuse. Just at that moment the Russian
torpedo-boat _Silni_ approached and discharged a Whitehead torpedo,
which struck the _Fukui Maru_ full in the bows and tore a gaping hole
in her below the water-line. Sujino was killed, but his comrades on
deck were unaware of his fate. All they knew was that the Russians
themselves had done their work for them and that the vessel was
settling down on the very spot designed for its destruction by Admiral
Togo. Commander Hirose, therefore, ordered his men to take to the
boats, but before he left the ship himself he determined to find the
brave Sujino if possible and save him from death. The steamer was fast
sinking; the water was pouring in at her bows like a mill race; and she
was the target of a perfect tornado of fire from the forts; but the
gallant commander searched through her three times for the missing man
before he would give up the quest. At last it became clear that further
search was useless. The vessel was on the point of going down, and
reluctantly Hirose clambered into one of the boats. As the crew pushed
off the _Fukui Maru_ went down by the head. Success, however, was
dearly purchased. The delay had enabled the Russians to concentrate
their fire upon the boats with deadly effect. The chief victim himself
was Commander Hirose. A shell struck him on the head, carrying away the
greater part of his body, and leaving in the boat only a shapeless
fragment of torn and blackened flesh.

[Sidenote: Undaunted by Death]

In the meanwhile, the other steamers were taking up their stations in
the order provided beforehand. The _Yihiko Maru_, regardless of the
terrible fire from the forts, steamed in on the port side of the _Fukui
Maru_ and cast anchor in her turn. The fuse was duly set and lighted;
officers and crew set off in the boats; and the ship blew up like her
fellows and sank in the channel. Now came the opportunity of the fourth
and last of this devoted fleet, the _Yoneyama Maru_. The difficulties
of the channel and the violence of the enemy's fire led her to take a
devious course, but the skill with which she was steered excited
universal admiration. Her commander drove her through on the starboard
side of the sunken _Chiyo Maru_ and then she was compelled to turn back
and slip between that ship and the _Fukui Maru_. On her way she ran
right upon a Russian destroyer and engaged it at close quarters for a
few moments, but her duty was not to fight but to sink at a spot
selected. Escaping therefore, from the clutches of the enemy, she
rounded the _Fukui Maru_ and the _Yahiko Maru_ and finally brought up
in the very centre of the fairway. There her crew prepared to send her
to the bottom, and if the operation could have been carried out
successfully there can be little doubt that the whole enterprise would
have gained its object, and that the channel would, at least
temporarily, have been completely blocked. But the Russian
torpedo-boats were active. One of their deadly engines of destruction
struck the _Yoneyama Maru_ just as the crew were about to cast anchor,
and she drifted somewhat to the westward before she sank, her bow
pointing towards the Tiger's Tail. Her crew escaped safely, but this
accident left too wide a space between the _Yoneyama Maru_ and the
_Yahiko Maru_ to effect a total obstruction of the channel.

[Sidenote: Covering Themselves With Glory]

All this time the torpedo-boat and destroyer flotilla had been far from
idle. The destroyers consisted of the _Shirakumo_, _Kasumi_, _Asashio_,
_Akatsuki_, _Akebono_, _Oboro_, _Inayuma_, _Ikadsuchi_, _Usugomo_,
_Sayanami_, and _Shinonome_, while the torpedo-boats were the
following: the _Karigane_, _Aotaka_, _Misasagi_, _Tsubame_, _Managuru_,
and _Hato_. Several of these, it will be remembered, had already
covered themselves with glory in previous combats. On this occasion
they fully maintained their high reputation. The hot cannonade which
was directed from the fortress upon the fireships so far from deterring
the escorting vessels acted rather as an attraction to them, for while
one division of the flotilla stood by the doomed steamers in order to
pick up their crews, the other approached well within range of the
garrison artillery in order to divert its fire from the main operation
which was proceeding in the channel. Here it was that the _Silni_,
under Lieutenant Krinizki, came into contact with the Japanese
torpedo-boats. Without a moment's hesitation that gallant commander
engaged the whole six at once. The unequal combat could not be long
maintained, but it was fierce while it lasted. Lieutenant Krinizki
himself was wounded, Engineer Artificer Swyereff and six seamen were
killed and twelve other men were wounded. But still, the remainder
fought gallantry on till a shell burst one of the little vessel's steam
pipes and destroyed her steering-gear. Her power to continue in action
was gone, and she was beached upon the shore below Golden Hill.

The work of the Japanese expeditions was now done. The survivors of the
fireships were by this time all picked up and the several vessels of
the flotilla were concentrated and retired out to sea.

[Sidenote: Casualties Few But Terrible]

In this remarkable operation the Japanese lost in all four killed and
nine wounded. Of these latter Lieutenant Hatsuzo sustained very severe
injuries; the wounds of the others, including Lieutenant Masaki and
Engineer Awada, being of a slighter character. In the circumstances it
was surprising that the casualties were so few, and one more
illustration was given of the comparative impunity with which torpedo
attacks can be made in harbor under cover of night. The smallness,
however, of the Japanese losses in this species of fighting in the
present war, must, of course, be largely attributable to bad shooting
on the part of the Russian gunners, and it would be unwise to draw too
general a lesson from it.

[Illustration: DESOLATION IN MANCHURIA.]

[Sidenote: The Hero of Japan]

The most severe loss sustained by the Japanese was that of the gallant
Commander Hirose, whose death, while it inflamed his comrades with
pride, caused universal mourning. He had only recently been promoted
for the skill and courage which he had displayed in the previous
attempt to block the harbor. He was then in command of the _Hokoku
Maru_, and regardless of the appalling fire directed upon her, he
managed to rush his ship further than any of her companions up the
channel before he blew her up and sent her to the bottom. An act of
particularly cool, almost reckless, daring on his part on that occasion
was now fondly recalled by his men. The ship was sinking, she was the
target of all the Russian batteries, and the crew had taken refuge in
the boats; but Commander Hirose had forgotten something. It was nothing
less important than his sword, which he had left on the bridge. So, in
spite of the imminent peril of the situation, he coolly went back to
recover it, buckled it on, and escaped into the boat just in time, for
the ship went down a moment afterwards. Commander Hirose was well known
in naval circles in England, for he was a visitor to those shores a few
years before on business for the Japanese Admiralty, and had made many
friends. His remains were conveyed to Japan and accorded a public
funeral, and the Mikado only expressed the feelings of the whole nation
when he posthumously conferred upon the fallen hero the Order of the
Kite and the Order of the Rising Sun.

[Sidenote: Channel Still Unclosed]

The exact amount of obstruction caused in the channel by the sinking of
the fireships could not be ascertained. It is, however, apparent from
subsequent events that whatever inconvenience to navigation, temporary
or permanent, may have resulted, it was not sufficient to prevent the
passage of Admiral Makaroff's ships. At daybreak on the very morning of
the attack he led his whole fleet out and lined it up in the roadstead
in readiness to meet the Japanese fleet, which was in sight ten miles
out at sea. Seeing, however, that his enemy had no intention of coming
outside the range of the forts, Admiral Togo was not to be tempted
nearer, and retired with the whole of his force to the southward. For
several days he did not give any outward signs of activity, and his
ships were not sighted off Port Arthur, a fact which gave rise to the
impression that he was engaged in covering the transport of fresh
Japanese troops to the west coast of Korea. On the other hand, the
vigilance of Admiral Makaroff showed no indication of abating. On the
6th of April the steamer _Haimun_, specially chartered for the service
of the London _Times_, was overhauled by the cruiser _Bayan_ an at a
distance of thirty-five miles to the southeast of Port Arthur. A shot
fired across the _Haimun's_ bows brought her to, and two lieutenants
put off with a boat's crew and boarded her. The greatest politeness was
shown, and after an examination of the _Haimun's_ papers she was
allowed to proceed. The _Times'_ correspondent was able to observe that
the _Bayan_, which was flying the flag of the Admiral himself, showed
signs of injuries received in the recent fighting. Marks produced by
splinters of shell were visible all over her, and a large hole had been
rent in one of her smoke-stacks. This fact seems to bear out the story
published in the _Port Arthur Journal_ of the destruction wrought upon
the _Bayan_ by the high-angle fire of the Japanese in the bombardment
of the 10th of March. The correspondent added that the officers and men
who boarded his steamer "were a little fine drawn, but nevertheless
looked good material." Some indication can be gathered from this
statement of the strain which Admiral Togo's repeated attacks had
involved upon his opponents. The constant anxiety had necessarily begun
to tell upon the defending force, and many more than the officers and
crew of the _Bayan_ must have acquired that gaunt, tense appearance
that comes from a sense of ever-impending danger heightened by a past
experience of tragedy and disaster. No better illustration, indeed, of
the watchfulness entailed on the Russians by the perpetual menace of
their foe could be given than the case of Admiral Makaroff himself, who
sent the following telegram to the President of the War Relief Society
at Kronstadt on March 29th:--

"Last night was a very hot one, but we cannot hope for a very quiet
time now or in the near future. I sleep without undressing in order
that I maybe ready for any emergency. Consequently, I cannot observe
your medical advice to take care of myself; nevertheless, I feel
splendid."

[Sidenote: The Shadows of Fate]

These words were destined soon to receive a fulfilment more
heart-shaking than any that can have presented itself as possible to
the mind either of the writer of the letter or of its recipient. For
even then stern Fate was standing ready with the abhorred shears; the
shadows were gathering round the head of the devoted Makaroff; and his
weary watch, pursued so bravely, so unflinchingly, and, alas for him
and his country, so unavailingly, was moving swiftly towards its tragic
close.

[Sidenote: The Great Catastrophe]

For on April 13th the telegraph wires flashed all over the world the
news of a blow to Russia's might in the Far East, more appallingly
dramatic in its suddenness and more fatal in its consequences than any
that had yet befallen her in the preceding two months of bungling and
misfortune. The stunning intelligence was conveyed to the Czar in the
following telegram from Rear-Admiral Grigorovitch, Naval Commandant at
Port Arthur:--

"The battleship _Petropavlovsk_ struck a mine, which exploded and the
vessel capsized.

"Our squadron is lying under Golden Hill and the Japanese squadron is
approaching.

"Admiral Makaroff apparently perished with the _Petropavlovsk_.

"The Grand Duke Cyril, who was saved, was slightly wounded.

"I beg humbly to report to your Majesty that those saved from the
_Petropavlovsk_ up to the present are Grand Duke Cyril, six officers,
32 sailors, all wounded. The bodies of four officers, a surgeon, and 12
sailors have been found.

"The Japanese fleet has disappeared. Details will be supplied by
Rear-Admiral Prince Ukhtomsky, who has assumed provisional command of
the fleet."

Swiftly upon the track of this first message there followed the brief
account of a further disaster, which placed another of Russia's finest
battleships _hors de combat_. Prince Ukhtomsky telegraphed that "during
some manoeuvring of the battleship squadron, the _Pobieda_ was struck
by a mine amidships on the starboard side. She was able to gain the
port by herself and none on board were killed or wounded."

[Illustration: BLOWING UP OF THE PETROPAVLOVSK.]

[Sidenote: The Story of the "Petropavlovsk"]

The news of this fearful _debacle_ created a paralyzing effect in
official circles at St. Petersburg, and spread consternation among
Russia's sympathizers throughout Europe. The first brief reports left
room for speculation as to the cause of the disaster, and an accident
was conjectured such as that which had destroyed the _Yenesei_; but the
later accounts and the dispatches of Admiral Togo to his Government
speedily put the real facts beyond doubt. It then became known to the
world that Admiral Makaroff had fallen a victim to the deeply-laid
plans of his brilliant adversary, and, moreover, that the whole Russian
fleet had only narrowly escaped capture or complete destruction. The
story of the operations which practically gave the _coup de grace_ to
the Czar's maritime power in the Far East is a remarkable one. It shows
what a revolutionary effect the discoveries of modern science have had
upon naval warfare, and it proves, too, how completely the lessons of
that science have been assimilated by the Japanese.

On the 11th of April Admiral Makaroff, still pursuing his policy of
activity, took the whole of his effective squadron out to sea, for a
distance of six miles to the south of Port Arthur and exercised it in
manoeuvres. No sign of the enemy was perceived, and the fleet
returned to the harbor in safety.

[Sidenote: A Double Trap]

But Admiral Togo was not far away. Despairing of ordinary means of
tempting Admiral Makaroff into the open to meet his more powerful
fleet, he was preparing a double trap in which to catch his wary foe.
He hoped, by the display of a markedly inferior force, to entice him
beyond the range of the forts and then rush in with his battleships and
capture or destroy the whole of the Russian fleet. But in the event of
failure in this manoeuvre, he had ready another scheme. The course
taken by the Russian ships on leaving and returning to the harbor on
the occasion of the frequent excursions which they had made of late had
been carefully noted by the Japanese officers, and Togo had determined
to mine the passage extensively, so that even if the enemy eluded a
decisive battle at sea, he still hoped to do damage to their ships by
driving them in the hurry and confusion of a headlong flight upon the
hidden perils of his mine field. As it turned out, this part of his
plan succeeded, and the result was probably even more startlingly
effective than he expected; but it was only by a mere chance, as
already mentioned, that the other and grander portion of his scheme
failed of realization. If he had managed to interpose his powerful
fleet between the Russian Squadron and Port Arthur, there can be little
doubt that, although he himself would probably have sustained some
severe losses, the Czar's naval force in the Pacific, already weakened
by its former disasters, would have been practically eliminated. As it
was, indeed, the success he attained was sufficiently striking. By it
he secured the decisive supremacy of the sea in the Gulf of Pechili,
and rendered possible at last the important movements on land which the
strategists at Tokio were waiting to initiate.

[Sidenote: Captain Oda and His Mines]

The arrangements of the Japanese were carried out with their usual
thoroughness. At midnight on the 12th of April, the fourth and fifth
destroyer flotillas and the fourteenth torpedo flotilla reached Port
Arthur roadstead, having with them under escort the mining ship, the
_Koryo Maru_. The _Koryo Maru_ was a new vessel of 2,700 tons burden,
specially constructed for torpedo and mining work. Captain Oda, the
officer in command, was one of the ablest experts in this branch of
warfare in the Japanese navy, and he had only recently been decorated
for his distinguished services. He had invented a new type of mine of a
particularly deadly description, and it was now to be tried for the
first time in actual warlike operations. The work of laying the mines
was entered upon without delay, and with all the customary daring and
resource exhibited by the Mikado's sailors in this dangerous class of
service. Notwithstanding the relentless glare of the searchlights,
which threw the vessel into strong relief and made her the target for
two hundred guns, Captain Oda and his men calmly went about their work
unheeding. The torpedo-boats and destroyers in the meantime took up a
position on the flanks of the _Koryo_ and endeavored to attract the
fire of the fortress to themselves, while their escort was doing her
deadly work unsuspected. The enterprise was aided by a renewal of the
extraordinary feebleness and lack of skill which had so often been
characteristic of the Russian defense in the past. Not only were the
garrison gunners unable to hit the mark so plainly presented to them,
but the torpedo flotilla, which, despite its recent losses, still
constituted a formidable force, did nothing to interfere with
operations which threatened so vitally the safety of the fleet. Even
Admiral Makaroff seems to have been at fault on this occasion. It is
almost inconceivable that the true nature of the _Koryo's_ proceedings
was not guessed by him, and that the most active measures were not
taken to put a stop to them. Whatever may have been the reason,
however, nothing effective was done, and Captain Oda was able to
complete his work unharmed in spite of the shells which were churning
up the water all round him. It must be remembered, nevertheless, that
the immunity which the _Koryo_ actually enjoyed is no measure of the
risk that she ran. No more heroic and devoted act illumines the long
history of naval warfare than the laying of these mines close to the
harbor, and under the full fire of the enemy's guns, any one of whose
missiles, by exploding the dangerous cargo, might have sent the ship to
destruction in a moment. But, as it turned out, the _Koryo_ was saved
by the bad gunnery of the Russians, and having performed his duty well
and thoroughly, Captain Oda withdrew to the open sea.

[Sidenote: "Bayan" to the Rescue]

In the meanwhile, the torpedo-boats and destroyers, besides distracting
the attention of the defending force from the work of the mine
transport, were engaged in more active operations on their own account.
At dawn the second division fell in with one of the enemy's destroyers,
the _Strashni_, which was creeping stealthily towards the harbor mouth
from the direction of Dalny. The Japanese were on her track in a
moment, and, cutting off her retreat, bombarded her with their
6-pounders, until in a few minutes she became a total wreck and sank.
An attempt was made to save her crew, but the work of rescue was
interrupted by the appearance on the scene of the Russian cruiser
_Bayan_. Admiral Togo's destroyers sheered off upon the approach of
this formidable adversary, and left to her the task of picking up the
drowning men, but the _Bayan_ was too late to be of much service, and
only five men could be recovered. At about the same time as this
incident, a second Russian destroyer was encountered by the Japanese
coming from the direction of Liau-tie-shan. A strong effort was made to
capture her, but she was more fortunate than the _Strashni_, and
managed to escape to Port Arthur in safety.

[Sidenote: Preparing an Ambush]

But now began the larger and more important operations which were
destined to end so disastrously for Admiral Marakoff and his fleet.
Admiral Togo had ordered a weak squadron, consisting of the first-class
cruisers _Tokiwa_ and _Asama_ and four second-class cruisers, to act as
a support to the destroyers, if attacked, and at the same time to serve
as a lure to the Russians, and tempt them away from the protection of
Port Arthur. He, himself, with his main fleet, lay in hiding thirty
miles away to the southeast, waiting for an opportunity to dash in and
cut off Makaroff's retreat. The day was not unsuitable for such an
enterprise. Rain was falling, and a mist hung heavy over the sea,
disguising the smoke of his great warships.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL OF A DISPATCH FOR GENERAL KUROPATKIN.]

[Sidenote: Makaroff Lured Out]

By eight o'clock on the morning of the 13th, the Japanese cruiser
squadron appeared on the offing and engaged in a long-range fire with
the _Bayan_, which had not returned to the harbor. Admiral Makaroff,
seeing the smallness of the force opposed to him, gave the order to his
fleet to steam out in column formation and attack the venturesome
enemy. Hoisting his flag on the _Petropavlovsk_, the Russian
Commander-in-Chief led the way himself, followed by the battleships
_Poltava_ and _Pobieda_, the cruisers _Diana_, _Askold_, and _Novik_,
and the destroyer flotilla. In the roadstead the fleet was joined by
the _Bayan_, and the whole force then set forth majestically to engage
the Japanese.

[Sidenote: Cutting Off the Unwary]

But the orders of Admiral Togo were well observed by Admiral Dewa,
commander of the cruiser squadron. Gradually the Japanese began to
retire before the superior force opposed to them, drawing Makaroff
onwards, further and further out to sea. The Russian fleet began a hot
fire at long range, to which the Japanese ships replied at intervals,
just sufficiently to keep their opponents occupied and to lure them on
to greater efforts by the display of a manifest disparity of strength.
By this skillful manoeuvring they succeeded in enticing Makaroff out
a distance of fifteen miles to the southeast of Port Arthur. Now was
the time to communicate with Admiral Togo. Wireless telegraphy flashed
the news of the success of the ruse to the Commander-in-Chief. His
great battleships were waiting with steam up and cleared for action.
Directly he received the message from the retreating squadron he
signalled to the new cruisers, the _Nisshin_ and _Kasuga_, to join him,
and then advanced at full speed with eight powerful vessels to cut off
the unwary Russians.

[Sidenote: Weather Permitting]

The plan had been well laid and it seemed on the brink of success, but
that incalculable factor, the weather, intervened and brought Togo's
calculations to naught. The wind suddenly freshened, and, blowing away
the mist under cover of which the Japanese men-of-war were approaching,
disclosed the smoke of their funnels to Admiral Makaroff. In a flash he
saw the trap into which he had nearly led his fleet, and gave orders to
retreat to Port Arthur with all haste. Back, therefore, the Russians
scurried with the Japanese in full cry at their heels. Steam as they
might Togo's ships were too late to catch their enemy, and great must
have been the disappointment of the gallant Admiral and his men when
they saw the prey slip from their grasp. But the curtain had not yet
fallen upon the drama. Makaroff's ships had emerged from Port Arthur
and passed over the mine field in safety; by a singular stroke of luck
they had eluded the Japanese battle fleet, but they had still a third
danger to encounter--they had once more to pass over the deadly engines
of war which Captain Oda had placed in their path. And here it was that
the blow fell.

[Sidenote: Into the Jaws of Death]

By about half-past nine the fleet, with the _Petropavlovsk_ at its head
regained the roadstead and the protection of the fortress guns.
Signalling to the torpedo flotilla to enter the harbor, Admiral
Makaroff turned his own vessel towards the east and ordered the
cruisers to follow him. The battleship _Pobieda_ was to the stern of
the _Petropavlovsk_, on the starboard quarter. Close behind her again
came the _Poltava_. The Commander-in-Chief was on the bridge of his
ship with the Grand Duke Cyril, son of the Grand Duke Vladmir, and
cousin of the Czar; Captain Yakovleff, and some other officers.
Suddenly the horrified spectators on shore saw a great white column of
foam rise on the right side of the _Petropavlovsk_. A dull report was
heard, followed by another and more terrific explosion under the
bridge. A huge thick cloud of greenish yellow smoke rose around the
doomed vessel, a topmast, a funnel, a turret and the bridge were hurled
into the air, and the huge monster heeled over on her starboard side.
Her poop rose up, showing the propeller working in the air. Fire burst
out in every part, and in a moment the ship was a mass of flame. A few
seconds more and the whole fearful spectacle was torn from the eyes of
the paralyzed onlookers, for with a tremendous lurch the vessel turned
further on her side, the waters rushed in upon her in torrents, and
with a roar and a hiss the mighty mass plunged beneath the foaming
surface of the sea. The _Petropavlovsk_ had gone to her death carrying
with her the gallant Admiral himself, his staff, and full six hundred
officers and men.

[Sidenote: Haphazard Fire]

This terrible catastrophe threw the whole squadron into the utmost
confusion. The other ships began a rapid haphazard fire in all
directions to destroy the mines which they knew lurked in every
direction, but their shots were purposeless; there was no mark at which
to aim, and no effect was produced. And then, to carry further dismay
to the already nerve-shaken fleet, a mine exploded on the starboard
side of the _Pobieda_. She listed at once, but her fate was happier
than that of the _Petropavlovsk_. No second explosion followed; the
watertight bulkheads were shut to, and sorely wounded though she was
she managed to keep afloat and to crawl into the harbor with the
cruisers crowding behind her.

[Sidenote: Rescue Work]

The _Poltava_ in the meanwhile had remained upon the scene of the
disaster, and her boats put out to save any of the crew of the flagship
who could be found. In this work they were aided by the torpedo gunboat
_Gaidamak_, and their combined efforts succeeded in rescuing the Grand
Duke Cyril, seven officers, and seventy-three seamen. These were the
only survivors.

[Sidenote: The Character of the Explosion]

The difference in the effect of the mine explosions upon the
_Petropavlovsk_ and the _Pobieda_ was due to causes which could not
have been foreseen. The terrible character of the disaster which befell
the flagship was due to the fact that the mine exploded underneath her
boilers, and that when these burst the explosion of the ammunition
magazine, which was in the same part of the ship, immediately followed.
The whole affair was over in less than a minute and a half. On the
other hand, the explosion at the side of the _Pobieda_ did not touch
the boilers, and seriously--indeed for the purposes of immediate
warfare, irremediable--damaged as she was, the same appalling results
did not follow in her case as in the other.

[Sidenote: Accounts by Survivors]

The accounts of the survivors of the _Petropavlovsk_ all confirm this
view. But so swift indeed was the tragedy that there was not much time
or opportunity for the formation of correct conclusions upon this or
upon any point. The narratives of the men who were picked up were of
the kind usually met with on the occasion of a sudden catastrophe. They
were mainly confined to their own personal experiences and miraculous
escape. Upon the memories of some, however, certain outstanding
incidents were sharply and indelibly photographed. One of the last
things which a signalman saw upon the bridge before he was hurled off
was the figure of an officer lying weltering in his blood. It was
Admiral Makaroff himself. Captain Yakovleff, the commander of the
vessel, was hurled against a stanchion with such force that he was
thought to be killed, but he was afterwards picked up alive. The Grand
Duke Cyril had an escape just as marvelous. He, too, was knocked on the
head, but he was not rendered unconscious, and when he was thrown into
the sea he fell clear of the sinking vessel. He was an excellent
swimmer, and in spite of the shock and injury he had sustained, he
managed to keep afloat until he was picked up. Rear-Admiral Molas,
Makaroff's chief of staff, was in his cabin when the explosion
occurred, and was drowned. His body was one of the few that were
afterwards washed ashore. Another picture which some of the survivors
retained in their mind was that of "an old man with a beautiful white
beard," who was standing on the deck just before the disaster with a
book in his hand sketching. This was the famous war artist,
Verestchagin. Only that morning his friend Makaroff had invited him to
share the hospitality of the flagship and so gain further material for
his realistic pictures of the horrors of war!

[Sidenote: Tribute from the Japanese]

The full magnitude of the success which his plans had gained was not
revealed to the Japanese Admiral till the Russian dispatches made it
public to the world. He saw a vessel, as he phrased it, "of the
_Petropavlovsk_ type" strike a mine and sink, and he thought also that
another ship--he was referring to the _Pobieda_--lost freedom of
movement; but he did not know that with the _Petropavlovsk_ perished
the brain of the Russian defence, a brain which, if it had been
employed from the first by its master, the Czar, might have given a
totally different character to the war. The death of Makaroff in itself
brought no rejoicing to the Japanese in their hour of victory, but only
that feeling of almost personal sorrow which brave and chivalrous men
feel for the death of a gallant foe. No finer or more generous tributes
indeed could have been paid even in the western world than were paid to
the memory of the brave but unfortunate Makaroff by the members of this
so-called yellow race.

[Sidenote: On Land]

On the 14th Admiral Togo once more brought his fleet before Port
Arthur, and by means of an indirect bombardment, silenced the new forts
on Liau-tie-shan. He then retired again to prepare for a further
attempt to cork up the harbor, which should finally reduce the Russian
fleet to a state of ineffectiveness, and leave the sea clear for the
transport of the great army which was to be launched against the
Liao-tung Peninsula and southern Manchuria. Already General Kuroki,
with the First Army, was encamped on the south bank of the Yalu River
prepared for an advance upon the Russian position at Khiu-lien-cheng.

[Sidenote: Chong-Ju]

But before dealing with the momentous events which now occurred in
rapid succession, both on land and sea, it will be necessary to return
for a few moments to the earlier fortunes of the First Army, whose
advance through Korea as far as Ping-Yang was described in Chapter III.
It will be remembered that a small skirmish took place between Russian
and Japanese patrols to the north of that town on February 28th. A
month elapsed before the opposing forces came seriously into touch with
one another again. During that period General Kuroki slowly but
steadily continued his advance in the face of terrible difficulties
arising from the weather and the state of the roads. The mud on these
north Korean highways in the spring makes them almost impassable, but
the Japanese had thought of everything, and brought large supplies of
wood with which they practically relaid the road, and made it admit
even of the passage of heavy artillery. The Cossack patrols retired
before this persistent advance, and no real attempt to dispute it was
made till the vanguard of the Japanese neared Chong-ju, a little town
about thirty miles north of Anju and fifty south of Wiju. Here, on
March 28th, they found six squadrons of Cossacks belonging to General
Mishtchenko's Brigade, posted on an adjacent hill, prepared to dispute
the forward movement. A brisk engagement ensued. The small force of
Japanese which first appeared upon the scene, according to the
testimony of General Mishtchenko himself, gallantly held their ground
in spite of the commanding position occupied by the Russians and the
raking cross fire which they maintained, and it was only after half an
hour of fierce fighting that they gave way and fell back upon their
supports which were hastening to the front. Reinforcements now rapidly
arrived, and the Russians, finding their position untenable, retired
along the road to the north, yielding up possession of the town to the
Japanese. In this smart little affair the Russians, according to their
account, lost three killed and twelve wounded, the Japanese casualties
amounting to five killed, including one officer, and twelve wounded,
including two officers.

[Sidenote: The Advance to the North]

After the capture of Chong-ju General Kuroki moved forward rapidly,
finding no resistance. On April 2nd he occupied Syoush-kou, a place
eighteen miles west of Chong-ju, and forty miles south of Wiju, and two
days afterwards his scouts entered Wiju itself, an important town on
the south bank of the Yalu. The Russians did not find themselves strong
enough to oppose the Japanese advance in Korea, and determined instead
to resist it on the north bank of the Yalu. General Kuroki therefore
occupied Wiju without firing a shot, and set to work busily to
consolidate his forces for the great enterprise of crossing the Yalu.

[Sidenote: Concentration of Troops]

The month of April was occupied by General Kuroki in the steady
concentration of his troops and in the collection of war material.
Pontoons were conveyed to the front in readiness for the operation of
forcing the river; heavy guns were transported over the Korean roads
with, in the circumstances, really marvelous rapidity; and masses of
cavalry and infantry arrived at Wiju every day. By the end of the month
the First Japanese Army had been brought up to its full strength,
amounting probably to between 60,000 and 70,000 men of all arms. It was
divided into three divisions, the 12th, the 2nd and the Guards. The
12th Division, it will be remembered, was the first section of the army
to put foot on Korean soil, being landed at Chemulpo during the first
days of the war, after the destruction of the _Varyag_ had left that
part of the coast clear for the Japanese disembarkation. It may be well
to record its composition exactly, as it is typical of all the Japanese
divisions. It was made up as follows:--Infantry, 12,000 (four regiments
of three battalions each); cavalry, 500 (one regiment); artillery, 900
(one regiment, 36 guns, two field batteries, two mountain batteries);
engineers, 700; transport corps, 600; hospital corps, 700; ammunition
column, 500; post office corps, veterinary corps, pontoon corps and
balloon corps, 1,000; total, 16,900. Attached to these combatant troops
were a force of 5,500 coolies for transport purposes, bringing the
grand total of the division, combatant and non-combatant, up to 22,400.
The whole was under the command of Lieutenant-General Inouye, whose
chief subordinates were Major-Generals Kigoshi and Otani.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN CONCENTRATION ON THE YALU.]

[Sidenote: Kuroki's Line of Front]

As his army arrived at the front, General Kuroki began gradually to
occupy a wider front on the south bank of the Yalu, his left wing
operating at the mouth of the river in conjunction with a naval force
under the command of Admiral Hosoya, and his right extending to a
distance of twenty or twenty-five miles up the river, past Sukuchin.

[Sidenote: The Russian Position]

While the Japanese were thus concentrating on the left bank of the Yalu
the Russians were gradually strengthening their positions on the right
bank, the centre and key of which was formed by the village of
Kiu-lien-cheng. During all these weeks the greatest secrecy was
observed on both sides in regard to their numbers and dispositions--as
far, at least, as the outside world was concerned. It seems probable
from after events that the Russians themselves were largely ignorant of
the strength of the force which General Kuroki had at his disposal;
but, on the other hand, that able commander appears to have been
thoroughly well informed in every detail as to the position occupied by
his enemy. There was the greatest diversity of statement on the Russian
side after the battle of the Yalu upon the question of the real
intentions of General Kuropatkin in holding as he did the right bank of
the river. When the disastrous result of the conflict of May 1st became
known in Europe the friends of the Commander-in-Chief in the press
declared that it was due to the failure of the officer in immediate
command, General Sassulitch, to follow his instructions, which were to
offer only a strategical resistance to the enemy and to withdraw slowly
before the advance of a superior force upon Feng-haung-cheng, a
position about thirty miles distant upon the Liau-yang road. If this
explanation is correct, the activity shown by the Russians for weeks in
constructing earthworks on the heights around Kiu-lien-cheng is
rendered very remarkable, and equally difficult to understand is the
size and importance of the force to which was apportioned the task of
thus keeping in touch with the advancing Japanese army and conducting a
mere strategic defeat. For General Sassulitch was commander of the 2nd
Siberian Army Corps, and though the actual body of troops engaged in
the fighting-line in resisting the passage of the Yalu by the Japanese
did not amount to that strength, there is no doubt that General
Sassulitch had under him in the near neighborhood a force of not less
than 30,000 men. All the evidence, in fact, points to the conclusion
that the Russian Generals, including the Commander-in-Chief himself,
wholly underestimated the fighting power of the Japanese and the skill
with which they would be led when the opposing armies came to close
quarters.

[Sidenote: Russian Confidence]

The kind of talk which responsible military men in St. Petersburg
indulged in before the battle of the Yalu all goes to strengthen this
impression. On April 25th, the day before General Kuroki began that
series of movements which were to culminate in his crossing the Yalu
and driving the Russians before him in headlong rout, there appeared in
the _Echo de Paris_ the report of an interview which its St. Petersburg
correspondent had had with Colonel Vannovsky, of the Russian General
Staff, and formerly military attache in Japan. The utterances of this
sapient officer are amusing reading in view of what happened so shortly
afterwards. He thought it would still be some time before serious
military operations could begin on the Yalu, for the Japanese, in his
opinion, were far from having completed their concentration in Korea.
They probably, he said, had three divisions of from 12,000 to 15,000
men between Ping-Yang and the Yalu; and, including the Second Army then
disembarking, they had not more than 85,000 men near the front. Then
followed a valuable criticism of General Kuroki and his colleague,
General Oku, the commander of the Second Army. Both, he reminded the
interviewer, served in the Chino-Japanese War; but "he looked for
nothing extraordinary from them, both were more than sixty years of
age." On the whole, he thought that the Japanese would establish
themselves in Korea; if they crossed the Yalu it would be only to
satisfy public opinion at Tokio. Colonel Vannovsky soon had reason to
be sorry that he had spoken so disdainfully of General Kuroki, and with
such sublime assurance of the Japanese plans. If the crossing of the
Yalu was mainly dictated by a desire to satisfy public opinion at
Tokio, it must be said that public opinion at Tokio had its wishes very
amply gratified before many days had expired. It is a remarkable fact
that in the history of nearly every war the greatest disasters follow
the greatest self-confidence. And yet it can easily be understood how
the armies that had proved successful against those famous fighters the
Turks in the war of the seventies should despise the little dwarfish
Japanese, who had hitherto only faced the undisciplined hordes of China.



                              CHAPTER VI.

  Kuroki Completes his Plans--The Scene of Battle--General
    Sassulitch's Defences--The Russian Dispositions--The
    Attacking Army--Clearing the Islands--Guards Half-way
    Across--Parallel Movements--The Searching Japanese
    Fire--Bridging the Yalu--Confusion in the Russian
    Councils--Kuroki's Consummate Strategy--Futile Russian
    Opposition--Masked Batteries at Work--Serpentine Line of
    Dark Forms--Two Thousand Deadly Thunderbolts--Inferno Let
    Loose--Howitzer High-Angle Fire--Co-operation of
    Gunboats--Miserable Array of Russians--Four Miles of
    Japanese--A Moment of Tense Expectancy--The General Attack
    Begins--Ridges Alive with Flame--Surprise of the
    Russians--The Plunge Across the Ai--Overwhelming
    Legions--The Circling Ring of Fate--Devastating Artillery
    Bombardment--Black Mass of Human Figures--The Blood-Red
    Banner--Fight Desperately Against Fate--General
    Sassulitch's Retreat--The Japanese Chase--The Last Gallant
    Stand--Rifle Fire and Cold Steel.


[Sidenote: Kuroki Completes his Plans]

The numerous small skirmishes between outposts which took place on the
Yalu and its tributaries during the earlier part of the month of April
need not detain us. They were mainly encounters between small
reconnoitering parties, and though there were losses on both sides,
fortune on the whole leaned in favor of the Japanese. The results of
these reconnaissances in locating the positions occupied by the
Russians, combined with the success of the Japanese transport
arrangements, which, as stated already, placed an army of 60,000 to
70,000 men at General Kuroki's disposal, enabled him to complete his
preparations for the great task before him by the beginning of the last
week in April. The night of the 25th found him ready at all points, and
on the morrow his army entered upon the preliminary stages of a series
of operations which, culminating in the crossing of the river and the
capture of the Russian position, first revealed to an astonished world
the hitherto undreamt-of potentialities of Japan as a military power.

[Sidenote: The Scene of Battle]

Some study of the map of the scene of battle is necessary for a perfect
understanding of the movements of the contending forces. It will be
seen on reference to our map (page 169) that just above Wiju the waters
of the Yalu are joined from the northwest by an important tributary,
the Ai River, the stream here taking the form of a fork. At the apex of
the triangular wedge of land which divides the Ai from the Yalu is
situated the Hosan, or Tiger Hill, an important strategical position
commanding the south bank of the main river. Opposite Tiger Hill, and
running some way past it up the Yalu, is the Island of Kulido, which
divides the river at this point into two streams, both of them
fordable. The Ai also is fordable at a point near the hill of
Yulchasan, which is north of Tiger Hill and on the same bank of the
tributary. Opposite Wiju itself the main river is two miles wide and is
divided into three streams by two islands. Of these the larger
Cheun-song-do, is near the right bank, and lies stretched alongside it
for a distance of about thirteen miles, starting from a spot close to
Antung, lower down the river, and finishing at a little distance up the
Ai. It can be reached from the right bank at this end by a ford, and
there is another ford lower down, opposite to Chiu-lien-cheng. The
stream dividing the other island from the left bank is also fordable
waist-deep, but the central stream can only be crossed by means of a
bridge. These islands are really low, flat, sandy deltas, with
occasional clumps of small trees and patches of shrub dotting their
surface, which provide some cover for the concealment of troops.

[Illustration: MAP SHOWING THE ACTIONS ON THE YALU
    APRIL 29TH-MAY 1ST.]

[Sidenote: General Sassulitch's Defences]

The Russian position extended for a distance of upwards of twenty miles
along the right bank of the Yalu and Ai, from Niang-ning-chin in the
south, to Yushukau in the north. Yushukau is a hill opposite to
Yulchasan, and lower down is another hill which General Sassulitch had
fortified, named Makau (or Potientzy). Then comes the village of
Chiu-lien-cheng itself, which formed the centre of his position,
standing at a height of about 180 feet above the river. From
Chiu-lien-cheng a road runs in a westerly direction to Hamatan or
Hoh-mu-tang, a distance of about five or six miles; and another road
runs down parallel with the bank of the Yalu to Antung. A further road
runs from Hoh-mu-tang in a northerly direction, the most important post
on which is Tang-lang-fang, almost due west of Yushukau. Westward of
Hoh-mu-tang stretches the main road to Feng-whang-cheng and Liao-yang.
South of Antung is the hill of Antushan, and a continual ridge of hills
connects this eminence with Niang-ning-chin, already mentioned. It will
be observed that the high ground which the Russians occupied gives a
defending force a great advantage in meeting an attack from the Yalu,
as it easily commands the low-lying positions on the left bank. On the
other hand, Makau, Shiu-lien-cheng, and the positions to the southward
are commanded by Tiger Hill and Yulchasan, and it is therefore obvious
that if once the Japanese succeeded in occupying those heights they
must necessarily render the rest of General Sassulitch's defences along
the river bank untenable.

[Illustration: HAULING A JAPANESE HOWITZER INTO POSITION UNDER FIRE.]

[Sidenote: The Russian Dispositions]

As far as can be gathered from the Japanese accounts and from the more
obscure dispatches of the Russian Generals, the distribution of the
Czar's forces at the beginning of the operations was as follows: Tiger
Hill was occupied by part of the 22nd Siberian Regiment under the
command of General Kashtalinsky. The right wing, in the neighborhood of
Antung, was formed of the 9th and 10th Regiments supported by two
batteries of artillery; while the centre, at Chiu-lien-cheng, was held
by the 12th Regiment. The Reserve was formed of the 11th Regiment. The
artillery were distributed at carefully-chosen positions along the
whole front, but were massed in especial strength at Makau and
Chiu-lien-cheng. Advanced outposts drawn from the 22nd, 23rd, and 27th
Regiments of Eastern Siberian Sharpshooters occupied the islands of
Kulido and Cheun-song-do. A Russian regiment, it should be explained,
consists of three battalions, each of which, when brought up to its
full strength, numbers about 1,000 men.

[Sidenote: The Attacking Army]

On the night of the 25th the Japanese army was massed on the left bank
of the river in the following order: On the left, facing the island of
Cheun-song-do, was stationed the 2nd Division; the centre, occupying a
position to the north of Wiju, was composed of the Imperial Guards'
Division; and on the right, still further up the river, the 12th
Division was concentrated, in concealment behind some hilly ground, and
in readiness for an important move upon the enemy's left, which will be
described later.

[Sidenote: Clearing the Islands]

At dawn on the 26th a sharp rattle of musketry told the Russians that
the attack had begun. Detachments from the Guards' Division were firing
upon General Sassulitch's sharpshooters stationed on the Island of
Kulido. The Russians replied briskly, but the Japanese rifle fire was
heavy and well-directed, and at last their position became untenable,
in face not only of this infantry attack, but of a searching
bombardment opened by some batteries of Kuroki's artillery, which were
established on a hill in the rear of Wiju. They therefore retreated to
the mainland for shelter.

[Sidenote: Guards Half-way Across]

No sooner had this retirement been effected than the Japanese prepared
to cross over to the island in boats. These craft were all in
readiness, and before long a considerable force of the Guards had
landed on the island. When this movement was perceived the enemy
returned to dispute it; but they were not in large force, and were
easily repulsed. A squadron of Cossacks came to their assistance, but
the hot fire with which they were received by the Japanese infantry was
too much for them, and they were driven back in confusion to the bank
below Tiger Hill. The Mikado's Guards continued the pursuit across the
ford, and a smart encounter ensued beneath the hill. The fighting was
not of long duration, however; the Russians retired; and it became
evident that there was no intention seriously to dispute the possession
of the island. The attempt made by General Sassulitch's batteries to
drive the daring Japanese off the island by shrapnel fire was quite
unsuccessful, and the whole defence on this side revealed an unexpected
weakness. The Guards' skirmishers occupied all night the ground they
had so easily gained.

[Sidenote: Parallel Movements]

In the meantime, the advance guard of the 2nd Division had carried
through the same operations with equal success on the Island of
Cheun-song-do. The Russian sharpshooters were driven off in the
direction of Chiu-lien-cheng, and the Japanese seized the delta with a
small force preparatory to constructing a bridge over the central
stream for the passage of the main body of the division.

[Sidenote: The Searching Japanese Fire]

In these small but useful engagements the Guards suffered some slight
casualties, nine men being slightly and sixteen seriously wounded. The
2nd Division sustained no casualties at all. The Russians, on the other
hand, lost more heavily. They were seen to carry off a considerable
number of dead and wounded, and they left behind them ninety-five dead
horses, which, in itself, is significant of the searching character of
the Japanese fire. The body of Lieutenant Senyoloff, commanding the
Mounted Scouts of the 22nd Regiment, which his comrades had not time to
remove, was buried at Wiju by the Japanese themselves with all honor.

[Sidenote: Bridging the Yalu]

On the following day the work of bridging the stream both at Kulido and
Cheun-song-do was carried out, in spite of the intermittent fire which
the Russian guns maintained upon the corps engaged. So ineffective
indeed was this cannonade that the Japanese artillery did not even
reply to it, and their engineers pursued their enterprise calmly and
without substantial interruption. On the same day the naval squadron
under Rear-Admiral Hosoya rendered valuable assistance to General
Kuroki by its co-operation in the Yalu estuary. Two gunboats, two
torpedo-boats, and two armed steamers ascended the river as far as
Antushan and effected a useful diversion in the quarter by shelling the
Russian entrenchments. The bombardment must have proved destructive,
for after making a brisk reply for some time, which, however, did no
damage to the Japanese ships, the Muscovite batteries were finally
silenced.

[Sidenote: Confusion in the Russian Councils]

On Thursday, the 28th, the same tactics were displayed, and the
position seized by the Guards' Division and the 2nd Division on the
Islands of Kulido and Cheun-song-do was consolidated. Two companies of
the former, indeed, crossed over to the mainland and reconnoitred Tiger
Hill, encouraged by the silence of the enemy on that commanding
eminence. To their surprise they found that the post had been evacuated
by the Russians. No explanation has been offered of this remarkable
step; the only conclusion possible--a conclusion, indeed, strengthened
by subsequent events--is that confusion reigned in the councils of the
Russian commanders, and that no definite and coherent plan had been
thought out by them. For on the next day General Kashtalinsky was again
ordered to occupy the hill, which the Japanese themselves, having other
plans in view, were not yet in a position to seize effectively.

[Sidenote: Kuroki's Consummate Strategy]

On Friday, the 29th, General Kuroki began the important move on his
extreme right, for which the 12th Division had been all this time kept
in reserve. The operations of the Guards and the 2nd Division, useful,
and indeed necessary, as they were for the purposes of a general
advance, had acted as a screen for his consummate piece of strategy by
which the Japanese Commander turned General Sassulitch's flank and
finally captured the position. To the north of Wiju, about thirteen
miles higher up the stream of the Yalu, stands the small village of
Sukuchin. Here it was that the Japanese effected a crossing in October,
1894, in their war with China. On that occasion the movement enabled
them to outflank a force of 30,000 men, and it is one of the remarkable
features of General Kuroki's dispositions for attack that they repeated
in all essential particulars the tactics which proved so successful ten
years ago. Still more remarkable is it that the Russians appear to have
learned none of the lessons of the war of 1894, and to have fallen just
as readily into the trap as did the Chinese. Early then on the 29th the
engineer corps of the 12th Division started to construct two pontoon
bridges over the Yalu at Sukuchin. Here, as in every other department
of the Japanese arrangements, the organization was perfect. Not a
detail had been omitted and the work proceeded smoothly and with
dispatch. By the next morning both bridges were completed and the
troops prepared to cross.

[Sidenote: Futile Russian Opposition]

The Russian Commander, who had at last got wind of the manoeuvre
which was taking place at this point, had detached a small force to
oppose the passage of the river, and when at 10.40 the vanguard of
General Inouye's Division began to march on to the pontoons, a fierce
fire was directed upon it from the opposite bank. The Japanese,
however, retorted both with rifle fire and artillery, and the fusillade
of the Russians was soon checked, with the result that by the afternoon
the whole of the 12th Division had gained the right bank of the Yalu
with the loss of only two men killed and twenty-seven men wounded.
General Inouye then marched forward to seize Yulchasan and Tiger Hill,
which positions, after their first evacuation, had again been occupied
by the Russians under General Kashtalinsky.

[Sidenote: Masked Batteries at Work]

In the meantime, the Guards' Division, assisted by a heavy bombardment
from the batteries below Wiju, was pressing an attack upon Tiger Hill
from the Island of Kulido, an attack which successfully diverted the
attention of General Kashtalinsky from the advance upon his left, and
prevented him from offering it any formidable resistance. The Japanese
artillery in particular distinguished itself. Never was superiority of
generalship more strikingly displayed than it was by General Kuroki in
this case. The position was admirably selected by him; the work of
placing the batteries was carried out with such skill that the Russians
were kept in entire ignorance of their whereabouts; and finally when
they opened fire on the morning of the 30th the heavy character of the
guns employed took the enemy absolutely by surprise. On the delta
immediately below Wiju was a belt of trees of which the Japanese
General had at once seen the potentialities; and behind its screen his
engineers had constructed gun pits, in which were concealed several
batteries of howitzers. These pieces of ordnance did terrible execution
in the Russian lines in the course of the day.

[Sidenote: Serpentine Line of Dark Forms]

To the onlookers standing on the hills behind Wiju the wide field of
battle spread before them presented a highly picturesque spectacle, and
as the attack developed the interest became intense. Hardly had the
advance of the Guards begun upon the Island of Kulido when a long
serpentine line of dark forms could be seen winding in and out of the
heights on the right bank of the river to the north of Tiger Hill. They
were the men of the 12th Division slowly but surely creeping upon the
Russian left. For miles they pressed forward without coming into view
of the Russian artillerymen on Tiger Hill, but at last the first
detachments, rounding the shoulder of one of the nearer hills, were
exposed to the enemy. Instantly a terrific burst of shrapnel fire broke
out from General Kashtalinsky's field batteries. Steadily, however, and
without a check the brave Japanese advanced from height to height, and
at the same time the batteries on the left bank above Wiju came to
their aid. The fire of the Russians had unmasked the position of their
guns on the hill, and the Japanese artillerymen rained upon them a
terrible hail of shells which soon reduced them to silence and
effectually covered the advance of the infantry.

[Sidenote: Two Thousand Deadly Thunderbolts]

But now the Guards, who were engaged in effecting a lodgement on the
lower slopes of Tiger Hill, came in for the attentions of General
Sassulitch's field batteries at Makau and Chiu-lien-cheng. Believing
that the Japanese possessed only guns of the same calibre, and totally
ignorant of the deadly engines of warfare which Kuroki had so
skillfully concealed behind the innocent-looking belt of trees on the
delta, the Russian Commander took no pains to mask his ordnance.
Therefore when his shrapnel swept the Island of Kulido and played havoc
among the Guards, his whole position in this part of the field lay
exposed. At once the howitzers on the delta close to the opposite shore
began to belch forth a terrible fire of shrapnel and common shell,
which tore up the ground all around the Russians, killing their gunners
and dismounting their guns. This bombardment was afterwards described
by General Kashtalinsky, in a dispatch to the Commander-in-Chief, as
"extraordinarily violent and prolonged," and he added that in its
course more than 2,000 shells were fired upon the defenders' position.
The fearfully destructive and demoralizing effect of this cannonade was
indeed patent at once to the observers upon the left bank of the river.
The Makau Hill was described by one correspondent as transformed in
appearance into an active volcano, from which belched forth clouds of
grey-black smoke.

[Sidenote: Inferno Set Loose]

It was Inferno let loose. The sides of the hill were riddled and
scored, solid rocks were smashed like crockery, as the screaming
missiles of death burst among the trenches and filled them with dead
and wounded. Yet amid it all the Russian artillerymen stood steadily to
their guns as long as their guns were left in their places, and as long
as any men remained to work them. But the best troop in the world could
not endure such a murderous fire for long. The heavy pieces of field
ordnance were knocked from their carriages like ninepins, the soldiers
fell around them in scores, and at last the batteries sank into silence
and the dark forms of the defenders were seen from afar fleeing for
refuge behind the further line of the heights.

[Sidenote: Howitzer High-Angle Fire]

This fierce artillery engagement lasted about half an hour, and while
it produced such deadly and demoralizing effects on the enemy it left
the Japanese practically unharmed behind their screen of trees. Their
howitzers, unlike the Russian field guns, could do the maximum of
execution by means of high-angle fire and their battery emplacements
were so carefully and skilfully masked that the shrapnel of the enemy,
effective as it may have appeared to be from the right bank, did them
scarcely any damage. Their casualties, indeed, were only two men killed
and twenty-five wounded. It was a remarkable triumph of scientific
warfare, and proved that in the artillery branch of the service at all
events the Japanese had nothing further to learn from European models.

[Illustration: RUSSIANS COLLECTING WOUNDED ON THE NIGHT AFTER THE
BATTLE.]

[Sidenote: Co-operation of Gunboats]

While this bombardment was engaging the Russian centre and diverting
its attention from the enveloping movement of the 12th Division on the
left, and from the advance of the Guards upon Tiger Hill, the gunboat
flotilla of Admiral Hosoya again operated with great effect against the
Russian lines lower down the river at Antushan and Niang-ning-chin.
This simultaneous attack along the whole of his front placed General
Sassulitch in a position of the utmost difficulty. He was unable to
tell from which part of the field the real danger would come. It is
clear, however, from the dispatches of his subordinate, General
Kashtalinsky, that that officer appreciated the true nature of the
Japanese operations, and that he recognized the impossibility of
holding Chiu-lien-cheng after his flank had been turned by General
Inouye's Division. Early on the 30th he ordered the 22nd Regiment back
from Tiger Hill to the right bank of the Ai River and endeavored to
strengthen the position on Makau and Yukushau, and his dispatch to
General Kuropatkin indicates that he represented to General Sassulitch
the difficulty with which even that line of defence could be
maintained, and urged a retreat to Hoh-mu-tang. At night, however, he
received orders from his superior to remain and accept battle at the
hands of the Japanese, and he had nothing for it but to obey.

[Sidenote: Miserable Array of Russians]

It was with a miserably inadequate force that he was thus compelled to
oppose the advance of a foe which had already proved itself so
determined and so resourceful. At the ford on his extreme left he
stationed two battalions of the 22nd Regiment. The 12th Regiment of the
East Siberian Rifles held the hills behind, from Yukushan to Makau,
supported by the 3rd Battery of the 6th Brigade of Artillery and a
number of machine guns. General Sassulitch himself was in command of
the 9th and 10th Regiments occupying Chiu-lien-cheng and the chain of
hills stretching down to Antung, and the 11th Regiment was kept in the
rear as a reserve. General Mishchenko's Brigade of Cossacks, though in
the neighborhood, does not appear to have been actually engaged in the
battle at all.

[Sidenote: Four Miles of Japanese]

On the Japanese side all was in readiness for the great advance by the
night of the 30th, and General Kuroki telegraphed to the General Staff
at Tokio that the attack would begin at dawn. On the left, the 2nd
Division, under General Nishi, occupied the southern end of
Cheun-song-do; the Imperial Guards, under General Hasegawa, held the
northern end of that island, as well as Tiger Hill; and on their right
was stationed the 12th Division, facing the Ai, on a wide front
extending for over four miles. In these positions the Army bivouacked
for the night.

[Sidenote: A Moment of Tense Expectancy]

By five o'clock on the morning of Sunday, May 1st, the whole force from
north to south was on foot, and prepared to move like one mighty
machine to the execution of the great task before it. As the grey dawn
lifted the curtain upon the tremendous drama which was about to unfold
itself before them, the watchers behind Wiju saw the long lines of
black forms marshalling upon the islands and taking cover behind the
scrub and in the hollows of the low sand hills. Far out beyond Tiger
Hill and along the left bank of the River Ai the lines extended, moving
out of the shelter of the adjacent hills. It was a moment of tense
expectancy. Now for the first time were Japanese Infantry to be pitted
against European troops armed with modern weapons, in a conflict on the
grand scale. Would they come out of the ordeal with triumph? Would they
in their sphere of warfare rival the great achievements of their naval
brethren?

[Sidenote: The General Attack Begins]

But before the infantry could move forward it was necessary to search
the Russian batteries once more and reduce them, if possible, to
ineffectiveness. The howitzers and field artillery, therefore, again
opened their terrible fire of shell and shrapnel upon the heights
opposite, the storm raging with especial severity over Chiu-lien-cheng
and the Makau and Yushukau ridge. But to this the enemy made no reply.
After the awful experience of the previous day, they had been compelled
to withdraw many of their guns, and the front of their position was, as
it afterwards appeared, deprived of this defence altogether. General
Kashtalinsky, as already stated, had with him one battery of field
artillery, but taught by past lessons he declined to unmask its
whereabouts until the advance of the Mikado's troops made it absolutely
necessary. After half an hour, therefore, the Japanese ceased their
bombardment for the time being, and at last General Kuroki gave the
eagerly-expected order for a general attack along the whole line.
Gladly the soldiery of Dai Nippon answered the call, burning as one man
to plant the flag of the Rising Sun upon the soil of the territory from
which ten years ago they had been so contemptuously driven out by the
haughty Muscovite.

[Sidenote: Ridges Alive with Flame]

To the 12th Division fell the perilous glory of crossing first, in the
teeth of the Russian guns. The skirmishing line advanced first over a
wide front, keeping up a harassing fire upon the enemy's trenches. A
smart response was made, but the opportunity of the Russians was yet to
come; for it was apparent that the actual crossing of the river by
General Inouye's main body would have to be performed in much closer
formation, presenting an admirable target for artillery and rifle fire.
Slowly but steadily the skirmishers pressed forward, taking advantage
of every scrap of cover, and soon the whole plain was dotted with puffs
of white smoke as the bullets sped on their way. Behind them came line
after line of the main storming force. At last the fords were reached,
and forming into two columns the 12th Division rushed forward to gain
their passage. At once the ridges opposite became alive with flame, and
a withering blast of shrapnel and rifle bullets swept across their
path. The column formation which the Japanese were compelled to adopt
gave the Russian marksmen every chance, and terrible loss of life
occurred at this point. The leading files were mown down like grass
under the sickle; for a moment the head of the column wavered under the
storm and stood still.

[Sidenote: Surprise of the Russians]

But now the Japanese artillery found the opening they wanted. The exact
position of the Russian guns was revealed, and at once they were
enfiladed by a demoralizing fire from the terrible howitzers near Wiju
while at the same time they were attacked by General Inouye's field
batteries in front. Once again the fierce and destructive character of
the cannonade is revealed by the dispatches of the Russian commanders.
Just as General Kashtalinsky, referring to the bombardment of April
30th, described it as "extraordinarily violent and prolonged," so
General Sassulitch used similar terms in regard to this new
bombardment. Before the day was over the Russian Commander had more
opportunities of appreciating the "extraordinary" quality of the troops
whose powers he, in common with more highly placed officers in the
service of the Czar, had so fatally despised; but it seems clear from
the use of the same phrase independently by the two generals that the
artillery tactics of General Kuroki caused them more surprise than
almost anything else in the whole of these surprising operations. It
goes to prove that the Intelligence Department on the Russian side was
not well equipped, for the possession by their enterprising foe of
heavy guns so far north in Korea seems never to have been suspected by
them.

[Sidenote: The Plunge Across the Ai]

Supported by this tremendous cannonade, the infantry of the 12th
Division pressed steadily forward. The survivors of the first line
melted into the second line, which was advancing quickly behind, and
careless of death, the gallant little Japs plunged into the waters of
the Ai up to their breasts, and waded across the ford. Notwithstanding
the raking fire, however, from General Kuroki's batteries, the Russians
stuck to their posts like heroes, and the field guns of the 3rd
Battery, assisted by a number of machine guns, ploughed up the ranks of
the Mikado's troops, doing terrible execution. But the Japanese were in
overwhelming force, and though men were falling on every hand, the main
body pressed resistlessly forward, crossed the river, and took up a
position on the right bank, at the base of the hills. Not a moment was
wasted. As the column reached the shore, it diverged regiment by
regiment to right and left, spreading out in wider formation for the
task of scaling the heights. The evolution was executed with great
speed, but with the precision and steadiness of parade; and if anything
could be more impressive than the gallantry of the Japanese rank and
file, it was the skill and coolness of their officers from General down
to company commander. Though it was exposed to a withering fire at
comparatively close quarters, the movements of the whole force were
executed like those of a machine.

[Sidenote: Overwhelming Legions]

It will be remembered that there are two fords over the Ai river, the
one leading from a position near Yulchasan, on the left bank, to a
position slightly north of Yukushan, on the right bank; the other
opposite to Tiger Hill, and a little to the north of Makau. It was
opposite to this latter ford that the bulk of General Kashtalinsky's
force was stationed, and here in consequence, the greatest losses
befell the Japanese. But while a fierce engagement was raging at Makau,
the decisive movement was taking place on the extreme left of the
Russians at Yushukau. The defence at that spot was entrusted to only
one battalion of the 22nd Regiment of Sharpshooters, and it was
impossible for such a small contingent, gallantly as it held its ground
for a time, finally to withstand the overwhelming legions which were
hurled against it.

[Sidenote: The Circling Ring of Fate]

For slowly but steadily the Japanese lines encircled the hills with a
ring of fate, creeping up the sides with infinite nimbleness and
dexterity, pausing now to take cover and return the Russian fire, then
up again and climbing from rock to rock with indomitable courage and
resolution. On the other hand, General Kashtalinsky bravely fought on
against his advancing foe. With the force at his command, it was
obviously a desperate undertaking, and he had sent for reinforcements.
But they came not, and for hours he had to do the best he could without
them. The fact was, of course, that General Sassulitch himself was so
busily engaged both on the right wing and at the centre that he could
spare little assistance to his subordinate.

[Sidenote: Devastating Artillery Bombardment]

For almost simultaneously with the advance of the 12th Division across
the Ai the Imperial Guards under General Hasegawa had forced the
passage of the stream on the left, at the foot of the slope which led
up to the village of Chiu-lien-cheng, while the 2nd Division, led by
General Nishi, crossed lower down and menaced the Russian right. Four
batteries of howitzers had been ferried across the stream from the left
bank of the Yalu to the Island of Cheun-song-do, and as the skirmishing
line of both divisions moved forward in a fan-like formation these
powerful pieces of ordnance opened a destructive fire upon the enemy. A
sharp rattle of musketry was the first sign that the Russians were
prepared to contest the passage of the river in this quarter, but their
field artillery remained silent, and it turned out afterwards that all
the guns which had survived the bombardment of the previous day had
been removed to the rear, or to strengthen General Kashtalinsky's
position. As it was, the rifle fire from the trenches was very galling,
and the Japanese lost a great many men, but the devastating effects of
General Kuroki's artillery bombardment were beyond anything that the
Russians could produce in return.

[Sidenote: Black Mass of Human Figures]

It was in one of these trenches on the ridge of the hills to the
northeast of Chiu-lien-cheng that the greatest damage was wrought. As
the Japanese infantry steadily advanced, General Sassulitch ordered
forward a body of his supports from the immediate rear to occupy this
trench. In order to obey this command they had to round a small spur of
the hill and pass across the open. Their appearance against the
sky-line provided a target which the Japanese gunners were not likely
to neglect. Instantly a rain of shell and shrapnel was directed upon
the black mass of human figures. Men were seen falling thick and fast
under this withering fire; but still the Russians pressed on
indomitably, and at the expense of great loss of life occupied the
trench, whence they in turn poured a fierce rifle-fire upon the enemy
below them. By this time, however, the Guards were swarming over the
lower slopes of the hills around Chiu-lien-cheng, and General Hasegawa
sent a strong force to the left of the Russian position to turn General
Sassulitch's flank. At the same time General Nishi's men were climbing
steadily up the ridge further south, and were threatening the Russian
right.

[Sidenote: The Blood-Red Banner]

It is interesting to note that the somewhat drab aspect of warfare
which many of the operations in the South African war assumed,
accustoming us to the idea that all picturesqueness had departed from
modern combat, and that the ancient gauds and trappings so dear to the
soldier's heart had been abandoned for ever, was entirely absent from
this great battle in the Far East. The opposing forces were not
separated from one another by illimitable distances of rolling veldt
and brown hills. They were, on the contrary, so near as to recall the
fighting in the Franco-German War, or the bloody combats around Plevna
in the great struggle between Turkey and Russia nearly thirty years
ago. And more remarkable still, the regimental colors which in our army
are kept for ceremonial purposes in times of peace, and do not
accompany the troops into the field, were carried by the Japanese in
the front of the fighting line. Their presence must have assisted the
fire of the enemy considerably; but there can be no doubt, on the other
hand, of the inspiriting effect on the Mikado's men of seeing the
blood-red banner of their race floating in the van and beckoning them
forward to victory.

[Illustration: A LAST GALLANT STAND OF RUSSIAN GUNNERS.]

Steadily indeed, and without pause, those flaming banners advanced upon
the doomed Russian position. The swing round of General Hasewaga's
troops to the left of Chiu-lien-cheng decided the fate of General
Sassulitch's centre, and after four hours' fighting the Japanese,
climbing up the ridges like cats, charged into the Russian trenches.
All the defenders who remained to contest the charge were bayonetted or
taken prisoners, but the main body of the 9th and 10th Siberian
Regiments retreated stubbornly towards Hoh-mu-tang, contesting every
inch of the ground. The heights, however, in this part of the field
were won, and at 9 o'clock a great shout of "Banzai"--the Japanese form
of "hurrah"--went up all along the line, as the banners of the Rising
Sun were planted upon the ridge and waved proudly in the breeze.

[Sidenote: Fight Desperately Against Fate]

On their left the Russians under General Kashtalinsky were, as we have
shown, making a more desperate resistance; but unable to obtain
reinforcements in time, that gallant officer was compelled to retire
before the advance of General Inouye's Division, which, by driving the
battalion of the 22nd Regiment in rout before it at Yushukau, had
completely crumpled up his flank. He therefore fell back slowly towards
Hoh-mu-tang, fighting desperately against overwhelming odds opposed to
him. It was not till noon, seven hours after the battle began, that
reinforcements were at last sent to him. Then General Sassulitch
ordered to his assistance the 11th Regiment, which all this time had
been held in reserve well in the rear together with the 2nd Battery of
the 6th Brigade of Field Artillery, under Lieutenant-Colonel Mouravsky.

[Sidenote: General Sassulitch's Retreat]

With this new force General Kashtalinsky set about the heavy task of
covering the retreat of the 12th and the 22nd Regiments, or as much of
them as was left, and also of checking the Japanese advance if possible
until the 9th and 10th Regiments had made sure of their communications
along the road to Feng-hwang-cheng. It was now that the fiercest and
bloodiest fighting of the day took place, and that the Russians in
particular suffered their heaviest losses. For no sooner had General
Kuroki captured the whole ridge from Antung and Antushan in the south
to Yukushan in the north than he ordered his force, strengthened by the
reserves, to hasten at full speed along three lines in the direction of
the Feng-whang-cheng road to cut off General Sassulitch's retreat.

[Sidenote: The Japanese Chase]

A strong detachment from General Inouye's Division, therefore, crossed
westwards to Tan-lang-fang; the Imperial Guards marched rapidly along
the main road from Chiu-lien-cheng; and the 2nd Division spread out
towards Antung and pursued the retiring 9th and 10th Regiments. It was
the Guards Division and the 12th Division with whom General
Kashtalinsky had to deal in this last brave stand. He ordered the 11th
Regiment under his chief of staff to assume a commanding position in
the rear, from which they could fire upon the enemy from two sides.
Lieutenant-Colonel Mouravsky's battery he held in reserve; and then he
ordered the wearied troops of the 12th Regiment, the 22nd Regiment, and
the 3rd Battery of the 6th Brigade to retire under cover of the fire of
the 11th.

[Sidenote: The Last Gallant Stand]

But before this manoeuvre could be effected the fierce pursuit of the
Japanese had gained its object. Both the Guards and the 12th Division
reached the spot by 1 o'clock, and approaching from opposite sides,
surrounded the hapless Russians. An enfilading fire made it impossible
for the 3rd Battery to retire. Its horses were killed, and, therefore,
Colonel Mouravsky, who assumed the command, ordered the gunners to take
up a position where they stood and return the Japanese fire at close
quarters. This they did with the greatest gallantry. They fought on
steadily till not a man was left standing, their brave commander,
Colonel Mouravsky, himself being among the last to fall. In the
meanwhile, a company with machine guns had been ordered up to the
assistance of the 3rd Battery. The officer in command, seeing the
difficult situation of Colonel Mouravsky, took up a position, in the
words of General Kashtalinsky's dispatch, "on his own initiative." He
was no more fortunate than his superior officer. He, too, had entered
the fatal ring of fire, and half his men and horses were shot down
before he could render any effective service. An attempt to bring away
his guns by hand and to take them under shelter of the hills under the
terrible cross fire to which he was exposed, was no more successful,
and the guns ultimately fell into the hands of the enemy. The case
being evidently hopeless, the 2nd Battery, which had been brought up as
a reinforcement to the 11th Regiment, was ordered back to rejoin the
reserve by another road, but half its horses, too, were killed, and,
finding it impossible to ascend the slopes without them, the officer in
command brought his guns back to their original position, and there
bravely, but unavailingly, received the Japanese attack.

[Sidenote: Rifle Fire and Cold Steel]

Now ensued a fierce and bloody hand-to-hand combat, in which the utmost
heroism was displayed on both sides. Closer and closer pressed the
Japanese till the opposing forces were almost looking into one
another's eyes, and rifle-fire was abandoned for cold steel. Again and
again the Japanese desperately dashed themselves upon the serried ranks
opposed to them, and again and again, in spite of the fearful execution
wrought by each charge, they were hurled back. But bayonet charge
followed bayonet charge, and at last the devoted band of Russians could
hold out no more. In some quarters of the field the white flag was
hoisted and numbers of men surrendered. But the main body, shattered as
it was and a mere shadow of its former strength, fought its way
through. A broken remnant of the 12th Regiment cut its way through and
carried off the colors in safety, torn and riddled indeed, but not
disgraced. The same fate befell the 11th Regiment, a small body of
which, after several hours' fighting, forced a passage out of the melee
and retreated to Hoh-mu-tang with its colors preserved. But the losses
of this regiment were enormous. Colonel Laming, the Colonel Commandant,
Lieutenant-Colonels Dometti and Raievsky, and forty subordinate
officers were left dead upon the field, and 5,000 non-commissioned
officers and men were killed or wounded. More than 30 officers and 400
men surrendered. The casualties sustained by the Japanese were nearly
1,000 killed and wounded.



                              CHAPTER VII.

  Russian Demoralization--On the Heels of the Enemy--Remarkable
    Japanese Strategy--The Paper Army--The Thin Black Line of
    Reinforcements--Position of the Russian Army--Kuropatkin Tied
    to his Railway--The Second Scheme of Attack--A Model of
    Organization--Perfect Secrecy of Plans--Cutting off Port
    Arthur--Alexeieff's Command of Language--And the Sober
    Truth--Third Blocking Attempt--Lurid Flashing of
    Searchlights--On the Bones of their Predecessors--Half the
    Passage Blocked--Honored but Unarmed--Russian
    Acknowledgements--Terrific Casualties--Togo for Liao-tung--The
    Japanese Landings--Escape of Alexeieff--Port Arthur Isolated.


[Sidenote: Russian Demoralization]

The signal victory of the despised Japanese at the Yalu River filled
official circles in St. Petersburg with the liveliest dismay and shook
that determined optimism which had survived even the unexampled series
of naval disasters sustained by the power of the Czar in the Far East.
There seems never to have been the least doubt among the Grand Dukes
and the Bureaucrats by whom the Emperor was surrounded that whatever
fate might befall the fleet, the "yellow monkeys," as they elegantly
called their foes, would fly headlong before the onslaught of the
Russian soldiery, accustomed as it was to victory on many a bloody
field in Europe. The fatuity of this overweening confidence now stood
revealed, and it was at last tardily recognized that as stern a task
awaited the Russian forces on land as at sea. But St. Petersburg
officialdom, wounded in pride and shaken in nerve as it was, still
preserved a bold front to the world, and excuses for the disaster that
had befallen the Russian arms were as prolific as ever. The army at the
disposal of General Sassulitch, it was explained, was but a small one;
that commander had blundered, and by giving battle to an overwhelmingly
superior force, had disobeyed or misunderstood the orders of General
Kuropatkin; and in any case, although severe losses were admitted, the
main body had retreated in good order to Feng-hwang-cheng, and the
_morale_ of the troops was unshaken. The plea that General Sassulitch
was solely responsible for the defeat which had befallen the Muscovite
arms, and that he had failed to follow the instructions of his
superior, has already been dealt with, and its extreme improbability
has been demonstrated, though, even if it were accurate, it would throw
a very unflattering light upon the powers of Russian leadership in the
higher commands. It was soon, however, to be shown that the suggestion
that the army of the Yalu had retired in good order and with unshaken
_morale_ was equally devoid of truth. As a matter of fact, the fierce
pursuit of the Japanese and the heavy losses which they inflicted upon
the retreating Russians at Hoh-mu-tang and elsewhere on the road to
Feng-hwang-cheng reduced the defeat to an utter rout, and it became
impossible for Sassulitch to make a stand at the latter point,
naturally strong as it was and admirably calculated to resist an attack.

[Illustration: AFTER THREE MONTHS.

The war began with the night attack on Port Arthur on February 8, but
it was not until two months later that the Japanese appeared on the
south-eastern border of Manchuria. On April 4 they occupied Wiju, on
the 21st troops began to land at Tatungkau, and on May 1 took place the
first great battle of the campaign, when the Japanese forced the
passage of the Yalu, and drove the Russians back upon Feng-wang-cheng.
On May 6 the latter place was occupied without resistance.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]

[Sidenote: On the Heels of the Enemy]

After a day or two spent in recuperating his tired troops, whose
tremendous exertions during the previous week must have tested their
powers of endurance to the utmost, and also in bringing his heavy guns
and supply train across the river from Wiju, in preparation for the
march General Kuroki began a forward movement into Manchuria with his
whole army. The cavalry led the advance, operating over a wide area of
country and sweeping the scattered units of the Russians before it.
Some sharp skirmishes took place at Erh-tai-tsu and San-tai-tsu, but no
real difficulty was interposed in the way of the victorious Japanese,
who drove the enemy in flight before them. On May 6th the foremost
cavalry vedettes reached Feng-hwang-cheng, and instead of finding the
strongly held entrenchments which the Russian press was even then
busily assuring a sceptical Europe would prevent any further advance on
the part of the presumptuous foe, they discovered that the troops of
General Sassulitch had been withdrawn, and they entered the deserted
town without having to fire a shot. The leading columns of the
infantry, following quickly behind, marched in and took possession on
the same day. Before his hurried departure General Sassulitch had
ordered the magazine to be blown up, but large quantities of hospital
and other stores fell into the hands of the Japanese. General Kuroki's
main body was not far in the rear, and the position of the whole army
was soon securely established at this important point. Feng-hwang-cheng
is situated at a mountain pass on the Liao-yang road, at a distance of
about 25 miles from the Yalu. As already stated, it possesses great
strategical importance. It is the centre at which the roads meet,
coming from Liao-yang, Haicheng, and Kaiping, places which are situated
at about equal distances from one another along the Manchurian railway
from north to south, and it therefore constitutes a _point d'appui_
from which a force could be thrown against any of them, while it is
itself a position of great strength. General Kuroki immediately began
to entrench himself strongly at this spot and to consolidate his
forces, while he waited for the highly important developments which
were now to take place in other quarters of the theatre of war.

[Illustration: IN THE RUSSIAN TRENCHES.]

[Sidenote: Remarkable Japanese Strategy]

A wide view of the position of affairs as they now stood over the
entire field of operations is necessary at this point in order to make
clear the remarkable events that followed, and to throw into full
relief the extraordinary qualities of the Japanese strategy--a strategy
conceived after the most patient study of all the conditions of the
problems and worked out in practice with almost machine-like regularity
and precision.

[Sidenote: The Paper Army]

When General Kuropatkin arrived at Mukden at the end of March and
took over the command from General Linevitch, he had on paper an army
of over 250,000 men. It was made up as follows: 223,000 infantry;
21,764 cavalry; 4,000 engineers; and artillery consisting of 496
field guns, 30 horse artillery guns, and 24 machine guns. This large
force was organized in four Army Corps, each with divisions of
infantry and its quota of artillery and cavalry; while there were
also two independent divisions of Cossacks, four brigades of Frontier
Guards, railway troops, fortress artillery and a number of small
units not allotted. The First Army Corps was under the command of
General Baron Stackelberg, the Second under General Sassulitch, the
Third under General Stoessel, and the Fourth under General
Zarubaieff. It was an imposing force, this army of Manchuria,
calculated to strike terror into the hearts of an Oriental enemy, but
unfortunately for the Russians it lacked one thing, and that was
reality. The actual position of affairs was indeed very different. To
begin with, the greater part of the troops were not near the front at
all when the Commander-in-Chief appeared upon the scene to direct
operations, but were being pushed along the Siberian Railway with a
feverish haste which at the same time did not denote proportionate
speed. When they did arrive they arrived in detached fragments, and
the desperate necessities of the case did not admit of adherence to
the paper arrangements. For instance, the 7th and 8th Divisions,
which should have formed part of the Second Army Corps under General
Sassulitch, were, as a matter of fact, sent to assist in garrisoning
Port Arthur and Vladivostock. Port Arthur, it will be remembered, was
by this time under the command of General Stoessel, who was therefore
unable to direct the operations of the Third Army Corps, which
properly should have been entrusted to him. On the other hand, the
3rd East Siberian Rifle Division, which belonged to that Corps, and
the 6th East Siberian Rifle Division, which should have been attached
to the First Army Corps, were sent to the Yalu, where, as we have
already seen, they took part in the ill-fated conflict of the 1st of
May. It will be observed from these shifts--only a few of the most
noticeable out of many--that the Army Corps system of the Manchurian
Army had completely broken down, and that the ideal of a coherent
fighting force, with officers and men trained together in peace under
the conditions to which they would be subjected in war, had not been
attained in the slightest degree. The lack of organization which
prevailed in the distribution of the larger commands was equally
manifest in the mobilization of the units of which they were
composed. Regiments were not complete; hastily-formed levies had to
be added to bring them up to their nominal strength; and the ranks of
the officers had to be filled up in many cases with volunteers from
regiments in other parts of the Empire. The result was a composite
force very different indeed in fighting power from the splendid
machine which the Mikado's strategists had been carefully perfecting
in time of peace in readiness for the struggle which they had so long
foreseen.

[Sidenote: The Thin Black Line of Reinforcements]

In bringing even this haphazard collection of unco-ordinated units to
the front in Manchuria, the greatest difficulties had been experienced.
All that European observers had predicted about the working capacity of
a railway like the Trans-Siberian for the conveyance of a huge army for
thousands of miles came true to the letter. Prince Khilkoff, the
Director-General of Russian Railways, undoubtedly did wonders, and the
tremendous efforts which he and his staff put forth, especially in
surmounting the great natural obstacle presented by Lake Baikal, were
worthy of all praise. But to carry an army of 250,000 men, with all its
necessary supplies and munitions of war, into Manchuria in the time
required for the purpose of striking an effective blow at an enemy like
the Japanese was a task beyond the powers of any railway staff in the
world. The rickety single line, with infrequent sidings, which
stretches across the steppes of Siberia from Harbin to the Urals was
quite inadequate for such a feat of transport. By the middle of May,
therefore, the position in which General Kuropatkin found himself--a
position partly created by himself, as Minister of War, and partly
created for him by the ineptitude of others--was widely different from
that which the easy and thoughtless optimists in St. Petersburg had
anticipated when the war broke out. The Fourth Army Corps was not
across Lake Baikal; 30,000 or 40,000 men were shut up in the fortresses
of Port Arthur and Vladivostock, and were not only useless for field
operations, but were themselves liable to siege and capture; and,
allowing the highest possible estimate, the Russian Commander-in-Chief
had at his disposal for assuming the offensive in Manchuria no more
than 100,000 men with 260 guns.

[Sidenote: Position of the Russian Army]

With this army he was holding the railway line from Mukden to Port
Arthur, a distance of about 230 miles. His headquarters were at
Liao-yang, and he held Haicheng and Kaiping in force, while a
detachment was thrown out to the south-west and occupied Niuchwang. In
the extreme south Port Arthur, though closely blockaded from the sea by
the watchful Togo, was as yet open to communication by land, and no
attempt had hitherto been made by the Japanese to secure a footing on
the Liao-tung Peninsula. On the east of the Liao-yang--Kaiping line the
Russian troops occupied three important passes, namely, Ta-ling, about
50 miles distant, in a northeasterly direction, from Liao-yang; the
Motien-ling, about 25 miles away on the main road to Feng-hwang-cheng;
and Fen-chu-ling, half way on the road from Tashihchao to Siuyen.
Tashihchao is on the railway midway between Haicheng and Kaiping. The
Motien-ling Pass was the scene of a sanguinary combat between the
Chinese and the Japanese in the war of 1894, and on that occasion the
Mikado's forces had the greatest trouble in capturing it. Besides
holding these passes General Kuropatkin had pushed forward his Cossack
patrols to scour the country as far as Feng-hwang-cheng, and constant
small encounters took place between them and General Kuroki's outposts
during the ensuing six weeks.

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin Tied to His Railway]

It is clear from this brief statement of the Russian position that the
Japanese, always provided that they could retain the command of the
sea, were placed at a great strategical advantage compared with their
enemy. Holding their First Army poised at Feng-hwang-cheng, they could
throw their Second and Third Armies upon the coast at any point that
suited them best for the purpose of making a great combined movement.
On the other hand, Kuropatkin was practically tied to the railway, and,
with the inadequate force at his disposal, could not advance against
Kuroki to destroy him in detail before the arrival of fresh armies from
Japan. He was liable to attack at any point, and it was the peculiar
difficulty of his situation that he could not tell which point would be
selected. As a matter of fact, when the blow fell, as it soon did with
crushing effect, he was powerless to prevent it.

[Sidenote: The Second Scheme of Attack]

The chapter of strategy which now opens is a fascinating one to any
student of war, and fortunately its main features can be readily
appreciated also by any layman who makes an intelligent study of a map
of Manchuria and the Liao-tung Peninsula. The prime object of the
Japanese plainly was to cut General Kuropatkin's extended line of
communications, isolate Port Arthur, and then attempt to envelope his
main force by advancing simultaneously from the south, the east, and
the northeast. It was consequently necessary, as a preliminary, to
establish the First Army securely in Manchuria, it being clear that
with this menace on his left flank, General Kuropatkin would not be
able to detach many troops to the south to prevent the investment of
Port Arthur. Everything, therefore, depended on the fortune that would
attend the advance of General Kuroki across the Yalu, and the Moltkes
at Tokio, after a patient study of all the conditions of an intricate
problem, had thought out two great alternative schemes to meet the
eventuality either of victory or defeat. In case of General Kuroki's
finding the task of crossing the Yalu unaided to be an insuperable one,
the Second Army, under General Oku, was to be landed at Takushan, a
port on the coast some miles to the west of the mouth of the river, and
thence to strike a blow at General Sassulitch's right flank. On the
other hand, if Kuroki met with success, Oku's army was to be landed at
a point on the Liao-tung Peninsula to cut Kuropatkin's communications
and invest Port Arthur. As we have seen, General Kuroki's signal
triumph at the Yalu River rendered the first alternative unnecessary,
and opened the way for the more decisive and dramatic stroke involved
in the second scheme.

[Sidenote: A Model of Organization]

But before anything could be done to land the Second Army, either at
Takushan or on the Liao-tung Peninsula, it was imperatively necessary
to disarm the Russian Fleet at Port Arthur, and prevent even the
remotest possibility of its interfering with the operations. Here, as
always, the two services, the army and the navy, had to work in close
correspondence and interdependence. From the beginning of the war these
separate branches of the Japanese forces had fitted into one another
like parts of the same piece of machinery, the whole directed by one
uniform purpose and striving towards one great common end. The joint
schemes of the naval and military strategists at Tokio will ever
provide an invaluable object-lesson to all students of the art of war;
and it may be predicted that they will prove of valuable assistance to
the strategists of our own army and navy. One of the most remarkable
features of the war has been the certainty and precision with which the
Japanese have worked out their complex plans; it is no less remarkable,
and affords a further striking evidence of their efficiency, that they
felt able, absolutely, to count upon that certainty and precision, and
to make arrangements long beforehand, which with a less carefully
organized scheme and less trustworthy commanders to carry it out would
have been foolhardy, or at least wasteful. Failure in any real sense
does not seem to have entered into their calculations. One portion of
the plan, indeed, might miscarry, but, as we have seen, partial failure
had been provided against, and a rapid modification of strategy to meet
the case would have been possible. It was, in fact, one of the most
interesting examples of the application of brains to war that have ever
been seen in the history of the world.

[Sidenote: Perfect Secrecy of Plans]

In the action and inter-action, then, of this great double machine, the
army had done all that it was possible for it to do for the moment; and
once again it came round to the turn of the navy to make the next
decisive move. Upon the success of this move may be said to have
depended the whole success of the after operations, but, calculating
with absolute confidence upon the skill of Admiral Togo, the Mikado's
strategists had already put the Second Army into a state of complete
preparation, and had even ordered it to be conveyed to a place from
which it could be transferred to the front at any quarter at a moment's
notice. Arrangements for its embarkation were begun as soon as General
Kuroki reached Wiju with the First Army in the early days of April.
When that commander was able to report that his dispositions for the
attack upon the Russian entrenchments on the right bank of the Yalu
were well advanced, the process of embarking General Oku's troops was
started at once. Not a hint was allowed to escape as to their
destination; even if the press correspondents, chafing under their
enforced inaction at Tokio, had learnt the name, the censor would not
have let it pass to the outer world; but, as a matter of fact, it is
safe to say that the secret was safely locked in the breasts of half a
dozen men. By April 22nd the whole army with its transports,
commissariat, ammunition train, and hospital corps, had been put on
board ship, and said farewell to the shores of Japan, vanishing, for
all the world could tell, into the inane. For more than a fortnight
nothing further was heard of it No one could report its landing
anywhere, no one could say what it was doing, and day by day the
mystery grew more mysterious. Only on May 7th was the veil lifted, when
this great army fell upon the coast of Liao-tung as if from the
heavens, and proceeded to the investment of Port Arthur. The truth was
that during this fortnight it had been lying _perdu_ on some small
islands close to the west coast of Korea, called the Sir James Hall
group, and distant 160 miles in a southeastern direction from the
shores of Liao-tung.

[Sidenote: Cutting off Port Arthur]

Here, briefly stated, is the manner in which the scheme worked out. On
May 1st General Kuroki triumphantly crossed the Yalu and stormed the
heights above Chiu-lien-cheng. On May 2nd Admiral Togo descended once
more upon Port Arthur, and blocked the harbor completely by sinking
eight steamers at the entrance to the channel. On the afternoon of May
3rd, having made sure of the thoroughness of the work, he set off at
full speed for the Sir James Hall Islands, reaching his destination by
early morning on the 4th. Everything there was in readiness for the
expedition, and within a few hours the whole of the transports,
escorted by the fleet, set sail for the east coast of Liao-tung. At
dawn the next day they reached the point on the peninsula which had
been selected for the landing--Yentoa Bay--and in a few short hours a
considerable portion of the force had been disembarked, the resistance
offered by a small detachment of Cossacks, the only force possessed by
the Russians in the neighborhood, being entirely negligible. On the 6th
the railway line was severed, and in a few days more the Japanese were
sitting securely astride of the peninsula, and Port Arthur was cut off
from the world. The scheme had been carried out like the combinations
of a skilful chess player, or like the successive steps of a
mathematical problem.

[Illustration: A DESPERATE ENCOUNTER AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Alexeieff's Command of Language]

It is necessary now to follow the development of these operations more
in detail. The first that falls to be described is the successful
attempt, the third of the series, to block the entrance to the harbor
of Port Arthur. But before giving the real version of this thrilling
enterprise it may be interesting to quote the report sent to the Grand
Admiral unconquerable Alexeieff, whose optimism rose superior to every
disaster and the alchemy of whose dispatches could still transmute
defeat into signal victory. Here is the message, so soothing to the
nerves of his fellow-countrymen, in which he announced the event that
enabled the Japanese to land troops at any point they desired up their
enemy's coasts:--

"I respectfully report to your Highness that a fresh attack made by the
enemy last night with the object of obstructing the entrance to the
port was successfully repelled.

"At 1 o'clock in the morning five torpedo-boats were perceived near the
coast from the eastern batteries. Under the fire of our batteries and
warships they retreated southward.

"At 1.45 the first fireship, escorted by several torpedo-boats, came in
sight. We opened fire upon it from our batteries and warships.
Three-quarters of an hour afterwards our searchlights revealed a number
of fireships making for the entrance to the harbor from the east and
southeast. The _Otvajni_, the _Giliak_, the _Gremiashtchi_, and the
batteries on the shore repulsed each Japanese ship by a well-directed
fire.

"Altogether eight ships were sunk by our vigorous cannonade, by
Whitehead torpedoes launched from our torpedo-boats, and by the
explosion of several submarine mines.

"Further, according to the reports of the officers commanding the
batteries and the warship _Giliak_, two Japanese torpedo-boats were
destroyed.

"After 4 a. m., the batteries and gunboats ceased fire, subsequently
firing only at intervals on the enemy's torpedo-boats, which were
visible on the horizon.

"All the fireships carried quick-firing guns, with which the enemy
maintained a constant fire.

"Up to the present thirty men, including two mortally wounded officers
who sought refuge in the launches, or were rescued from the fireships
by us, have been picked up. The inspection of the roadstead and the
work of saving drowning men are hindered by the heavy sea which is
running.

"We suffered no casualties with the exception of a seaman belonging to
the torpedo-boat destroyer _Boevoi_."

[Sidenote: And the Sober Truth]

No one reading this remarkable account could imagine that it described
an operation which ultimately sealed the doom of Port Arthur. For a
more sober but a more accurate narrative we must turn to the dispatches
of Admiral Togo. On May 2nd, as already recounted, the Japanese Naval
Commander-in-Chief received the news of the successful crossing of the
Yalu. His plans were already laid and his preparations were complete.
Eight merchant steamers this time had been secured for the service, and
upwards of 20,000 men volunteered for the glorious duty of manning them
and dying for their country. Of these, 159 were ultimately selected.
The names of the steamers were the _Mikawa_, _Sakura_, _Totomi_,
_Yedo_, _Otaru_, _Sagami_, _Aikoku_, and _Asagawo_. The vessels ordered
to escort the doomed hulks were the gunboats _Akagi_ and _Chokai_, the
2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th destroyer flotillas, and the 9th, 10th, and 14th
torpedo-boat flotillas. The whole force, which was under the command of
Commander Hayashi, started for its destination on the night of May 2nd.

[Sidenote: Third Blocking Attempt]

It is a melancholy circumstance, typical of the sombre, but ofttimes
splendid, tragedy of war, that of this third and most successful
attempt to block the harbor the narrative is necessarily the most
fragmentary and obscure, owing to the loss of life which it entailed.
On the two previous occasions, reckless as was the gallantry of the
Japanese and enormous as were the risks they ran, the casualties were
surprisingly small, and the majority of the men engaged were able to
return to their ships and tell the story of their enterprise. On this
night, however, everything was against success; the Russians were more
fully prepared to meet attack than they had ever been before; their
shooting was more effective; and worse still, the weather turned out
wholly unfavorable, the ships had to proceed singly upon their way; and
when they were sunk the difficulties in the way of recovering their
crews proved more than usually arduous, and most of them were either
shot or drowned or taken prisoner. In spite of all these adverse
circumstances a splendid success was achieved, but it was achieved
under conditions which largely obliterated the record, and leaves but
sparse material for the historian.

[Sidenote: Lurid Flashing of Searchlights]

The broad outlines of the story, however, are clear. When the steamers
with their accompanying flotillas were well on their way, a strong
southeasterly breeze sprang up, which rapidly freshened into a gale. It
was impossible in the circumstances to keep the vessels together, and,
fearing that the attack would in consequence be ineffective, Commander
Hayashi signalled to his subordinates to abandon the expedition for the
time being. But the weather and the heavy seas prevented his signals
from being observed, and the gallant enterprise therefore proceeded
unchecked. By one in the morning the 14th torpedo-boat flotilla reached
the roadstead and pressed steadily towards the eastern side of the
harbor mouth. The little vessels were soon exposed to the glare of the
searchlights, and at once a furious bombardment broke out upon them
from the Russian gunboats and the shore batteries. For the moment they
retreated, drawing the enemy's fire upon them, while the leading
steamer, which was close behind, made a dash for the channel. This
vessel was the _Mikawa_, under the command of Lieut. Sosa. The
Russians, as we have said, were much better prepared to resist attack
than on previous occasions. Piles of combustibles, stationed at various
points on the shore on each side of the harbor mouth, were set on fire,
and cast a lurid light on the scene, throwing into strong relief the
dark forms of the advancing ships, while the searchlights flashed
backwards and forwards over the unquiet surface of the sea, and made
every movement of the Japanese fatally visible to the defenders on the
fortress. A storm of missiles burst over the devoted expedition, but
undeterred, intent only on reaching the centre of the channel, Lieut.
Sosa pushed his vessel forward at the top of her speed. Nothing could
stop him or his crew--nor raging sea, nor searchlight, nor even the
rain of shot and shell. The _Mikawa_ stuck bravely to her course, and,
breaking through the boom which stretched across the mouth, anchored
right in the middle of the channel. In a moment the fuse was lighted,
and as the commander and his crew pushed off in the boats the ship blew
up and sank in the fairway. The _Sakura_, which was not far behind, was
less lucky than her companion. She was driven upon a rock at the
eastern side of the entrance, and blew up outside the channel.

[Sidenote: On the Bones of their Predecessors]

There was a short pause, and then came a fresh contingent of fireships,
rushing upon destruction. The aim of the Russian gunners had much
improved; in the fierce glare of the searchlights and the flaming
beacons every detail of the steamers was distinctly visible, and that
they should have succeeded in advancing into the channel in the face of
such a withering blast as swept across their course was little short of
a miracle. The waters, too, were thickly sown with mines, in readiness
for such an assault as this, and they did serious execution. The
_Aikoku_ was distant only five cables from the mouth when she struck
one of these deadly engines and blew up, her race cut short just when
the goal was at hand. Her commander, Lieut. Uchida, the chief engineer,
Aoki, and eight of the crew were killed or drowned. The _Asagawo_ was
riddled with shot, her rudder was smashed, and drifting upon the shore
beneath Golden Hill, she blew up and sank where the bones of so many of
her predecessors were already reposing.

[Sidenote: Half the Passage Blocked]

But the other vessels were more successful. The _Otaru_ and the
_Sagami_ reached the harbor mouth before they were sunk, and
contributed a large share to the obstruction of the entrance. The
_Yedo_ did better still, for she got further up than these two others.
Just as her anchor was being got ready her gallant commander, Lieut.
Takayanagi, fell dead, shot through the stomach; but there was no pause
in the operations. Sub-Lieut. Nagatu at once stepped into his
superior's place, and, anchoring the ship with the utmost coolness,
sank her in the fairway. The _Totomi_ did best of all, for, like the
_Mikawa_, she burst through the boom in the teeth of the Russian guns,
got well inside, and turning right across the channel from east to
west, sank in that position, blocking up at least half the passage.

[Sidenote: Honored, but Unarmed]

Admiral Togo, in his brief and dignified way, thus referred to the
magnificent services rendered by the men who had fallen in this great
enterprise:--"The undertaking, when compared with the last two
attempts, involved a heavier casualty on our side owing to the
inclemency of the weather and increased preparation for defence of the
enemy. We could not save any of the officers and men of the _Otaru_,
_Sagami_, _Sakura_ and _Asagawo_, and I regret that nothing particular
could be learned about the gallant way in which they discharged their
duties, although the memory of their exemplary conduct will long
survive in the Imperial navy."

[Sidenote: Russian Acknowledgments]

But though the Japanese Commander-in-Chief could learn nothing
particular about the gallant way in which his men had performed their
duties, the gap in our knowledge can fortunately be supplied, to some
extent at all events, by the Russians, who bore ample and chivalrous
testimony to the splendid heroism displayed by their foes. They
acknowledged, said a telegram from St. Petersburg, "that the enemy
attacked in brilliant style, seeming never to notice the murderous fire
which greeted them." One incident in particular struck upon their minds
and extorted from them the warmest expressions of admiration. "On board
the fireships," they remarked, "were a number of Japanese cadets, who
displayed extraordinary bravery. As the ships were sinking several of
these lads rushed aloft, and sitting on the cross-trees of the
topmasts, fired their revolvers before they plunged into the sea." The
account ends with a sentence of terse significance: "It is believed
that none were saved."

[Sidenote: Terrific Casualties]

Of the total of 159 men engaged in this work of desperate heroism only
36 returned in safety, and of these 28 were wounded. Two officers (both
mortally wounded) and 30 men were picked up by the Russians and taken
prisoners. The number of the killed was 75. They had not died in vain.
The harbor of Port Arthur was now securely blocked--not permanently
indeed, for while divers and dynamite can be obtained no harbor in the
world can be obstructed for ever in this way; but blocked to such an
extent that the Russians could not get any big ships through for weeks,
even given the most advantageous conditions in which to carry on the
work of removing the obstacles. And for the momentous operations that
were to follow the Japanese required not so much weeks as days.

[Sidenote: Togo for Liao-tung]

The fleet remained off Port Arthur till the afternoon to make sure that
all the rescue work possible had been accomplished. In this duty the
destroyer and torpedo-boat flotillas rendered admirable service. Once
again, happy to relate, they emerged themselves from the dangerous
enterprise with singularly slight damages, and lost only two men
killed. At last, having realized that no more remained to be done in
saving life, and having made sure that the "bottle" had finally been
"corked," Admiral Togo leaving behind a small squadron to watch Port
Arthur, set off at full steam with his main fleet for the Sir James
Hall Islands. There he was joined by the gunboat squadron under
Rear-Admiral Hosoya, which had rendered such effective service in the
lower reaches of the river at the battle of the Yalu. The transports,
with the Second Army on board, were practically ready for departure,
and on the morning of the 4th of May the whole expedition set out for
the Liao-tung Peninsula. At daybreak on the 5th Yentoa Bay was sighted.

[Sidenote: The Japanese Landings]

Yentoa Bay is admirably suited for the landing of a large force, for
the shelving shore, with shallow waters, presents no difficulty to the
approach of boats such as the Japanese use for this purpose.
Furthermore, it possesses great strategical advantages. It is within
easy striking distance of the railway, while the country in the
immediate neighborhood favors the advance of an attacking force and
gives little opportunity for defence. The likelihood of a landing here,
however, does not seem to have occurred to the Russians, who had
prepared instead for a descent upon Niuchwang. The whole affair is an
excellent illustration of the advantages conferred upon a combatant by
the command of the sea, especially when the openings for attack are
numerous, as they are in the case of the Liao-tung Peninsula. General
Kuropatkin could not tell where the descent of the enemy would be made,
and though he could defend some of the possible points, he could not
defend all. The Japanese, on the other hand, could select the spot that
suited them best without any serious risk of interference. Yentoa Bay
was therefore practically undefended when Admiral Togo's fleet arrived
convoying the Second Army. A troop of about 100 Cossacks was patrolling
the shore, but the gunboat squadron quickly dispersed it with a few
shells, and the work of landing could then be carried through without
interruption.

[Illustration: GENERAL STOESSEL EXHORTING HIS TROOPS IN THE DEFENSE OF
PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Escape of Alexeieff]

The first to make for the shore was a force of marines, two battalions
of whom waded through the shallows and occupied the rising ground above
the shore. Within an hour the advance guard of the army itself had been
disembarked, and the rest of General Oku's troops quickly followed; the
whole process being carried out with the smoothness and dispatch which
characterized all the operations of this kind on the Japanese side. On
the 6th, a flying column was sent to the northwards to seize the small
port of Pitszewo, and more important still, another column moved across
the neck of the peninsula with great rapidity and, occupying Pulantien,
broke up the railway and cut off all communication between General
Kuropatkin and Port Arthur. But before this was done one notable train
load of passengers managed to escape from the beleaguered fortress.
Chief among them were the Viceroy of the Far East, Admiral Alexeieff
himself, and the Grand Duke Boris. They left only just in time. The
gallant Admiral of the inventive pen had at last discovered that the
repulse of the Japanese naval attack on which he had prided himself in
his grandiloquent dispatch to the authorities at St. Petersburg was in
reality no repulse at all; that as a matter of fact the Japanese had
done just what they wanted to do; and that they were now able to
proceed, in their methodical way, to land troops on the peninsula and
invest Port Arthur. That the Viceroy should be shut up in the fortress,
too, was not to be thought of--though probably it would have been
better for the success of General Kuropatkin's strategy if his
troublesome colleague had been safely removed out of the way for the
rest of the campaign--and so by a desperate effort the gallant Admiral
burst through the gradually tightening cordon.

[Sidenote: Port Arthur Isolated]

After the first interruption of communications the Japanese force
temporarily withdrew, and the success of the Russians in relaying the
line and in running a train loaded with ammunition through to Port
Arthur revived the drooping spirits of the official classes in St.
Petersburg. The act was one of extreme gallantry, and reflected the
highest credit on Colonel Spiridonoff, the officer in command, but
beyond giving the garrison some greatly needed supplies it did not
materially alter the situation. The line was again broken up, the
Japanese occupied the neck of land in force, and in a few days Port
Arthur was completely cut off from the outer world.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

  The First Japanese Disaster--The "Hatsuse" Strikes a
    Mine--Admiral Togo Undaunted--Rammed in the Fog--Renewed
    Russian Hopes--The Vladivostock Squadron--A Thrill Through the
    Civilized Globe--Skrydloff the Raider--Kamimura on the
    Track--Approaching Port Arthur--The Importance of
    Nanshan--Japanese Dispositions--General Oku's Attack--Terrific
    Carnage--A General Bombardment--Chances of Defeat--Rushing the
    Trenches--The Russians in Flight--Tremendous Moral
    Effect--Terrific Casualties--Alarm in St. Petersburg--Fatal
    Russian Strategy--Old Tactics versus New--The Veil over the
    Tragedy.


[Sidenote: The First Japanese Disaster]

The Japanese fleet, as we have seen in the last chapter, had once again
done its work thoroughly. The Russian fleet, crippled in the early days
of the war and harried incessantly ever since, was now for weeks to
come securely shut up in the harbor of Port Arthur, and could do
nothing seriously to affect the course of events. Admiral Togo, with
his six powerful battleships and his splendid cruisers, had absolute
command of the Gulf of Pechili, and the transports from Japan were able
to pour troops with perfect safety upon the shores of the Liao-tung
Peninsula. It was at this moment of conspicuous success that the first
serious calamity of the war overtook the Japanese Navy, and two
terrible accidents occurred which filled the Russians with hope, as
appearing to betoken a turn at last in the tide of fortune and to
threaten the forces of the Mikado with something like the cloud of
misfortune that had so far hung over their opponents. There was,
however, this notable difference between the two cases. The losses
suffered by the Russians at sea were almost all due to their own lack
of forethought or of skill; they seemed to court defeat, and defeat
came to them in full measure. But the blow which now befell the
Japanese fleet was of a kind which the utmost ability and precaution
could hardly have prevented, and, moreover, serious as it was, it did
not materially affect the main course of the campaign, although
undoubtedly it compelled the Commander-in-Chief in some degree to
modify his plan of operations.

The disaster was a double one. On one and the same day, the 15th of
May, the magnificent battleship, the _Hatsuse_, was blown up by mines
and sunk with fully 500 men; and the protected cruiser, _Yoshino_,
colliding with the _Kasuga_ in a dense fog, was totally lost, only 90
of her crew being saved.

[Illustration: OUTSIDE PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: The "Hatsuse" Strikes a Mine]

It was at a spot ten miles southeast of Liaotishan promontory that the
_Hatsuse_ met her fate. With the _Shikishima_, the _Yashima_, and two
cruisers, she was engaged in watching Port Arthur and protecting the
landing of troops on the peninsula. Heavy fogs come off the land in the
Gulf of Pechili at this period of the year, and during the morning
navigation had been rendered difficult owing to this reason, but by 11
o'clock the weather had changed and the sky was clear. No enemy was in
sight, when suddenly, without any warning, a shock was felt under the
stern of the _Hatsuse_ and a heavy explosion took place, damaging her
steering gear. She signalled to the other ships at once to stand by and
give assistance, but before anything could be done another mine
exploded under her and tore a great yawning hole in her plates. The
water rushed into her in torrents, and at once the great ship began to
settle down. In a few moments, with appalling swiftness, she sank like
a stone, with all her freight of humanity. Had the catastrophe occurred
during the night hardly a man could have been saved, but fortunately in
the broad daylight something could be done to lessen the tale of death.
The boats of the other battleships and the cruisers were quickly upon
the spot and succeeded in picking up 300 officers and men out of a
total complement of about 800. Among these were Rear-Admiral Nashiba
and Captain Nakao, the commander of the vessel. The list of the drowned
included some of the brightest officers of the Japanese Navy, including
Commander Tsukamoto, Commander Count Nire, and Commander Arimori.
Besides these, five second lieutenants, five engineers, two surgeons,
six midshipmen, four engineer cadets, and ten non-commissioned officers
perished.

While the work of rescue was proceeding, sixteen of the Russian
torpedo-boat destroyers seized the opportunity to come out of the
harbor and effect a diversion, but the Japanese destroyer flotillas
engaged them hotly, and other cruisers from Togo's fleet coming up with
all speed, drove them back into Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: Admiral Togo Undaunted]

The _Hatsuse_, which was built at Elswick in 1899 after the type of the
English ship _Majestic_, was a ship of 15,000 tons displacement, and
15,000 indicated horse-power. She could steam 18 knots, her armor was
14.6 inches, and the weight of her broadside fire was 4,240 lbs. Her
destruction of course meant a serious weakening of Togo's first
fighting line, for six battleships were by no means too large a force
for the work he had to do. Moreover, the _Hatsuse_, with the _Asahi_,
_Shikishima_, and _Mikasa_, were the most modern and up-to-date ships
of their class in the fleet; the _Yashima_ and the _Fuji_, which
completed the list, being older and less heavily armed vessels.
Nevertheless the grip of the Japanese Admiral upon the beleaguered port
never slackened one whit, and in the event his five battleships, with
their accompanying cruisers, were destined to prove more than a match
for the navy of the Czar in the great battle in blue water which took
place three months afterwards.

The sinking of the _Yoshino_ was not so heavy a blow, but it was
serious enough in the circumstances, and the loss of life was in itself
greatly to be deplored. This second-class protected cruiser was also
built at Messrs. Armstrong's famous works on the Tyne. She was of 4,180
tons displacement, and her engines had an indicated horse-power of
15,750, with a speed of 23 knots, and a weight of broadside fire of 780
lbs. She was quite an old ship, as modern men-of-war go, having been
launched in 1892, and taking an honorable part in the Chino-Japanese
war of 1895.

[Sidenote: Rammed in the Fog]

On the fatal 15th of May she formed one of the cruiser squadron which,
under the command of Rear-Admiral Dewa, was engaged in the blockading
operations outside Port Arthur. The squadron had been standing off the
harbor during the night of the 14th, and early in the morning steamed
southwards. An impenetrable fog concealed everything from view, and the
big ships had to proceed with the utmost caution. But in such difficult
circumstances the utmost caution is sometimes unavailing, and at 1.40
the _Kasuga_, one of the twin ships recently purchased from the
Argentine Government, rammed the _Yoshino_ on the port stern. A
terrible gap was torn in the hull of the unfortunate cruiser, and at
once she began to settle down to starboard. From the meagre accounts
furnished by the survivors, it is clear, as indeed might have been
expected, that the most perfect discipline prevailed on board the
doomed vessel. Collision mats were quickly got out and placed over the
hole, but the injury was too severe to be dealt with by such means, and
the swift inrush of water made all efforts to save the vessel vain.
Captain Sayegi, the commander of the ship, ordered all the crew onto
the upper deck, and the boats were lowered without delay, but the
disaster was too sudden for them to be of any use. Five were lowered on
the starboard side and one on the port, but before they could get clear
the cruiser listed heavily to starboard and went down, smashing all the
five boats on that side to pieces. The cutter, which was lowered on the
port side, was the only boat that escaped. With perfect coolness and
self-devotion the captain remained on the bridge and shouted
encouragement to his men as they were getting into the boats. When last
seen he was shaking hands with his second in command, Commander
Hirowateri. In another moment both officers had gone down with their
ship. The boats of the _Kasuga_ were on the spot with all possible
speed, and succeeded in picking up 90 of the crew, but the rest,
numbering upwards of 270, perished with their captain.

[Sidenote: Renewed Russian Hopes]

When this two-fold disaster became known, the Russians were naturally
elated and even filled with renewed hope. Its true proportions, too,
were greatly exaggerated, and in the expectation that the Japanese
would be seriously hindered in their landing operations on the coast of
Liao-tung, General Kuropatkin countermanded the evacuation of
Niuchwang, which had already partly taken place, and his forces once
again occupied that port. However, as we have already stated, the loss
he had sustained did not lessen the grip maintained by Admiral Togo
upon Port Arthur. His weakened condition did, indeed, at a later period
give the Russian fleet, after it had been patched up with infinite
pains and difficulty, an admirable opportunity to break through the
cordon, but the attempt was made with singular feebleness, and the
admiral in command took his ships back to the refuge of the harbor
without effecting anything. On the other hand, the destruction of the
_Hatsuse_ and the _Yoshino_, by necessitating the withdrawal of some
ships from Admiral Kamimura, who was guarding the Korean Straits,
indirectly gave the Vladivostock squadron a chance of raiding the coast
of Japan for some time with impunity, of destroying a great deal of
merchant shipping, and incidentally of bringing about the most serious
international complications, in which Great Britain, as the chief
trading country of the world, was the power principally involved.

[Illustration: A SKIRMISH ON THE MANCHURIAN RAILWAY.]

[Sidenote: The Vladivostock Squadron]

It will be convenient at this point briefly to advert to the exploits
of this squadron, which have necessarily been put on one side in the
recent course of the narrative by the claims of the more important
events. After the destruction of two small Japanese merchantmen on the
11th of February nothing more was heard of Captain Reitzenstein's
cruisers for more than two months. In April, however, the command was
taken over by a more highly-placed officer, Rear-Admiral Jessen, and a
sudden burst of activity took place. With the _Rossia_, the _Rurik_,
and the _Gromoboi_, and a flotilla of torpedo-boats and destroyers, the
new commander made a raid upon the east coast of Korea at Gensan. At
that very time Admiral Kamimura's squadron started on a voyage
northwards to search for the Russians, and there can be no doubt that
the two would have met, but by a stroke of the most perverse ill-luck
one of those dense spring fogs, which descend upon the Sea of Japan
like a pall, intervened and the opposing squadrons passed close to one
another without discovering their proximity. When, totally baffled by
these weather conditions, Kamimura returned to Gensan after a three
days' cruise, he found to his chagrin that the Russians had visited the
port in his absence and had even sunk a small merchant steamer called
the _Goyo Maru_. But of more serious importance still was the
destruction of the _Kinshiu Maru_, a transport with 124 soldiers of the
37th Regiment of Infantry on board. She fell in with the enemy's ships
on the night of the 25th while they were on their way back to
Vladivostock. A summons to surrender was met by a haughty refusal. An
hour's grace was given, at the end of which a torpedo was discharged
against the doomed vessel, striking her amidships. Under the orders of
their officers the men fell in upon the deck, as calmly and steadily as
if on parade, to wait for inevitable death. The officers themselves,
five in number, following the stern traditions of the ancient Samurai
clan, went below and committed suicide; but the rank and file
determined that they would strike one blow at the enemy before they
died, and so they opened a gallant but ineffective fire upon the
Russians with their rifles. The cruisers made a deadly reply with their
machine guns, tearing great gaps in the masses of men thickly gathered
together on the deck of the transport. Still, however, the soldiers
fought on with desperate bravery, until another torpedo brought the
tragic drama to a swift conclusion, sinking the ship in a few seconds.
Undaunted even at the moment of death, the Japanese went down with
triumphant shouts of "Banzai" upon their lips. Seventy-four of the rank
and file perished, but forty-five others escaped by means of the
steamer's boats, which they found floating on the sea, and on the 29th
they arrived at Gensan with their thrilling story.

[Sidenote: A Thrill Through the Civilized Globe]

It was a story mournful indeed in one aspect, but in all others
glorious and inspiring. It may be doubted, indeed, whether any one
event which had hitherto occurred in the whole course of the war so
inflamed the martial ardor of the Japanese and filled them with such
high hopes for a successful issue from the great conflict upon which
they had entered, as the splendid heroism and calm self-sacrifice with
which the soldiers and bluejackets on board the _Kinshiu Maru_ met
their death. Who could withhold the conviction that if this was the
spirit in which the sons of Dai Nippon advanced to the work that lay
before them, no misfortune, no temporary defeat could in the end
prevent victory from resting upon the banners of the Rising Sun? Nor
was the moral effect of the deed confined to Japan. The story sent a
thrill through the whole civilized globe, and taught the nations of
Europe and the masters of the New World that, accustomed as they were
to acts of daring and devotion among their own people, a race had
arisen in the Far East whose dauntless bearing in war they could not
hope to surpass.

[Sidenote: Skrydloff the Raider]

Another month elapsed before the Vladivostock squadron proved
troublesome again. It had then come directly under the control of the
new Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific fleet, Admiral Skrydloff, who had
been appointed to succeed the ill-fated Makaroff, and whose reputation
in the Russian navy was second only to that of his distinguished
predecessor. Unfortunately for Russia, Admiral Skrydloff arrived in the
Far East too late to reach his main fleet. At Harbin he learnt that
Port Arthur was invested both by land and sea, and that it was
impossible for him to assume the command at the place where his
services were most needed. He was, therefore, compelled to go on to
Vladivostock instead and direct the operations of the cruiser squadron
there in the desperate hope that at a later period an opportunity might
occur of effecting a junction with his Port Arthur fleet. A further
piece of bad news awaited him at the northern port. One of the four
cruisers which were all that now furnished his attenuated command had
gone ashore in a fog a few days previously, and had become a total
wreck. This was the _Bogatyr_. She was, indeed, the smallest ship in
the squadron, being a second-class protected cruiser of 6,750 tons, but
her speed was high, and her loss in the dark circumstances of the hour
was a serious blow. However, the gallant Admiral proceeded to make the
best of the material which lay at his disposition, and in the course of
the next two months he pursued most vigorous tactics, venturing
southwards with great frequency, harrying the coasts of Japan, and
bringing maritime commerce in that part of the world almost to a
standstill.

[Sidenote: Kamimura on the Track]

Admiral Kamimura with his cruisers made the most strenuous efforts to
catch his elusive enemy, but the bad luck which had visited him at
Gensan at the end of April continued to dog him still for a long time.
Again and again a convenient fog intervened to favor the escape of the
Russians; moreover, the Japanese squadron had to be depleted in order
to furnish aid to the main fleet which was blockading Port Arthur, and
assisting in the landing of troops; and furthermore, the strategic
necessity of closely guarding the Straits between Japan and Korea and
preventing the possibility of a junction between the two Russian
fleets, severely limited the area of Kamimura's activity. In these
circumstances Admiral Skrydloff's cruisers had an almost uncheckered
run of success for a period of two months. The Japanese Admiral came in
for some sharp criticism at the hands of the general public in Japan
for his apparent lack of energy, but the authorities at Tokio, who had
all the conditions of the campaign before them in their true
proportions, trusted him thoroughly, and their trust was magnificently
vindicated on the 14th of August, when he at last managed to trap the
Russians into his net, and administered to them a signal defeat in a
pitched battle on the high seas.

[Sidenote: Approaching Port Arthur]

A return must now be made to the land operations upon the Liao-tung
Peninsula. Undeterred by the loss of the _Hatsuse_ and the _Yoshino_,
the Japanese continued to pour in troops at Yentoa Bay and Pitszewo. At
the same time the 3rd Army, under General Nodzu, began to disembark at
Takushan. But it was to General Oku and the 2nd Army that the honor
fell of striking the next blow for the Mikado. This was the capture of
Kinchau and the storming of the Russian entrenchments on Nanshan Hill,
which, after preliminary operations lasting over some days, was finally
effected on the 26th of May.

[Sidenote: Importance of Nanshan]

The narrow neck of land, a mile and three-quarters in breadth, running
between Kinchau Bay on the west and Hand Bay--a small inlet of
Talienwan Bay--on the east, possesses great strategical importance. The
high ground to the south of it, of which the salient point is the
Nanshan Hill, completely commands the approach to Port Arthur from the
north, and, as it cannot be outflanked by any ordinary method, it gives
an admirable opportunity, to a defending force to resist an attack from
that quarter. It is, indeed, commanded in its turn by an eminence
called Mount Sampson, which lies to the northeast; but in this instance
the disadvantage was more than counterbalanced by the fact that the
Japanese could only oppose to the heavy fortress guns which the
Russians had mounted on Nanshan, field artillery of an inferior
calibre. After the landing of the enemy at Yentoa and the cutting of
the railway had made clear the imminence of the peril which threatened
Port Arthur, the governor of the fortress, General Stoessel, wasted no
time in erecting powerful defences at this naturally strong position.
During the ensuing weeks the Russian engineers went feverishly to work
constructing entrenchments on Nanshan and the connecting chains of
hills, and also on a second line of eminences further to the south, the
chief of which is named Nankuenling. These careful preparations might
well seem to have rendered the position impregnable. Ten forts almost
permanent in character were established on Nanshan, and at every
available point trenches and rifle pits were dug and concealed with the
greatest skill, and their approaches guarded by barbed wire
entanglements, while at convenient places mines were laid to entrap an
unwary foe. Over 70 guns, many of them pieces of fortress artillery of
heavy calibre, were placed in position here, and the whole was manned
by a force of 12,000 men; the utmost number of troops that could with
advantage be employed in such a confined area. Altogether, with the
exception of Port Arthur itself, no more formidable obstacle has ever
been presented to the advance of an invading army in modern times than
was offered by General Stoessel at Kinchau. The village of Kinchau
itself, it should be explained, though it gave the name to the battle,
was of comparatively small strategical importance, lying as it does on
the low ground to the northeast of the isthmus and offering an easy
prey, but at the same time no particular advantage, to the enemy.

[Sidenote: Japan Dispositions]

The concentration of the Japanese army proceeded in the circumstances
with great rapidity. On the 21st of May, the whole force, consisting of
three divisions, or about 60,000 men, was established to the north of
Hand Bay. Under the protection of the angle formed by the range of
hills to the south of Mount Sampson, the troops were formed up for
battle, and General Oku explained to his chief subordinates his
dispositions for the attack. Careful reconnaissances during the next
two days, by drawing the fire of the enemy, revealed the strength of
the Russian position, which stretched from Nanshan to the west to
Hushangtao on the east. At this latter point eight guns were stationed,
commanding the waters of Hand Bay, so that co-operation by the Japanese
gunboats from this side was impossible. On the other hand, the Russians
had a gunboat themselves stationed in the bay, and this was able to
render valuable assistance to the defending force when the attack
developed. On the west the waters of Kinchau Bay were too shallow to
admit of the approach of vessels of any but the smallest draught, but
four of the Japanese gunboats were able to enter close up to the shore,
and gave conspicuous aid to General Oku in the course of the operations.

[Sidenote: General Oku's Attack]

On the 25th of May the Russian positions at Kinchau and Nanshan were
heavily bombarded, and General Oku extended his line to the north as
well as to the east. At dawn on the next day the attack began in
earnest. A fierce and sustained bombardment, lasting for five hours,
prepared the way for the advance, after which the Japanese made an
onslaught upon the village of Kinchau, and drove the Russians at the
point of the bayonet back upon their main line of defence, Nanshan. In
this attack they were greatly assisted by the gunboats, the _Tsukushi_,
_Saiyen_, _Akagi_ and _Chiokai_, which brought their fire to bear upon
the enemy's batteries at Suchiatun and Nanshan, and kept them hotly
engaged. The capture of Kinchau, however, was only the first step in
the fiery progress which lay before the Mikado's troops. To dislodge
the Russians from Nanshan itself was a work of much greater magnitude.
It was to the 4th Division that the main part of this honorable duty
was assigned, the centre of the Japanese line being held by the 1st
Division, and the extreme left by the 3rd.

[Sidenote: Terrific Carnage]

Another fierce artillery duel preluded the general advance. By 11
o'clock the Russian batteries appeared to have been silenced, and the
Japanese pressed forward to storm the heights. But it turned out that
General Stoessel was only reserving his fire. No sooner did the
Japanese debouch into the open upon the slopes which led up to the hill
than a storm of missiles swept across their path, mowing them down in
serried masses. The wire entanglements, too, proved a deadly obstacle.
Rush after rush was made by the gallant Japanese, but every attempt to
get near to the trenches was vain. The carnage was terrific. The
officers fell in all directions, the rank and file lay in piles of dead
at the foot of the hill, and the advance came for a time to an absolute
standstill.

[Sidenote: A General Bombardment]

It was clear that further artillery preparation was necessary, and
therefore General Oku ordered a general bombardment once more. For
hours his field batteries, supplemented by the gunboats, rained shot
and shell upon the Russian positions, searching the whole range of
forts and trenches, and doing terrible execution. The Russian fire
slackened under this fearful cannonade, but still the Japanese
continued their bombardment.

[Sidenote: Chances of Defeat]

And now came the crucial moment of the day. The artillery ammunition of
the attacking force began to give out. To bring up fresh supplies from
far in the rear meant that before the bombardment could be resumed
night would have fallen upon the scene, for it was by this time late in
the afternoon. When this untoward intelligence was brought to him,
General Oku was presented with a problem of the utmost difficulty and a
responsibility which might well have seemed overwhelming. He must
either hazard another infantry attack at once, fraught with all the
possibility of failure, or he must temporarily withdraw his forces and
wait for further ammunition and perhaps heavier guns. The second course
meant only delay; the first, in the event of a repulse, meant not
merely delay, but the possibility of a crushing defeat as well. It must
be remembered, moreover, that the troops had been close upon sixteen
hours in the field. In these circumstances a commander of less
resolution and with less confidence in his men would have been under a
strong temptation to choose the alternative which offered the smaller
risk, but General Oku was made of different mettle. He knew that delay
would upset the general arrangements of the campaign; he knew, too,
that it might give a fatal opportunity for the advance of a relief
force from the north. He therefore at once accepted the tremendous
responsibility of ordering a resumption of the attack all along the
line. Fortunately, a weak point in the Russian defences had been
discovered. The shallow waters of Kinchau Bay allowed men to wade in
and approach Nanshan from the southwest, at a point at which, owing to
the angle of emplacement of the Russian guns, they could do
comparatively little damage to an advancing force. It was resolved to
try this plan.

[Illustration: RUSSIANS CHARGING JAPANESE TRENCHES AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Rushing the Trenches]

Once again, then, the bugles rang out for attack, and the Japanese
threw themselves with desperate bravery upon the Russian entrenchments.
The wire entanglements gave as much difficulty as ever, and the slopes
of the hill were one blinding sheet of flame; but still the Japanese
pressed forward, climbing over their own dead and working their way
gradually through the obstacles placed in their path. By a piece of
good fortune the electric wires connected with a large mine field were
discovered just in time and cut, and thus a dreadful disaster was
averted. But brilliant as was the dash of the 1st and 3rd Divisions on
the Russian right, the defence of the Czar's troops was stubborn and
hardly contested, and it was not till the 4th Division on the extreme
left had carried through their flanking operation that the issue of the
day was put beyond doubt. Here the gunboats in the bay rendered
invaluable service. They steamed close in and poured in a heavy fire
upon the Russian batteries, covering the advance of the infantry
through the shallows. In this gallant operation the commander of the
_Chiokai_, Captain Hayashi, was killed, and several other casualties
were sustained by the crews engaged. But the work was accomplished.
Climbing the hill like cats, the Japanese soldiery broke through the
entanglements in face of a galling fire and rushed the trenches,
bayonetting the defenders where they stood. Nothing could stop that mad
onslaught, and after a fierce hand-to-hand conflict on the summit the
flag of the Rising Sun floated triumphantly over the position which the
Russians had so fondly, and indeed so naturally, deemed to be
impregnable.

[Sidenote: The Russians in Flight]

General Stoessel, finding that there was no use in continuing the
sanguinary conflict now that his flank was turned, ordered a general
retreat. The Japanese, however, in spite of the tremendous fatigues to
which they had already been subjected since dawn, fiercely pursued
their retiring enemy, with the result that the Russians found it
impossible to make a stand at their second line of defence at
Nankuenling, and were compelled to flee as far as the immediate
neighborhood of Port Arthur itself.

[Sidenote: Tremendous Moral Effect]

The moral effect of this great victory of the Japanese was tremendous.
The Russians, and with them a great many Continental critics, had
attempted to minimize the importance of the battle of the Yalu. The
Japanese, they said, were in overwhelming numbers, the position was one
that could be easily turned, and General Sassulitch ought never to have
tried to stand his ground. But such criticisms were silenced by
Kinchau. The little Japs were seen to be equal, if not superior, man
for man, to their Russian opponents, and the fierce, almost fanatical,
fervor of their patriotism proved a factor in the struggle the
importance of which few people had properly estimated. It was felt at
once by military men in Europe, that if 12,000 Russians, armed with
heavy guns, could not hold such a post as that of Nanshan against the
onslaught of the Japanese, the fall of Port Arthur itself, provided
there were no effective diversion from the north, was merely a question
of time.

[Sidenote: Terrific Casualties]

Nor were the material fruits of General Oku's success less striking.
His losses in _personnel_, of course, were heavy, amounting to 133
officers, and 4,062 non-commissioned officers and men killed and
wounded. The casualties of the defenders were naturally not so great,
but over 500 Russians were left dead upon the field, and it is
estimated that their total losses in killed and wounded must have
numbered over 2,000. Sixty-eight pieces of artillery and ten
machine-guns fell into the hands of the victors.

[Illustration: AFTER FOUR MONTHS.

Continuing their advance, the first Japanese Army, under Kuroki
occupied Kuan-tien on May 14. In the meantime the second Japanese Army,
under Oku, had effected a landing on the Liaotung Peninsula at Pitzuwo.
On May 16 they seized the Kinchau heights, and ten days later defeated
the Russians at the battle of Nanshan. Dalny was occupied on May 30.
The third Japanese Army, under Nodzu, began landing at Takushan on May
19, and on June 8 occupied Siu-yen.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]

Four days afterwards the Japanese entered Dalny and occupied that
important station. With the exception of the great pier, all those
enormous works upon which the Russians had been expending vast sums for
years were found to be intact, and the invaders were able henceforth to
use the port as an invaluable base for their operations against Port
Arthur.

[Sidenote: Alarm in St. Petersburg]

This series of disasters caused the greatest alarm in St. Petersburg.
The seriousness of the danger that threatened Port Arthur was realized
in all its fulness at last, and the lofty assurance which had hitherto
reigned supreme among the Imperial _entourage_ gave place to feelings
of panic. The result was that desperate measures were embarked upon
which only led to fresh misfortunes. General Kuropatkin himself had
seen from the first the impossibility of relieving Port Arthur from the
north until he had a larger force at his disposal than he was likely to
secure for months to come. His plan had always been to concentrate his
main army at Liao-yang, or, if necessary, at Mukden, and wait till the
arrival of large reinforcements enabled him to advance against the
Japanese with some hope of success. If the Commander-in-Chief had been
left to himself it is possible that this plan would have been pursued
consistently and a great _debacle_ might have been avoided. Port
Arthur, indeed, would have been almost certain to fall, but in the
opinion of nearly every strategist who had studied the problem, nothing
short of a miracle could now save the so-called Gibraltar of the East.
The only sound policy for the Russians was one of retirement and
concentration until a more favorable opportunity presented itself. But
now the Evil Genius of Russia interposed with his fatal counsels. To
Admiral Alexeieff it was unthinkable that Port Arthur, at which for so
long he had held his haughty Viceregal state, should be abandoned
without a mighty effort. Ever since the arrival of General Kuropatkin
in Manchuria had reduced him to a position of comparative inferiority,
he had been intriguing against that commander with varying success, but
on this occasion he received powerful backing amongst the Czar's
advisers in St. Petersburg. The heaviest pressure was brought to bear
upon General Kuropatkin to induce him to dispatch a strong force
southwards to the relief of Port Arthur, and in an evil hour for his
country and his own reputation the Commander-in-Chief weakly consented
to be overruled. Lieut.-General Baron Stackelberg, the commander of the
1st Army Corps, with an army 35,000 strong was ordered to advance by
forced marches into the Liao-tung Peninsula and lead a forlorn hope to
save the doomed fortress.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN PRIEST IN THE TRENCHES, WITH GENERAL
STAKELBERG'S ARMY.]

[Sidenote: Fatal Russian Strategy]

The folly of this course is obvious to the veriest tyro in military
science. Kuropatkin's line was already too far extended for safety. On
his left flank, creeping gradually closer and working round to the
northeast to effect a wide turning movement, was General Kuroki, with
the 1st Army; General Nodzu, with the 3rd Army, was advancing from
Takushan in the direction of Kaichau; while in the extreme south
General Oku, having received large reinforcements, was able to hold
Port Arthur securely invested and to march northwards with forces
numbering 60,000 men, flushed with recent victory. The southward march
of Baron Stackelberg, therefore, was doomed to disaster from the first.
Not only was it highly improbable that he would ever succeed in getting
through to Port Arthur, but in case he had to retreat, he ran a grave
risk of being cut off by General Nodzu, and imperilling the position of
General Kuropatkin himself. This was exactly what happened in actual
fact.

[Sidenote: Old Tactics versus New]

The ill-fated expedition, after some preliminary skirmishing, met
General Oku's main body at Wafangkau or Telissu on the 15th of June.
Telissu is a village situated to the east of the railway line about 20
miles north of Port Adams. Nothing could better prove the superiority
of the Japanese over the Russians in the matter of tactics than the
dispositions which were made for this battle by Oku and Stackelberg
respectively. Kuropatkin's lieutenant fought in the old-fashioned
style, with his men closely packed together over a narrow front. The
Japanese, on the other hand, advanced in an open formation over a
widely extended area. At dawn General Oku ordered his troops to attack.
They advanced in two columns, the main body proceeding along the
railway line against the enemy's centre and right, while a second and
more mobile force worked round to the west to turn Stackelberg's right
flank. The Russians threw themselves fiercely upon the Japanese right
and centre, and for some hours the battle was hotly contested. But in
the meantime the turning movement to the west was proceeding with
entire success. Before he realized the imminence of the danger,
Stackelberg found that his right flank was driven in, and that his rear
was threatened. He withdrew troops from his left and centre to meet
this new danger; but it was too late, and he merely weakened his
position in one part of the field without strengthening it in another.
From three sides the Japanese now pressed their attack home, gradually
encircling the Russians with a ring of fire. The terrible effectiveness
of Oku's artillery was borne witness to afterwards by the Russians
themselves. Their positions were heaped with dead. General Stackelberg
in his dispatch describing the battle said that the 3rd and 4th
batteries of the 1st Artillery Brigade were literally cut to pieces by
the Japanese shells, and thirteen out of sixteen guns were rendered
completely useless. A large number of officers were killed, and among
the wounded was Major-General Gerngross. In spite of this tremendous
pounding the Russians held their ground with great gallantry; but, as
the Japanese attack developed, General Stackelberg saw that if he
maintained his position much longer, he would be altogether surrounded.
Therefore, just in the nick of time, he ordered a retreat. Slowly and
painfully the retirement was conducted over difficult, mountainous
country. The Japanese, exhausted by forced marches and two days'
fighting, were unable to cut off Stackelberg's escape entirely, but
they inflicted terrible losses on his retreating troops, and he only
succeeded in reaching Kaichau some days afterwards with a shattered
remnant of his force. The Japanese casualties in this great battle were
not more than 1,000. On the other hand, upwards of 2,000 Russians were
found dead upon the field and buried by the victors, and the total
losses sustained by General Stackelberg's army, including prisoners
taken, amounted to about 10,000. Large numbers of guns and regimental
colors were captured.

[Sidenote: The Veil over the Tragedy]

Thus ended this ill-advised attempt to relieve Port Arthur. Henceforth
all hopes of succor from the north had to be abandoned. In fact,
General Kuropatkin, instead of being able to render assistance to the
beleaguered garrison, was himself threatened with irremediable
disaster, largely in consequence of this ill-fated operation. And now
for upwards of two months almost complete darkness fell upon the
tragedy that was being enacted round the doomed fortress. Rumors
reached the outer world from time to time of the sanguinary combats by
which the besiegers slowly fought their way nearer and nearer to the
heart of the stronghold; but rumors they remained; and the Japanese,
true to their policy of silence while important events were in
progress, allowed no authentic news to percolate through the
censorship. At last, however, the veil was partially lifted. When in
the early days of August the Russian fleet, threatened with ignoble
destruction by the fire of the rapidly approaching batteries of the
Japanese, made an unsuccessful dash for freedom, it was recognized on
all hands that the end was near.

[Illustration: GENERAL NOGI BEFORE PORT ARTHUR.]



                              CHAPTER IX.

  Secrecy of Japanese Strategy--The Geographical
    Position--Kuropatkin's Essential Weakness--Rain Stops
    Carnage--Oku Rolls up the Russians--Field-Marshal
    Oyama--Keller's Failure--10th Regiment Ambushed--Desperate
    Courage against Overwhelming Odds--Kuroki again on the
    Offensive--Capture of Niuchwang--The Bloodiest Fight so
    Far--The Death of Count Keller--Kuropatkin's Heavy
    Loss--Concentration at Liao-yang--Kuropatkin's Urgent
    Motives--Oyama's Great Resources--Twelve Days' Battle--The
    Great Armies in Touch--Frightful Scene of Carnage--Costly but
    Indecisive.


[Sidenote: Secrecy of Japanese Strategy]

The signal defeat of the Russian army under General Stackelberg at
Telissu on the 15th June cleared the way for an advance northwards by
General Oku's army. It was one of the consequences of the secrecy which
attended the Japanese strategy from first to last that until this
moment General Oku's real objective was not guessed either by foreign
observers or even by the Russians themselves. The general impression
was, naturally, that the Second Army was destined for the tremendous
task of storming Port Arthur, but a much larger conception of the
campaign was present to the minds of the strategists at Tokio. Fresh
troops in large numbers were poured into the Liao-tung Peninsula, and
these, under the command of General Nogi were concentrated round Port
Arthur, while the main body of the Second Army was pushed northwards to
act in co-operation with the First Army of General Kuroki and the Third
Army commanded by General Nodzu, which, it will be remembered, had by
this time landed at Takushan and was being gradually directed upon
Haicheng. As soon, therefore, as his forces had been restored after
their tremendous exertions at Telissu, General Oku set out with all
possible rapidity along the line of railway towards Kaiping. And now
Kuroki's long wait at Feng-hwang-cheng came to an end. It had, however,
been well utilized. Not only had it enabled the conqueror of the Yalu
to concentrate an army of upwards of 100,000 men, but in the interval
his engineers had been employed in constructing defences, of a
semi-permanent character, which, in the event of a subsequent retreat
being rendered necessary, would make the position almost impregnable
against Russian attack. But on the 23rd June General Kuroki broke camp,
and, leaving behind him only a rear guard, took the first step in that
great series of operations which, as they advanced northwards, stained
the fertile plains of Southern Manchuria with the blood of Japanese and
Muscovite alike and culminated around Liao-yang and Mukden in the most
terrific and sanguinary conflicts experienced in the annals of war
since the great struggle between the Northern and Southern States.

[Sidenote: Geographical Position]

The key to the valley of the Liao River, it will be remembered, lies in
the three passes of Motienling, Taling, and Fenshuiling; and these were
all held in force by the Russians. The first of them stands on the main
road leading from Feng-hwang-cheng to Liao-yang; the second (which must
not be confused with the pass of the same name situated north of the
Taitse River at about 60 miles to the east of Liao-yang) commands the
road between Feng-hwang-cheng and Haicheng; and the third is on the
road from Siuyen to Tashichao and is about 20 miles southeast from the
latter place. The situation of the most important posts along the
railway from Mukden to Kaiping has already been indicated, but for the
sake of clearness it may be repeated that Liao-yang, where General
Kuropatkin had concentrated his main army, stands about 40 miles south
of Mukden; that 30 miles further south again is situated Haicheng; and
that an interval of 30 miles more separates that town from Kaiping, or
Kaichau, as it is sometimes called, Tashichao lying half-way between.

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin's Essential Weakness]

General Nodzu's troops were now for the first time brought into action,
and operated in unison with General Kuroki's army in the attack upon
the passes. A combination of most skilful movements made them masters
of these important defiles within a few days of one another. In each
case the tactics were the same. A frontal attack was pushed forward by
one division, while strong bodies were sent round both to the right and
left, and, securing ground from which they could enfilade the Russian
trenches, rendered the position untenable by the defending force.
General surprise was felt at the ineffective stand made here by General
Kuropatkin's troops, especially as they had spent at least three months
in building entrenchments, protected by wire entanglements and all the
accessories of modern scientific warfare. The fact was, however, that
the essential weakness of Kuropatkin's army in point of numbers
compared with its opponents was now made disastrously apparent, and in
spite of the natural and artificial strength of these passes, he could
not prevent the superior force which the Japanese invariably contrived
to bring against him at any given point from turning his flanks. Both
the Taling Pass and the Motienling Pass, at the latter of which General
Count Keller, who had superseded General Sassulitch in his command,
directed the Russian operations, fell an easy prey to Kuroki's
manoeuvres; but at Fenshuiling General Nodzu met with fierce
opposition. The defile was defended by fourteen battalions of infantry
and three regiments of cavalry, supported by thirty guns, and a severe
engagement took place, lasting for six hours. It was apparent that the
strength of the Russian entrenchments was such that a direct attack
would involve an enormous sacrifice of life; but after brilliant
tactics, carried out during the night of the 26th June and the early
morning of the 27th, the Japanese outflanked their enemy and drove them
back in full retreat down the road to Simucheng, leaving ninety dead
upon the field and losing eighty-eight prisoners, including six
officers. On the same day a force of three battalions with sixteen guns
made a desperate effort to recapture the position, but they were hurled
back with heavy loss, and the pass remained irrevocably in the hands of
the Japanese.

[Sidenote: Rain Stops the Carnage]

At this stage in the advance further progress was delayed for a few
days by an agency which at frequent intervals during the campaign rose
superior to the fiercest energy on the part of either combatant. The
weather, which renders war in Manchuria practically impossible in
winter, succeeds in giving it an intermittent character even in summer,
and now heavy rains brought the operations to a temporary standstill.
The Japanese who were on the high ground overlooking the valleys did
not suffer so much from the torrential downpour, but the Russians in
the plains had to bear its full force, and all movements by any arm of
the service were rendered impossible by a sea of mud. By the 4th of
July, however, the rains had stopped, and on that day a sharp fight
took place at Motien-ling. During a dense fog at dawn, two battalions
of the Russians attacked the Japanese outposts and endeavored to force
the position. But Kuroki's soldiers were not to be surprised, and
reinforcements were hurried up with all speed. Severe hand-to-hand
fighting took place; but, finally, after three onslaughts by the
Russians, the Japanese hurled them back in rout and pursued them for a
distance of four miles to the westward.

[Illustration: AFTER FIVE MONTHS.

Following the railway northwards Oku came into touch with the
retreating Russians on June 15, and inflicted upon them a crushing
defeat at the battle of Telissu. His advance was not again opposed
until he reached Kaiping, which he captured after some fighting on July
9. Meanwhile the armies under Kuroki and Nodzu had been advancing
steadily, and the Mo-tien and Fen-shui Passes, commanding the roads to
Liaoyang and Haicheng, were captured simultaneously. During this month
the siege of Port Arthur began on land.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]

[Sidenote: Oku Rolls up Russians]

Two days later General Oku took up the running for the Japanese, and
started to roll up the Russian forces from the south. Moving out from
Erh-tau-ho-tse, which is 12 miles south of Kaiping, he marched upon
that town along the road westwards of the railway, driving the enemy's
outposts before him. By noon on the 9th he had forced the Russians, who
were under General Zarubaieff, Commander of the Fourth Siberian Army
Corps, back upon their main position at Kaiping itself, and here it
appeared that General Kuropatkin had ordered a stand to be made.
Upwards of 30,000 men, with numerous guns, were in the neighborhood at
the disposal of Zarubaieff and Oku prepared for a stout resistance. But
as a matter of fact the opposition offered to him turned out to be
comparatively feeble. After an artillery duel lasting for four hours
his troops advanced and seized the heights extending from Haishan-chai
on the west to Shwangtingshan on the east, from both of which eminences
they could command Kaiping. Reinforcements had been hurried up from the
Russian rear, but they were soon ordered northward again, and the whole
body evacuated the town under cover of heavy gun fire on the afternoon
of the same day. The cause of this ineffectual resistance on the part
of Zarubaieff was the advance of the Third Army of Japan from
Fenshuiling, which acted in co-ordination throughout with General Oku's
columns, and threatened to outflank the Russians. To avoid a great
disaster General Zarubaieff was compelled to retreat, and as a
consequence of this skilful manoeuvring, General Oku was enabled to
occupy the important position of Kaiping with a loss which was almost
negligible, another big step being thus gained in the progress
northwards.

[Sidenote: Field-Marshal Oyama]

On the very day which Oku began his advance on Kaiping there occurred
an event which brought strikingly before the world the fact that these
movements by the three Japanese generals were only part of one great
concerted plan, the vastness of which was not yet realized. This was
the departure from Tokio for the seat of war of Field-Marshal Marquis
Oyama, the master-mind selected by the Mikado for the supreme command
of all his armies in the field. A brief description of the career of
this great general, whose renown in Japan is second only to that of the
veteran Yamagata, will not be out of place here. Like so many of the
Japanese leaders who have distinguished themselves in the present war,
Oyama's first experience of fighting was gained in the old days of the
Sumatsu rebellion, in which he took part on the revolutionary side,
achieving considerable distinction for his gallantry. After peace had
placed the Mikado securely upon the throne of Japan, Oyama was sent to
Prussia as military attaché, and was present at Moltke's headquarters
at all the most important operations of the Franco-German War. There
he, no doubt, gained many of the valuable lessons which have since been
put in force both in the Chinese War ten years ago and in the present
campaign. After the Peace of Versailles he devoted himself to a close
study of the military organizations of France and Switzerland, and
returning to his own country in 1875 received an appointment on the
General Staff in Tokio. He was selected for the command of the First
Army on the outbreak of the war with China in 1894, and directed the
operations around Port Arthur, which culminated in the storming of that
powerful fortress. On the retirement of Marshal Yamagata from
ill-health, General Oyama was appointed to the chief command of all the
Japanese forces in the field, and carried the campaign to a successful
conclusion. After the signature of the Treaty of Peace the Mikado
recognized his great services by conferring upon him the baton of
Field-Marshal and appointing him Chief of the Staff. In the meanwhile,
General Oku was preparing for his further advance northwards, where the
next obstacle in his path was the Russian position at Tashichao. This
town had been converted into a place of great strength and was
garrisoned by at least 60,000 men with 105 guns. But before the
opposing forces could meet here a fresh attack of a much more
determined character than the last was made upon the Japanese army at
Motienling, the Russians, under the command of Kuropatkin's most
trusted lieutenant, General Count Keller, making a desperate attempt to
regain possession of that important defile. This was the first occasion
on which Kuropatkin's troops seriously assumed the offensive in the
course of the war, and the result was a conspicuous success once more
for the Japanese.

[Sidenote: Keller's Failure]

The Russian Commander-in-Chief entrusted two divisions to Count Keller
for the purpose of the attack, and that General made dispositions for a
frontal attack along the main road from Tawan, simultaneously, with
movements against both of the Japanese flanks. For the main operation
one division was employed, and the other was divided into two bodies,
the first marching from Anping upon Hsimatang, where the outposts on
Kuroki's right were stationed; and the second pushing forward from
Tienshuitien along the paths which lead through the hills to the south
of Motienling, where the Japanese left wing was posted. This scheme of
advance might have had some success if all the parts of the machine had
worked together with complete smoothness, but in the actual event the
movements of the several columns were badly co-ordinated, and they came
into action at different times.

[Illustration: FOOD FOR THE JAPANESE ARMY.]

[Sidenote: 10th Regiment Ambushed]

The frontal attack began at 3 a. m., when, under cover of a dense fog,
Keller's two leading battalions fell upon the Japanese outpost upon the
main road some distance to the west of the pass. Notwithstanding the
shock of the surprise and the formidable disparity of numbers, Kuroki's
troops held their ground with the utmost gallantry. The foremost files
of the 10th Siberian Regiment became engaged almost at once in a
hand-to-hand combat with a small body of about thirty or forty
Japanese. Several of the latter were bayonetted before they realized
that the enemy was upon them, but the survivors, taking refuge among
some Chinese cottages, made a desperate resistance with rifle and cold
steel. The din and the crack of musketry aroused some companies who
were bivouacking in the neighboring trenches, and they quickly rushed
to the support of their comrades. One company, taking up a position in
an adjacent temple, poured in a murderous fire upon the Russians, and
another stationed itself on a hill on the opposite side and joined in
the deadly fusillade. Thus the 10th Regiment, instead of successfully
surprising its foe, found itself in turn surprised in an ambush, and
after a hot engagement was compelled to retreat back upon its main
body. It was five o'clock before the Russians could bring up a
sufficient force to drive in the Japanese outposts, by which time the
gallant stand made by these few companies had enabled Kuroki's troops
entrenched at the Motien Pass itself to prepare fully for the onslaught
that awaited them. When Keller's soldiery, therefore, came within range
of the Japanese lines, they were met by a heavy fire both from infantry
and artillery. Two hours more elapsed before they were properly
disposed for the attack, and then, although they consisted of a whole
division of 12,000 men, and were opposed by a force of no more than
4,000, their tactics proved quite ineffective, and they could not
succeed in the slightest degree in shaking the hold upon the defile
which their enemy had gained.

The fire which was directed upon them from the Japanese lines was
especially galling upon their left wing, and here, shortly before
eleven o'clock, they began to give way, and ere long the whole force
fell back in retreat. Their active enemy then sprang forward to the
attack themselves and attempted to push the repulse home, but a strong
rear guard held them in check, and prevented the reverse from becoming
a rout. It afterwards became apparent that the reason for this retreat
on the part of Count Keller's main body was the complete failure of the
flanking movements which he had presumably intended to be conducted
simultaneously.

[Sidenote: Desperate Courage but Overwhelming Odds]

But the attack upon their outposts upon the main road at three in the
morning had put the whole Japanese army upon the _qui vive_, and both
on the right and the left flanks preparations were made to meet such a
manoeuvre as the Russian General had in view. On the left wing, as no
enemy had appeared in sight by five o'clock, a company of the Japanese
pushed forward towards Makumenza to wait for their approach. There it
fell in with a Russian battalion and engaged it at once in a hot
conflict. A second battalion came to the aid of the first, and for a
time the little force of Japanese was in danger of being annihilated,
but reinforcements quickly arrived, and though they were still
numerically weaker than the Russians, they drove them back with heavy
loss, and occupied the heights which commanded the approach from this
point, completing the confusion of the enemy by directing a galling
fire upon the main body which was now in full retreat along the road to
Tawan. On the right flank the struggle was more obstinate and
sanguinary. When the attack began at eight o'clock the Japanese were
greatly outnumbered, and for a time one company had to hold its own
against the onslaught of a whole battalion of the Russians, supported
by a troop of cavalry. In the deadly conflict which ensued, every one
of the Japanese officers fell upon the field, but notwithstanding their
terrible losses the little band fought on with desperate courage
against the overwhelming odds. The arrival of another Russian battalion
seemed to threaten their complete destruction, but, fortunately, before
long reinforcements were hurried up to the spot and the contest became
more even. After a severe conflict, lasting for eight and a half hours,
the Russians at length gave up the attempt to force the Japanese lines
as hopeless, and fell back broken and defeated.

[Illustration: MAP SHOWING TERRITORY ADJACENT TO LIAOYANG.]

Thus at every point this attack, from which General Kuropatkin had
hoped for so much, failed completely, and the superiority of the
Japanese soldiery over their opponents was once more strikingly
manifested. Kuroki's casualties amounted to about 300 killed and
wounded, but the affair was much more expensive to the Russians,
General Keller putting his losses at over 1,000 men.

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin Again on the Offensive]

Immediately following upon this success, General Kuroki once again
assumed the offensive and captured the position of Hsihoyen,
practically the last stronghold occupied by the Russians on the high
ground overlooking the plains of the Liao River. This success was the
work of the Twelfth Division, that division which, it will be
remembered, decided the battle of the Yalu by its flank attack on
General Kashtalinsky's left. It now covered itself with fresh glory
under its skilful commander, General Nishi. The same tactics as had
been adopted in all these operations against the strongly entrenched
positions of the Russians were once more employed. The enemy were kept
busy with a frontal attack while a column marched around their right
flank and rendered their carefully prepared stronghold untenable. A
general advance was then made, and the Russians were driven back upon
Anping in complete rout with more than 1,000 casualties. The Japanese
killed and wounded amounted only to half that number.

On the 24th of July, Oku resumed his advance northwards and attacked
the powerful Russian position at Tashichao. The skilful handling of
Zarubaieff's large force of artillery made it impossible for the
Japanese to carry the trenches by daylight, but, waiting till
nightfall, they made a fresh onslaught under the beams of a full moon.
Point after point fell into their hands, and next morning General
Zarubaieff, feeling the hopelessness of continuing the defence,
especially in view of a fresh movement by General Nodzu's army which
threatened his left, decided to retreat. This unexpectedly easy victory
was gained by the Japanese at the expense of about 1,000 casualties;
but the Russians lost twice that number of men, and among the wounded
were two officers of high rank, Generals Kondratovitch and Skaloff. Two
days later a detachment of Oku's army entered Yinkow, the port of
Niuchwang--a highly important prize, for it provided the invaders with
a new and most valuable base for the advance from the south.

[Sidenote: Capture of Niuchwang]

On July 31st the advance was resumed all along the line of the extended
front of the Japanese, and each of the three armies was hotly engaged.
Oku's steady march along the line of the railway drove the retreating
enemy into Haicheng. On the right, at Tomucheng, a more sanguinary
battle took place between General Nodzu's army and two divisions of
Russian infantry, supported by seven batteries of artillery, under the
command of General Alexeieff. The Russians occupied a strongly
entrenched position on the hills to the north of Tomucheng, the work of
fortification having occupied several months. But the result was the
same here as in every quarter of the theatre of war. The two armies
were locked together in a deadly struggle for nearly the whole of a
scorching day, until the Japanese left wing, attacking with desperate
bravery, carried the heights opposite to them and threatened the rear
of the Russian centre. During the night, therefore, General Alexeieff
fell back, leaving more than 150 dead upon the field and abandoning six
guns, which fell into the hands of the enemy. The result of these
combined operations of the Second and Third Armies was that Haicheng
was occupied on August 3rd, and Niuchwang--which must be distinguished
from the port of the same name--also fell into Oku's grasp.

[Sidenote: The Bloodiest Fight so Far]

It was in the north, however, with the Japanese First Army that the
bloodiest fighting ensued, and that the Russians met with the most
signal defeat. On July 31st Kuroki's right wing held Kushulintzu, 4
miles to the west of Hsihoyen, and his centre occupied Yangtzuling, 6
miles to the west of Motienling, both places being situated about 25
miles from Liao-yang. Opposite to Kushulintzu the Russians, who held a
very strong position on the high ground, consisted of two divisions of
infantry with well-placed artillery. The attack began at dawn and
continued all day. The Japanese infantry advanced gradually across the
open valley undeterred by the murderous fire poured upon them from the
Russian batteries, and threw themselves recklessly upon the enemy's
redoubts. It was on the wings that the Russian defence was the weakest,
and here, by sunset, the impetuous onslaught of the Mikado's troops
carried all before it, nightfall finding them in possession of some of
the most important heights. But the strength of the Russian centre was
too great to be forced easily, and the Japanese therefore bivouacked on
the field, and waited till daybreak to resume the attack. With the
first rays of dawn they were ready once more for the fray, and again
the hills resounded with the roar of artillery. For several hours the
battle raged, the Russians making a most obstinate defence, but as the
Japanese captured height after height the enemy could stand their
ground no longer, and by noon they broke and fled westwards, leaving
several field guns behind in the victor's hands.

[Illustration: AFTER SIX MONTHS.

Kuroki and Nodzu now called a halt to enable Oku to come into line with
them. The latter, working his way steadily northwards, drove the
Russians out of Tashichiao after three days' severe fighting. Newchwang
was occupied on July 25, and Nodzu, having advanced his forces to
Si-mu-cheng and driven out the Russians on July 30, the two generals
joined forces and marched on Haicheng, which they occupied on August 2.
A general assault was delivered on Port Arthur on July 26, and a few
days later the Japanese captured Wolf Hill, Green Hill, and Takushan.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]

[Sidenote: The Death of Count Keller]

At Yangtzuling the conflict was even more severe. The Russian force
here consisted of two and a half divisions, with four batteries of
artillery, and General Count Keller commanded in person. It was
destined to be that gallant but unfortunate officer's last fight, for
he fell mortally wounded in the course of the second day's operations.
The Japanese plan of attack was very much the same as in the case of
Kushulintzu. In spite of the tropical sun, whose rays beat upon their
heads without protection, their advance was irresistible, and throwing
themselves upon the enemy with a fierce _elan_, which carried all
before it, they captured some of the principal positions by the close
of the day. Here again, however, a numerous body of Russians held out
in the centre against the most desperate attacks, and the Japanese were
therefore compelled to bivouac on the field for the night and resume
the conflict on the succeeding day. The dawn opened with a terrific
artillery duel between the opposing batteries, and all the morning the
guns belched forth flame and death. It was in the course of this
tremendous bombardment that Count Keller met with his death. He was a
man of reckless courage, and he insisted on taking his stand to direct
the operations in a battery which was most heavily exposed to the fire
of Kuroki's guns. So fiercely did the shells fall all around that his
staff represented to him that he must be the object himself of the
enemy's cannonade, but he refused to retire to a less exposed position.
He had hardly dismounted from his horse when a shrapnel shell burst
within a few paces from him and hurled him to the ground. A sergeant
rushed up to him to raise him in his arms, but the general motioned him
away and expired a few moments afterwards. His wounds were of the most
terrible nature. Two fragments of shell struck him upon the head and
three others in the chest, and he had thirty-one shrapnel bullet wounds
in different parts of his body. The death of their commander threw the
Russians into final confusion, and they retreated in haste, leaving a
number of field guns in Kuroki's possession.

[Illustration: DEATH OF COUNT KELLER AT YANG-ZE-LING PASS.]

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin's Heavy Loss]

The loss of Count Keller was a particularly heavy blow to Kuropatkin,
for he was the most trusted of all his subordinates and was most deeply
in the confidence of the Commander-in-Chief. His experience, too, of
war was gained in the Russo-Turkish campaign, on the staff of the same
famous leader, Skobeleff, and he actually succeeded Kuropatkin as
Aide-de-Camp to that General when the present Commander-in-Chief was
wounded at the Shipka Pass in 1877. Besides the signal misfortune he
sustained by the death of this distinguished officer, General
Kuropatkin had to add to his already heavy casualty list a further loss
of 2,000 officers and men. It was an even more significant and
discouraging fact, however, that among the troops opposed to the
victorious Kuroki on this occasion were the most recent accessions to
the Russian army, the 10th and 17th Corps. These forces, which came
from European Russia and were greatly superior to the Siberian soldiery
both in physique and discipline, had been counted upon to do much to
stem the tide of disaster, but though they made a better appearance
than the troops which had been in action previously, all their prowess
was unavailing against the impetuous patriotism of the Japanese, who
had by this time proved themselves to be among the finest infantry in
the whole world.

[Sidenote: Concentration at Liaoyang]

It now became plain to Kuropatkin that the Japanese could not be
stopped before Liao-yang itself was reached. He therefore concentrated
all his available forces at that powerful and highly fortified position
in preparation for a great pitched battle. During the months which had
elapsed since the arrival of the Russian Commander-in-Chief at the seat
of war, Liao-yang had been turned into a great place of arms. Its great
natural defensive advantages had been skilfully improved upon. Every
inch of suitable ground had been carefully fortified, and there can be
little doubt from the character of the dispositions which had been made
that Kuropatkin hoped to be able not only to make a stand here, but to
hurl back the armies of the Mikado in disorder, save Southern Manchuria
for the Czar, and perhaps even march forward afterwards to the relief
of the beleaguered fortress of Port Arthur.

His armies, indeed, had been tragically reduced in numbers in every
combat that had yet taken place. The arrival of the Tenth and
Seventeenth Army Corps had put him in a better position; but against
this had to be set the loss of nearly 30,000 men killed or wounded
since the battle of the Yalu proved the magnitude of the task which lay
before him. Yet he now possessed a force of about 132,000 men, with 400
guns, and he held a position of enormous strength. All of his troops,
indeed, had tasted the bitterness and discouragement of defeat in the
course of the fifteen engagements which had taken place since the
outbreak of the war, but he himself had not yet been present in person
upon the field of battle, and he might well hope that the failure which
had attended all the efforts of his lieutenants would give place to
victory when he took the direction of affairs into his own hands.

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin's Urgent Motives]

At all events, whatever the issue of the battle might be, there could
be no doubt that a retreat from Liao-yang without fighting was for
every reason impossible. The Court of St. Petersburg had already been
rendered restive by the continual withdrawal of the main body of
Muscovite armies to the north; his enemies were busy with their
detractions; and the irrepressible Alexeieff was always near to make
capital out of the difficulties, and to distort and misrepresent the
actions of his abler rival. But beyond all these personal reasons,
powerful enough in themselves in the eyes of a man holding such a
position as Kuropatkin, there were more worthy considerations which
weighed heavily in the scale in favor of boldly submitting his fortunes
to the cast of the die and risking all in one mighty struggle. The
honor of the Russian arms and the prestige of the Empire were at stake;
a continued retreat without a supreme effort to roll back the tide of
invasion was politically dangerous to a Dominion which owed its very
existence in the East to the preservation of a haughty and determined
front; and, more serious even than the growing restlessness of all
those Oriental races who yield unwilling allegiance to the Little White
Father, was the increasing discontent in Russia itself, and the
uprising once more of the forbidding spectre of Nihilism and
revolution. A pitched battle on a grand scale was, therefore, for every
reason unavoidable, and, in spite of all the risks he ran, Kuropatkin
faced the prospect before him with calm courage and resolution.

[Sidenote: Oyama's Great Resources]

The state of things on the other side was very different. Here there
was nothing to discourage, but everything to inspire hope.
Field-Marshal Oyama, who had now reached the scene of operations, found
at his disposal three great armies upon whose banners victory had
consistently rested during a now prolonged campaign. The organization
of the whole of the forces was perfect, and though it was now far from
its base, its supplies were ample and constant. The natural
difficulties of the advance were, indeed, great, but they were no
greater than those which had already been triumphantly overcome. His
chief lieutenants were men of tried capacity. The subordinate officers
had proved their efficiency in tactics on many a hard-fought field, and
the rank and file were inspired, not only with a rare intelligence, but
with a fanatical patriotism, which made them, perhaps, the most
formidable instruments of warfare the world has ever seen. And after
all the inevitable losses of the past three months, he yet had under
his command a total field force (exclusive of the army of 100,000 men
engaged in besieging Port Arthur) of 220,000 men and 600 guns. It was
plain that only the most desperate resistance on the part of the
Russians could prevent the crowning mercy of a great victory, and
already foreign critics were anticipating a Russian Sedan upon the
banks of the Taitse River.

[Illustration: THE SIX DAYS ACTION AROUND LIAOYANG
    AUG. 29TH-SEPT. 3RD.]

[Sidenote: Twelve Days' Battle]

Torrential rains again delayed operations for upwards of three weeks,
but by the 24th of August comparatively dry weather had set in, and on
the 25th the general advance of the Japanese upon Liao-yang began. We
now enter upon one of the most tremendous dramas ever known in military
history--the twelve days' battle around Liao-yang. No fighting so
fierce, so sustained, and so bloody has been experienced since the
armies of Grant and Lee met in their great death grapple in the
Wilderness in the Civil War. The terrible conflict raged for the most
part simultaneously over an enormously extended front, and an adequate
description can only be given by following in turn the fortunes of the
separate Japanese armies. But for sake of clearness it will be well to
attempt, first, a brief and comprehensive account of the main lines of
the operations and their final result.

[Sidenote: The Great Armies in Touch]

On the 25th Kuroki's army of three divisions advanced upon Anping, and,
after desperate fighting, drove the Russians back from that place to
Liao-yang. At the same time the Third Army under General Nodzu,
manoeuvring with Oku's forces on the left, turned the enemy out of
their strong position at Anshanchan, situated about 15 miles to the
south of Liao-yang. The advance of Oku was delayed considerably by the
efforts of an enterprising rear guard left by Kuropatkin to cover the
retreat, and by the thick mud, which made the roads almost impassable;
but on the 29th both he and Nodzu came into touch with the enemy in
their main position in front of Liao-yang. Here Kuropatkin held an
entrenched front of about five miles, with three lines of defence
formed by separate ranges of low hills, fortified with consummate skill.

[Illustration: MAP SHOWING ROUTE OF MARCH AND PRINCIPAL ACTIONS OF THE
FOUR JAPANESE ARMIES
    Feb. 7th-Sept. 4th.]

[Sidenote: Frightful Carnage]

To the Japanese, however, no obstacle seemed too great. After a
prolonged artillery preparation, in which for the first time the
Russians showed themselves equal, if not superior, to their opponents,
the superb infantry of Dai Nippon were ordered to the attack. Then
ensued the most frightful scene of carnage and heroic endurance. For
five long days the splendid troops of Oku and Nodzu flung themselves
upon a foe not less gallant than themselves, and time after time they
were held back with broken ranks, leaving behind great heaps of dead.
And when at last they did make their bloody passage into the town of
Liao-yang, it was only to learn the mortifying intelligence that their
enemy had escaped from the toils so carefully set for him, and that for
a considerable time their tremendous struggle had been conducted, not
with the main body of Kuropatkin's army, but with a rear guard.

[Illustration: JAPANESE ASSAULT ON A RUSSIAN POSITION AT LIAO-YANG.]

[Sidenote: Costly but Indecisive]

For those incalculable factors which so often defeat the best laid
schemes of strategy had come into play, and had seriously affected the
success of the great move which Kuroki was endeavoring to carry out on
the Japanese right. In this case they proved to be the weather, which
had swollen the Taitse River into a flood, and a sudden display of
great tactical ability by Kuropatkin, which his previous failures in
the sphere of strategy had led no one to expect. Upon Kuroki, of
course, as holding the most advanced position on the Japanese right, it
depended to envelope the left flank of the Russians and cut off their
retreat to the north. But, unfortunately for the success of Oyama's
strategy, the river Taitse, which runs from east to west just north of
Liao-yang, and which had to be crossed by the Japanese, was so flooded
that a day or two elapsed before it could be forded, and it was not
till the 31st that Kuroki's forces were able to take up a position on
the opposite bank. It was hoped, however, that a rapid march to the
northwest would place the commander of the First Army astride of the
railway at Yentai, and that he would thus be able to cut off
Kuropatkin's retreat and enclose him in another Sedan within a ring of
steel. But the delay proved fatal, for it gave Kuropatkin time to
rescue his army from the perilous position in which it was placed. With
a skill which must always extort the admiration of military critics he
withdrew the greater part of his forces across the river in the most
perfect order, unknown to the Japanese, and massed them on his left
flank. The consequence was that instead of finding a division, or at
the most two divisions, opposed to him, Kuroki was faced by the greater
part of the Russian Army, established in strong positions on a range of
hills between himself and the railway line. It was a masterly piece of
generalship on the part of the Russian Commander-in-Chief, and it saved
the situation. Indeed, at one point it threatened Kuroki with
destruction, for he was almost cut off from support, and for
twenty-four hours both officers and men were without either drink or
food except small rations of dried rice. But the extraordinary
gallantry of the sons of Japan rose superior even to these conditions.
Again and again they advanced to the attack against powerful positions
held by superior numbers, and the salient point in the Russian defence,
the hill of Haiyentai, was heaped with the dead of the heroic
combatants. Despite every effort, however, Kuroki could not pierce the
enemy's line, and it was not till a fine forced march by a division
detached from General Nodzu's army arrived to reinforce him that he was
able to reach the railway after four days of tremendous combat. But by
that time it was too late. The skilful dispositions made by the Russian
General had pulled the bulk of his force out of the trap, and they were
in full retreat upon Mukden. It would be difficult to describe the
horrors of that retreat, but the Japanese were too exhausted to make as
effective a pursuit as they would otherwise have done, and the Russians
managed to get away without losing a single piece of artillery. The
losses in this tremendous battle, or rather series of battles, were
enormous. The Japanese official account places their casualties at
17,539, but, if we are to believe the correspondents, that is an
understatement. The exact Russian losses, including those incurred
during the retreat, are placed by some authorities at 25,000, by others
as high as 35,000. Unfortunately for the Japanese, all this costly
expenditure of life was indecisive in its results, and left the main
object of their strategy unfulfilled. Kuropatkin had been defeated,
indeed, but he had not been routed, and it was apparent that the
fighting would have to be resumed once more in the neighborhood of
Mukden.



                               CHAPTER X.

  Investment of Port Arthur--Admiral Witoft's Sortie--Tremendous
    Naval Battle--Harbors of Refuge--International
    Complications--Insignificant Japanese Losses--The Last Raid
    from Vladivostock--The Port Arthur Garrison--Fury Unparalleled
    in History--Kuroki Improves his Reputation--The Grim Reality of
    War.


[Sidenote: Closer Investment of Port Arthur]

While the victorious armies of Oku, Kuroki, and Nodzu were pressing
northward towards Liao-yang, driving before them the only force from
which the beleaguered garrison of Port Arthur could look for relief,
the siege of Russia's "impregnable fortress" proceeded with unabated
determination and constantly increasing vigor. It was on June 26th that
the general advance on Port Arthur began; and from that date the lines
of investment were steadily drawn closer and closer. Siege trains were
landed at Dalny as well as large reinforcements, but for nearly a month
complete silence as to the progress of events was maintained at Tokio.
From time to time sensational and contradictory reports of desperate
fighting were received from Chifu, where Chinese refugees landed in a
constant stream; and authentic messages from General Stoessel, the
heroic commander of the fortress's garrison, reached the outer world at
intervals through the medium of a wireless telegraphy installation at
the Russian Consulate in Chifu. Naturally, these messages were of a
reassuring character, and generally recorded some repulse of the
Japanese army of investment; but though no word of contradiction was
uttered at Tokio, the world was hardly inclined to accept the Russian
stories at their face value. When, for example, in a triumphant
message, General Stoessel reported that a grand assault on the Russian
defences had taken place on July 26th, 27th, and 28th, and had been
repulsed at all points, with great slaughter, cautious observers of
events waited for confirmation of the news; although the Czar himself
hastened to dispatch to his gallant representative in Port Arthur a
telegram of warm congratulation and praise. Hesitation was justified by
the event; for two days after their alleged decisive repulse they
captured the dominant position of Wolf Hill, and thereby made the first
important breach in the defences of Port Arthur. Wolf Hill is an
eminence half a mile south of the village of Suei-ze-ying, which is
some three and a half miles along the railway line running due north
from Port Arthur. The importance of the captured position for the
Japanese was that it enabled siege guns to command, within easily
effective range, the anchorage of the Russian squadron on the inside of
the Tiger's Tail. This meant, of course, either that the fleet must go
to sea and fight, or must endure impotently the hammering of the 12in.
shells which soon began to drop from the batteries on Wolf's Hill.
Within a week of the capture of the position, the Japanese had mounted
their siege guns; and after a bombardment of two days, the Russian
decision was taken to attempt another sortie. The last sortie, it will
be remembered, took place on June 23rd, and ended in the inglorious
return of the whole fleet; as the Russian Admiral, in spite of the
advantage which, as we now know, he possessed over his enemy in battle
strength, did not dare to give battle. This decision which let slip one
of the best opportunities that the Russian Pacific Squadron ever had of
favorably modifying the naval situation in the Far East, was
ill-received at St. Petersburg, where carefully planned dispositions
were thus brought to nought; and as soon as the contemplation of
another sortie became immediately necessary, the strictest injunctions
were sent to Admiral Witoft as to his course of action.

[Sidenote: Admiral Witoft's Sortie]

The Czar emphatically ordered him on no account to return to Port
Arthur. His object must be to inflict as much damage as possible on the
enemy's fleet, and, if possible, to effect a junction with the
Vladivostock Squadron; while, if the latter object were incapable of
accomplishment, he was to endeavor to reach the German port of
Kiau-chau. From circumstances that have since transpired, there is
reason to believe that an understanding had been arrived at between the
German and Russian Governments as to the reception of the Russian ships
at the German naval base. Although for the moment the Russian fugitives
would, by the laws of neutrality, be placed out of action, they would
be in the hands of a "benevolent" government; and would remain a factor
to be reckoned with, if in the future Germany were to intervene in the
settlement of the struggle. Accordingly, on the morning of August 10th,
the Russian Squadron, in full strength except for the armored-cruiser
_Bayan_, which was in too injured a condition to take its place in the
fighting line, began slowly to pass through the narrow channel leading
from the open sea; and by eleven o'clock the ships were drawn up in
battle line, and steamed away on a course nearly due south. The gallant
little _Novik_, the fastest vessel in either fleet, headed the line,
while the patched-up _Retvisan_ came next, followed by the
_Czarevitch_, the _Peresveit_, the _Pobieda_, the _Poltava_, and the
_Sevastopol_, with the cruisers _Askold_, _Diana_, and _Pallada_, and a
torpedo flotilla of eight vessels. The squadron of Japanese light
cruisers which had been watching Port Arthur retreated before the
advancing enemy, and signalled at once to the sleepless Togo, whose
main battle fleet was lying forty miles away. This consisted of four
battleships and three armored cruisers--namely, the _Mikasa_, carrying
Admiral Togo's flag; the _Asahi_, the _Shikishima_, the _Fuji_, the
_Nishin_, the _Kasuga_, the _Jakumo_, and a number of protected
cruisers, including the _Kasagi_, the _Chitose_, the _Takasugo_, as
well as a flotilla of some forty torpedo craft. Thus the Russians had a
clear superiority in battleships partially discounted by Togo's
superiority in armored cruisers.

[Sidenote: Tremendous Naval Battle]

Thirty-five miles to the southeast of Port Arthur the opposing fleets
came within range; and then began the most tremendous naval
battle--measured by the offensive power of its combatants--that the
world has yet seen. The naval world had been waiting almost with
eagerness for the present war to afford the spectacle of a fleet action
between modern armorclads carrying modern armaments; and this
unprecedented event had at last come to pass. The Russian ships were
steering for the south, and the object of the Japanese was evidently to
head them off. At a range of 6,000 yards, or about three miles and a
half, the _Mikasa_, the Japanese flagship, opened fire with her 12in.
guns on the leading Russian battleship and immediately the action
became general. Admiral Togo concentrated his fire on the Russian
battleships, leaving the cruisers very much to chance; and so awful was
the effect of this deadly rain of shell, that when at last the sun went
down on that eventful day, the Russian fleet was in hopeless disorder,
and its stoutest ships were almost unmanageable wrecks. The experience
of the _Czarevitch_ and the _Retvisan_, as recounted by survivors on
board of those devoted vessels, affords a lurid picture of the
appalling nature of a modern naval battle. The _Czarevitch_, which
ultimately reached Kiao-chau, was bombarded at close range by several
of the Japanese armorclads. In the course of five minutes she was
struck by three successive 12in. shells, and that fact--which is an
eloquent testimony to the quality of the Japanese gunnery--practically
decided her fate. Admiral Witoft was killed by the first shell, and his
chief of staff was mortally wounded by the second. The steering gear
was knocked to bits, so that the ship was out of control and began to
travel in a circle, and the foremast was tumbled over the side; while
every man in one of the batteries was blown to pieces. The guns' crews
were annihilated at the work, and the deck gear was twisted into
fantastic shapes or carried away altogether; and so much of it was
afterwards picked up that the Japanese supposed that the _Czarevitch_
had foundered. Poor Witoft--as brave a man as ever sailed--met a
terrible death. He was blown to pieces by a shell, and of his body only
one leg was ever found. His last signal was: "Remember the Emperor's
order not to return to Port Arthur." The decks of the battleship
presented the appearance of a shambles; her armor-plating was pierced
in four places; her masts were shattered and bent in the form of a
cross; her bridge was carried away; and many of her guns were disabled.
Steering with her propellers she managed, under the cover of night, to
escape the attacks of the Japanese torpedo-boats, and to reach
Kiao-chau. Hardly less severe was the mauling which the _Retvisan_
received. This battleship received such a concentrated fire that when
she attempted to break from the circle of her enemies, she was
literally blown out of her course. The other four Russian battleships
suffered more or less severely. The _Pobieda_, for instance, had her
masts carried away, and her heavy guns were put out of action. When the
_Czarevitch_ got out of control, the Russian line was necessarily
broken, and then the fleet seems to have suffered most severely. The
command of the squadron passed to Prince Ukhtomsky, as second in rank
to Admiral Witoft, and that of the cruiser division to Rear-Admiral
Reitzenstein; and between the two there seem to have been divided
counsels. The latter decided to cut his way southwards at any cost in
accordance with the orders of the Czar. With the _Askold_, _Novik_,
_Pallada_, and _Diana_, he became engaged with the Japanese cruisers,
and by dint of hard fighting, in which the _Askold_ was badly mauled,
he managed to get clear of the enemy, and in the early morning of the
13th reached Shanghai, having lost sight of the other cruisers. The
_Askold_ had lost two of her five funnels, one of the boilers was
injured, and her hull had been pierced in more than half a dozen
places, both above and below the water-line. Prince Ukhtomsky preferred
another course. When the signal had been displayed from the
_Czarevitch_ "Admiral transfers command," the Prince, who was next in
seniority, signalled from his ship, the _Peresviet_, "Follow me"--an
order which, as we have seen, the cruiser division did not obey. But
the battleships answered the signal; and the course steered was back to
Port Arthur. In his dispatch the Prince said: "As my vessel had lost
many killed and wounded, and her armament, hull and electric apparatus
were seriously damaged, I decided to return to Port Arthur." Through
the dark night the six battleships steamed slowly to their haven,
repeated torpedo attacks compelling them again and again to change
course, and finally to disperse. The _Czarevitch_, as we have seen,
reached Kiao-chau almost in a sinking condition, while in the morning
of the 11th, the _Peresviet_, the _Retvisan_, the _Sevastopol_, the
_Pobieda_, the _Poltava_, and the cruiser _Pallada_ arrived again at
the port which they had left twenty-four hours earlier. A list of
nearly 400 killed and wounded was the witness to the severity of the
punishment which these vessels had received. But it was evident that
they were not so damaged as to have been incapable of continuing the
attempt to break through to the south. Their return to Port Arthur
rendered all that they had suffered vain. It meant that their situation
was as precarious as ever, while their condition was less favorable for
enduring it. The displeasure of the Czar was not long in manifesting
itself. Hardly had the consternation of defeat subsided, than an
Imperial order was issued removing the unhappy Prince Ukhtomsky from
his command. Recalled he could not be, because the means of leaving
Port Arthur were denied.

[Illustration: RUSSIANS RECAPTURING THEIR LOST GUNS AT LIAO-YANG.]

[Sidenote: Harbors of Refuge]

It was some time before the full measure of Russia's disaster could be
ascertained; for the movements of several of the dispersed vessels had
been lost sight of. But at last all doubts were resolved. The
_Czarevitch_ and three destroyers reached Kiao-chau. The _Askold_ and
one destroyer found refuge at Shanghai. The _Diana_ was able to make
the French port of Saigon. Two destroyers went ashore near Wei-hai-wei
and were abandoned; and one destroyer entered Chifu Harbor and was
there seized by the Japanese and made a prize, in defiance of respect
for a neutral port. The indomitable little _Novik_ alone of all
Russia's fleet attempted to make for Vladivostock. This swift cruiser
had come out of the fight comparatively uninjured; and having put into
Kiao-chau for coal, she steamed eastward again, and for some days was
lost sight of. But the Japanese, though full of admiration for the
exploits of the _Novik_, could not afford to let her escape, and they
were on the watch for her appearance in the straits through which she
must pass to reach Vladivostock. The cruisers _Tsushima_ and _Chitose_
had been searching the Soya Straits, which lie between Saghalien and
Yezo, when at last the former vessel sighted the little _Novik_ on the
afternoon of the 20th of August in Korsakovsk Harbor. Immediately the
attack began, and the _Novik_ was soon compelled to retreat into the
inner harbor, but not before she had inflicted such damage on the
_Tsushima_ as to compel her to draw off. Presently, however, the
_Chitose_ arrived, and next day completed the destruction of the
_Novik_, whose crew abandoned her after running her on the beach. So
ended the career of the one ship in the Russian Navy whose handling has
consistently done credit to Russian seamanship.

[Sidenote: International Complications]

The appearance of fugitive vessels of the Russian squadron in neutral
ports at once raised international questions of no little anxiety and
difficulty. The attitude of Germany in particular was jealously watched
by the Japanese; but, fortunately, in this case the behavior of the
neutral Power was perfectly correct. The _Czarevitch_ and the three
destroyers in Kiao-chau were at once ordered to be dismantled, and
their crews sent home on _parole_. Equally prompt and unimpeachable was
the action of the French Government in regard to the cruiser _Diana_;
but the case of the _Askold_ at Shanghai threatened to give much more
trouble. It was aggravated, too, by the indefensible action of the
Japanese in the case of the destroyer _Rishitelni_, which reached Chifu
on the 11th, bearing important dispatches. The Japanese followed the
_Rishitelni_, and believing that the Chinese would not be able to
enforce the disarmament of the boat, and their demands for her
immediate departure having been ignored, a Japanese officer and armed
guard boarded her. A scuffle between the Japanese and the Russian crews
followed; and in the result, in spite of the protests of the Chinese,
the _Rishitelni_ was towed out of the harbor, after an ineffectual
attempt on the part of her crew had been made to blow her up. The act
was certainly a violation of Chinese neutrality; but as the
_Rishitelni_ had remained in the harbor for twenty-seven hours without
any sign of disarming, the Japanese had good reason to believe that the
Russian commander was not particularly sensitive to the claims of
China's neutrality; and how well this belief was founded appeared in
the case of the _Askold_, which found refuge at Shanghai. In insolent
defiance of all right and law, the commander of the _Askold_ refused
either to disarm his vessel or to leave the neutral port. The wretched
Chinese authorities, squeezed on one side by the Russian Government and
on the other by the Japanese, could do nothing. One day they issued
peremptory orders for the Russian vessel to leave; and the next day
they extended the period of grace. A grave international situation
threatened; for the Japanese were impatient at the necessity of having
to detain several of the much-needed cruisers in watching the port, and
they threatened extreme measures; for all this time the _Askold_ was
being repaired and put into fighting trim again. But at last the
British Minister interfered to stop the work of repairs; and then the
Czar issued instructions that the _Askold_ and the destroyer that
accompanied her should be dismantled.

[Sidenote: Insignificant Japanese Losses]

In winning this signal victory over the fleet of his enemy, Admiral
Togo suffered but slight damage to the ships under his command. In
spite of the heavy fighting at close range, none of the Japanese
vessels were crippled--a circumstance of the utmost importance to
Japan, who, unlike her enemy, has no second fleet to draw upon, and
whose losses were therefore irreparable. The _Mikasa_, in which the
brunt of the fighting fell, lost 32 killed and 78 wounded; the
_Yakumo_, 12 killed and 10 wounded; the _Nishin_, 16 killed and 17
wounded; the _Kasuga_, 10 wounded; and the rest of the fleet a few
wounded only. These casualties altogether were far exceeded by those
endured on the _Czarevitch_ or the _Retvisan_ alone; and the difference
can only be accounted for by the greater accuracy and efficiency of the
Japanese gun fire. Of the fleet that left Port Arthur on the morning of
the 10th of August, only a shattered remnant returned again--five
battleships and two cruisers. But the sum of Russia's disasters had not
been reached. It was fated that the Vladivostock squadron was to share
the fate of the Port Arthur fleet.

[Sidenote: The Last Raid from Vladivostock]

So sudden had been Admiral Witoft's resolution to attempt a sortie,
that no arrangements for concerted action with Admiral Skrydloff at
Vladivostock had been made. It was the destroyer _Rishitelni_, whose
arrival at Chifu caused such unpleasantness, that bore the message
informing Skrydloff of what was happening. Fortunately for themselves
the Japanese seized the _Rishitelni_ too late to intercept that
message. Skrydloff on the 12th steamed from Vladivostock with the
cruisers _Gromoboi_, _Rossia_, and _Rurik_, and made straight for the
Korean Straits. In the early morning of the 14th of August the Russian
cruisers reached their old hunting-ground, and the critical point in
their course--the narrow channel that separates the southernmost
Japanese islands from the Korean promontory. In their successful raid
during July the Vladivostock cruisers had reached the same point, and
by good luck had evaded Kamimura's pursuit. The fortune of war had
hitherto been all against the gallant Japanese Admiral, to whom had
been committed the task of watching the Vladivostock squadron, and in
particular, of guarding the Korean Straits. Even on this last decisive
occasion that was to avenge his previous disappointments, he nearly
missed his prey, who had got to southward of his fleet. But a timely
glint of sunlight revealed the object of his long quest, and
immediately putting his ships between the enemy and Vladivostock he was
able to say with Cromwell at Dunbar: "The Lord hath delivered them into
my hand". Kamimura had with him four armored cruisers of high speed and
powerful armament--the _Tokiwa_, the _Adzuma_, the _Idzumo_, and the
_Iwate_. The last two vessels were of 24 knots speed, and the slowest
was of 21 knots. In gun power all the vessels were practically equal,
and were much more heavily armed than the Russian cruisers, to which
they now found themselves opposed. Of these the _Gromoboi_, a huge
vessel of 12,336 tons displacement, was the latest and the most
formidable. The _Rossia_ was her equal in every respect except gun
protection; but the _Rurik_ was of another class altogether in a
direction that proved fatal to her--namely, speed. Her engines were
only capable of developing 18 knots, and that made her a terrible
hindrance to the manoeuvring power of the whole squadron. It was not
until the Japanese had crossed the course of the Russians that the
latter became aware of the presence of the enemy, and then they
immediately put about and steered north. According to the report of the
Russian Admiral, the fight began at half-past four in the morning a
little north of the line between Fusan and Tsushima. The Russians
attempted to make for the open sea northwards, but were headed off,
mainly owing to the inferior steaming power of the _Rurik_, which was
in the rear of the line. The Russians were in single column line ahead,
while the Japanese steering across their course adopted the famous
T-shaped formation which is associated with the name of Admiral Togo.
The battle began at a range of five miles, and very soon the superior
gunnery and heavier armament of the Japanese told its tale. The
Russians changed course to the east, and immediately the ill-fated
_Rurik_ began to drop behind, enabling the Japanese cruisers to
concentrate the fire on her at a range of little more than three miles.
The steering gear broke down, and the vessel speedily became
unmanageable, while the havoc wrought by the rain of shells poured into
her quickly rendered her guns unworkable. With splendid gallantry the
_Rurik's_ consorts, seeing her desperate plight, returned to her
assistance, and circled round her in order to draw the enemy's fire and
to give the crippled cruiser a chance of effecting repairs. They
suffered heavily in the attempt, and their sacrifice was unavailing.
The _Rurik_ burst into flames, which her devoted crew could not subdue.
Her movements became erratic. She developed a heavy list to port, and
then began to settle down by the stern. At last, after the fight had
been going on for nearly four hours, it became evident that the _Rurik_
was doomed; and her consorts, who were in sorry case themselves, left
her to make their own escape. Both the _Gromoboi_ and the _Rossia_ had
been struck repeatedly below the water line, and had been fired in
several places by the Japanese shells, though the fires were got under.
What finally decided their flight was the arrival of reinforcements for
the enemy in the shape of the _Noniwa_ and the _Takachiho_--two
protected cruisers of the second class. These vessels were left to
finish off the already sinking _Rurik_, while Admiral Kamimura set off
at full speed in pursuit of the _Gromoboi_ and _Rossia_. For some
reason, however, which has never yet appeared, this pursuit was not
persisted in. Both the Russian cruisers were badly damaged, and there
is no reason to suppose that they could have ever reached Vladivostock,
as they did a day or two later, if Admiral Kamimura had not drawn off
his ships. There is, of course, no doubt that there must have been some
compelling reason to induce the Japanese Admiral to forego the full
fruits of his opportunity, but that he should have had to do so made
his victory much less complete and decisive. He returned to the scene
of battle to discover that the _Rurik_ had gone down, but in time to
assist in saving the crew, of whom some 600 survivors were rescued.
This act of humanity was not a solitary instance, but it is one of the
most striking instances of the magnanimous temper in which the Mikado's
forces both on land and sea carried on the war. The Russian Commander,
in his official report, makes it clear that he was much surprised and
relieved when he found that the pursuit of his cruisers was being
abandoned. He states that at this stage of the battle three of the
funnels on the _Rossia_ were holed, and three of her boilers were
rendered useless, so that she was not able to keep up full steam, while
eleven holes had been made in the vessel's hull below the water-line.
The _Gromoboi_ had six holes below her water-line; while on both of the
cruisers the loss of life had been most severe. More than half the
total number of officers had been killed or wounded, and quite a
quarter of the crews. Thirty miles away from the spot where the _Rurik_
had been left sinking, the _Gromoboi_ and _Rossia_ were able, by the
mysterious drawing off of the enemy, to stop their engines and effect
temporary repairs. On the 16th of August they arrived again at
Vladivostock, and went immediately into dock--with the certainty of
taking no further part in active operations for some months to come.
Thus within a single week both squadrons of Russia's navy in the Far
East suffered signal and overwhelming disaster with the effect of
immediately and palpably relieving the difficulties of the campaign for
the invasion of Manchuria. If the dispersal and repulse of the Port
Arthur fleet was the more momentous event of the two, the shattering of
the Vladivostock squadron had an immense value in at once restoring
confidence and immunity to Japan's seaborne trade, and in removing from
Togo's flank, as it were, a menace which since the opening of the war
he had never been able wholly to dismiss. As one result of these naval
victories, the war-worn and storm-beaten ships of the Japanese fleet
blockading Port Arthur were able in turn to go into dock for the
execution of those repairs which must have become increasingly
necessary; while at the same time it was possible to strengthen and
tighten the blockade, and push on with perfect freedom from risk with
the preparations for landing men and munitions at the theatre of war.

[Illustration: ON THE DECK OF THE "RURIK."]

[Sidenote: The Port Arthur Garrison]

The fall of Port Arthur, which the Japanese, in the pardonable
confidence begotten of their uninterrupted victories on sea and land,
had believed to be imminent long ago, now became the object of renewed
and desperate endeavor. Dalny Harbor had been cleared of mines, and
rendered available for the landing of siege trains; and no sooner had
the ill-fated sortie of the fleet been frustrated, than the Japanese
settled down again to a fierce assault. As a preliminary, on the 16th
of August a message was sent to General Stoessel under a flag of truce
demanding the surrender of the fortress, and proposing that, in case of
non-compliance, the non-combatants should be allowed to leave. To the
former of these proposals, General Stoessel, as might have been
expected of so brave and resolute a soldier, returned an emphatic and
indignant negative; and the second, with much less reason, he equally
refused to entertain. Just at this moment all good Russians had been
gladdened, even in the midst of their disasters, by the long-hoped-for
birth of an heir to the Imperial Throne, and General Stoessel was able
to send a congratulatory message to the Czar, while receiving in his
turn an order appointing him, as a mark of special Imperial favor, an
aide-de-camp general. The determination of the Russian garrison had
never abated for a moment; and such assurances that the eyes and hopes
of all Russia were centred on them, stirred them to the heroic pitch of
endurance. Shut off from the outer world both by sea and land, with
provisions and ammunition daily becoming more scanty, and beneath the
harassment of an incessant bombardment and fierce and desperate
assaults, they held grimly on to the defences, and defied the worst
that the enemy could do, in spite of his overwhelming numbers. The
progress of the siege could not be followed easily by the external
spectator, because the Japanese strictly kept their own counsel; while
the reports that were brought to Chifu from time to time by Chinese
refugees were conflicting and contradictory in the last degree. One
thing only was undeniably evident--that the Japanese assaults on
different sections of the main line of defence had been made with
desperate valor and indifference to loss of life; and that, except in
unimportant instances, these assaults had not prevailed. Forts were
indeed captured, but had to be abandoned again, because they were
exposed to the fire of neighboring forts. Not in vain had the Russian
engineers exercised their best brains in devising the defences of this
"impregnable fortress". Mines, wire entanglements, and every other grim
expedient for checking assault had been constructed with patient
ingenuity; and, most deadly and cunning device of all, every fort in
the long chain that shuts in Port Arthur on the land side had been so
placed as to be dominated by the neighboring forts; so that no enemy
who succeeded in capturing it could hope to plant his own guns there.
It is not in question that the Japanese suffered appalling losses in
the attempts to storm these defences; but they persevered, though for
weeks together their hostile activities were limited to pouring into
the Russian lines a tremendous shell fire at long range. The fall of
Port Arthur which had seemed possible in June, was confidently
predicted for July. Then August was fixed, and the Japanese forces,
largely reinforced, undertook another desperate assault in the middle
of that month. It failed; and though the dogged, impenetrable defence
and the fierce and reckless struggle went on with few intermissions,
October came without any perceptible change having been effected in the
situation of the combatants.

[Sidenote: Fury Unparalleled in History]

Two Russian officers who escaped with dispatches to Chifu, brought
accounts of the terrible pitch to which the temper of the opposing
forces had been wrought in their long-drawn and implacable struggle.
They stated that the Japanese losses during the last attack were
enormous, and that even several days afterwards wounded men were to be
seen raising their arms by way of appeal, but that it was impossible to
help them as the fire was incessant. As for the struggle, it was
carried on with an amount of fury to which there is no parallel in
history. The Japanese dashed forward with the bayonet like madmen, and
in serried columns, in which the shells made terrible furrows. Every
time that they reached the Russian lines horrible mêlées, in which even
the wounded fought to the death, took place. No quarter was given.
Pairs of corpses were found clinging to each other, the teeth of the
men being buried in their adversaries' throats and their fingers in
their eyes as they had expired. In the last attack the 9th Japanese
Division was sent forward in two columns, each composing a brigade, and
when the first gave way under the avalanche of iron, the general
commanding the second fired upon and exterminated it. So intense was
the fury that when they got within hearing of their foes, the Japanese
shook their fists at and insulted them. The failure of the Japanese to
make headway with the siege of Port Arthur was the one substantially
gratifying aspect of the war from the Russian point of view. Russian
patriotic sentiment had something to be proud of in the courage,
endurance, and resource of General Stoessel and his troops. But, as a
matter of fact, the fall of Port Arthur would have been a far better
service to Russian arms than the heroic resistance of its garrison.
Because the fortress, which from the first had exercised such a
benumbing influence on the Russian fleet and such a distracting
influence on military counsels, still remained as a fatal factor in the
equation for Russian strategy. The garrison were counting on relief
from the north, and the honor and pride of Russia were engaged to send
that relief if possible. Consequently, Kuropatkin never had his hand
free. He could never review the situation with a single eye to its
supreme strategical necessities; he must always qualify his
dispositions and plans by regard for the plight of Port Arthur. It was
this vitiating influence that brought about the initial reverses of the
Russian armies; and that prevented any bold and effective plan for
meeting the Japanese advance. Finally, it was this consideration that
induced Kuropatkin to give battle at Liao-yang, and to expose his
entire army to a disaster from which he only escaped by the skin of his
teeth. Allusion to that tremendous conflict, between forces larger than
any that have ever before been opposed in modern war, has already been
made in the last chapter. But the event was so memorable, and has such
bearing on the future course of the campaign, that it is permissible to
return to the subject, especially as further light has been thrown on
it by the detailed narratives of correspondents. Of this great battle,
by the way, the world has received fuller descriptions than of any
other feature of the campaign by land or sea; for it so happened that
the sufferance of the war correspondents under the restriction of the
Japanese military authorities broke down here, and several of the most
distinguished representatives of the English press threw up their
connection with the Japanese army after Liao-yang, and hurried back to
neutral territory to cable home the full dispatches which the censor
would not have permitted.

[Sidenote: Kuroki Improves his Reputation]

It is perfectly evident in the light of these accounts that the
Japanese, emboldened by their previous successes, rated their enemy too
lightly, and without any preponderance, and indeed with scarcely an
equality of numbers, they attempted to take by assault a position
naturally strong and fortified by all the art and resources of the
military engineer. The battle did indeed prove the incomparable
qualities of the Japanese soldier; but it did little to add to the
reputation of Japanese generalship; while, on the other hand, it
exhibited General Kuropatkin in a light infinitely more favorable than
any in which he had previously appeared. If one of Kuropatkin's
subordinates--General Orloff--had not blundered badly in carrying out
the movements against Kuroki on the Russian left, it is probable that
the battle might have resulted in a decisive defeat instead of in a
nominal victory for the Japanese. That blunder--which cost Orloff his
command--enabled Kuroki to hold his own at a most critical juncture,
and so to obviate the dangerous possibilities which the situation had
developed. It was the peril of Kuroki that compelled Oku and Nodzu, who
faced the centre and right wing of the Russian position, to press on
their assaults with redoubled fury, even after they had been fighting
for five days and losing thousands of men without making appreciable
headway. In twenty-four hours Oku made three grand assaults upon the
entrenched hills before him; and, when the last had been beaten back
with awful loss, the laconic order came from headquarters: "Reinforce
and attack again at dawn". Such a demand upon the endurance and
_morale_ of troops is well-nigh unexampled; and that the Japanese
soldier responded to it speaks volumes for his qualities as a fighting
man. His persistence prevailed in the end, and the Russian line was
forced. But even then the retreat was slow and stubborn. While a rear
guard held the Japanese at bay, all the guns and wounded were safely
withdrawn, and when at last the Japanese came into possession of
Liao-yang, it was to find the fruits of their dearly-bought victory
snatched from them, and their own forces too exhausted to follow
victory up. The casualties in this awful conflict were enough "to
stagger humanity", if one may use Mr. Kruger's famous phrase. The
Japanese losses cannot have been less than 40,000, and those of the
Russians were perhaps half as many; while the expenditure of ammunition
on both sides was terrific. More than a thousand guns belched forth
their deadly missiles continuously for nearly a week, and all
eye-witnesses agree that never before has such tremendous artillery
fire been witnessed. Well might it be necessary for both armies to rest
after such a titanic struggle, and to devote more than a month to
reforming and reinforcing the shattered ranks and to refilling their
ammunition trains. The main result of the battle was to drive the grand
army of the Czar one step further back from the beleaguered fortress
still counting so confidently on and waiting so anxiously for relief.
But, as the event showed the contest had been too indecisive to destroy
finally the Russian hope of a victorious march southwards; and to that
extent the Japanese might congratulate themselves. As long as the fatal
fascination of Port Arthur was felt by Russian strategy, the Japanese
generals could count on an invaluable ally; and very soon that ally was
to come to their assistance again in a manner which their best hopes
could not have conjectured.

[Sidenote: The Grim Reality of War]

In order to realize the spectacle that that awful battlefield
presented, one has only to read the vivid narrative of the London
_Times'_ correspondent who was attached to General Oku's army. This is
how he describes the earlier and abortive attempts of Oku's devoted
troops to penetrate the Russian centre:--

[Illustration: AFTER SEVEN MONTHS.

The time was now ripe for the simultaneous advance of the three
Japanese armies, and while Oku and Nodzu attacked the Russians at
Anshanchan, and forced them to retire, Kuroki drove the Russians out of
Anping. The great battle of Liaoyang began on August 29, and continued
until September 1, when Kuroki, having crossed the Taitse-Ho,
threatened the Russian left flank, and forced them to retreat. On
September 6 the Japanese occupied the Yentai Mines. The army besieging
Port Arthur captured the Laotishan and Sushiyen Hills on August 15, and
on the 28th took Palungshan.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]

"In spite of the failure of this first attack, another was ordered to
begin at two on the following morning (August 30th). The cold grey
morning witnessed another scene of slaughter on the Russian right as
the defenders again hurled the attack back. The Japanese attacked with
valor and deserved success, but the enfilading fire on every salient
swept each rush away before the men could even lay hands on the
entanglements. But the 5th Division had more success against the
Russian left. The position here was composed of a brush-covered
hogsback, sloping to the east, defended by a triple line of trenches
with a glacis protected by a 10 foot entanglement covering a honeycomb
of pits containing spikes at the bottom. In the semi-darkness of the
morning the 41st Regiment carried this underfeature after losing
seventy-five of the one hundred pioneers who hacked their way through
the entanglement with axes. The men, rushing through the gap,
overpowered the sentries in the trenches before the supports, sleeping
in splinter proofs behind, could reinforce them. But daybreak brought a
tragedy of the kind which is so common in modern war. Shell fire,
believed to be from Japanese guns, drove this gallant storming party
from its hold, filling the Russian trenches with Japanese dead. But now
for the fighting on the 31st. The weather was now fine, and the energy
of this southern attack all the morning was concentrated in an
artillery fire on the bushy hill that had been won and lost. At 10
o'clock we could see the 5th Division moving up against the Russian
left. There is a moment of intense excitement while the summit of the
Russian position is like a miniature Mount Pelée in eruption owing to
the bursting of dozens of Shimoshi shells. The head of the assault is
in the gap in the entanglement. The artillery is supporting the
assault. Three or four ground mines explode in the midst of the leading
assaulting groups. Then as the smoke clears the black-coated Russians
are seen leaving the position. In a moment the Japanese are in, and the
whole of the lines in support on the crest are firing down the slope
into the retreating Russians. But one swallow does not make a summer.
Although the underfeature of the bushy hill was carried, the rest of
the assault failed miserably. No Japanese could live within 500 yards
of the bastion hill, and though the Japanese came out of the corn until
the groups were so numerous that I can liken them only to swarming
bees, it was only to be swept backwards into cover again, leaving
behind the heavy price of their valor."

[Illustration: CAPTURE OF THE "RESHITELNI" AT CHIFU.]



                              CHAPTER XI.

  The Opposing Armies in Manchuria--The Russian
    Advance--Reinforcements for Both Sides--Battle of the
    Sha-ho--Two Hundred Hours of Carnage--Awful List of
    Casualties--Threat and Counterthreat--The Veil Lifted from Port
    Arthur--Capture of Forts--Devices of the Besiegers--The
    Undaunted Stoessel--The Gallant Podgorsky--World-Wide
    Admiration--Uncertain News.


[Sidenote: The Opposing Armies in Manchuria]

The great battle of Liao-yang was fought in the last week of August and
the first week of September; and for nearly five weeks after that
tremendous struggle the opposing armies remained inactive, or rather
gathered up their exhausted strength for the next desperate encounter.
The Japanese had advanced as far as Yentai, a station about one-third
of the distance--40 miles or so--that separates Liao-yang from Mukden.
The position was valuable as giving the command of the Yentai coal
mines--a most important acquisition to any general with a long line of
railway communication to maintain. The Japanese entrenched themselves
along a front of some 25 miles, stretching from Yentai on the railway
to Pensihu, a village in the hilly country which lies north and south
between the two rivers Taitse and Hun. There they settled down to
replenishing the exhausted supplies, refilling the depleted ranks, and
reorganizing the dislocated commands. Above all did they make speed to
reconstruct the railway behind them, a work which had diligently been
carried on _pari passu_ with the advance. Early in October through
trains of the new 3 ft. 6 in. gauge were running from Dalny to Yentai,
and thus the fighting-line was brought within an easy six days' journey
of Japan. The Russians, on the other hand, in spite of the completion
of the Circum-Baikal railway towards the end of September, were still
from three to five times as distant from their prime base; for if the
express time from Mukden to Moscow was sixteen days, the ordinary troop
train's time was much nearer thirty days. In this all-important matter
of rapidity of communication the Japanese possessed an advantage
inherent to the situation and of the profoundest strategical influence.
While they were recuperating thus at Yentai, the Russians were busy
entrenching themselves behind the Hun-ho, the course of which from
Mukden follows a line, roughly speaking, due east. At first it was
asserted by those in the confidence of the Russian General Staff, that
no determined stand would be made at the Hun-ho, and that Kuropatkin
would only hold the enemy there until the defences at Tieling were
completed. But as the days passed, and the Japanese showed no
disposition to renew their advance, and as reinforcements continued to
pour over the Siberian railway, counsels were modified. In the last
week of September General Stackelberg, attending a banquet at Mukden,
proposed the toast "To the March on Liao-yang"; and this startling
suggestion of a new development in the Russian plan of campaign was
speedily confirmed by a remarkable manifesto to his troops which
General Kuropatkin issued on the 2nd of October. After the usual
high-flown exordium, in which "the arrogant foe" was described as
having suffered repeated repulse--a rather daring travesty of the
facts--Kuropatkin explained that he had not thought the time ripe "to
take advantage of these successes; but", he added, "the time of retreat
was now at an end. Hitherto the enemy in operating has relied on his
great forces and, disposing his armies so as to surround us, has chosen
as he deemed fit his time for attack; but now the moment to go and meet
the enemy, for which the whole army has been longing, has come, and the
time has arrived for us to compel the Japanese to do our will, for the
forces of the Manchurian army are strong enough to begin the forward
movement. Bear in mind the importance of victory to Russia, and, above
all, remember how necessary victory is the more speedily to relieve our
brothers at Port Arthur, who for seven months have heroically
maintained the defence of the fortress entrusted to their care."

[Sidenote: The Russian Advance]

The world was naturally startled by such a pronouncement--so much
easier to explain than to justify; but the Russians and their friends
in France were overjoyed, believing that the time of their tribulation
was at last over. The Muscovite nature has during this war shown an
unrivalled capacity for self-deception; and not only the General Staff,
but Kuropatkin himself seem to have persuaded themselves that the enemy
had been unable to get over the shock of Liao-yang. The perfectly
natural delay of the Japanese in advancing was attributed to the
discouragement caused by the enormous losses sustained in the last
battle and to inability to make these losses good. There were other
influences at work, as Kuropatkin's address shows. "The importance of
victory to Russia", and the necessity of relieving "our brothers in
Port Arthur", were circumstances that evidently dominated Russian
counsels; and in Kuropatkin's mind there was probably another
consideration of a personal nature. After Liao-yang the Czar had
ordered the formation of a Second Manchurian Army under a separate
command, on the ground that the active direction in the field of such
enormous forces as these two armies would represent would be beyond the
capacity of any one man. General Gripenberg, a tried old soldier, was
appointed to command the Second Army, and there was talk of sending out
a Grand Duke to take the supreme direction of the campaign. This would
have meant in degree the suppression of General Kuropatkin, and that
capable soldier may well have looked with dissatisfaction on such a
reward for his signal services. He may have argued with himself that if
he could only achieve a decisive victory at this moment his prestige
would be restored and his paramountcy assured; and, according to the
information which had reached him, that victory was within his grasp.
But, unfortunately, that information was wholly erroneous. Far from
being dispirited and exhausted, the Japanese forces were on the very
point of advancing to the attack again when Kuropatkin formed his
momentous resolution and issued orders for "the march to Liao-yang". If
his movement was hailed with almost delirious enthusiasm in St.
Petersburg, it was observed with hardly less satisfaction at Tokio,
where it was at once recognized that the enemy were obligingly
releasing Marshal Oyama from the necessity of a long march and another
attack on fortified positions.

[Sidenote: Reinforcements for Both Sides]

By this time Kuropatkin's forces--thanks to the completion of the
Circum-Baikal railway--had reached 250,000, with more than 800 guns.
The Japanese strength, after reinforcements both from Japan and from
the army investing Port Arthur, cannot have been much less; though at
the close of the battle which was about to be fought Marshal Oyama
asserted that at all points his victorious troops had been outnumbered.
However that may be, the Japanese had the advantage of a prepared
position, the key of which was in rugged mountainous country. Unlike
the battle of Liao-yang, of which minute details have already been
furnished, the battle of Yentai, as it was first called, or of Sha-ho,
as it came to be known afterwards, can only be followed in its broad
outline, mainly because the maps available are utterly inadequate. The
place-names which mark the direction of the operations in one official
report rarely agree with those in the other official report, and can
only be vaguely identified. But a rough sketch-map is at least
sufficient to give the general bearings of the operations. The Japanese
front extended in a horseshoe formation from Yentai, on the railway, to
Pensihu, on the Taitse River, with Oku on the left, Nodzu in the
centre, and Kuroki on the right. The plan of Kuropatkin--a plan which
in the light of after events we know to have been beyond the
possibility of achievement--was to attack the right wing of the
Japanese army under Kuroki, and roll it back upon Liao-yang, while the
Japanese left and centre were held in front; then to shut up Oyama and
his troops in Liao-yang, much as Sir George White was shut up in
Ladysmith, while a rapid march southwards was made to the relief of
Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: Battle of the Sha-ho]

On the 5th October the Russian advance began on both sides of the
railway from Mukden, and from Fushan against the Japanese right. The
flank movement, on the success of which all Kuropatkin's schemes were
based, was entrusted to Stackelberg and Rennenkampf--Stackelberg
attacking from the north, and Rennenkampf with his Cossacks, working
round from the northeast. On Sunday, the 9th October, the first contact
between the opposing armies was made, and Stackelberg--much to his own
surprise--was able to occupy Bentsiaputse, a place north of the Yentai
coalmines, commanding the main roads to Fushan, Mukden, and Liao-yang.
It had been expected that the Japanese would make a desperate stand
here, but they retreated after offering only a feeble resistance.
Meanwhile, Rennenkampf fiercely assailed Kuroki's extreme right at
Pensihu, while a force of Cossacks some 3,000 strong daringly crossed
the Taitse River and severed Kuroki's communications in the rear. Up to
this moment everything had seemed to go well with the Russian plan of
attack. Several important positions east of Pensihu were taken by
assault, and Kuroki's situation seemed critical for the moment. But
Marshal Oyama appears never to have doubted the ability of his
well-tried lieutenant to hold his own, and no sooner had the whole
scheme of his enemy been developed than he decided to counter it with a
vigorous offensive. Kuroki was reinforced on the 10th, while a force of
cavalry detached to operate against the Cossacks south of the Taitse-ho
succeeded in driving the enemy off and in restoring the interrupted
communications. As soon as the reinforcements reached Kuroki at Pensihu
he put the possibility of his being "rolled up" beyond all doubt by
fiercely assailing Stackelberg and recapturing the positions which had
temporarily fallen into Russian hands. Thereafter he remained
completely master of the situation, and the desperate but futile
assaults which he sustained in the next few days only resulted in a
tremendous casualty list for the enemy--a list totalling at least
20,000. The decisive repulse of the Russian flanking movement involved
the frustration of the whole of Kuropatkin's plans in advancing from
the Hun-ho. But the battle had only just begun yet, for the Russian
right and centre, which had begun their southward march with such
confidence, now found their _role_ changed from attack to defence; and
instead of the Japanese being, according to program, forced back upon
Liao-yang, it became a question whether the Russians would be able to
make good their retreat on Mukden. General Oku, advancing along the
railway to the west, after two days' hard fighting drove back
Kuropatkin's right to the line of the Shi-li-ho; while General Nodzu on
the east of the railway was equally successful, and signalized his
victory by a considerable capture of guns. Oyama's object now was to
drive his enemy eastwards from the railway and back upon the Hun-ho,
when it would be impossible for him to escape disaster. For some days
this tremendous issue hung in the balance, and the Japanese forces were
within an ace of accomplishing their purpose. But thanks to the dogged
tenacity of the Russian troops, and thanks still more to the terribly
wasting and exhausting effect of a week's continuous fighting, the
impetus of the Japanese attack was not quite sufficient to complete the
promised triumph; and at last the two great armies came to a standstill
some ten miles south of Mukden, incapable of further action.

[Sidenote: Two Hundred Hours of Carnage]

From the 9th October to the 17th the relentless struggle raged along
this wide front of more than 20 miles. Day and night the devoted troops
on either side flung themselves with reckless bravery on the positions
of their foes; while from nearly 2,000 guns an incessant storm of
shrapnel and shell burst over the contested ground. Liao-yang had been
terrible enough; but from all accounts the artillery duel at the battle
of Sha-ho even eclipsed the terrific incidents of the earlier
engagements. On the 13th the Russian retreat became general, and Oku,
capturing twenty-five Russian guns, succeeded in driving the troops
opposed to him back from the line of the Shi-li-ho to the Sha-ho, where
behind defences which the forethought of Kuropatkin had provided, they
prepared to make their last desperate stand. The forces before Kuroki
had retreated towards Fushan in a northeasterly direction; and those
before Nodzu in the centre, after suffering losses almost as heavy as
Stackelberg's columns had sustained, fell back in something approaching
to disorder on the line of the Sha-ho. The position of Kuropatkin's
army was now exceedingly critical, and it was not without cause that he
issued a general order that the ground occupied must be held at all
costs. It is evident that to make good the retreat Stackelberg's troops
on the extreme east, which were far in advance of the rest of the
Russian line, must be withdrawn first, and that the central army under
Zarubaieff, which again was far in advance of the right wing, must be
drawn back next; and that during these perilous operations General
Bilderling, who commanded the Russian right resting behind the Sha-ho,
must stand firm. By the skin of his teeth, almost, Bilderling just
managed to hold his ground. On the 13th Oku's impetuous assault upon
the Russian lines succeeded so far as to break the Russian centre. Had
that advantage been maintained nothing could have saved the Russian
army. But by a tremendous effort the last reserves were brought up and
recaptured the ground that had been lost. For thirty-six hours the
battle raged with varying fortune at this critical point; but the
Russians held on, and these thirty-six priceless hours being gained,
the Russian centre and left were saved. On the 14th, five days after
the battle had begun, a deluge of rain fell--a deluge precipitated, as
at Liao-yang, by the heavy and incessant firing--and the already
sorely-tried troops of Oku found their further movements grievously
impeded. For several days more, however, the contest on the Sha-ho
raged with unabated fury. Again and again the Russians made fierce
counter-attacks on the Japanese, sustaining terrible losses in
consequence. One position--a dominant elevation on the south bank of
the Sha-ho, known as Lonely-Tree Hill--was the scene of long-continued
and desperate fighting, in which both armies alternately captured and
were driven from the vantage ground. It was here that the one
substantial success of the Russian arms was achieved in the capture of
twelve Japanese guns. During Sunday, the 16th of October the Russians
had delivered no less than seven counter-attacks on Oku's troops, and
all of them had been beaten back with loss. In these engagements a
conspicuous part had been played by a force under Brigadier-General
Yamada, made up of troops from Nodzu's and Oku's commands, which
succeeded in penetrating the Russian line and in capturing two guns.
But in returning to camp after this exploit, Yamada's force had
ventured too far and was enveloped by a Russian division, and was only
able to win through by the sacrifice of its guns, after a fierce
hand-to-hand encounter in which the casualties were nearly 1,000.

[Illustration: JAPANESE OUTPOSTS RELIEVING GUARD NEAR THE SHA-HO.]

Slowly, reluctantly, after fitful recrudescences, the great battle wore
itself out, and by the 20th October the two armies were left facing
each other on either side of the Sha-ho--a line 15 miles north of that
which the Japanese had occupied before the engagement began. The net
result, therefore, was a decided gain of ground for the Japanese, and
the infliction of losses greater than had been sustained in any
previous battle on the Russian army. Telegraphing to Tokio on the 15th,
Marshal Oyama thus summed up the results of the fighting as far as it
had gone--a summary which further events did not alter:--

"As a sequel to a fight lasting continuously for five days, we have
driven back the superior forces of the enemy at every point, pursuing
him and forcing him to the south bank of the Hun. We have inflicted
heavy losses, and captured over thirty guns and hundreds of prisoners.
We have defeated his plans and converted an offensive operation into a
radical failure."

[Sidenote: Awful List of Casualties]

"Radical failure" in war means far more than defeated plans. It carries
with it an awful and immediate penalty levied in killed and wounded,
and when the tale of losses came to be counted it was found to exceed
even the most pessimistic anticipations. The Russian dead left on the
field alone numbered no less than 13,333; and as the wounded, at the
lowest estimate, cannot have been less than four to one, it is apparent
that the total casualties suffered by General Kuropatkin's troops must
have been between 60,000 and 70,000. An index to the severity of the
fighting is afforded by an analysis of these returns, which shows that
more than 5,000 Russian dead were found before both Oku's army and
Kuroki's. Even the Russian General Staff, which has shown a decided
tendency to minimize losses, did not venture to place those sustained
at Sha-ho at less than 45,000 rank and file and 800 officers. The total
Japanese losses, on the other hand, though heavy, were but a fraction
of their foe's. Oyama placing them at 15,879. But the loss in life was
not the only disastrous result of the battle for the army of the Czar.
The Japanese captured 709 prisoners and 45 guns, with large quantities
of arms and ammunition; and against these captures are to be set the
twelve guns lost at Lonely-Tree Hill, rechristened by the Russians
Putiloff Hill in honor of the officer who achieved the success, and who
was immediately decorated by the Czar. In one sense the battle of the
Sha-ho may be regarded as indecisive, in that it left the two
contending armies again at a deadlock. At Liao-yang the strategy of
both generals had failed, and in a less degree the same result was
reached at Sha-ho; for Oyama's initial success could not be followed up
to its legitimate and triumphant conclusion. But, on the other hand,
Kuropatkin's effort to march to Liao-yang and make a diversion in favor
of Port Arthur had signally failed; and the army which he had
ostentatiously declared to be strong enough to take the offensive and
had been hurled back by "the arrogant foe," who were at last to be
"compelled to do the Russian will." It was in that circumstance that
the real measure of the Japanese victory was to be found--that after
eight months of war the armies of the Czar were still unequal to the
task committed to them. Had Kuropatkin been even in a measure
successful in this, his first great offensive movement, the moral
effect could not have failed to be incalculable. As it was, it
inflicted one more discouragement on troops that had experienced
nothing but retreats and reverses from the opening of the campaign. The
temper in which the Japanese accepted the new laurels which their army
had won was eminently characteristic of a nation which has, in spite of
all temptations to vainglory and exultation, comforted itself with
perfect sobriety and self-restraint. The Mikado issued a rescript to
his people, the terms of which are worth giving, if only for the
contrast which they offer to some of the addresses issued from St.
Petersburg and the headquarters of Alexeieff:--

"Since the outbreak of the war our army and our navy have demonstrated
their bravery and loyalty, while both officials and people have acted
in unison to support the cause. So far, success has attended our cause,
but, the ultimate accomplishment being yet far distant, it is necessary
to be patient and steadfast in the pursuance of our action, and thus
aim at the final accomplishment of our purpose."

[Sidenote: Threat and Counterthreat]

Another and even more striking testimony to the inflexible
determination of the Japanese people was supplied by the Army rescript
issued at the end of September in connection with the expansion of the
Japanese military system. The Government of the Czar had demonstrated
its intention to prosecute the war unflinchingly by the creation of a
second Manchurian Army. Japan's answer to this menace was to extend the
period of service with the colors in the Japanese army from nine to
fourteen years, by which act the available reserves for the army in
Manchuria were increased at a stroke by nearly half a million men. But
though Japan could answer promptly and adequately the steps which her
foe had taken to strengthen his armies in the field, it was not so easy
to recompense herself for the elimination of a source of weakness in
her enemy's counsels. Admiral Alexeieff, whose fatal influence had been
as valuable as several battleships and army corps to the Japanese, was
finally recalled to St. Petersburg at the end of October. On the 26th
of that month the Viceroy issued an address to the troops, announcing,
in his usually inflated style, that on his own request he had been
relieved of the duties of Commander-in-Chief, while being retained in
the office of Viceroy and assured of the continuance of the Imperial
confidence and favor. In less than a week from the issue of that
manifesto, it was announced that Alexeieff and his staff were on the
way to St. Petersburg by express train, and that there was no
probability of their return, while Kuropatkin was left in supreme
command.

[Sidenote: The Veil Lifted from Port Arthur]

No sooner had the echoes of the great battle of the Sha-ho died down
than the attention of the world was turned again to Port Arthur, where
the long and desperate siege was continuing with undiminished
determination on the part of the attack and invincible heroism on the
part of the defence. For months together little authentic news of the
progress of events had been allowed to leak out; but suddenly, in the
beginning of November, the Japanese censor removed his restrictions,
and a vivid and circumstantial narrative of the operations was allowed
to come through. By the end of June the Japanese forces of investment
had occupied a line across the Kwang-tung Peninsula running from
Ingentsi Bay, on the north, southeastwards to a point on the south
coast-line some ten miles east of Dalny. After another month's diligent
assault they had advanced the line nearly five miles--from
Vostikorablei Bay on the north to Takhe Bay on the south. Another
advance in the beginning of August brought the extreme right of their
line down to Louisa Bay on the west, and roughly round in a semicircle
to Takhe Bay, confronting the main line of the formidable Russian
defences. The great assault of the 28th August was, on the whole,
unsuccessful, and achieved nothing on the east. But on the west the
line of investment was drawn still further south until it rested on
Pigeon Bay. It is now necessary to understand more exactly the nature
of the task with which the Japanese army of investment was confronted.
Port Arthur lies in a sort of amphitheatre formed by ranges of hills
varying in height from 1,300 feet to 1,500 feet. These hills sweep
round from Golden Hill--the promontory which on the east commands the
entrance to the harbor--northwards for a distance of nearly three
miles. Then, where the railway line and road pass through them, they
turn westwards and southwards, extending down the toe of the Kwang-tung
promontory to a point parallel with the base of the Tiger's Tail; while
further south still is the formidable Liao-tie-shan range, some 1,500
feet high. On all these hills the Russians had constructed huge
fortifications strengthened with every device which the military
engineer's art could suggest, and armed with the most powerful
artillery. It is true that some of the correspondents who paid hurried
visits to the great naval fortress before the actual outbreak of
hostilities were inclined to belittle the strength of the defences.
Thus Mr. Bennet Burleigh, of the London _Telegraph_, in a most
interesting account expressed his belief that the Russian stronghold
was over-fortified, and that it would be possible for those who
captured outlying defence to command the inner forts. On the other
hand, it must be remembered that the most skilful engineers in the
world had been employed by the Russians in the construction of the
forts, and the fact that such a magnificent and substantial resistance
was offered to ten times the number of soldiers as cleared out the
Chinese in a few days, proves that the soundest military principles
were adhered to. The main positions were defended by advanced works
surrounded by deep moats, in which were built bombproof defences,
roofed with steel plates, and by fanfasses, or mines filled with huge
stones, which could be exploded by the pressure of an electric button.
The approaches were rendered almost inaccessible by barbed-wire
entanglements, pits planted with sharpened stakes, and by transverse
works and trenches which commanded with an enfilading fire every
possible line of advance. The broad scheme of the fortifications may be
easily grasped. Fronting Takhe Bay on the east is the Petushan group of
forts, with the Keekwan-Urlong forts commanding the approaches from the
north and the northeast, and preventing the Petushan forts from being
taken in reverse. West of these forts and on the other side of the
parade-ground and railway are the Antszshan and the Etseshan forts,
which prevent any attack from the northwest, while a chain of forts
from Antszshan to Sunghslwo, running southeastwards down to the inner
harbor, command the parade-ground and railway line. Another line of
forts stretches due south from Etseshan to White Wolf Hill on the west
side of the west port, while yet another series of heavy fortifications
surmounts the high ground along the Tiger's Tail. Well might the
Russians boast that their fortress was impregnable, for if any place of
arms could be justly so described, Nature and military ingenuity had
combined to earn that title for Port Arthur. At the outset of the
investment, Port Arthur's garrison numbered, all told, some 35,000 men.
It was made up of the 3rd, 4th and 7th East Siberian Rifle Brigades,
with part of the 6th, and with the East Siberian Rifle Artillery
Division, and, of course, with the crews of all the men-o'-war lying
imprisoned in the harbor. The numbers were none too great to man
adequately the great chain of works behind which Port Arthur's security
lay; but the troops were of the best quality, and they had the
invaluable inspiration of such a leader as General Stoessel, with such
a capable and gallant lieutenant as General Fock. Stoessel, the hero of
the Russian army in the present war, is descended from an old military
family. His grandfather was a general in the Swedish army, who
afterwards settled in Russia. Stoessel himself, who was born in 1848,
entered the Russian army as a cadet at the age of ten, and received his
commission eight years later, at the same time, curiously enough, as
Kuropatkin. He served with distinction in the Russo-Turkish War, and
afterwards held important commands in Siberia, while since 1899 he had
been stationed at Port Arthur. To the assault and investment of the
fortress, the Japanese, under Nogi, brought up at first 60,000 men,
and, as the operations advanced, large reinforcements which not only
made good the enormous losses sustained, but swelled the fighting
strength to nearly 100,000 men. This number fluctuated to some extent,
for at least two divisions were drawn off from the siege to reinforce
Oyama at the battle of the Sha-ho; but at no time can the total forces
before Port Arthur have been less than 60,000, and then superiority in
numbers to the defence gradually increased until from a proportion of
two to one, it had reached the proportion of six or seven to one. This
growing disparity, of course, was due to the fact that while the
Japanese could replenish their exhausted ranks, the Russian garrison
could not fill the gaps caused by wounds and sickness; while a further
reduction of at least 5,000 men in the forces at Stoessel's command was
made by the naval sortie on August 10th. That feat, of course, deprived
Port Arthur of the services of the crews of all the vessels that
escaped to neutral ports.

[Illustration: JAPANESE SCALING FORT AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Capture of Forts]

In the great assault of the 19th-26th August the Japanese lost 14,000
men, and succeeded only in capturing the Banjushan fort, which is east
of the Urlungshan forts. General Nogi then settled down to steady siege
operations, drawing his parallels nearer and nearer to the Russian main
position, and capturing the all-important Kuropatkin fort early in
September. This fort, which stands on Division Hill half-way between
Wolf Hill and the harbor, not only commanded the parade-ground, but
gave the Japanese the possession of the waterworks from which the
garrison drew the main water supply. Up to this moment General Nogi's
heaviest guns had been 4.7 and 6in. pieces of the naval type, and they
had been quite unequal to the heavy guns of the position mounted in the
Russian works. But now heavy siege guns and 11in. howitzers arrived
from Japan, and immediately their effect began to make itself felt, so
that by the 19th September another assault was resolved on. This was
directed against three points of the ring of defensive works--against
the metre-hill forts on the west, and (the outworks, as it were of the
great Etseshan and Antszshan forts) against the advanced works of
Urlungshan on the northeast, and against the lunettes in the Shuishi
Valley which connects the Antszshan and the Urlungshan forts. At this
last point some of the fiercest fighting of the whole siege took place.
The Shuishi Valley was defended by a series of strong lunettes
connected by advance works, within fifty yards of which the Japanese
had advanced their parallels. On the evening of the 19th September four
desperate assaults were delivered against the westernmost lunette. All,
however, were beaten back. At dawn the assault was renewed with greater
strength, and the western lunette was carried, mainly by the employment
of dynamite grenades. The Russian garrison were driven out of the
trenches, losing three quick-firers, four machine guns, and two
mortars, but inflicting on the victors losses amounting to over 400
killed and wounded. At the same time a determined assault was made on
203 Metre Hill and the adjoining ridge by three regiments of the right
division. The assaulting parties reached the dead ground beneath the
ridge, but there they were compelled to remain during the night. At
dawn on the 20th a terrific bombardment on the position began and
continued till evening; and when the night had fallen the Japanese
rushed the trenches on the eastern extremity of the crest line after a
fierce hand-to-hand fight in which not only bayonets but even stones
were used. But only part of the work had been won. The fort on the
southwestern slopes of the ridges was still untaken, and though a small
party of the besiegers penetrated the defences here, they were driven
out again next day, and four more assaults delivered during the next
two days proved equally unavailing though terribly costly in life--the
casualty list at this point alone amounting to 2,000. The defences of
this advance fort on 203 Metre Hill were typical of the obstacles which
the Japanese had to overcome in the prosecution of their assaults. The
bomb-proofs connecting the network of trenches which seared the slopes
of the hill were made of steel plates covered with earth, and a triple
row of wire entanglements made the ground in front of the trenches
impassable. In the operations from the 19th to the 26th September the
Japanese lost more than 4,000 killed and wounded. In the assault at the
same time on the advanced works of Urlungshan the parallels of the
Japanese had been carried to within fifty yards of the defences, but
the assault still proved a costly business. Again and again the
assaulting rushes were swept back by rifle and machine-gun fire; but
the indomitable spirit of the Mikado's troops at length prevailed, and
the redoubt was carried at the point of the bayonet. The position thus
gained in front of Urlungshan enabled the Japanese to mount their heavy
howitzers in such a way as to bombard not only the main forts but the
harbor with great effect; and in the course of a few days several of
the warships lying at anchor were severely damaged by the high-angle
fire. By hard fighting and diligent sapping the investing army now
continued to make steady progress against the Urlungshan forts which
lie just east of the road and railway and command their approach to
Port Arthur. On the 10th October the attack managed to establish itself
on the crest of the East Urlungshan fort, and on the 16th the
entrenched hill between Urlungshan and Banjushan, the latter of which
was already in Japanese hands, was taken by storm. On the 25th October
the glacis of East Urlungshan was stormed and held in spite of repeated
counter-attacks on the part of the Russians. In front of these forts on
the northeastern side the fiercest fighting continued all through the
latter part of October and the early part of November, the general
result being that the Japanese saps were brought within less than 300
yards of the main positions while the fire from the howitzers finally
silenced the great forts of Urlungshan and Shunshusan. But these
successes, though considerable, were insufficient to make a really
serious breach in the main lines of the defence, as long as the great
forts on the west--Antszshan and Etseshan--held out, and forthwith the
Japanese attack was diverted to the latter of those two strongholds.
Meanwhile, the heavy and incessant fire directed on the harbor and the
town had been most destructive. The naval repairing works had to be
abandoned, and both the old and the new Chinese towns were rendered
uninhabitable where their buildings were not razed to the ground or
consumed by the fires started by the bursting shells.

[Sidenote: Devices of the Besiegers]

For the first time in history a fortress constructed according to the
latest principles of military science, and defended by modern
long-range artillery, was being besieged; and like the old walled
cities of the 17th and 18th centuries, its defences could only be
overcome by sap and mine and parallel. So much the assailants had
learnt to their cost in their earlier and futile attempts at taking the
place by storm. The exigencies of these operations led to the adoption
of many ingenious devices by the forces on both sides--such, for
instance, as a steel bullet-proof shield to protect the pioneer engaged
in cutting wire entanglements; and the deadly grenade charged with
dynamite, flung into the enemy's trenches by the hand or by means of
wooden mortars bound with bamboo. At first the Japanese had chosen the
night time for their assaults, but this plan had to be abandoned owing
to the effective employment by the Russians of searchlights and star
shells, the former having the effect not only of exposing the
assaulting troops to the fire of the defenders, but blinding them in
their advance on their objective. Throughout the siege the defenders
had shown not only indomitable courage, but inexhaustible resource, and
in spite of all the discouragement which the steady and inexorable
advance of the Japanese might have been supposed to inflict, they
continued equal to every demand on their fortitude. From time to time
supplies reached them by means of blockade-runners, but this was but a
precarious and inadequate means of replenishing the stores on which
such a long and severe strain had been made. And yet, in spite of all
rumors to the effect that ammunition was running short, the great guns
continued to hurl their defiance at the Japanese artillery, and never
in any single instance was the defence weakened by a failure of powder
and shot. Though the Russians had failed to foresee many things which
the course of the war has proved to have been fairly obvious, no one
can pretend that they failed to equip their great stronghold in the Far
East in a manner worthy of its claim to rank as "the Gibraltar of the
East." After nearly six months of close investment and almost
continuous bombardment, the fortress still held at bay an enemy who had
proved himself, not only before the defences of Port Arthur, but in
many a stricken field beside, to possess fighting qualities rarely
equalled and never surpassed in the world's history of warfare--an
enemy, too, who possessed every resource of military science, and who
had studied in the best military schools. The fact that the Japanese,
who had confidently expected to take Port Arthur before the end of the
summer had not even by the middle of November made a decisive breach in
its main defences, speaks volumes for the character of those defences.
But even the strongest fortifications that human ingenuity can
construct are only formidable when men of high spirit man them; and the
chief credit for having baffled so long the most desperate efforts of
Japanese skill and courage must ever be given to General Stoessel and
the men who, serving under him, became infected with his spirit and
inspired by his example. By the middle of November the Japanese lines
had, indeed, been drawn very close round the devoted citadel of the
Czar. They were in possession of the eastern ridge, and held
practically at their mercy that great ring of fortified hills which
shuts in Port Arthur from the Dalny side. They had cut the main water
supply of the garrison, and they had possessed themselves of important
ground to the north of the old town, and their siege guns were able to
render the dockyards and the harbor untenable for ships of war. To the
west the advance had been less signal, and their foothold on the great
ridge which commands the fortress on the western side was at best
slight and precarious; while not even the faintest impression had been
made on the great chain of fortifications at Liau-tie-shan, in the
extreme south corner of the peninsula.

[Sidenote: The Undaunted Stoessel]

Tremendous efforts had been made to achieve the capture of the place by
the 3rd November, the birthday of the Mikado; but that auspicious day
passed without the fall of Port Arthur seeming to be in any degree
nearer, while General Stoessel continued to send cheerful and undaunted
messages to his Imperial master whenever a boat succeeded in running
the blockade of the Japanese fleet and in reaching Chifu. Through all
these protracted and strenuous operations, the losses of the Japanese
had been very severe; they cannot have been less than 40,000 men, and
they may have been considerably more. The garrison had suffered less
severely, but in the absence of reserves their losses were even more
serious, and by the middle of November the total effective force was
little more than 10,000 men. It will ever be a mystery how a force so
utterly inferior to its enemy, defending, a wide perimeter of
fortifications, every point of which was daily liable to fierce assault
and bombardment, could for so many weeks endure the awful strain to
which it was subjected. Yet the indomitable garrison was never
quiescent or passive in its resistance. Besides repelling assault, it
engaged in continual sorties and counter-attacks, and often, when
driven from an essential position succeeded in recapturing it at the
point of the bayonet. A remarkable instance of this offensive capacity
was furnished in the course of the great assault from the 19th
September to the 26th September. In operating from the north against
the defences of the Shuishi Valley, which lies between Antszshan and
Urlungshan, the Japanese, after their first success, pressed on against
High Hill, a position of the most vital importance to the defence, as
it permitted the principal forts on the west of the town to be taken in
reverse. As any attempt to retake the hill must be a desperate
enterprise, General Stoessel refused to issue an order for its
recapture, but called for volunteers. The requisite number were at once
forthcoming, and led by Lieutenant Podgorsky, they attacked the
Japanese with grenades and drove them from the position which they had
already begun to entrench.

In his dispatch of the 23rd September, this is how General Stoessel
reports the affair:--

[Sidenote: The Gallant Podgorsky]

"The last assault on High Hill was repulsed to-day at 5 o'clock in the
morning. The enemy had actually occupied some of the defences of the
High Hill position and had placed machine-guns in them, which they
directed against our troops. Lieutenant Podgorsky was dispatched to
this part of the field by General Kondrachenko with a force of
chasseurs and engineers, who under the direction of Colonel Irmann
hurled grenades filled with pyroxiline into the works held by the
Japanese. These exploded among the enemy, who fled in panic. Captain
Sytcheff, of the 5th Regiment, pursued the flying foe with chasseurs.
Colonel Irmann attributes the principal share in the work of compelling
the enemy to withdraw entirely from High Hill to Lieutenant Podgorsky.
The Japanese lost over 10,000 men. All our troops distinguished
themselves. General Kondrachenko, Colonel Irmann, Captain Sytcheff, and
Lieutenant Podgorsky won special distinction. The troops fought
heroically, particularly the 5th Regiment. The whole garrison down to
the last man is resolved to defend Russia's bulwark in the Far East to
the last drop of blood."

[Sidenote: World-wide Admiration]

But even the greatest heroism cannot achieve the impossible; and in
spite of Stoessel's persistent optimism, it became evident that his
powers of resistance were daily diminishing. An attempt on the part of
the Japanese General to induce the garrison to capitulate in spite of
their leader, met with no response; but throughout the civilized world,
whose sympathy and admiration had been deeply stirred by the heroic
stand of Port Arthur's garrison, voices were lifted to urge that no
more useless sacrifice of noble life should be permitted; and that the
men who had done so much for the honor of the Czar should be spared at
least the last mortal agony of the struggle with the inevitable.

[Sidenote: Uncertain News]

On the 15th, however, a Russian torpedo-boat bearing dispatches from
Stoessel managed to elude the blockade and to reach Chifu, pursued by
Japanese destroyers. The boat was warned that it must leave the neutral
harbor within twenty-four hours or be disarmed, and rather than submit
to either of these alternatives, the officer in command blew his vessel
up. But his work had been done; and his dispatches containing the
latest accounts of the position at Port Arthur reached St. Petersburg.
Immediately afterwards the report arrived that General Kuropatkin had
been empowered to treat for terms of capitulation for Port Arthur. But
whether that was in fact the result of Stoessel's message, or whether
the Czar's Government received from it encouragement in the belief that
Port Arthur could hold out till the arrival of the Baltic Fleet, is a
question which is still unanswered.

[Illustration: THE REMNANT OF A REGIMENT--AFTER THE BATTLE OF THE
SHA-HO.]



                              CHAPTER XII.

  The North Sea Outrage--Seizures of Neutrals--The Case of the
    "Malacca"--The Baltic Fleet--Departure at Last--Russian
    Alarms--In the North Sea--Bringing Home the News--Russian
    Allegations--Naval Preparations--Supplementary Information--The
    Baltic Fleet Proceeds to Madagascar.


[Sidenote: The North Sea Outrage]

No sooner had the echoes of the terrific battle of the Sha-ho begun to
subside than the attention of the civilized world, which had so long
been concentrated on the vicissitudes of the Titanic struggle in the
Far East, was suddenly focussed on a spot separated from the theatre of
war by more than half the circumference of the globe, and on an
incident fraught, as it seemed, with more direful and tremendous
consequences even than the momentous rupture between Russia and Japan.
On the 15th of October, Russia's Baltic Fleet--which for many months
had been preparing as a reinforcement to the Pacific Squadron--at last
left port on its voyage to the Far East; and within six days of its
departure it had so effectually asserted itself as a factor in the
naval situation that Europe, shocked and startled, woke up one morning
to find itself hanging on the perilous brink of that Armageddon which
has been the nightmare of statesmen for the last twenty years. In
passing through the North Sea, the Russian fleet--for causes which have
yet to be fully elicited--fired on a flotilla of British fishing-boats
engaged in trawling on the Dogger Bank; killed and wounded several of
the fishermen; sunk one of the trawlers, and more or less grievously
injured others. When the news of this amazing outrage was published a
storm of indignation and resentment swept over England such as has not
been known for more than a generation; and feeling was embittered and
intensified to a truly dangerous pitch, first by the callous
indifference displayed by the perpetrators of the outrage, and next by
the indisposition of the Russian Government to offer those immediate
apologies and amends which alone could palliate so wanton a breach of
the comity of nations. It seemed for the moment that Russia had
deliberately designed to provoke England to hostilities, in the hope of
redeeming her own desperate position by extending the area of the
conflict and by dragging into it first the ally of Japan, and by
consequence her own ally, France. The prospect, though almost too
terrible to contemplate, did not for a moment quench the resolution of
the people of England, where men of all parties were found standing
shoulder to shoulder in the demand for ample reparation. What made the
situation especially dangerous was that public patience had at last
been well-nigh exhausted by the repeated provocations of
Russia--provocations which the North Sea outrage was only the crown and
culmination. To understand this fact, it is necessary to go back a
little.

[Sidenote: Seizures of Neutrals]

When Russia found that she could not hope successfully to contest the
supremacy of the sea with Japan, she turned her attention to the
subsidiary enterprise of commerce-raiding. In this task the
Vladivostock Squadron were particularly active, and, unsated by the
destruction of such Japanese transports and trading vessels as they
encountered, seized or sunk many vessels flying neutral flags. On the
16th of June the Vladivostock cruisers seized the _Allanton_, a British
steamer, carrying coal from Hokkaido Island to Singapore. There was
nothing contraband in the cargo or destination of this vessel, as the
subsequent decision of the St. Petersburg Prize Court proved, yet the
_Allanton_ was confiscated, and her crew held prisoners at Vladivostock
for months. The real reason for this high-handed conduct was that the
_Allanton_ had previously carried a cargo of coal from Cardiff to
Japan--but she had been chartered for that voyage before the outbreak
of war. On the 16th of July the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company's
steamer, the _Hispang_, was wantonly sunk in Pigeon Bay by a Russian
torpedo-boat. The _Hispang_ was engaged in a lawful trade; there was no
suggestion that she carried contraband; and indeed no examination of
her cargo was even attempted. She was flying the British flag, and she
stopped directly she was ordered to do so. But in spite of these facts,
a Russian torpedo-boat came straight out to her and sunk her--the
captain, officers, and passengers being rescued with difficulty. It was
afterwards confessed by the Russian officer that did this deed that his
orders were given under the impression that the _Hispang_ was the
steamer _Haimum_, which was being employed by the London _Times_'
correspondent. On the 26th of July an equally gross outrage was
perpetrated by the Vladivostock Squadron, who, besides unjustifiably
seizing the _Chalcas_, deliberately sunk on the 23rd of July the
British steamer _Knight Commander_. This vessel was carrying rails for
Japan; and even if such a cargo could be regarded as contraband, there
was no excuse for sinking the vessel. Such an act, in the words of Mr.
Balfour and Lord Lansdowne, constituted "a grave breach of
international law"; and it was aggravated by the circumstances in which
it was committed. The captain and crew were ordered to get clear of the
vessel in ten minutes, and such was the haste with which they were
compelled to leave the boats in order to save their lives, that nearly
all the personal effects had to be sacrificed. The growing irritation
with these acts was brought to a head in England by the famous case of
the _Malacca_--a P. and O. mail steamship which was seized by Russian
cruisers in the Red Sea on the 19th July. At the beginning of June two
vessels of the Russian Volunteer Fleet in the Black Sea--the
_Petersburg_ and the _Smolensk_--were "designated for Government
service outside the Black Sea." Even their commanders were kept in the
dark as to their destination and the nature of the service that they
were to perform. The two vessels, which, as warships, would not by
international treaty have been able to leave the Black Sea, passed
through the Dardanelles under the commercial flag, and then steered
straight to the Suez Canal, where the non-belligerent character was
still maintained. But it seems that on reaching Constantinople the
commanders had been informed that their ships had been raised to the
rank of second-class cruisers in the Russian fleet; and no sooner had
the Red Sea been reached than the _Petersburg_ and the _Smolensk_ put
off their commercial disguise and put on the character of ships of war.
They flew the naval flag, and mounted the armament of 5in.
quick-firers, which had been up to that moment securely stowed away.
The Government service for which they had been designated was that of
searching for contraband on neutral vessels, and the _soi-disant_
cruisers lost no time in demonstrating their zeal. All this time, by
the way, the Russian Admiralty was strenuously denying that the
_Petersburg_ and the _Smolensk_ had left the Black Sea at all. On the
15th July the commerce-raiders began operations, rather tactlessly, by
stopping and seizing the German mail steamer, _Prinz Heinrich_, and by
confiscating the Japanese mails. The indignation and astonishment of
the German public had only begun to make itself heard, when it was
distracted by the intelligence that the P. and O. steamer _Malacca_ had
also been stopped, and had been actually brought back to Suez in charge
of a Russian prize crew. The vessel, flying the Russian flag, reached
Suez on the 19th July, and on the 20th the English Government, moved
thereto by the clamor which began to be heard both in Parliament and in
the press, addressed to the Government of the Czar a strongly-worded
protest against the seizure and a demand that the _Malacca_ should be
instantly released. The demand was based on the irregular position of
the _Petersburg_--a vessel which, if a ship of war, ought not to have
passed the Dardanelles, and which, if not a ship of war, had no right
to stop and search neutral vessels. This contention was unanswerable;
for it is evident that if a ship could be permitted to change its
character at will, it could perform all the functions of a ship of war
and still enjoy all the privileges of a non-belligerent at neutral
ports.

[Sidenote: Case of the "Malacca"]

Incidentally it was pointed out in Lord Lansdowne's dispatch that the
ammunition found on board the _Malacca_ belonged to the British
Government, and was intended for the China Squadron. It subsequently
came to light that the seizure of the _Malacca_ was no mere accident;
but that the vessel had been waited for by the Russian cruisers acting
on secret information from Russian agents at Antwerp. For several days
no reply was vouchsafed by the Russian Government, and feeling in this
country rose to such a height that the situation became dangerous.
While the whole British nation was chafing under the indignity and
affront, the _Malacca_ was being navigated by her prize crew, with
almost deliberate insolence, through the Suez Canal on the way to the
Baltic port of Libau. A British liner, in the eyes of the whole world,
was made an ignominious captive, and, like a pickpocket in the clutch
of a police-constable, was dragged away to judgment. The humiliation of
the situation was aggravated by the fact that at Suez--a port of the
English Protectorate of Egypt--the Russian officer in charge of the
_Malacca_ demanded to be supplied with coal, water, and provisions. In
spite of the strong representations which had been made by the British
Government, nothing was done at St. Petersburg to alleviate the
situation. The _Malacca_ reached Suez on the 19th of July and Port Said
on the 20th, and on the 21st she sailed unconcernedly for her
destination, which was ostentatiously announced to be Libau. Then at
last the Russian Government broke the silence. Having inflicted the
greatest possible humiliation on this country, they were pleased to
accept the assurances of the British Government that the prize had no
contraband on board, and to consent that the _Malacca_ should not be
brought before a Prize Court. A claim for damages for detention was to
be admitted, and the vessel was to be handed over to the British
authorities at "some Mediterranean port," after formal examination in
the presence of the British Consul. On the 27th July the terms of this
agreement--so extravagantly indulgent to Russia--were carried out, and
the incident of the _Malacca_ closed; but there remained still
unsettled the fundamental question of the status of the volunteer
cruisers, _Smolensk_ and _Petersburg_. Meanwhile, for the German liner
_Scandia_, which had been seized on the 23rd July, very different
treatment was reserved--she was released on the following day. The only
public recognition of the protests of the British Government which was
given by the Government of the Czar was the publication on the 3rd
August of an official communication declaring that "the special
commission" of the cruisers _Petersburg_ and _Smolensk_ had "expired;"
and these vessels promptly disappeared from the Red Sea. But their
mischievous career was not yet at an end. Although the Russian
Government had specifically promised that they should not be employed
in searching neutral shipping any longer, the world was startled at the
end of August to learn that the British steamer _Comedian_ had been
stopped 80 miles from East London and 10 miles only from the coast of
British territory by a mysterious Russian cruiser. The unpleasant
impression in England was deepened when it was discovered that this
strange cruiser was no other than the _Smolensk_ of Red Sea fame. Well
might Mr. Balfour, who received at this moment a deputation of British
shipowners, declare that the incident had produced "a painful
impression" in the minds of the English Government. Representations to
the Russian Government produced the characteristic excuse that the
messages sent to the _Smolensk_ and _Petersburg_ had not reached their
destination. There is, indeed, good reason to believe that the Russian
Admiralty, which had done its best to thwart the Russian Foreign
Office, had taken particularly good care that the messages should be
delayed until the _Petersburg_ and _Smolensk_ were out of reach. But
realizing the gravity of the situation, and protesting their own
helplessness, the Russian Government now invited the British Government
itself to communicate to the raiders a cypher message of recall.
Accordingly the cruisers on the Cape Station were sent out to find the
delinquents; and on the 5th September they were discovered coaling in
the territorial waters of Zanzibar with German colliers in attendance.
Their whereabout was at any rate sufficiently well known for them to
command the means to replenish their bunkers, and as soon as they saw a
British warship, they prepared for instant flight. But H.M.S. _Forte_
managed to communicate to them the orders of their own Government, and
as these were too unequivocal to be disregarded, the raiding career of
the _Petersburg_ and _Smolensk_ forthwith came to an end. But they had
done enough, in conjunction with the Vladivostock Squadron, to rouse
feeling in England to a high pitch of irritation; and to make it
ill-prepared to endure with patience or forbearance the greater and
still more wanton outrage with which the Baltic Fleet was to inaugurate
its voyage to the Far East.

[Sidenote: The Baltic Fleet]

The dispatch of this fleet had been the feverish pre-occupation of the
Russian Admiralty from the moment that the first disasters befell the
Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur. Naval reinforcements were on the way,
it will be remembered, at the outbreak of war, and had reached the Red
Sea; but they were recalled when the news of the successful torpedo
attack on the Port Arthur Fleet reached Europe. It was realized how
vital must be the command of the sea to the achievement of victory; and
Russia at once set about preparing an Armada which should restore to
her the naval preponderance so suddenly lost. At first the intention,
which was so loudly proclaimed, was not taken quite seriously; but it
was decidedly encouraged as the weeks went on and as the resisting
power of Port Arthur to assault gave hopes that the new fleet might
still find a warm-water port to receive it. At first the departure of
the Baltic Fleet was announced for June; though everyone knew the
design, only formed perhaps to reassure public opinion in Russia, was
incapable of fulfilment. Then June came, and the date of departure was
again postponed; and in July the world was informed that there was "no
hurry;" and that it had been thought advisable to "test thoroughly" the
new ships and to familiarize the officers and crews with their work.
All through the summer the game of fixing the day of departure and then
postponing it went merrily on; but on the 15th August Admiral
Rozhestvensky, on whom supreme command of the fleet had been bestowed,
went on board the flagship with his staff; and received from the Port
Admiral at Kronstadt by signal a formal message of farewell. But
nothing more happened, except that on the 20th August it was announced
that the Baltic Fleet would not leave before the 28th September.

[Illustration: HUGE SIEGE GUNS BEFORE PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Departure at Last]

On the 26th August the fleet went for a trial trip with the most
discouraging results, for several of the new ships broke down and the
battleship _Orel_ ran aground, inflicting structural injuries on
herself. Early in September there was another false alarm. Danish
pilots had been procured, and on the 11th September the fleet again put
to sea; but it only got as far as the port of Libau, and the next news
was that it would remain there "some weeks longer" for firing practice
and manoeuvres. The next definite date fixed was the 7th October; but
two days later than that the fleet had only got as far as Reval, where
it was inspected and blessed by the Czar in person. On the 15th
October, however, the long delay at last came to an end, and the fleet,
consisting of thirty-six vessels, actually left Russian waters.

It is necessary now to describe the fleet in which Russia had placed so
many of her hopes. The class and character of the principal vessels is
best realized from a table:--

                       Displace- Indic'd  Nom'l      Gun      W'ght of
                        ment in  horse-  speed in  Protec'n  b'side fire
     BATTLESHIPS.        tons.   power.   knots.  in inches.   in lbs.

     Kniaz Suvaroff
       (flagship)       13,516   16,800     18       11.6       4,426
     Alexander III      13,516   16,800     18       11.6       4,426
     Borodino           13,516   16,800     18       11.6       4,426
     Orel               13,516   16,800     18       11.6       4,426
     Ossliabia          12,674   14,500     18       10.5       2,672
     Sissoi Veliky
       (flagship)        8,880   10,400     16       12.5       3,186
     Navarin             9,476   18,206     16       12.5       3,404

                       Displace- Indic'd  Nom'l      Gun      W'ght of
                        ment in  horse-  speed in  Protec'n  b'side fire
                         tons.   power.   knots.  in inches.   in lbs.

     ARMORED CRUISERS.

     Admiral Nakhimoff   8,500    9,000    16.7       6          944
     Dmitri Donskoi      5,893    7,000     16       6.2         444

     PROTECTED

     Oleg                6,675   19,500     23        4          872
     Aurora              6,630   11,600     20       4.5         632
     Svietlana           3,828    8,500     20        4          476
     Almaz               3,285    7,500     19        --         184
     Jemtchug            3,200    7,000     24        --         184
     Izumrud             3,200    7,000     24        --         184

[Sidenote: Strength of Baltic Fleet]

In addition to these ships there was a torpedo flotilla of 7 destroyers
of 28 knots speed, and 8 torpedo-boats; the following vessels of the
Volunteer Fleet: _Kiev_, _Vladimir_, _Voronej_ (each of 10,500 tons and
with a speed of 12 knots), _Tambov_, and _Yawslar_ (each of 8,640 tons
and with a speed of 12 knots); 13 transports armed with light guns; and
a hospital ship, the _Orel_--not to be confused with the battleship of
the same name. On paper, at least, this was a very formidable fleet;
but its fighting efficiency appears much reduced on analysis. There
were four modern battleships of a powerful type and of homogeneous
design; but their value is much discounted by the fact that some of
their consorts are distinctly less powerful; and in naval warfare the
manoeuvring power of a fleet becomes that of its weakest item. This
was proved very signally on the occasion of the engagement between
Admiral Kamimura and the Vladivostock Squadron, when the Russian
cruisers _Gromoboi_ and _Rossia_ suffered most severely from having to
stand by the _Rurik_, the lame duck of the squadron. The _Ossliabia_,
it is true was not much inferior to the battleships of the _Kniaz
Suvaroff_ class. She was a sister ship to the _Peresviet_ and
_Pobieda_, sunk in the harbor of Port Arthur, and was launched in 1898.
But the _Sissoi Veliky_ and the _Navarin_ both dated from 1891, and
were distinctly inferior in the all-important matter of speed, even
their nominal speed never having been attained. The only armored
cruisers with the Baltic Fleet--the _Admiral Nakhimoff_ and the _Dmiti
Donskoi_--were barely entitled to their description, as they have a low
speed, light armor, and comparatively small gun power. Certainly they
were not fit, like the best armored cruisers of to-day, to lie in the
line of battle. Some of the other cruisers were little more than armed
merchantmen, and none of them were formidable warships. Another
circumstance that detracted from the fighting value of this fleet was
the character of the officers and crews. All Russia's best and most
highly-trained sailors and marine engineers were sent out before the
war to the Pacific Squadron; and she had no adequate reserve to draw
on. The modern man-of-war's-man--whether he is in the engine-room or on
the gun-deck--is a highly specialized product, and he cannot be turned
out at a moment's notice. Stokers, artificers, engineers, as well as
torpedo lieutenants, gunners, and even admirals, have to be carefully
trained for years before they become efficient, and the inefficiency
and inexperience of the scratch crews and raw officers put on board the
Baltic Fleet was the main cause of the long delay in that fleet's
departure and of the disaster that occurred immediately after the start
had been made, and that nearly brought the voyage to a tragic and
ignominious conclusion. When all these circumstances were taken into
consideration, it became obvious that the Baltic Fleet was hopelessly
inferior to the fleet which, on reaching Far Eastern waters, it would
have to encounter in order to wrest from the Japanese their command of
the sea. But one question, even more urgent than that of the fate which
would befall the fleet on arrival, was how it was to overcome the
difficulties of the voyage. Russia had no coaling stations; and coaling
at sea from attendant colliers has not yet become a feasible operation
for a great fleet. The larger vessels would require from 5,000 to 6,000
tons of coal each, and the smaller cruisers from 2,000 to 3,000 tons in
the course of a voyage of nearly 13,000 miles, occupying at least 100
days, and very possibly 30 days more. But the coaling difficulty proved
less insuperable than it had appeared, and Russia's energy and
ingenuity in overcoming it were the first symptoms that she meant the
Baltic Fleet to be taken seriously. Negotiations for the supply of coal
were opened with English firms; but our Foreign Office ruled that such
contracts would be an infringement of neutrality. The Germans, however,
were much more complaisant; and their attitude of "benevolent
neutrality," as Count Von Bulow called it, enabled them to meet all
demands of Russia. Large orders for English coal to be delivered to
German consignees at neutral ports were received at Cardiff; and this
coal was then transferred to the ports at which the Baltic Fleet was to
call. According to the strict interpretation of international law these
facilities for coaling in port ought not to have been extended to the
fleet of a belligerent. But Russia was a close neighbor of the Powers
concerned, and the ally of one of them, while her enemy was a long way
off; and so it happened that Admiral Rozhdestvensky suffered no more
inconvenience than if he had been engaged on a yachting cruise. He and
his fleet put into any port that they fancied, and stayed, practically,
as long as they had a mind to!

[Sidenote: Russian Alarms]

The Baltic Fleet was divided into three divisions, and on the 16th-18th
October the first division left Libau. The daring surprise attacks of
the Japanese torpedo-boats at Port Arthur had filled the minds of the
Russian naval authorities with every kind of misgiving; and by some
means not yet disclosed, they had become possessed of the idea that the
Japanese meditated an attempt on the Baltic Fleet during its passage
through the narrow waters of the Danish Straits and the North Sea.
Rumors of mysterious Japanese agents, endeavoring to charter vessels in
obscure Danish and Norwegian ports filled the Russian newspapers. On
the 14th October Admiral Wirenius, the Chief of the Russian Admiralty,
solemnly declared to an interviewer that the narrow waters of the Belt
and the Sound were particularly favorable for a surprise attack; that
officers of the Japanese Navy were known to have left for Europe; and
that there was reason to apprehend an attempt to throw mines in the
track of the Russian Squadron in the Danish Straits. The state of
"nerves" to which the Russian naval officers had been reduced by these
apprehensions was shown when, as the Russian fleet passed through the
Kattegat, an attempt was made to deliver to the Russian Admiral a
cypher dispatch that had arrived from St. Petersburg. Two fishermen
were sent out with the dispatch in a motor-launch, but when their
vessel approached the flagship the searchlights were turned on, and
blank charges fired to forbid a nearer approach. The dispatch was taken
in by a boat launched by the battleship for the purpose.

[Sidenote: In the North Sea]

On the 19th of October the first division of the fleet passed through
the Kattegat; and by the 21st of October all the ships had left Danish
waters and entered on their course down the North Sea. Immediately
followed an occurrence almost without parallel in naval history--an
occurrence that was only saved from inextinguishable ridicule and
contempt by the tragic consequences which it unhappily involved. On
this memorable night of Friday, the 21st of October, some fifty vessels
of the Hull fishing fleet were engaged in trawling on the Dogger
Bank--one of the places in the North Sea most frequented by the
fishermen not only of Great Britain, but of Germany, Denmark, Holland
and Norway. It is a prominent figure in all charts of the North Sea,
and to every sailor and seafaring man its situation and character are
perfectly familiar. The Hull fishermen, of the Gamecock and Great
Northern Fleets, had their trawls down and were thus deprived of the
possibility of rapid movement, when about midnight they sighted a
number of warships steaming from the northeast. At first they did not
suspect that it was the Russian Baltic Fleet that had come their way,
because in that event the fleet must have been navigating some 40 miles
out of the true course; but very soon their ignorance was enlightened.
While the men were watching the passing warships, searchlights were
suddenly flashed on the trawlers, and then, to the horror and amazement
of these innocent fishermen engaged peaceably in their lawful
occupations, a sudden storm of shot and shell broke upon them from
unknown men-of-war. The steam-trawler _Crane_ was sunk and its skipper
and mate were decapitated by a shell, and all but one of the crew were
injured; while the trawlers _Moulmein_ and _Mino_ were seriously
damaged, the latter vessel having no fewer than sixteen holes in her.
From the evidence given at the subsequent inquiries the following facts
were elicited: All the trawlers had their own lights up--namely, a
lantern showing a white light ahead, a green light on the starboard
side, a red light on the port side. Several vessels also had lights in
the fishing pound so that the men could work on deck. None of the
trawlers were without lights. As the approaching vessels came nearer
they were seen to signal to one another in a way that conveyed to the
minds of the trawlers that they were warships. Some of the vessels were
in advance of the others. The exact number was very difficult to tell,
but in the first division there were probably four or five. They passed
the trawlers to the westward, where the admiral's trawler, the _Ruff_,
was, and to the eastward of a few of the trawlers. One of them, at any
rate, showed a searchlight. They passed on, and nothing happened. It
was noticed that they were signalling to the other vessels behind, and
that the other vessels were repeating the signals and signalling to
each other. These other vessels then came on to the eastward of the
admiral's ship, _Ruff_, but there were trawlers on both sides of them.
Then, without any warning to the trawlers, these vessels opened fire.
The crews on the trawlers were at first under the impression that it
was a sham fight in some manoeuvres, but they soon discovered that it
was live shot. Some of the warships fired from both port and starboard
side. After the firing had begun, this second division of vessels came
more to the west, and there were others which came down more to the
east. The third division, which came furthest to the eastward, came
near some of the outlying trawlers, who were more to the south and
east. They turned their searchlights upon them. A great many of the
trawlers, in the attempt to get away from the firing when it began,
lost their trawls or damaged them.

[Illustration: THIRSTY JAPANESE TROOPS CROSSING THE SHA-HO.]

[Sidenote: Bringing Home the News]

On Sunday night, the 23rd of October, two steam trawlers, one of them
flying her flag at half-mast, and both riddled with shot, entered St
Andrew's Dock at Hull. Their own condition, and the lifeless and
mutilated bodies that they brought with them, were ghastly confirmation
of the amazing tidings that they had to tell; and next morning, not
only England, but all the world, was ringing with the news of the
Baltic fleet's first warlike exploit. Amazement quickly gave place to
indignation--an indignation of passionate intensity; and with one voice
the people of England cried aloud for retribution at any cost on the
perpetrators of so wanton an outrage. Nor was this indignation confined
to the countrymen of the victims. In the United States, in France, and
even in Germany, unsparing reprobation of a deed so unjustifiable was
freely uttered; and the belief was confidently expressed that the only
possible explanation was to be found in the undiscipline and probable
drunken frenzy of the Russian naval officers. Be it remembered, too,
that the heinousness of the offence was infinitely increased by the
fact that the Russian ships, whose commanders must have discovered
their grievous blunder before leaving the neighborhood of the Dogger
Bank, made no effort to ascertain the injury they had inflicted, or to
render help to their innocent victims. Neither did the Russian Admiral
condescend to make the least report of the circumstances. He and his
fleet proceeded on their way as if the sinking of fishing-boats and the
slaughtering of fishermen were too trifling an incident to engage
serious attention and notice; and when the news of the outrage reached
London, the Baltic Squadron had already been sighted in the Channel. No
Government could sit down under such provocation as this, and the
English ministers, who realized well enough the dangerous pitch to
which public feeling had been wrought, lost no time in addressing the
strongest demands for immediate redress to St. Petersburg, accompanied
by the intimation that the situation was one not admitting of delay.
Their action was emphasized by that of King Edward himself, who, in
sending a subscription of 200 guineas for the relief of the sufferers,
declared that he had heard with profound sorrow of the "unwarrantable
action" to which the North Sea fishing-fleet had been subjected. The
principal witnesses of the outrage were summoned at once to the Foreign
Office, and Lord Lansdowne had long audience of the King, while the
Prime Minister, who happened to be in Scotland, came back post-haste to
London. On the 25th of October Count Lamsdorff, the Russian Minister
for Foreign Affairs, called at the British Embassy in St. Petersburg
and requested the British Ambassador, Sir Charles Hardinge, to convey
to King Edward and the British Government a message from the Czar, who,
while he had received no message from the Admiral in command of the
Baltic Fleet, could only attribute "the incident in the North Sea to a
very regrettable misunderstanding". It was added that the Czar wished
to express his sincere regret for the sad loss of life that had
occurred, and to say that he would take steps to afford complete
satisfaction to the sufferers as soon as the circumstances of the case
were cleared up. These assurances, though far from adequate, would have
done something to calm the temper of public opinion in England if they
had been accompanied by any sign of a similar spirit in the Czar's
advisers. But the latter seemed inclined to be as intractable as the
Russian press was impenitent. While the Russian Government pursued a
policy of delay and evasion, the Russian newspapers roundly denied that
any blame attached to the Baltic Fleet, and scouted all idea of
reparation; and all the time Admiral Rozhdestvensky was proceeding
serenely on his voyage. On the 26th of October his battleships arrived
at Vigo Harbor, where at last he took the trouble to communicate his
report of what had happened to St. Petersburg. The statement is such an
amazing one that it may be given in full. It was communicated to the
world under the authority of the Russian Naval General Staff, and ran
as follows:--

"1.--The incident in the North Sea was provoked by two torpedo-boats
which, without showing any lights, under cover of darkness, advanced to
attack the vessel steaming at the head of the detachment. When the
detachment began to sweep the sea with its searchlights and opened
fire, the presence was also discovered of several small steam vessels
resembling small steam fishing-boats. The detachment endeavored to
spare these boats and ceased fire as soon as the torpedo-boats were out
of sight.

"The English press is horrified at the idea that the torpedo-boats of
the squadron, left by detachment until the morning on the scene of the
occurrence, did not render assistance to the victims. Now, there was
not a single torpedo-boat with the detachment and none were left on the
scene of the occurrence. In consequence, it was one of the two
torpedo-boats which was not sunk, but which was only damaged, which
remained until the morning near the small steam craft. The detachment
did not assist the small steam craft because it suspected them of
complicity, in view of their obstinate persistence in cutting the line
of advance of the warships. Several of them did not show any lights at
all. The others showed them very late.

"2.--Having met several hundreds of fishing-boats, the squadron showed
them every consideration, except where they were in company of the
foreign torpedo-boats, one of which disappeared, while the other,
according to the evidence of the fishermen themselves, remained among
them until the morning. They believed her to be a Russian vessel, and
were indignant that she did not come to the assistants of the victims.
She was, however, a foreigner, and remained until the morning looking
for the other torpedo-boat, her companion, either with the object of
repairing her damage or from fear of betraying herself to those who
were not accomplices.

"If there were also on the scene of the occurrence fishermen
imprudently involved in this enterprise, I beg, in the name of the
whole fleet, to express our sincere regret for the unfortunate victims
of circumstances in which no warship could, even in time of profound
peace, have acted otherwise."

[Sidenote: Naval Preparations]

But before this preposterous and long-delayed explanation was
vouchsafed, the British Government had taken steps to prove that they
were not in the mood to be trifled with, and that the subjects of the
greatest naval power in the world were not to be shot down with
impunity. To the intense satisfaction of the whole nation, an instant
mobilization of the British fleets in European waters was ordered. The
Home Fleet, which had been cruising away to the north of Scotland, was
ordered south; the Channel Fleet, lying at Gibraltar, was warned to be
in instant readiness for active service; and the Mediterranean Fleet
was instructed to join up with the Channel Fleet with all speed. The
naval dockyards were kept working night and day to prepare the reserve
fleet for commission, and to be ready for the demands which an
immediate outbreak of war might involve. In forty-eight hours every
requisite preparation had been completed, and three fleets, any one of
them capable of dealing faithfully with Admiral Rozhdestvensky's
squadron, were ready for instant action. Directly in the path of the
Baltic Fleet, now assembled at Vigo, lay the Channel Fleet under the
command of Lord Charles Beresford, and so acute was the crisis that it
seemed as if at any moment that fleet might be ordered to take the sea.
Among the secret preparations made was the dispatch of four battleships
from the Channel Squadron at Gibraltar to Portland and the assembly of
all available submarines at Dover. What made the situation especially
dangerous was the conflict which in this hour of desperate emergency
was being waged between the Russian Admiralty and the Russian Foreign
Office. The former department, which had done so much to aggravate the
case of the _Malacca_ and to flout the assurances which had been given
as to the withdrawal of the _Petersburg_ and _Smolensk_, was now
determined that no surrender should be made to the British demands for
satisfaction in the matter of the North Sea outrage; and for several
days the more pacific Foreign Office wrestled with these fire-eaters in
vain. War between England and Russia, with the prospect of indefinite
extension to other countries, seemed inevitable; but thanks largely to
the friendly offices of the French Government, who, as the ally of
Russia and the friend of Great Britain, had exceptional claims to act
as an intermediary between the disputants, a settlement was at length
arrived at. On the 28th of October, Mr. Balfour was able to announce to
the world that that morning an agreement had been arrived at which
averted all further apprehension of the rupture of peaceful relations.
Great Britain and Russia had consented to refer the case in dispute to
an impartial International Tribunal of Inquiry; the terms of the
Convention, which were signed after much further negotiation on the
24th of November, being as follows:--

1.--The Commission is to consist of five members, namely, officers of
Great Britain, Russia, the United States, and France. The fifth
Commissioner is to be selected by agreement between them. If they
cannot agree, the choice to be entrusted to the king of a country
subsequently to be determined upon.

2.--The Commission is to report on all the circumstances relating to
the disaster and to establish the responsibility.

3.--The Commission is to have power to settle all questions of
procedure.

4.--The parties bind themselves to supply the Commission with all
necessary information, facilities, &c.

5.--The Commission is to meet at Paris as soon as possible after the
signature of the Convention.

6.--The report of the Commission is to be officially communicated to
the respective Governments.

[Sidenote: Russian Allegations]

Not the least interesting part of Mr. Balfour's statement was that in
which he examined and dealt with the justification which Admiral
Rozhdestvensky had put forward, and in particular with the allegation
that the Russian fleet had been attacked by torpedo-boats. This
allegation, as Mr. Balfour pointed out, involved a charge of bad faith
on the part of Great Britain, and such a charge he indignantly
resented. If only one torpedo-boat was sunk, what, he pertinently
asked, had become of the other? The world did not require to be
convinced of the essential absurdity of this story; but the Russians
persisted in it with determination. The most circumstantial narratives
were presently forthcoming from the four officers who had been detained
to give evidence before the International Commission. One narrator
stated that information of the presence of Japanese torpedo-boats in
the Norway fiords, and of the Japanese having hired fishing vessels in
Hull, Southampton, Hamburg, and Christiania, had been received by the
Russians. He proceeded as follows: "We lodged information of the
Japanese intentions with the Governments of those countries where the
Japanese were making their preparations, but it was only in Denmark and
Germany that we found any readiness to interfere with them.... Before
leaving the Scaw the Russians received a number of alarming messages
from their agents. All these messages agreed in stating that in one
very deep Norwegian fiord four Japanese torpedo-boats had been seen,
and that these vessels were afterwards observed a short distance to the
west of the Scaw. The Russians left the Scaw in the morning, proceeding
in different divisions. All the torpedo craft went on ahead, in two
divisions, making for Cherbourg. Next came Admiral Folkersahm with the
four older battleships making for Tangier. The small cruisers were
under orders to proceed to Arosa, 40 miles north of Vigo, while the
large cruisers with the transport _Kamchatka_, under the command of
Admiral Enquist, had instructions to make for Tangier like Admiral
Folkersahm.

"Last of all we put to sea with the four best battleships, _Suvaroff_,
_Alexander III._, _Borodino_, and _Orel_. Our destination was Brest,
where we were to coal. Observe, therefore, that there was not with us a
single torpedo-boat or a single small vessel. All such were far ahead
of us.... On the 8th of October, at 8 o'clock in the evening, when it
was already quite dark, we received a wireless message stating that 30
miles behind us was the transport _Kamchatka_, which had fallen behind
her consorts (the cruisers _Dmitri Donskoi_ and _Aurora_) in
consequence of an injury to her engines, and that several torpedo-boats
were following her closely, but had not discharged any torpedoes.
Admiral Enquist, who was in front with the two cruisers, was at once
ordered by wireless message to slacken speed and wait for the
_Kamchatka_, or to continue his course in order not to expose himself
to the torpedo-boats, which, of course, also received our messages, but
did not know from what spot they were sent. The Japanese, however,
attempted to find out our whereabouts. While we were exchanging
messages with the _Kamchatka_ we suddenly received a succession of
telegrams, in excellent Russian, purporting to come from the
_Kamchatka_: 'Where is the squadron?' 'Give your latitude and
longitude.' 'Where is the _Suvaroff_?' These telegrams appeared to us
suspicious, and, in order to assure ourselves that they were really
sent by the _Kamchatka_, instead of answering we asked for the name of
one of the officers of the _Kamchatka_. To this no answer was returned,
and we continued our conversation with the _Kamchatka_ in cypher. At
12.55 A. M. we suddenly saw in front of us ... two long dark
silhouettes, emitting quantities of smoke and evidently steaming at high
speed. At the same time we saw a yellow-red rocket, such as is
generally sent up by vessels in distress. A moment later a searchlight
was thrown upon us from ahead.... We at once turned our searchlights on
the torpedo-boats and opened fire on them. As soon as they saw that
they were discovered, they turned aside, but came under the fire of the
_Alexander III._, _Borodino_, and _Orel_, which were following us.
About the same time our searchlights began to fall from time to time on
some small vessels, apparently fishing craft, whose behavior, however,
was very suspicious. They showed no lights, there was not a man on
their decks, and they obstinately remained under the bows of our ships,
barring their course. They were thus in a position to launch floating
mines. In spite of this, however, the Admiral, as soon as he caught
sight of them, ordered that the searchlights on board the _Suvaroff_
should be turned skywards, which was a signal to cease firing.

"To remain where we were after the torpedo-boats had disappeared in
order to aid the steamers would have been the height of imprudence. We
should have risked the most formidable part of our fleet, and as there
were several steamers they were in a position to aid each other. As far
as could be perceived, one of the enemy's torpedo-boats was sunk."

The narrator argued that either the fishing vessels were accomplices or
the Japanese took advantage of their proximity without their knowledge.
He inclined to the former alternative, and asked, "Why Hull fishing
boats so far from England--almost off the Danish coast?"

The best commentary on this narrative was supplied by the Russian
Government themselves, who, six weeks after the North Sea outrage,
published the following significant admission of facts, which had, of
course, been perfectly well known to them almost from the first:--

[Sidenote: Supplementary Information]

"According to supplementary information from Admiral Rozhdestvensky
concerning the North Sea incident of the 21st of October, after the
_Kniaz Suvaroff_ had ceased firing there suddenly appeared on the left
of the ironclad division the two searchlights of the cruisers _Dmitri
Donskoi_ and _Aurora_, lighting up the division. The _Dmitri Donskoi_
showed her night signals, whereupon for fear lest projectiles from the
hindmost ships of the division should hit our own vessels, either
directly or by ricochet, a general signal to cease fire was made from
the ironclad _Kniaz Suvaroff_, and was at once carried out. The whole
of the firing lasted less than ten minutes. Communications by wireless
telegraph stated that five projectiles had struck the cruiser _Aurora_,
some ricocheting and others hitting her direct. Three were
75-millimètre and two 47-millimètre shells. The chaplain was seriously
injured, and a petty officer was slightly wounded. The former
subsequently succumbed at Tangier."

[Illustration: FIGHT IN STREET OF LIN-SHIN-PU, BATTLE OF SHAK-KE RIVER.]

This communication bears out the theory advanced in the first instance
that the Russians in the panic had mistaken their own ships for hostile
torpedo-boats, and had opened fire on the "two long, dark silhouettes
emitting quantities of smoke" without stopping to ascertain what they
belonged to.

[Sidenote: The Baltic Fleet Proceeds to Madagascar]

After leaving Vigo, the Baltic Fleet divided into two squadrons--one
proceeding down the West Coast of Africa, and the other through the
Suez Canal. By the end of December (two months and a half from leaving
Libau) they had completed barely one-half of their voyage; and by that
time, not only was Vladivostock frost-bound, but Port Arthur was
dominated by Japanese guns, and the remnants of the Pacific Fleet lay
shell-riddled on the mud of the harbor. Before the International
Commission of Inquiry met for business, all hope of the Baltic Fleet's
achieving any serious purpose had been dissipated; for while it was
still mustering at Madagascar, the news arrived that the fall of Port
Arthur was at last an accomplished fact.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

  Progress of the Siege--Siege of Port Arthur--The Japanese
    Progress--The Japs Attack Metre Hill--The Russian Fleet
    between Two Fires--A Jap Hero--Tunnels and
    Hand-grenades--The Japs Capture Urlungshan--The Surrender
    of Port Arthur--"Great Sovereign! Forgive!"--The Japs
    Occupy the Fortress--Discreditable Surrender--The End of
    the Siege of Port Arthur.


[Sidenote: Progress of the Siege]

In spite of such distractions as the campaign in Manchuria and the
career of the Baltic Fleet, Port Arthur remained the real focal point
of the world-wide interest which the tremendous struggle in the Far
East had aroused. The progress of the siege, which had been veiled in
obscurity during the earlier months of investment, owing to the
severity of the censorship, was suddenly and frankly revealed to the
world in the late autumn, and from that moment the salient incidents of
this thrilling drama could be followed almost from day to day. Winter's
icy grip, which had brought to a pause the headlong train of the
campaign in Manchuria, caused no interruption to the implacable contest
for mastery between the heroic troops of General Nogi and the dauntless
garrison commanded by General Stoessel. Not for an instant was there
the least relaxation of effort on the part of the besiegers or of
endurance on the part of the besieged. Rather was the resolution of
both combatants screwed to a higher pitch by the knowledge that time
might be the deciding factor in the conflict. The departure of the
Baltic Fleet gave General Stoessel hopes of ultimate relief as the
reward for holding on, and threatened General Nogi with the
stultification of all his sacrifices. With Port Arthur remaining in
Russian hands, the recovery by her of the command of the sea must
always be a menacing possibility for the Japanese; while the fall of
Port Arthur meant not only the destruction of the last remnant of the
Russian Pacific Squadron, but the loss of the only practicable base for
any future naval operations. The whole Japanese plan of campaign must
rest on a more or less precarious foundation as long as Russia had a
fleet in being in Eastern seas, for the vital lines of sea
communication must be liable to severance. With the Russian flag swept
from its last refuge, Japan must remain invincible to the mightiest
armies that Russia could assemble in Manchuria.

[Sidenote: Siege of Port Arthur]

The story of the siege of Port Arthur has already been related in this
narrative up to the moment immediately preceding the capture of
203-Metre Hill--an event that marked the turning-point of the whole
protracted operations, and that proved to be the real beginning of the
end. Before describing in detail the action that led to this signal
victory for General Nogi's troops, it may be well to give a brief
résumé of the situation as it then existed.

[Illustration: PORT ARTHUR AND THE SURROUNDING FORTS.]

The investment may be said to have begun on June 26th, and between that
date and the end of October a series of more or less desperate and
costly assaults on the Russian outworks had carried the Japanese lines
closer and closer to the permanent defences with which the town and the
harbor of Port Arthur were secured from attack by land. In the great
attacks of August 28th and September 20th, some progress was made to
the east and north; but no great impression was made in the formidable
chain of forts; and even on October 30th, when another assault was
delivered, on the Keekwan and Urlungshan forts, the Japanese were
repulsed with the loss of 2,000 men. On September 20th a determined
assault had been made on 203-Metre Hill--the highest eminence of that
ridge which runs between Louisa Bay on the west and the great forts,
Itszshan and Antszshan, dominating the western approaches of Port
Arthur. The attempt was almost successful, but not quite, and all that
remained to reward the Japanese for their terrible sacrifice of life
was the possession of a height, a little to the north, known as
Namaokoyama, or 180-Metre Hill. This is due east of 174 Metre Hill,
captured in August. At the same time the Japanese, however, succeeded
in taking possession of the Sueishi lunettes, which defend the valley
through which the railway runs, and of Fort Kuropatkin, which commands
the water supply of Port Arthur. This was the position when, on
November 26th, General Nogi ordered another assault on the fortress,
with the especial object of capturing 203 Metre Hill. The possession of
this height was of immense importance to the besiegers--not because it
would threaten the great forts of Antszshan and Itszshan, but because
it would afford a complete view of every corner of the harbor, and
enable the fire of heavy guns to be directed on the last refuge of the
Russian fleet. More than that, the position would command the branch
line running from Port Arthur to Liau-tie-shan, whither the Russians
were daily conveying stores, as if in preparation for a last stand in
this inaccessible stronghold. Although not one of the permanent
fortifications, the defences of 203 Metre Hill were of the most
formidable kind. On the crest, and cut out of the hill itself, were two
redoubts on the two distinct peaks, each mounting heavy guns, while the
slopes leading up to them were traversed with trenches and wire
entanglements.

[Illustration: HAULING GUNS UP A CAPTURED HILL AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: The Japanese Attack Metre Hill]

After his repulse in September, General Nogi had abandoned all further
attack on the west; but the importance of effecting a lodgment there,
together with his equal lack of success in the east, induced him to
return to his earlier plan. But this time the methods of attack were
changed. To prevent the concentration of the garrison at one point,
assaults were delivered simultaneously on the two opposite sides of the
perimeter of defence; and, instead of trusting to the mere weight of
numbers to overcome resistance, the resources of the military engineer
were drawn upon to facilitate approach to the critical points. At the
last assault the Japanese infantry had moved forward in close formation
over the open ground separating their forming point from the trenches
of the enemy, and they had been swept down in hundreds by the
concentrated fire from a dozen batteries. But early in November the
Japanese engineers set to work to construct parallels from the low
hills at the foot of the Metre range across the intervening valley and
up the southwest corner of 203 Metre Hill, dominated by that one of the
twin peaks which was known as 210. To construct similar approaches on
the northeast side was rendered impossible by the fire of the
neighboring fort Akasakayama. On November 27th fresh troops were
brought up for the attack, and a tremendous artillery fire was
concentrated on the summit of the Metre ridge. Field guns, firing
shrapnel, and naval guns and howitzers, firing enormous shells, poured
their deadly hail on the forts and trenches; but though they diminished
they could not utterly subdue the fire of the intrepid defenders, and
the Japanese casualties were very heavy as soon as their devoted
infantry, emerging from the parallels, endeavored to climb the steep
face of the hill. But after nearly seven hours' fighting the crest was
won, and the southwestern peak fell into the hands of the Japanese.
This success was the signal for an immediate and determined assault
upon the 203 peak, but it proved futile. A deadly fire from the
neighboring forts made the retention of the southwest peak impossible
for the gallant men who had won it. They were driven down to the
reverse slope again, and were thus unable to assist in keeping down the
fire of the garrison of 203 peak. An attack on the Akasakayama works
also failed, and thus the troops assailing the northeastern face of the
hill were exposed to a flank fire as well as to a direct fire from
above, and were driven back with heavy loss. But the Japanese managed
to retain their position just below the crest of 210, and here they
constructed trenches which made the reoccupation of the summit by the
enemy impossible. But the Russians still disputed possession, and the
opposing forces, behind sandbag defences erected within a stone's throw
of one another, maintained an incessant fight with bullets, bayonets
and hand-grenades. The proximity of the combatants compelled the
artillery on both sides to desist from taking part in the encounter.
The Japanese guns confined themselves to shelling the crest of 203 peak
and the reverse slope of 210, in order to prevent reinforcements
reaching the troops that still disputed the possession of that
eminence. At this moment occurred one of those tragic incidents which
throw such an ironic light on the best laid schemes of generals and the
noblest self-sacrifice of soldiers. A party of Japanese managed at last
to establish themselves in a trench on the slope of Akasakayama; but no
sooner had they attained this hard-won position than they found
themselves exposed to a merciless hail of shrapnel, not from Russian
guns, but from those of their own countrymen. The Japanese artillerists
had not observed the lodgment that had been made in the enemy's
trenches, and they persisted in their bombardment with such deadly
effect that their luckless comrades were compelled to relinquish the
advantage they had gained, and to make the best of their way back to
the main body under a double fire. On December 1st a renewed attack on
both the 210 and 203 peaks was made, but with no success; and during
the next few days the Japanese engineers were busy in extending their
parallels and trenches, in order to allow the assailing troops to
approach close to their objective before coming under fire; and while
this work was going on the Russian positions were subjected to a
furious and incessant bombardment. This bombardment reached its height
on the morning of the 5th, when every preparation for the renewed
assault had been completed. The Metre Hill, it is said, resembled a
smoking volcano under the storm of shell that burst over it. This
assault was to be a supreme effort, and every Japanese soldier who took
part in it was conscious of the responsibility devolving on him, as,
after saluting the regimental standards, he moved forward to take his
place in the ranks that lined the parallels and advanced trenches.
Early in the afternoon a simultaneous rush was made towards both of the
crests of the Metre range. The moment was one of acute suspense, and
with breathless anxiety the Japanese staff watched the far-off line of
khaki-clad figures swarming up the hillside and climbing over the
breastwork of the Russian trenches. The issue was not long in doubt.
Meeting with scarcely any resistance, the storming parties swept on
until they reached the crest of both peaks, and found themselves at
last in undisputed possession of the long-coveted position. The
explanation of this unexpectedly easy victory was not far to seek. The
bombardment of the previous three days had been so severe that it had
been impossible for the defenders to live under it. The 500-lb. shells
from the howitzers had blown the place to fragments, and except for
three men taken prisoners, every soul who manned the guns and trenches
had been killed or forced to fly to the forts in the rear. Torn and
mutilated bodies, mingled with piles of débris, lay about in hundreds,
and the scene was rendered the more appalling by the presence of
corpses, in every stage of decomposition, which had been lying on the
ground since the attack on September 20th. But the Japanese were not
left long in undisturbed possession of the ground they had won. General
Stoessel, realizing as fully as his enemy the importance of 203 Metre
Hill, made desperate efforts to recapture it. Six separate
counter-assaults were delivered, and for hours the fiercest and most
sanguinary hand-to-hand fighting raged. But the Japanese had stronger
reinforcements than their adversaries, and their numbers and gallantry
prevailed at last. After losing nearly 3,000 men, the Russian General
realized that the case was hopeless, and left his enemy in possession
of the stricken field. Immediately their position was assured the
Japanese dragged up their guns and proceeded to pound the neighboring
height Akasakayama, from which the Russians were forced to retire with
all speed. While this substantial and, as it turned out, decisive
victory was being won in the west, an equally determined assault was
proceeding in the east against the great forts of Urlungshan,
Sungshushan and East Keekwanshan. The Japanese carried their parallels
within charging distance of the front of the forts, and then began to
mine. Having reached a point beneath the counterscarp, they exploded
their mines, and then rushed into the breach thus formed. But the
Russians, though losing heavily by the explosions, were prepared for
the emergency. They had machine guns placed in position to command the
outer defences, and the assailants only gained the breach to be mown
down by a hail of bullets. In this assault the Japanese had recourse to
the traditional weapon of their ancient chivalry. Under the lead of
Generals Nakamura and Saito, trained bodies of swordsmen of the famous
Samurai, or warrior-caste, charged into the imminent deadly breach,
endeavoring to close in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter with their
stubborn foe. But even the traditional gallantry of Japan's knighthood
was spent in vain in this enterprise, and the parapets of the forts
remained inaccessible to assault. But the Japanese, whose resource in
this protracted siege had only been equalled by their indomitable
determination, had by this time learned the secret of success against
such tremendous fortifications as those with which Port Arthur was
begirt. Since gallantry and the sacrifice of life could not prevail,
patience and ingenuity must be tried, and the engineers were called
upon to carry further still the sapping operations which had already
breached the outer works. As in the adoption of those deadly
hand-grenades, which played so important a part in all the battles of
the siege, so in the construction of parallels and the tunnelling of
mines the world saw a return to the practice and methods of the 17th
century. To find a counterpart to these huge forts of Port Arthur, with
their scarps and counter-scarps, their glacis and cuponniéres and
ravelins, one has to go back to the system of the great military
engineer Vanban, who carried the science of fortification to its
highest perfection. There was only one assailant to which these mighty
works were not impregnable--and that assailant was the explosive power
of dynamite. This resistless auxiliary the Japanese made speed to
enlist in their service.

[Sidenote: The Russian Fleet between Two Fires]

Meanwhile, leaving the sappers to their insidious task on the east, the
Japanese artillerists were swift to take advantage of the new position
won for them on the west. From the summit of 203 Metre Hill, the whole
town and harbor of Port Arthur lay revealed, and the remnant of the
Russian fleet which lay sheltered there could no longer escape the
searching attentions of the Japanese shells. The great howitzers,
firing their 500 lb. projectiles, and the big naval guns were quickly
moved into position, and, directed from the observation station on 203
Metre Hill, they began to drop shot after shot on the helpless
men-of-war. So perfect was the command, that it was possible for the
besiegers to count every day the hits they made, and to specify the
particular ships against which they had been recorded. One after
another these mighty vessels succumbed to the incessant pounding that
they received, and in a few days the four battleships _Retvisan_,
_Peresviet_, _Pobieda_ and _Poltava_, and the armored cruiser _Bayan_
were reported sunk or damaged so as to be unseaworthy. Only the
_Sevastopol_ remained, and she temporarily escaped to the outer
roadstead, with consequences that will be related presently. These
ships were the real objective of the siege. Their disablement preserved
Japan from her most serious menace; but next to that consummation,
their capture was a point of primary importance. The Japanese naturally
desired not only to render these powerful vessels useless to their
adversaries, but to make them useful to themselves. Accordingly, having
made sure that the ships were injured beyond the power of the Port
Arthur docks to repair them, the besiegers were careful to inflict no
further damage on them. By the 12th the Japanese gunners had attained
their object, and the _Sevastopol_ was the only seaworthy survivor of
the Russian squadron; and attention was forthwith turned to her from
another direction. Admiral Togo, whose fleet had been cruising outside
Port Arthur to shut off the natural avenue of escape for the wretched
Russian fleet, now directed his torpedo-boats to attack the battleship
_Sevastopol_ as she lay at her moorings in the outer roadstead. Her
position was exactly that which the whole Pacific squadron had occupied
on the fateful night of February 6th, when the first stroke of war was
delivered, and Russia's best two battleships were put out of action.
But this time the advantage of a surprise attack was out of the
question. The commander of the _Sevastopol_ well knew what to expect,
and had taken his precautions accordingly. An enormous boom had been
constructed round the hull of the warship, and an elaborate system of
netting had been hung from it to defy the approach of any torpedo. On
the other hand, however, the fire of the shore batteries was no longer
a substantial auxiliary in repelling torpedo attack; and the whole
organization of the port defences was more or less impaired, if not
destroyed. On the night of the 12th of December, and thrice again on
the night of the 13th, the intrepid torpedo-craft of the Japanese fleet
steamed into the roadstead and fired their terrible engines of
destruction at the ill-fated battleship. But the boom proved on these
occasions an impenetrable defence; so the attack was again
renewed--this time in a blinding snowstorm. Two flotillas were engaged.
The one lost its direction owing to the snow and the glare of the
enemy's searchlights; but the second flotilla reached its mark, and
discharged torpedoes at the _Sevastopol_, on which at least two took
effect. The boats became separated in the storm, and one never returned
to the main fleet--being either sunk by a shot or swamped by the very
high seas that were running. To add to the difficulty of the
enterprise, the weather was bitterly cold, and the decks of the vessels
were coated with ice from the freezing of the spray that broke over
them. When morning broke, those who had been engaged in this desperate
enterprise were rewarded by the sight of the _Sevastopol_ perceptibly
down at the stern. A few days later the vessel was so disabled that she
had to be run aground. The spirit in which this daring attack was
carried out may be gathered from the following extracts from Admiral
Togo's official dispatches:--

"While retreating, one torpedo boat was struck several times. Her
commander, Lieutenant Nakahara, and five other men were killed. The
boat lost her freedom of motion, and Lieutenant Nakahara's boat went to
the rescue. Notwithstanding a heavy fire, she continued her effort to
save the disabled vessel. When she had her in tow, the hawser was
severed by the enemy's shells, and Lieutenant Nakahara's boat was also
hit, and one man killed. Subsequently several shells hit and almost
disabled Lieutenant Nakahara's boat, and forced him to abandon his
sister ship, which was in a sinking condition. Lieutenant Nakahara,
however, steamed back and rescued the crew, who were abandoning the
boat. Commander Kawase's boat, of the same flotilla, was struck by a
shell, which killed one man and wounded Lieutenant Takahashi and two
sailors. Lieutenant Shoro's boat was also hit, one man being killed and
five wounded. The boat was temporarily disabled, but the ships
commanded by Lieutenants Wataehe and Mori stood by her and rescued all
the men. The other vessels, bravely facing the enemy's fire, succeeded
in delivering their attacks without sustaining damage.... It is a
source of satisfaction that our torpedo attacks were delivered without
the least confusion; each boat rendered material assistance to her
comrades. The skill in manoeuvring and the bravery displayed by our
officers and men inspire me with a deep feeling of satisfaction and
confidence."

[Sidenote: A Japanese Hero]

Commander Yezoe's flotilla was under repairs when the attack was
planned. He succeeded in putting one of his torpedo-boats into fighting
condition, and steamed to the rendezvous, where he found that the other
flotillas had already left. His entreaty that he should be permitted to
join in the attack was granted, and steaming alone through the blinding
snow, he succeeded in locating the _Sevastopol_. Approaching close
enough to hear the Russians talking, he fired a torpedo, and then,
going in still closer, he discharged another torpedo at the battleship.
A shell from the _Sevastopol_ struck Commander Yezoe in the abdomen,
and cut his body in two. His remains were saved and brought back to the
fleet.

[Sidenote: Tunnels and Hand Grenades]

The complete destruction or disablement of the remnant of the Russian
fleet seems to have had a dispiriting effect, as well it might have, on
the defenders of Port Arthur, for from this moment the vigor of their
resistance to assault perceptibly waned. In proportion the confidence
and resolution of the Japanese increased, and before long their
unremitting exertions were rewarded with another substantial success.
Hitherto their assaults on the eastern defences of Port Arthur had met
with but little success. In spite of all their sacrifices the great
permanent forts stood firm; but by the middle of December their new
methods of sapping and mining achieved the long-desired breach in the
iron ring, and East Keekwanshan fort was captured. A mine had been
tunnelled right up to the parapet of the fort, and in the afternoon of
December 18th the mine was exploded, bringing down an avalanche of
earth and masonry that filled up the ditch in its fall, and made a rude
but practicable staircase up the deep counter-scarp into the interior
of the fort. The Japanese troops, lying ready in their trenches, sprang
forward to the breach before the garrison could recover from the
discomfiture of the explosion, and poured into the inner works,
flinging their terrible hand-grenades at all who opposed their
impetuous charge. But after the first surprise, the Russians recovered
and stood their ground, and by turning machine guns on the assailants,
held them for a time at bay. While the issue still hung in the balance,
however, General Samejuna, at the head of the Japanese reserves, flung
himself into the fighting line, and a last great charge swept the fort
clear of its dogged defenders. The fight lasted for no less than ten
hours, and immediately it was won the Japanese entrenched themselves to
make their hold secure. The attack, in this case, was entrusted to two
bodies of volunteers, who, in calm anticipation of their probable fate,
had fastened to their clothing badges of identification, so that the
corpses should be recognizable in spite of the disfiguring effects of
the explosion of hand-grenades. One-half of these devoted men charged
from their trenches too eagerly after the mine had been fired, with the
result that most of them were buried beneath the falling debris. The
nature and extent of the mining operations which made the capture of
East Keekwanshan practicable may be gathered from the fact that two
tunnels 40 feet long had been dug out, and that both tunnels terminated
in four branches, in each of which a separate mine was laid. Four
quick-firers, five field guns, and four machine guns, and a large
quantity of rifles and ammunition, were among the spoils that fell to
the victors in this assault. Only twenty men of the garrison escaped
down a covered way, which they blocked behind them by the explosion of
mines. The fort captured, though not one of the strongest of those on
the eastern ridge, was yet of great importance to the besiegers,
because it opened the way to the greater forts beyond, and this success
was speedily followed by others on the other side of Port Arthur.
Operating between Pigeon Bay and the Metre range, the Japanese captured
several minor heights on which the Russians had mounted guns. Thus they
continued to advance steadily to the isolation of the western defences;
and the only comfort which the anxious authorities in St. Petersburg
could enjoy was that to be derived from a dispatch of General
Kuropatkin, in which the Commander-in-Chief in Manchuria announced
that, according to Chinese reports, the garrison of Port Arthur had
recaptured 203 Metre Hill, "with the guns placed there by the enemy."
The Chinese do nothing by halves, not even lying.

[Illustration: JAPANESE ELEVEN-INCH MORTAR BEFORE PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: The Japanese Capture Urlungshan]

Undismayed by this announcement, the Japanese continued their
investment with increasing severity, and on December 28th, or four
weeks after the capture of 203 Metre Hill, they achieved the great
triumph of wresting the mighty Urlungshan from its stubborn defenders.
This, the greatest and most formidable of all the eastern forts of Port
Arthur had defied many previous assaults, and had cost the army of the
Mikado many hundreds of gallant lives. But like the northern fort of
East Keekwanshan, it succumbed to the irresistible persuasion of
dynamite. At 10 o'clock in the morning of December 28th, the mine which
had been laid beneath the parapet was exploded, and the Japanese rushed
in through the breach. Under the cover of artillery fire from the rear,
the assaulters then constructed defensive works; and having thus
established themselves and received reinforcements, they rushed forward
again and captured the heavy guns of the fort. From this point another
charge had to be made before the defenders could be driven out
completely; but by half-past seven in the evening the task was
accomplished, and the whole fort was in the hands of the Japanese,
whose losses amounted to at least 1,000 men. The spoils included four
big guns, seven smaller guns, thirty quick-firers, and two machine
guns. The tunnels for the mines which were exploded under the parapet
had to be cut through the solid rock, and no less than two tons of
dynamite was used for the exploding charge. The result was that half
the garrison of 500 men were killed on the spot. Next to the great
Urlung fort, Sungshushan was the most formidable permanent work on the
eastern ridge, and three days later this fell to the Japanese in much
the same way. On the morning of the last day of the expiring year,
dynamite mines were exploded beneath the parparet of the fort, and
within an hour the whole fort was in the secure possession of the
Japanese. Over 300 of the defenders were entombed in one of the
galleries by the explosion, and of these only a half were rescued by
the victors, the remainder perishing miserably. Other forts in the
immediate vicinity fell almost immediately afterwards, and it became
evident that the whole of the forts on the eastern ridge were
practically doomed. Nothing now could stay the victorious onslaught of
the Japanese, and the capitulation of Port Arthur, which but a little
while before had seemed so remote and conjectural, now loomed in the
immediate future. But even yet the world was hardly prepared for the
end which was imminent. Up to the last, General Stoessel's dispatches
had been confident and defiant, and it was thought to be quite likely
that even yet he would reveal some hitherto unsuspected resources.

[Sidenote: The Surrender of Port Arthur]

In his somewhat rhetorical dispatches to the Czar, General Stoessel had
repeatedly declared his determination to fight to the death, and
although the signal successes of the Japanese during the month of
December had evidently reduced very largely the resisting power of the
garrison, the general expectation was that the hopeless struggle would
still be carried on, and that Stoessel and his troops would in the last
resort retire to the fastnesses of Liau-tie-shan. While deprecating
this desperate counsel, as involving the useless shedding of blood, the
world would have applauded its heroism. But as it happened, other
counsels prevailed. On the morning of the first day of the new year
General Nogi received a letter from General Stoessel proposing
negotiations for capitulation, and the proposal was immediately
accepted. But operations were not at once suspended. The Japanese
attacked the same morning the Fort of Wantai on the East Ridge, and
captured it after only slight resistance, while several of the forts in
the vicinity were blown up by the defenders. In further recognition of
the fact that all was lost save honor, the Russians then proceeded to
explode mines on all the warships in the harbor, in order to ensure
that they should be useless to the enemy into whose hands they were
about to fall. Of the destroyer flotilla, only four vessels remained
serviceable. These put to sea on the night of January 1st, and,
managing to evade the blockading squadron, reached Chifu, where they
were immediately dismantled. Then at last a truce was proclaimed, and
for the first time for six long months the thunder of the great guns
rolled no longer about Port Arthur. Immediately news of the proposed
surrender was received in St. Petersburg, the Mikado magnanimously
expressed his high appreciation of the loyalty and endurance displayed
by General Stoessel on behalf of his country, and gave orders that all
the honors of war should be extended to him.

On January 2nd the capitulation agreement was signed, its essential
terms being as follows:--

The whole fortress, ships, arms, ammunition, military buildings,
materials and other Government property were to be surrendered. The
Japanese reserved free action if those objects were considered to have
been destroyed or injured after the signing of the agreement. Plans of
forts, torpedoes, mines, military and naval officers' lists, &c. were
to be delivered over. Soldiers, sailors, volunteers and other officials
were to be taken prisoners, but, in consideration of the brave defences
they had made, military and naval officers and civil officials attached
were to be allowed to bear arms, keep their private property of
immediate necessity of daily life, and also to return to Russia upon
parole not to take, till the end of the war, arms or action opposed to
Japan's interest. Forts Itszshan, Antszshan and the others outstanding
were to be surrendered to the Japanese before noon, January 3rd, as a
guarantee.

[Sidenote: "Great Sovereign! Forgive!"]

The whole world was filled with sympathy and admiration for the gallant
soldiers whose valor and endurance had withstood so long such heavy
odds and such a fearful strain. These feelings were intensified by the
lurid accounts which, now that concealment could no longer be of
service, were published of the awful sufferings of the garrison during
the later stages of the siege. An officer of one of the destroyers that
escaped to Chifu on January 1st thus described the conditions which had
compelled surrender:--

"Port Arthur falls of exhaustion--exhaustion not only of ammunition but
also of men. The remnant left was doing heroes' work for five days and
five nights, and yesterday it had reached the limit of human endurance.
In the casemates of the forts one saw everywhere faces black with
starvation, exhaustion and nerve strain. You spoke to them and they did
not answer, but stared dumbly in front of them. Lack of ammunition
alone would not have prompted any attempt to arrange terms. Lack of
ammunition has been common in the fortress during the past months. Many
forts had nothing with which to return the fire of the enemy. The
Russians sat in the casemates firing no more than one shot to the
Japanese 200. Then, when the assault came, they repulsed the enemy with
the bayonet. But the men themselves, feeding for three months on
reduced rations, were so worn that it is marvelous that they stood the
final strain so long."

In his last dispatches, written just before the capitulation, General
Stoessel himself said:--

"The position of the fortress is becoming very painful. Our principal
enemies are scurvy, which is mowing down the men, and 11-inch shells,
which know no obstacle and against which there is no protection. There
only remains a few persons who have not been attacked by scurvy. We
have taken all possible measures, but the disease is spreading. The
passive endurance of the enemy's bombardment with 11-inch shells, the
impossibility of reply for want of ammunition, the outbreak of scurvy,
and the loss of a mass of officers--all these causes diminish daily the
defence.

"The tale of losses of higher officers is an indication of the enormous
losses which we have sustained. Of ten generals, two, Kondrachenko and
Tserpitsky, have been killed; one, Raznatovsky, is dead; two are
wounded, myself and General Nadeine; and one Gorbatovsky, is suffering
from contusions. The percentage of other superior officers who were
killed or died of disease or were wounded several times is enormous.
Many companies are commanded by ensigns, and on an average each company
is at present composed of not more than sixty men."

It was stated that of the original garrison of 35,000 men, no less than
11,000 had been killed, while 16,000 were sick or wounded, and 8,000
remained in the forts, of whom, however, 2,000 were unable to fight.

These are the words in which General Stoessel announced to the Czar the
surrender of Russia's "impregnable stronghold":--

"Great Sovereign! Forgive! We have done all that was humanly possible.
Judge us, but be merciful. Eleven months of ceaseless fighting have
exhausted our strength. A quarter only of the defenders, and one-half
of these invalids, occupy twenty-seven versts of fortifications without
support and without intervals for even the briefest repose. The men are
reduced to shadows."

Even the Japanese were at first impressed with the same view of the
situation, for they reported that of 25,000 combatants, 20,000 were
sick or wounded.

[Sidenote: The Japanese Occupy the Fortress]

The greatest good feeling prevailed between the two armies after the
surrender had been completed. The soldiers fraternized freely, and the
Japanese did all in their power to deprive the situation of all trace
of humiliation for their vanquished enemy. General Stoessel and General
Nogi lunched together and exchanged fraternal compliments, but the
bearing of the two men was strongly contrasted. There was a note of
theatricality in the Russian's conduct which was significant. Having
mounted his favorite charger and shown its paces to the Japanese
victor, he begged to be allowed to present it to him--a proposal which
General Nogi put by with the matter-of-fact observation that the horse
already belonged to the Japanese Army, and that he could not accept it
as a personal gift. But still all the world rang with praises of the
heroic Russian garrison; and the German Emperor, with characteristic
impetuosity, constituted himself a sort of supreme umpire, and with a
great flourish of trumpets presented to the leaders of the two
contesting forces in this historic siege the Prussian Order, "Pour le
Merite." The Russians marched out of Port Arthur on the 7th of January,
and the Japanese entered on the following day; and then the reports as
to the condition of Port Arthur suddenly underwent a remarkable change.
It slowly leaked out that the surrendered force amounted not to 20,000,
most of whom were _hors de combat_ from wounds or disease, but to
48,000, of whom 878 officers and 32,000 men were still available for
the defence of the fortress. There were also discovered no less than
80,000 tons of coal and enough rice and flour to provision the garrison
for two months. The troops, moreover, discovered no sign of starvation
or exhaustion. They were found to be in splendid condition and well
fed. Even the ammunition was very far from being exhausted. For the
guns in the forts 82,670 rounds remained; 30,000 kilogrammes of powder;
and 2,266,800 cartridges for rifles. "There are no signs of privation,"
wrote one correspondent. "The surrender is inexplicable." The town
itself showed few signs of bombardment; and the only serious deficiency
in stores was in meat and medical comforts. Then the sinister report
came that the real weakness of the garrison was in the conduct of many
of the regimental officers, who habitually applied for leave when
attacks were expected, and left the command to sergeants. It was also
declared that General Stoessel, far from having been coerced by his
staff into surrender, had himself overridden their protests against
capitulation. The real hero of the siege, it appeared from the same
account, was not General Stoessel at all, but General Kondrachenko, who
was killed by a shell on December 18th. After that calamity the spirits
of the garrison never recovered. One of the Russian Admirals who was
made prisoner at Port Arthur is responsible for this version of the
facts, and his view was summarized in the following words: "It is
difficult for a Russian officer to talk about the end. It was worse
than a mistake, it was a disgrace. The fortress could easily have held
out another month. We had food and ammunition sufficient for that
period, and if Kondrachenko had been alive we should have held out for
months longer. In Kondrachenko the garrison lost not only a leader, but
the one man who had the power, through his tremendous earnestness, to
control General Stoessel."

[Sidenote: Discreditable Surrender]

This view, startling and disconcerting as it is, was strongly confirmed
by Dr. Morrison, the famous Peking correspondent of the London _Times_,
to whom special facilities for inspecting Port Arthur were afforded
immediately after the surrender had taken place. He was immensely
impressed with the stupendous strength of the positions held by the
Russians, and of the incredible heroism displayed in their capture, but
he could find no explanation for the surrender. There were, he said,
25,000 able-bodied soldiers, and several hundred officers unscathed by
wound or disease. Only 200 officers were killed all through the siege,
and of those found in hospital a number were undoubted malingerers. As
to the failure of ammunition, Dr. Morrison pointed out that thousands
of rounds were fired off aimlessly for two days before the surrender,
that thousands more were thrown into the harbor, and that yet a large
quantity was found in store by the Japanese. The largest of the naval
magazines was discovered "full to the roof" with all kinds of
ammunition. Food was plentiful and the new town was uninjured by
bombardment.

"Those who have witnessed the condition of the fortress," Dr. Morrison
summed up, "contrasting the evidence of their eyes with the astounding
misrepresentations of General Stoessel, had their sympathy turned into
derision, believing that no more discreditable surrender has been
recorded in history."

[Illustration: THE EVACUATION OF PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: The End of the Siege of Port Arthur]

If it is difficult to disbelieve statements of this kind coming from
several independent and well-accredited sources, it is painful to have
to accept them. But whatever record leap to light, nothing can detract
from the splendid gallantry and dogged tenacity of the Russian common
soldiers who fought in a manner worthy of the greatest traditions of
their race. Thanks to their qualities, such a redoubtable foe as the
Japanese had been held at bay for six months, and his victory had only
been obtained at a cost of life truly appalling. Officially the
casualties of the besieging army were put at 55,000 from first to last;
but this number was probably very largely exceeded. Heavy as was the
price that had been paid, however, it was not too heavy for the
advantage obtained. First there was the satisfaction to the national
sentiment of pride in recapturing the fortress which, after having once
been won by force of arms, had been filched away by diplomatic
intrigue. Next there was the wresting from the enemy of the emblem of
his dominion in the Far East, and the only base on which his naval
power could rest. The loss of Port Arthur was to Russia not only the
loss of a great fortress but the denial of all access to the sea.
Finally, and most immediately important, was the capture in a more or
less battered condition, of five battleships and two first-class
cruisers, which might at any time have helped to turn the balance of
naval power against Japan. An examination of the derelict warships
revealed the fact that in spite of all the hammering they had received,
four might possibly be repaired and added to the navy of Japan. The
_Sevastopol_, the _Retvisan_, and the _Pobieda_ were injured beyond
hope; but the _Peresviet_, the _Poltava_, the _Pallada_ and the _Bayan_
were possibly recoverable. So ended one of the most memorable sieges in
the history of the world--to prove that, in spite of all the inventions
of scientific warfare, no defences that can be constructed by man are
impregnable to man when he unites, like the Japanese soldier, the
qualities of fearlessness, discipline, patriotism and high-training.

[Illustration: AFTER TWELVE MONTHS.

The battle of the Sha-Ho, October 10 to 18, began by a Russian advance,
but ended in a victory for Japan. The rival armies then settled down
into winter quarters, and, save for an occasional skirmish, remained
quiet until the end of January, when the Russians made a futile attempt
to turn the Japanese left at Sandepu. The siege of Port Arthur,
meantime, was carried on vigorously. High Hill (203 Metre Hill) was
captured on November 30, East Keekwan Fort on December 18, and
Erlungshan ten days later. On the last day of the year Sungshushan was
taken, and on January 1 the fortress surrendered.

The shaded portion shows the Japanese advance.]



                              CHAPTER XIV.

  End of First Year--Changes of a Year--Year of Disaster for
    Russia--The Cause of the War--Japan Acts Swiftly--The Land
    Campaign--Battle of Liao-yang--Battle of Sha-ho River--The
    Naval Campaign--Vladivostock Ships Defeated--Siege of Port
    Arthur--Port Arthur Surrendered--A Campaign Analysis--Gaining
    Mastery of Sea--Japan's Main Ambition--The Rival Armies--The
    Cost in Men--The Cost in Dollars--The Cost in
    Ships--International Incidents--Lessons of the War--Chronology
    of the First Year of War.


[Sidenote: End of First Year]

At this point it may be well to pause long enough to review briefly and
summarize what had been accomplished in a year of the most tremendous
fighting the world has ever known. One year of the Japan-Russia War had
gone into history. On February 5, 1904, diplomatic relations between
the two nations came suddenly to an end. On February 7, Japan seized
Masanpho, Korea, as a military base, and on February 8 and 9 were
delivered Togo's memorable blows to the Russian Asiatic fleet at Port
Arthur. Thus the curtain went up on what since has proved one of the
world's greatest war dramas.

The record had been one of uninterrupted triumph for Japan. The year
had yielded a score of battles, of greater or less importance. The
story of each had been defeat for Russia. Judged by the objects for
which Japan entered the struggle, her task was practically complete.
But Russia, humbled again and again, remained obdurate. The war was not
ended and could not be ended, declared those who seemed to speak with
authority, until the tide had turned and Russia was mistress of the
East, as she believed herself a year before.

What changes had followed Japan's victories, Russia's defeats?

[Sidenote: Changes of a Year]

A year before Russia in addition to her own vast Siberian territory
across all of Asia to the Pacific, was lessee of Port Arthur and the
extremity of the Liaotung promontory. Port Arthur had been rebuilt and
fortified, and the investments plus the value of the fleet in its
harbor was fully $270,000,000. Dalny had been built and fortified as an
auxiliary harbor to accommodate developing commerce. Here $100,000,000
had been expended. From these vantage points Russia looked out over
China and Japan and claimed dominance over the Orient. Her fleet stood
sponsor for the claim. For the defenses of Port Arthur impregnability
was claimed. It seemed that the Slav had completed a peaceable conquest
and was immovably intrenched, invulnerable against war, irresistible
for commercial gain.

Further eastward her agents had penetrated to the northern boundaries
of Korea. Slowly the Slav with his land-thirst was learning to covet
the Hermit Kingdom. Commercial domination, political preponderance,
each spreading in force and effectiveness, marked the first steps in
this direction.

[Sidenote: Year of Disaster for Russia]

This was a year before. A year later Japan's flag was flying over Port
Arthur and Dalny. Russia's fleet was destroyed. Her armies had been
driven step by step northward 250 miles to the Sha-ho River. Japan was
master in Korea. A protectorate had been firmly established, and
Russia's dream of predominance there had probably been dissipated for
all time. Japan's fleet was supreme in the Orient. With Russia's
covetous eyes no longer looking out from Golden Hill toward Pekin,
toward Seoul, toward Tokio, Japan had come into her own again.

This was the situation as the first year of the war drew to a close.
Japan's task, on the face of it, seemed accomplished.

[Sidenote: The Cause of the War]

Russia's aggressive policy in Manchuria and growing prestige in Korea
alarmed Japan. Events which in February, 1904, culminated in war began
ten years before when Port Arthur, won by Japan from China, was wrested
away and returned to China by intervention of the Powers, notably
Russia. The leasing of Port Arthur and vicinity to Russia and the
granting of railroad concessions completed the wrong which rankled in
the heart of Japan. Finally the Mikado's Government proposed to Russia
a settlement by diplomacy of questions of paramountcy and trade
privileges in Manchuria and Korea. Japan proffered recognition of
paramountcy in Manchuria for Russia in return for preponderance by
Japan in Korea. The "open door" in each territory was proposed with
right of railroad extension through Korea to join the Manchurian and
thence the Siberian roads.

Russia refused to discuss her attitude in Manchuria and juggled with
words relating to Korea. Negotiations ended when it became obvious that
Japan's demands were not to be granted.

[Sidenote: Japan Acts Swiftly]

War was the alternative, and Japan acted swiftly. On February 8 and 9,
at Port Arthur and Chemulpo, the Japanese navy dealt the first blows.
Korea was invaded by an army at once, and the march to the Yalu was
begun. Manchuria was invaded after the victory at the Yalu of May 1. A
dual campaign from that moment was developed. The supreme object was
the capture of Port Arthur. To facilitate that task the Russian armies
in Manchuria were prevented from marching to the relief of the garrison
there. Blow after blow was administered by the Japanese armies,
culminating in the great battles of Liaoyang and the Sha-ho River, each
a disastrous defeat for the Russians, each to be numbered among the
greatest military struggles of history.

[Sidenote: The Land Campaign]

Chronologically, the battle succeeding that of the Yalu, May 1, was
fought at Pitsewo, May 5. Here the second Japanese army defeated the
only Russian force opposing an advance on Port Arthur, until at Nanshan
Hill and Kinchow, May 26-27, the garrison of the fortress was
encountered in its outermost position. After the defeat at Nanshan Hill
the Russians withdrew to the outer perimeter of Port Arthur, giving up
Dalny without a struggle. At Vafangow, June 14-15, the Russian General
Stackelberg, who had been sent southward by General Kuropatkin to raise
the siege at Port Arthur, was defeated. His retreat northward amounted
practically to a rout. The Japanese victory, as succeeding events
proved, completely isolated Port Arthur, its defenders and the
besiegers, and the great drama of the siege went on without even an
attempt at interference on the part of Russia's Manchurian army.

The Japanese fought a brilliant campaign of a score of battles between
June 17 and July 31, which compelled the concentration of the Russians
at Liaoyang, and precipitated the great battle there. Motien Pass was
taken by General Kukori on June 17.

On June 30-31, after a tremendous struggle in the mountainous region
southeast from Liaoyang, Yangze Pass, likewise, was captured. The
Japanese armies, through these defiles poured into the vast basin
drained by the Liao River, and at Haicheng dealt Kuropatkin a severe
blow, which drove his lines northward to Liaoyang and compelled the
evacuation of Niuchwang.

[Sidenote: Battle of Liaoyang]

Haichang was a prelude to Liaoyang. After fierce fighting, the actual
struggle before this strongly fortified position began on August 25.
The Japanese army numbered 200,000 men against a probable 165,000
Russians. Generals Oku and Nodzu delivered fierce and incessant frontal
attacks from the south, while General Kuroki made a wide turning
movement north to encircle Kuropatkin and to cut off his retreat to
Mukden. The Russian General ultimately was compelled to meet this
turning movement by withdrawing his entire army across the Taitse
River, abandoning Liaoyang to the Japanese. General Kuroki was checked
and the Russian army was extricated from a grave predicament in a
masterly manner after a memorable retreat and rearguard battle of more
than fifty miles. The battle had been designed as a crushing blow to
the Russians, and would have proved such had Kuroki's turning movement
been completely successful. As it turned out the Japanese had won a
costly but indecisive victory. The Japanese losses are estimated at
30,000 men. The Russian losses were about 20,000 men.

[Sidenote: Battle of Sha-ho River]

General Kuropatkin fell back to Mukden and there rested and reinforced
his army. On October 4, he began a forward movement against the
Japanese, which resulted in a new disaster to his army, the battle of
Sha-ho River, October 8-18. The result of this long, sanguinary
struggle was again highly indecisive. The Russian advance was checked
at the Yentai mines, and thereafter Kuropatkin was forced step by step
to the Sha-ho River. After ten days of battle human endurance reached
its limit. Almost face to face, the exhausted armies halted.
Subsequently the opposing lines stretched out along a line, generally
northeast-southwest, for a distance of forty-five miles. The Russian
army was reinforced to about 250,000 men, while the Japanese army
numbered perhaps 300,000 men with reinforcements from Japan and from
Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: The Naval Campaign]

The opening of the war found the effective ships of Russia's Asiatic
fleet divided among Port Arthur, Vladivostock and Chemulpo. In the
battle of Chemulpo, February 8-9, the _Variag_ and _Korietz_ were sunk,
narrowing naval interest to Port Arthur and Vladivostock. On August 10
was fought the greatest naval battle of the war. The Russian fleet off
Port Arthur was defeated and dispersed, and Vice-Admiral Witoft was
killed on the bridge of the _Czarevitch_. The fragment of the fleet
which returned to Port Arthur never again assumed the aggressive, while
from that date until the surrender of the fortress Togo's squadron had
only blockade duty.

Other naval operations there consisted of desperate dashes to the
harbor entrance by Japan's smaller craft and the sinking of merchant
ships in the entrance to the harbor. A sortie by Admiral Makaroff
resulted only in the flight of the Russians to port without giving
battle. The disaster to the _Petropavlovsk_ happened just as the flag
ship sped under the guns of Tiger's Tail and Golden Hill. Japanese
credited the destruction of the ship to their mine-laying operations.

[Illustration: COSSACKS IN RETREAT AFTER A RECONNAISSANCE NEAR
LIAO-YANG.]

[Sidenote: Vladivostock Ships Defeated]

The Vladivostock squadron was defeated August 14 in the Sea of Japan.
The cruiser _Rurik_ was sunk. The two other ships of the squadron
ultimately reached Vladivostock riddled with shells. Repairs were said
to have been completed. A renewal of the naval campaign would probably
involve an attack on the sole survivors of the Russian fleet. A final
naval engagement was the sinking of the cruiser _Novik_, of the Port
Arthur Squadron, which escaped after the battle of August 10. Cruisers
of Kamimura's squadron overtook her off Kamchatka, and the ship was
beached there, a complete wreck after a fourteen hours' battle. The
last act of the naval campaign was the destruction of the Russian
battleship _Sevastopol_ outside the harbor of Port Arthur. The
_Sevastopol_ took refuge under the Tiger's Tail. Repeated dashes were
made by Japanese torpedo boat flotillas and the ship was riddled. Her
final destruction, however, was accomplished by the Russians, who mined
the ship to prevent possibility of salvage on the fall of Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: Siege of Port Arthur]

Japan's greatest and only decisive achievement had been the taking of
Port Arthur. The investment and actual opening of the siege began May
30, when the Japanese occupied Dalny, with their lines spreading
westward to Louisa Bay, completely across the Liao-tung Peninsula.
Between May 30 and November 30 the Japanese were engaged in taking
position from which the attack on the main defenses of the fortress
could be directed. It was tedious work. Probably between 30,000 and
40,000 Japanese lives were sacrificed. In the meantime Fort Kuropatkin,
an outer defense north of the Urlung Mountain group of forts, had been
captured, while on the west the Japanese, after tremendous efforts, had
stormed and taken 203-Metre Hill. The final assault was delivered from
saps which had been driven through limestone, up the steep slopes of
the hill, a task of enormous difficulty which compelled the victors to
share laurels with the engineers who at prodigious cost in men and
labor made the assault possible. The capture of 203-Meter Hill gave the
Japanese an observatory which looked down on most of Port Arthur. Their
artillery, largely 11-inch howitzers, no longer fired at random.
Sighting was scientifically directed from the vantage point. Within a
week the entire Russian fleet had been destroyed and the whole city lay
at the mercy of the irresistible 11-inch shells flung over the
mountains with unerring aim.

From Fort Kuropatkin on the north the miner and sapper honeycombed the
mountain sides with zig-zag trenches, which inched toward the crests,
slowly, indeed, but surely. Outer works, one after the other, fell, and
higher and higher the Japanese lines crept upward toward the
fort-crowned summits. The climax came December 30. Vast mines under the
main Urlungshan fort were fired. Before the smoke cleared the Japanese
were flinging themselves over the shattered walls. In one grand climax
to all the bloody work of the siege they annihilated the defenders of
the fort and finally flung their flag from its battlements. With
Urlungshan on the north and 203-Metre Hill on the west in their hands,
Port Arthur lay completely at the mercy of the besiegers. The entire
northeastern groups of forts fell in a day.

[Sidenote: Port Arthur Surrendered]

Then came the end. On January 2, General Stoessel surrendered Port
Arthur to General Nogi. The city, forts and fleet, represented a value
of $270,000,000. The cost of the siege to Japan was $100,000,000. More
than 30,000 men were killed, while 70,000 who fell, wounded, increased
Japan's casualties to 100,000 men. Russia's original garrison of 38,000
men was cut down during the eight months by 11,500 killed and 17,500
wounded.

The terms of the surrender were deemed liberal. All officers were
offered freedom in return for their parole. Others were taken to Japan
as prisoners of war.

[Sidenote: A Campaign Analysis]

Following the movements of the Japanese armies and fleets, it was easy
to recognize the objects in view from the start, and to see that the
campaign had been conducted with singular fidelity to the plan adopted
at the beginning. The results were quite as complete as could
reasonably have been looked for. There can be no doubt that a year
before Russia had no serious thought of war; her policy was clearly one
of bluff and diplomatic evasion and delay. With great foresight the
Japanese Government had seen that war was inevitable and the sooner it
came the better would be the position of Japan in the struggle for
supremacy in the East. Her preparations had been made as carefully and
completely as those of Bismarck when he chose his time to force war
upon Louis Napoleon; and she moved with even greater celerity and skill
than the Germans showed in the attack upon France.

[Sidenote: Gaining Mastery of Sea]

Japan's initial problem was to gain the mastery of the sea at the
outset as an absolute essential; without it the employment of land
forces would either be impossible or carried on at an enormous and
perhaps fatal risk in the transportation of troops from the Japanese
islands to the mainland Asia, or in supplying and reinforcing them when
landed. The sea must be cleared of hostile warships before the war
could really begin; and the complete success with which this problem
was solved at surprisingly small cost rivals the brilliant achievements
of the British navy which deprived the first Napoleon of any chance of
success in war outside the European mainland, ruined his campaign in
Egypt and made hopeless an attack upon the British Islands.

[Sidenote: Japan's Main Ambition]

Reviewing the results of the whole campaign, we can see that the main
objective was the capture of Port Arthur; this largely from the
military point of view, still more largely from the standpoint of
sentiment, national pride, prestige with the world at large, and from
considerations of statecraft. Japan had taken Port Arthur once before,
from China, and was obliged to relinquish it to Russia. Its recapture
this time no doubt meant more to the Mikado's subjects than any other
result of the war; whatever else might happen, that was triumph enough.

To the outside world Japan could hardly present a more striking proof
of her prowess than the reduction of this fortress supposed to be
impregnable; while in the final settlement at the end of the war its
possession would mean an immensely important diplomatic point of
vantage. From the strictly military viewpoint, the loss of Port Arthur
took away from Russia the only hope of an effective naval base to which
her Baltic fleet could safely resort, and from which she might hope to
rebuild her shattered sea power. Vladivostock being manifestly
ineffective, from its position to the north of Japan, as well as
because it is ice-bound during a great part of the year. Oyama's
campaign is thus seen to have been chiefly to give General Nogi a free
hand at Port Arthur, keeping Kuropatkin well away from the chance of
relieving the fortress. If the Russian army could be destroyed or
seriously crippled, so much the better; but Oyama had evidently been
quite content to take no risk of disaster to himself by trying to do
too much.

This seems to explain the apparent slowness and the ineffectiveness of
his movements at times. He seems to have been satisfied to keep
Kuropatkin simply in a position where he could do nothing to raise the
siege of Port Arthur.

The avowed purpose of Japan in beginning war was simply to drive Russia
out of the Chinese dominions, which it had agreed to evacuate in the
autumn of 1903, but had failed to carry out the agreement. The first
year of war ended with the accomplishment of that purpose in as forward
a state as could have been reasonably expected.

[Sidenote: The Rival Armies]

It is estimated that during the year Japan in all has had 490,000
fighting men in her armies and navy. Of these 100,000 invested,
besieged and captured Port Arthur. Three hundred thousand made up the
armies in Manchuria. Sixty thousand are along lines of communication
and in garrison at strategic points, while naval forces at bases and
with the fleets numbered about 30,000. On land Japan's united armies
were commanded by Field Marshal Marquis Oyama, while right, centre and
left--each a completely organized army--were commanded respectively by
Generals Kuroki, Nodzu and Oku.

The Port Arthur army, then dwindled from 100,000 men to a mere garrison
and police force, was commanded by General Nogi.

The united Russian armies were commanded by General Kuropatkin.
Prominent divisional leaders were Generals Stakelberg, Gripenberg,
Linevitch and Mistchenko, the latter commanding the Cossack forces.
Port Arthur was defended by General Stoessel, then homeward bound on
parole to undergo court-martial, though commanding the world's
admiration for the defense of Port Arthur.

At sea Admiral Togo and Vice-Admiral Kamimura had led the Japanese
fleets to uninterrupted victory. Russia's naval commanders had been
Vice-Admirals Makaroff, Wirenius and Witzhdoft, while Rear Admiral
Rozndestvensky commanded the Baltic squadron.

[Sidenote: The Cost in Men]

The year's fighting had been enormously costly in men, and only
estimates could be given. The total number of killed was estimated at
125,000, of whom 65,000 were Japanese and 60,000 were Russians. The
wounded numbered approximately 265,000, and with the missing the total
casualties were swelled to 400,000 men. Of the wounded a very large
percentage recovered. The Japanese losses exceeded the Russian,
particularly at Port Arthur and in the battle of Liaoyang, the Russians
being protected by fortifications which the Japanese attacked from the
open. At the battle of the Sha-ho River the casualties were nearly
even, the armies fighting under the same conditions. The accuracy of
the Japanese artillery and rifle fire is accountable for the fact that
the Russian loss is not far less, proportionately.

Of casualties among her more prominent leaders, Japan has been
remarkably free, while Russia has suffered heavily. Among her fallen
leaders were Generals Rutkozsky, Krondrachenko, said to have been the
real defender of Port Arthur, and General Count Kellar. Admiral
Makaroff went down with the _Petropavlovsk_ at the entrance to the
harbor of Port Arthur; Admiral Witoft was killed on his flagship in the
naval battle of August 10. A loss in which all the world shared was
that of the Artist Vassili Verestchagin, who perished with Makaroff on
the _Petropavlovsk_.

[Sidenote: The Cost in Dollars]

The actual outlay of both nations for the first year of the war was
about $800,000,000. Russian expenses were $500,000,000 and Japan's
$350,000,000. To Russia's losses must be added the value of
fortifications, property of all kinds, stores and munitions captured by
Japan at Port Arthur, Dalny, Niuchwang, Haicheng and Liao-yang. These
represent an outlay of approximately $500,000,000, in which is included
the value of the ships destroyed in the harbor of Port Arthur. Russia's
provisions for war expenses to the end of 1905 comprehended a total
expenditure of $850,000,000. Japan's total outlay for two years was
estimated to fall $200,000,000 below that figure. Both countries had
negotiated foreign loans running from seven to twenty-five years, so
that another generation would still feel the financial burden of the
war then in progress.

[Sidenote: The Cost in Ships]

The war had spelled complete disaster for Russia's Asiatic fleet except
for two patched ships of problematical effectiveness then at
Vladivostock. Russia had lost thirty-five vessels of war of all
classes. Of these the chief were: Battleships--_Petropavlovsk_,
destroyed by mine at Port Arthur; _Retvisan_, _Pobieda_, _Poltava_, and
_Peresviet_, sunk by guns from 203-Metre Hill; _Czarevitch_, disarmed
at Shanghai; _Sevastopol_, blown up by the Russians at the fall of Port
Arthur.

Cruisers--_Boyarin_, _Bayan_, _Pallada_, _Varyag_, _Rurik_, _Rossia_,
_Lena_, _Novik_, _Giliak_, _Bogatyr_, sunk, beached or destroyed;
_Askold_, _Diana_, _Gromboi_, disarmed in Chinese ports.

Gunboats, etc.--_Korietz_ and _Yenesei_ and twelve others including
torpedo boats and destroyers, destroyed.

Japan's losses in battle were confined to torpedo-boats and
torpedo-boat destroyers, sixteen of such craft having been destroyed in
attacks on Port Arthur. The battleship _Hatsuse_ was sunk, as were also
the cruisers _Usiyako_, _Saiyen_ and _Yoshino_. Three transports were
sunk by ships of the Vladivostock squadron.

[Sidenote: International Incidents]

On the outbreak of the war Mr. Hay, Secretary of State, proposed to the
Powers that, jointly, they agree to guarantee the neutrality of China
and call upon the belligerents to restrict the war zone accordingly.
Counter charges of violations had been made by Russia and Japan. It was
conceded that China had earnestly striven to fulfil her obligations
under trying circumstances.

On July 17 Russian auxiliary cruisers stopped, searched and seized
neutral ships in the Red Sea, precipitating a grave crisis in which
Great Britain took a conspicuous part. On representations of the
British Foreign Office, Russia released captive ships and recalled the
ships. The fact that they had traversed the Dardanelles for a warlike
purpose was the basis of the protest.

On October 22, the Russian Baltic fleet, passing through the North Sea
en route to the Indian Ocean, fired on the Hull fishing fleet. Two men
were killed, a number were wounded and one trawler was sunk.

[Illustration: THE GARRISON OF PORT ARTHUR LEAVING THE FORTRESS.]

The firing was alleged to have resulted from an attack on the Russian
ships by Japanese torpedo-boats. After a week, in which war seemed
certain, the question of culpability was entrusted by consent of both
Governments to an international commission, to sit at Paris. A German
vessel was also fired on by the Russian fleet, but Germany accepted
Russian explanations and the owners were indemnified.

[Sidenote: Lessons of the War]

Some of the practical lessons gleaned from the actual warfare were
these:

(1) That torpedo-boats were craft of immense possibilities, capable of
even greater development.

(2) That the destroyer had proved a failure; of the 24 vessels of this
type in and before Port Arthur not one made a hit.

(3) That battleships were necessary to successful naval warfare.

(4) That "team work" in armies, as exemplified in the Japanese
movements, was a matter of primary importance.

(5) That short range fighting was decidedly not a thing of the past, as
had been believed.

(6) That the use of hand grenades promised to introduce a new and
particularly horrid form of attack and defense.

(7) That modern fortifications were impregnable to direct assault,
however effective a preliminary bombardment.

(8) That the success or failure of sieges of modernly fortified
positions depended upon the effectiveness of the engineer, miner and
sapper.

(9) That the floating mine was an instrument of destruction against
which the most powerful ship was helpless.

(10) Wounds inflicted by modern arms heal readily. While the war had
demonstrated anew that one man in five was killed in battle, it had
shown that an amazing proportion of the wounded were soon back on the
firing line. The clean wound of the steel rifle projectile yielded to
treatment even when vital organs were pierced. The medical records of
the war were among its most notable features.

[Sidenote: Chronology of First Year of War]

February 5--Japanese and Russian representatives at St. Petersburg and
Tokio given their passports.

February 7--Japanese seize Masanpho, Korea as a troop base.

February 8-9--_Varyag_ and _Korietz_ destroyed in Chemulpo harbor, and
Togo attacks Port Arthur fleet.

February 10--Czar declares war. Japanese occupy Seoul.

February 11--Japan declares war. The United States announces neutrality.

February 12--Sinking of the Russian mineboat _Yenesei_; 96 lives lost

March 1--Kamimura's squadron bombards Vladivostock.

March 27--Kuropatkin reaches Mukden. Japanese take Chongu.

May 1--Kuroki crosses the Yalu, driving back Sassulitch.

May 4--Japanese take Feng-hwang-cheng.

May 5--Japanese land at Pitsewo and begin to invest Port Arthur.

May 11--Russians evacuate Dalny, destroying the town.

May 26-27--Battles of Nanshan Hill and Kinchow; loss, 5130.

May 30--Japanese occupy Port Dalny.

June 14-15--Oku defeats Stackleberg at Vafangow; loss, 11,000.

June 17--Battle of Motien Pass; Russians driven back.

June 18--Japanese take Kinsan Heights.

June 30-31--Battle of Haicheng; loss, 5700.

July 17--Russian cruisers seize neutral vessels in the Red Sea.

July 25--Russian forces driven out of Niuchwang.

July 31--Kuroki wins the Yangze Pass; General Count Keller killed.

August 10--Sorties from Port Arthur harbor. Russian fleet dispersed and
    in part destroyed. Vice Admiral Witoft killed.

August 14--Kamimura defeats Vladivostock squadron; _Rurik_ sunk.

August 17--Stoessel refuses to surrender Port Arthur.

August 30-September 4--Japanese, under Oyama, defeat Kuropatkin at
    Liao-yang; 365,000 men engaged; loss, 35,000.

September 11--Baltic fleet sails from Cronstadt under Rozhdestvensky.

October 8-18--Kuroki defeats Kuropatkin at Sha-ho River. Total
    casualties, 61,000, with 23,000 killed.

October 20--Armies go into winter quarters in and before Mukden.

October 25--Kuropatkin replaces Alexeieff in supreme command.

October 22--"The Doggerbank outrage". Two British fishermen killed.

November 30--Japanese take 203-Metre Hill by storm, losing 12,000.

December 30--Japanese capture Urlungshan fort.

January 2--Stoessel surrenders Port Arthur to Nogi.

The siege of Port Arthur takes high rank in the history of all war. Its
capture was the most brilliant achievement of Japanese arms, and its
defense perhaps the most glorious page in Russian annals. Invested on
May 5, 1904, the fortress held out till failing ammunition forced the
surrender of January 2, 1905--242 days. Direct attacks opened on August
19. City, fort and fleet have been valued at $270,000,000; all were
destroyed, at a cost to the besiegers of $100,000,000 and more than
30,000 lives; fully 70,000 Japanese were wounded in the various attacks.



                              CHAPTER XV.

  After Port Arthur--Raids in Manchuria--The Battle of
    Sandepu--Kuropatkin Asks for Reinforcements--The North Sea
    Inquiry.


[Sidenote: After Port Arthur]

With the fall of Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese War entered upon an
entirely new phase. Although the situation of the gigantic armies that
faced one another across the Sha-ho River remained unchanged, the
strategic problems to be solved by their instrumentality were in effect
transformed. The struggle for the possession of the great naval
fortress had operated as a vitiating factor in the military counsels of
both belligerents. Japan had sacrificed between 50,000 and 100,000 of
her best soldiers in bringing the six months' siege to a triumphant
issue, and in doing so had, by dividing her armies, moreover, forfeited
the opportunity of dealing a crushing blow at her adversary. The
magnificent infantry that broke themselves in so many vain assaults
upon the fortifications of Port Arthur might have enabled Oyama to turn
the Russian retreat at Liao-yang into a rout, or to drive the Russians,
after the battle of the Sha-ho, back beyond Mukden. On the other hand,
Kuropatkin had found himself hampered at every turn by the instructions
imposed on him from St. Petersburg to attempt the relief of the
beleaguered fortress, by which was symbolized so much of the pride and
prestige of the Russian Empire. In the game of chess a strong player,
to handicap himself against a weaker, will sometimes undertake to mate
with a certain piece. If the piece is lost, the game is lost, and
therefore the player's defence is awkwardly compromised by being
divided in aim--between protecting his vital piece and at the same time
shielding his king from checkmate. Very similar was the task imposed on
the unhappy generalissimo of the Czar, who, while trying to baffle
Oyama's vigorous combination, had to keep one eye always on Port
Arthur. The fall of Port Arthur at least set free both combatants from
a distracting preoccupation, and to that degree it was a strength to
either side. But its ulterior effects were much less evenly balanced.
The capture of Port Arthur at one stroke deprived Russian arms of the
possibility of complete triumph, whatever issue future military
operations might have; and it secured Japan from the last lingering
fear of disastrous defeat. When the remnant of the once powerful
Pacific Squadron fell into the hands of the Mikado's soldiers, Russia's
last hope of recovering, during the present war, the command of the sea
expired utterly; and without the command of the sea, Kuropatkin's boast
of "settling the terms of peace at Tokio" could obviously never be
fulfilled. Even if invincible armies swept Oyama out of Manchuria, out
of Liao-tung Peninsula, and out of Korea itself, there would still be
the impassable Straits of Korea to render the victory barren and to
impose their inexorable "Thus far and no further". As a matter of fact
it became evident to the whole world that, with Japan supreme by sea,
the continuance of the war would only be a costly futility for Russia,
in which she had everything to lose and nothing to gain--a struggle in
which she was exhausting herself to no possible purpose. Her adversary
had already won the odd-trick, and the only doubt that remained to be
solved was how near she would get to making grand slam. But the blind
arrogance and reckless folly which had precipitated Russia into a
wanton war for which she was utterly unprepared, were still obdurate to
conviction even by the logic of such disastrous events. Nothing is more
stubborn than wounded pride, or more blind than baffled vanity. The
more desperate the situation, the more perversely bent became the
bureaucracy of Russia in prolonging it, and in refusing to recognize
facts which impeached the competence and sagacity of the existing
régime. Already the strain of maintaining the army in Manchuria had
begun to have its effect at home in widespread distress and growing
discontent among the peasant and industrial classes. The characteristic
remedy of the governing clique was to attempt not a cure, but a
diversion. Kuropatkin was ordered to renew his activity and to achieve
something that could be represented as a victory at any cost.

[Illustration: THE BAMBOO GUN AT PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Raids in Manchuria]

Since the last great battle in October--the battle of the Sha-ho, when
Kuropatkin's ill-advised offensive had been converted into a perilous
retreat that almost degenerated into disaster--the two opposing armies
had been practically quiescent. Before they had either recovered from
the exhaustion of their last tremendous struggle--before their awful
losses could be repaired and their depleted stores and supplies could
be replenished--the inexorable grasp of the Manchurian winter had
fallen upon them and frozen them into immobility. While the last
critical acts in the siege of Port Arthur were being enacted, the
troops of Oyama and Kuropatkin were occupied only in maintaining a
jealous vigilance on each other, and in digging themselves into their
winter quarters. In a climate that is almost Arctic in its severity,
where the temperature is regularly for weeks and months together 30 and
40 degrees below freezing-point, active campaigning would be
impossible, even if the deep snow under which the face of the country
is buried did not make transport impossible. Each army proceeded to
entrench itself securely and to construct huts or dig out shelters in
the ground in which the troops could find it possible to sustain life.
The sufferings of the devoted soldiers during these months of inaction
must have been intense, and on both sides the roll of casualties from
exposure and frost-bite was appalling. Week after week went by without
any incident other than trifling affairs of outposts being recorded in
the meagre dispatches given to the world by the authorities at Tokio
and St. Petersburg. It has always been the Russian habit, however, to
cloak failure in essentials by proclaiming success in trifles; and from
General Kuropatkin came a steady trickle of trivial information about
brushes between patrols and pickets, wherein the Japanese were always
worsted, with the loss of a horse and rifle, or perhaps even of a
cooking-stove. But on the very day that the negotiations for the
surrender of Port Arthur were opened, a serious interruption to the
long inactivity on the Sha-ho occurred. The Russians attempted for the
first time a raid on the Japanese line of communications. It was an
attempt that an enterprising enemy would have made long before; for it
is to be remembered that every mile of the Japanese advance from the
sea rendered them increasingly dependent on the railway which they had
taken from the Russians. Their army on the Sha-ho was, roughly
speaking, more than one hundred miles from the nearest sea-base,
Niuchwang; and any interruption to that vulnerable line of
communications must inflict much inconvenience at least on Marshal
Oyama. The Russians, of course, were exposed to the same risk, and the
long line between Mukden and Harbin had, in fact, frequently been cut
by the Chunchuses--roving bands of fierce native horsemen, whose hatred
for the Muscovite invader had proved a valuable auxiliary to the
Japanese. Their activity, in many cases organized and directed by
Japanese officers, compelled Kuropatkin to guard jealously every mile
of the railway in his rear, and especially every bridge and culvert,
and this necessity of maintaining large forces on the lines of
communication seriously detracted from the effective strength of his
armies in the field. The Russians' idea of giving their enemy tit-tat
was at first merely tentative, however. A couple of officers,
practically unattended, managed to make their way southward almost as
far as Hai-cheng, which is itself some forty or fifty miles south of
Liao-yang. There they succeeded in blowing up a culvert and tearing up
some yards of railway line--damage which, though not serious in itself,
was enough to encourage similar attempts on a larger scale. Kuropatkin
knew that the bulk of the army which had been engaged in the siege of
Port Arthur was about to be entrained northward, and that with these
reinforcements for Oyama were to go the great siege trains which had
been employed in battering the ships and fortifications of the captured
fortress into submission. To cut off these reinforcements, perhaps to
capture train-loads of men and destroy some of the enemy's most
formidable artillery, would evidently be a great counter-stroke to the
effect produced by the fall of Port Arthur; and so a great Cossack raid
was authorized on the Japanese lines of communication. The scheme was
admirably conceived and organized, and it achieved at least the first
and most important condition of success--namely, a complete surprise.
At the outbreak of the war it was predicted in many quarters that what
must certainly turn the scale in favor of the Russian arms was Russia's
overwhelming superiority in cavalry. The experience of the Boer War had
left fresh in every mind the incalculable value of mobility. Now
Russia, in her hordes of Cossack horse, possessed a cavalry which had
the reputation of being unique in the world. "Other countries have
infantry, artillery and cavalry; but Russia is alone in possessing
Cossacks," said one distinguished general shortly after the outbreak of
hostilities. But as the campaign progressed, critics began to revise
their judgments. The terrible Cossack horsemen, for some reason or
other, failed to play any considerable part in events. They attempted a
raid in Korea from the northeast, but without any result, and in the
subsequent fighting they found no opportunity for asserting themselves.
The campaign was an infantry and artillery campaign entirely; and the
notorious weakness of the Japanese army in cavalry was no impediment to
their victorious advance. The war in Manchuria proved in fact that the
conditions of the war in South Africa had been peculiar and
exceptional. But at last the Cossacks were to be given an opportunity
of showing their mettle. On January 8th a force of 6,000 Cossacks under
General Mistchenko crossed the Hun-ho and began to march rapidly
southwards. This formidable force, composed of three brigades, was
accompanied by six batteries of light artillery, and in its
organization everything had been done to give to it the _maximum_ of
mobility. The Hun-ho, which Mistchenko's division crossed immediately
after setting out, is a tributary of the Liao River, into which it
flows some forty or fifty miles above Niuchwang. While the course of
the Liao is roughly due north, that of the Hun is northeast, or almost
directly in the line from Mukden to Niuchwang. The severity of the
weather had moderated and was most favorable for the movement of such a
great body of mounted men, who swept down the vast Liao plain on a
front extending for five miles. By the second night Mistchenko's three
brigades had reached the confluence of the Liao and the Hun, and there
they made the first contact with the enemy. A Japanese convoy was
captured, but the escort succeeded in making its escape, and from that
moment it was impossible to conceal knowledge of the movement from the
enemy. With their characteristic thoroughness--which throughout this
war has left nothing unforeseen and nothing unprovided for--the
Japanese had organized a plan for giving instant warning of a raid on
the line to the troops guarding all the depots and the lines of
communication, in case of any surprise attack such as that devised by
Mistchenko. Great beacon fires had been laid at intervals up and down
the country, and the kindling of one of these--the signal of
approaching danger--was sufficient to set the whole plain from
Niuchwang to Liao-yang ablaze with warning flame. No sooner had the
Cossacks made their first capture than a house in the village which
they had entered suddenly began to emit heavy columns of black smoke,
followed by leaping tongues of fire; and so well had the house been
filled with combustibles, that every effort to extinguish the fire was
vain. Nor had the portent been unobserved. As soon as darkness closed
on the scene, the horizon north, south and east was illuminated with
the answerable flash of innumerable beacons that passed on from one to
another the tidings of the enemy's approach. All hope of surprise being
now at an end, the only resource left was to strike swiftly before
troops could be hurried down from the front to the threatened points on
the railway. Mistchenko's division separated into three bodies--one
moving due south towards Niuchwang, another making due east for the
railway above Haicheng, and the third striking southeast towards
Tashichao, where the branch-line from Niuchwang meets the main line
running north and south. The third body almost immediately encountered
a force of Chunchuses, 500 strong, armed with Mausers and led by
Japanese officers. This force, though overwhelmingly outnumbered,
fought with desperate bravery until they were cut to pieces. At another
village, held by 500 Japanese infantry, the raiders again encountered a
stubborn resistance which they could not overcome; but they swept on
southwards, and reached Old Niuchwang at noon on January 11th. Here
some 50 Japanese soldiers, the only garrison, shut themselves in a
house, and, refusing to surrender, held their own. But they could not
prevent the enemy from wreaking destruction on the stores which had
been accumulated in the town; and many large transports were burnt.
Yinkow, or the port of Niuchwang, had for many months been the
principal base of supplies for Oyama's army, as being the seaport
nearest to the front, and to work havoc at this vital depot was the
principal purpose of Mistchenko's raid. On January 12th the Cossacks
approached Yinkow Station, where army stores of enormous value had been
accumulated, and opened fire with their six batteries. But the
promptitude of the Japanese commanders foiled the attack at this
critical point. In spite of the cutting of the line north and south of
Hai-cheng, reinforcements had been got through, and the attack on
Yinkow Station was resisted by 1,000 riflemen, well entrenched. Against
their accurate and well-sustained fire Mistchenko's Cossacks, in spite
of artillery support, could make no headway; and as the casualty list
mounted up, the Russian general was obliged to draw off, lest the
mobility of his retreat should be encumbered by too many wounded. Some
damage was done to the station buildings, but it was trivial compared
with that which the raiders had set out to effect; and from that moment
the only concern of Mistchenko was how to make good his escape from the
forces that were rapidly concentrating upon his line of retreat. He had
failed not only to destroy the stores of the enemy, but even to inflict
any serious damage on the railway line. The boast of his detachments
detailed for the latter purpose that they had torn up 600 yards of line
north of Hai-cheng, and had blown up the bridge at Tashichao, were
obvious exaggerations; or it would not have been possible for the
Japanese to move down the reinforcements that secured the repulse of
the attack on Yinkow Station. With the whole country roused against
him, Mistchenko, encumbered as he was with many wounded, might have
found it difficult to break back over the 80 or 100 miles to be
traversed before he could count himself in safety. His horses and men
were both more or less exhausted with the five days' continuous
marching and fighting; but an easy and convenient resource was open to
him by simply invading and passing through neutral Chinese territory.
On the outbreak of the war, the belligerents, at the instigation of the
Powers, led by the United States, had agreed to respect absolutely the
neutrality of China, and to confine military operations to the left or
eastern side of the great Liao River. But necessity knows no law, and
Mistchenko, finding that his road northward from Niuchwang was blocked
by a strong force detached by Oku for the purpose of intercepting his
retreat, promptly wheeled westward and crossed the Liao River some
miles below its junction with the Hun-ho. Thenceforth his progress was
easy. It was as if a football player were to run down the field behind
the touch-lines in order to reach the goal. The flagrancy of the
stratagem would have called for less remark if Russia had not chosen
this precise moment to address representations to the Powers
complaining of acts done by the Japanese in violation of China's
neutrality. As it was, the casualties suffered were heavy--at least 500
all told--and though it was ostentatiously announced from St.
Petersburg that such raids would in future be of frequent occurrence,
this descent upon Niuchwang remained a solitary as well as a barren
enterprise.

[Sidenote: The Battle of Sandepu]

But again the inactivity of the armies was to be broken before the
month of January had come to an end. The second Manchurian army, the
command of which had been committed to General Gripenberg, had now been
brought up to strength, and almost immediately proceeded to put itself
in evidence. On the 25th General Kuropatkin telegraphed to the Czar
announcing briefly two facts--that the offensive had been begun against
the enemy on the right (or western) flank; and that the thermometer
registered 16 degrees of frost. The full significance of this message
only appeared a few days later, when it was revealed that an attempt in
force was being made to turn the Japanese left. The main objective of
the Russian attack was the village of Sandepu, the main northwest
position of the Japanese left army. It will be remembered that after
the battle of Yentai or the Sha-ho, which took place in October, the
Japanese were left holding a front of fifty miles or more along the
south bank of the Sha-ho, a tributary to the Hun-ho, running roughly
due east and west at a distance of ten or fifteen miles south of
Mukden. The Russian position faced the Japanese on the other bank of
the Sha-ho, and then inclined away northwest in the direction of
Hsinmintun, a Chinese town on the west bank of the Liao River, from
which the Russian army had for a long time been drawing large supplies,
in contempt of the neutrality of China. Sandepu is over thirty miles
south of Mukden, and lies in the angle made by the Hun River with the
railway. It consists of some hundred houses, or farmsteads, each
surrounded by high walls of sun-dried bricks, about three feet thick.
Loop-holed for musketry, these walls, form an admirable defence,
especially as the surrounding country is quite open and flat. But at
this season of the year, the Hun-ho, which is a natural defence to the
flank of an army resting on Sandepu, is frozen over to a thickness of
several feet, and can be safely crossed both by men and transport. The
Russians, 85,000 strong, and with no less than 350 guns, moved
southwards down the right bank of the Hun-ho until they reached a point
a few miles southwest of Sandepu, and there they crossed the frozen
river and occupied two villages in which the Japanese had stationed
outposts. On the 26th the Russians, who had at the same time crossed
the Hun at Chang-tau, again advanced, encountering a steadily
increasing resistance and seized after a fierce fight the village of
Sha-ho-pu, a few miles northeast of Sandepu, and from that moment the
action became general. The capture of Sandepu was essential to any
attempt to roll up the Japanese left, and to this object the Russian
forces now set themselves with fierce determination. On January 27th,
after giving an account of much promiscuous fighting, General
Kuropatkin announced to the Czar that "in the evening, after a
desperate fight, our troops having, with the help of the sappers,
surmounted all artificial obstacles entered the village of Sandepu,
which is large and strongly entrenched." Unfortunately, however, for
the triumph of the Russian arms, this announcement proved to be
premature--or rather to be an incomplete version of the actual fact.
The Russian troops entered Sandepu only to be driven back after a
desperate struggle; and the indomitable Japanese infantrymen who manned
the loop-holed walls of the hamlet were never dislodged from their
position. This successful stand was the turning point of the battle. It
checked the flank movement of the Russians and gave Oku time to bring
up his reinforcements and deliver his counter-stroke. The Russian
attack had been from the west and northwest, the object being to
envelop the Japanese extreme left. The movement was met by an extension
of the Japanese left, which in turn threatened to outflank the
outflankers. On the southwest of Sandepu the Russians were driven back
along the line of the Hun-ho, and soon the battle centred about the
village of Heikautai, a few miles southwest of Sandepu. That this was
no mere affair of outposts may be gathered from the fact that the
Russian force was made up of two divisions of the Eighth Army Corps,
two brigades of Russo-European Rifles, one division of the Tenth Army
Corps, part of a division of reserve infantry, and part of the First
Siberian Army Corps, and a large force of Cossacks under Mistchenko. On
the 27th and 28th, the fighting became desperately fierce and after the
Japanese had succeeded in carrying Heikautai and the surrounding
positions, they were exposed to repeated night attacks before the
Russians at last made up their minds to accept defeat. From Russian
sources came the usually inconsistent story--a story in which a long
series of unbroken successes culminated inexplicably in an admission of
failure and retreat. It now appeared that far from capturing Sandepu,
the Russian column that attacked that place lost twenty-four officers
and 1,600 men killed and wounded by coming unexpecedly upon "a triple
row of artificial obstacles" on the ground swept by artillery and
machine-gun fire which the Russian gunners could not subdue. This
intelligence came as a severe disappointment to the friends of Russia,
who had begun to believe that the tide of war had at last begun to
turn, and that Russian arms were about to secure their first victory.
Eager strategists in St. Petersburg pointed out that Sandepu was only
twenty or thirty miles from Liao-yang, and that its retention would be
such a serious menace to the Japanese line of retreat that the
evacuation of the whole position on the Sha-ho would be a necessity.
Alas! while these fascinating speculations were being indulged in, the
Russian Army of the right was already in full retreat, and was indeed
suffering appalling losses in the effort to extricate itself from the
toils of the enemy. The fighting round Heikautai lasted five days, and
the issue almost to the last hung in doubt. The capture of Heikautai
had become necessary to the security of the Japanese position, but
repeated attacks on it had been repulsed. The spirit in which the
emergency was met is revealed in the laconic words of Marshal Oyama's
dispatch. "Our object had not been attained, so I encouraged all the
columns to make night attacks. All the columns of the attacking parties
expected annihilation. We attempted several attack movements, but
suffered heavily from the enemy's artillery, and especially from the
machine-guns, but all the columns continued the attack with all their
might. The enemy was unable to withstand our vigorous attack, and began
to retreat at half past five in the morning. Our forces charging into
Heikautai, occupied the place firmly and entirely by half past nine in
the morning." The net result of the battle was to give the Japanese
secure possession of a line east and west of Hun-ho and south of
Mukden, and to inflict on the Russians casualties which certainly
exceeded 10,000, and probably reached 15,000. In war especially "the
attempt and not the deed" confounds. It is not the first step but the
last that costs--not the attack, but the retreat after repulse. No
sooner had the failure of this big attempt on the Japanese left been
fully confirmed than it became known that the movement had been
directed by General Gripenberg, the commander of the Second Manchurian
Army. When, after the battle of Liao-yang, the Czar sanctioned the
formation of this Second Army and committed the command of it to
General Gripenberg, there was a great flourish of journalistic trumpets
in the Russian and French press. At last Kuropatkin would have not only
an "Army worthy of the might and dignity of Russia," but would have a
lieutenant worthy of himself to share the tremendous strain of
directing nearly half a million of men. The two Generals exchanged
cordial messages, and then Gripenberg set out for Harbin to superintend
the gradual organization of his Second Army. By the end of the year its
units had been completed, and then the impatience of General Gripenberg
to assert himself appears to have become uncontrollable. He conceived
the movement against the Japanese left--a movement that might easily
have achieved substantial results if the Japanese had not been so well
prepared for it--and his direct responsibility for it was made patent
to the world by the angry and undignified recriminations between him
and Kuropatkin that followed the repulse. General Gripenberg
immediately asked to be relieved of his command, ostensibly on the
ground of ill health, but really as he allowed to be perfectly
manifest, in dudgeon at the treatment which he alleged had been meted
out to him by his superior officer. He claimed that his flanking
movement had in fact succeeded, and that he only needed reinforcements
to maintain the position he had won. He complained loudly that he
applied very urgently for these reinforcements, but that they were
withheld, and that he was not even supported in his retreat by a
diversion in other parts of the field. A great victory had been within
his grasp, General Gripenberg represented, and it had been snatched
from him simply by the perverse inactivity of General Kuropatkin. So
strained were the relations at headquarters that General Gripenberg's
request to be relieved of his command was immediately complied with,
and the General set off post-haste back to St. Petersburg to lay his
complaints personally before the Czar. The quarrel was conducted
practically in public by the advocates of the two rivals; and General
Kuropatkin's friends were not slow to put forward his side of the case.
According to this account, General Gripenberg's costly defeat was
caused directly by his deliberate disobedience to instructions. He had
been permitted to embark on his movement against the Japanese left on
the strict understanding that it was to be only in the nature of a
reconnaissance in force, and that a general action was not to be
forced. While nominally accepting these limitations, General Gripenberg
had in his heart rebelled against them, and had not hesitated to commit
his army to a pitched battle beyond the reach of support, and in
conditions of weather which made the movement of troops most
undesirable. Finally it was contended that General Kuropatkin had done
all he could to relieve the pressure on General Gripenberg by
bombarding the Japanese right and centre, and threatening an advance in
those directions. The wrangle could not but be ignominious, but at
least more dignity pertained to the disputant who remained at his post
and strove to repair the blunder that had been committed than to the
disputant that threw down his responsibilities and went home in a pet.
This view of the case seems to have prevailed with the Czar himself,
whose reception of General Gripenberg was not cordial. According to the
reports that came from well-informed French sources, the Czar took
General Kuropatkin's part very decidedly, and administered to General
Gripenberg a severe rebuke for his insubordination. Whatever the
character of the frequent audiences which the disappointed General had
of his Sovereign, the fact remained that Kuropatkin was maintained in
the supreme command of the armies in Manchuria, and that while General
Gripenberg lingered in St. Petersburg, if not in disgrace, at least in
inactivity, General Kaulbars was definitely appointed to the command of
the Second Manchurian Army.

[Illustration: ON THE SLOPES OF OJIKEISHAN, BEFORE PORT ARTHUR.]

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin Asks for Reinforcements]

If this five days' desperate fighting scarcely affected the position of
the two armies, it inflicted on the Russian armies the discouragement
of another defeat at the hands of a numerically inferior force, and the
moral effect of adding to this unbroken series of reverses is not
easily computed. With troops less dogged and devoted than those of the
Czar, demoralization would have set in long before. The anxieties of
Kuropatkin were now aggravated, too, by circumstances which no
generalship on his part could alleviate and remove. All through the
autumn reinforcements had been pouring along the Trans-Siberian
Railway, the carrying capacity of which had been stretched so
wonderfully by Prince Khilkoff. But even the resources of engineering
genius have their limits. They cannot contrive a pint pot in such a way
that it will hold a quart; and the number of trains that can be run
over a single line is fixed inexorably by circumstance. Kuropatkin's
urgent and incessant demands for more and more reinforcements had been
met in large measure, but only at the expense of the other traffic,
including the carriage of military stores. The enormous supplies
required to provision and maintain at war efficiency armies numbering
half a million of men may be imagined, and for these supplies
Kuropatkin had become increasingly dependent on the railway. The more
reinforcements he received the more mouths he had to feed; and the
longer the campaign endured the less reliance was to be placed on what
a devastated and exhausted countryside could provide. During the
earlier months of the war, some relief to the strain on the railway
could be found by drawing supplies from Vladivostock, which in turn
could be fed from over-seas; but no sooner had the destruction of the
Port Arthur fleet been completed, than the inexorable Japanese
established a strict blockade of Vladivostock, and cut off this last
resource. While the wretched troops amid all the rigors of the
Manchurian winter were in need of such ordinary necessities as proper
clothing, fuel, and even food, vast accumulations of stores, more than
sufficient to supply all their needs, were lying rotting on the sidings
of the Siberian Railway, immovable because of the congestion of traffic
on the already overburdened line. To add to the anxiety of the
situation came the grave dislocation caused by the riots and strikes
which broke out in all the great industrial and distributive centres of
Russia after the fall of Port Arthur, and which revealed an internal
crisis even more menacing than the military crisis which confronted the
army in Manchuria. For weeks together, just at the moment that prompt
and vigorous action was demanded, the whole administrative system of
Russia was paralyzed, and the energies of its directors were absorbed
in staving off domestic revolution instead of in organizing the
measures for conducting a foreign war. On the other hand, the Japanese
generals had not only the strategic advantage of being within easy
distance of several sea-bases, but they also were able to rely on a
system of supply which is perhaps the most perfect that has ever been
seen in war. The minute prevision with which the necessities of a
campaign on such an enormous scale had been provided for is well
exemplified by the organization of the Army Medical Service. In spite
of all the hardships and exhaustion to which General Oku's army had
been exposed, for instance, the Chief Surgeon was able to report that
from the date of its landing on the Liao-tung Peninsula on May 6th to
the end of January there had only occurred 40 deaths in its ranks from
disease. The cases of typhoid numbered but 193, and the cases of
dysentery no more than 342. The marvelous character of this record may
be realized by remembering how appalling were the ravages of disease
during the South African campaign. Typhoid and dysentery in that war
carried off infinitely more victims than shell or bullet; and if
sometimes in their assaults on fortified positions the Japanese have
seemed shockingly reckless of human life, it is to be remembered that
in another and not less important direction they have shown themselves
infinitely more careful of it. Such were the conditions as the long
winter months drew to their close, and as silently the Japanese armies
girded themselves for the great stroke which was in a few weeks' time
to eclipse both in magnitude and consequence everything that had
hitherto marked the progress of this epoch-making campaign.

[Sidenote: The North Sea Inquiry]

Meanwhile the unhappy Baltic Fleet protracted its embarrassing sojourn
in Madagascar waters. Having got so far on the road to its appointed
revenge, discretion overcame heroic resolution on the part of its
Admiral. The nearer Rozhdestvensky came to his task of wresting the
command of the sea from Admiral Togo, the less he appeared to like it;
and finally the Armada which had begun its voyage with such a
sensational progress through the North Sea, decided to continue to
avail itself of French hospitality until it should have received the
reinforcements of the third Baltic Squadron. While the Russian fleet
was thus ingloriously hung up at Diego Suarez, the International
Commission appointed to inquire into the circumstances of its exploits
in the North Sea met at Paris, and having heard exhaustively the
evidence in support of the British and Russian cases, at length issued
its report. In spite of the preliminary rumors that the conduct of the
Russian Admiral had been vindicated, the event proved that the justice
of the British case had been as completely sustained as it could be by
any judgment which was more diplomatic than judicial in character. The
Admirals of the Commission, with the exception of their Russian
colleague, found that there were no hostile torpedo boats present on
the Dogger Bank; that the British trawlers did nothing to provoke
attack; and that the firing to which they were subjected was
unjustifiable. To coat this rather unpleasant pill, the Commissioners
amiably added, in contradiction of the direct implication of their own
findings, that their report threw no discredit either on the military
quality or the humane sentiments of Admiral Rozhdestvensky.



                              CHAPTER XVI.

  Rigors of Manchurian Winters--In Winter Quarters--Ear Muffs Won
    by Yankee Thrift--Hot Baths and Hot Meals--Disease Conquered in
    Camp--Wonderful Sanitary Record--Civil War Comparisons--The
    Japanese Scientific--No Detail Overlooked--Wounded Rarely Die.


[Sidenote: Rigors of Manchurian Winters]

After the Battle of the Sha-ho River the two armies went into winter
quarters prepared to face a Manchurian season with thermometer readings
of 35 degrees below zero not uncommon and with a snowfall of enormous
proportions to contend with. The Russians were better prepared to meet
the situation than the Japanese since a large proportion of the Russian
army hailed from Siberia or the northern provinces of Asiatic and
European Russia and hence were inured to rigorous winters. Some
thousands of the Japanese had come from the northern provinces of Japan
and they, too, were well experienced in cold. But a large majority of
the Japanese troops were from the southern islands of Japan, where
rigorous winters are unknown. The Japanese army administration was thus
confronted by a very serious problem. The story of the manner in which
the problem was met and solved is among the most interesting of the
chapters of the history of the war.

[Sidenote: In Winter Quarters]

[Sidenote: Ear Muffs Won by Yankee Thrift]

When the positions of the various units of the army had been definitely
fixed the whole army began, as a preliminary step, to burrow into the
earth. Before mid-November the Japanese camp was no longer stretched
over the hills south of the Sha-ho but had vanished from view under the
hills. Along the whole front that stretched for nearly sixty miles
underground galleries were excavated barely high enough even for a
Japanese to stand erect. These were open at one end and at the entrance
to each a charcoal burning stove was placed. A fire was kept burning
continually in each of these thousands of stoves. The stove pipe,
instead of jutting a foot or two into the air was extended along the
roof of the dug-out to its end, then passed upward through the eight
feet of soil that formed the roof. Fronting the open end long trenches,
were dug and over them heavy protective bomb proofs of timber and earth
were erected as a protection against the shells which with greater or
less activity were hurled into the Japanese lines by the Russians
throughout the winter. These underground homes solved much of the
question of withstanding cold for in them the men were reasonably
comfortable. Special clothing, too, was provided, and in connection
with fur ear-muffs with which each man was provided an interesting
story is told, one typical of the Yankee-like thrift of the Japanese.
Five years before, the plague had been introduced into Japan from the
Malay Peninsula. A vigorous fight was made and the disease was finally
conquered but in the course of the fight the sanitary officials became
convinced that the germs of the disease were being spread by rats. A
prize was put upon the heads of the dangerous rodents. Millions were
killed by the boys of Japan who delivered the rats, collected the
bounty and gave no thought to what became of the carcasses. Nor did
anyone, but when the army faced a Manchurian winter those millions of
rat furs reappeared as warm ear protectors while a smile went around
the world. So completely, in a thousand ingenious ways did the army
officials conquer the cold and safeguard the army that throughout the
winter it was even possible for every man in the army to have two hot
baths a week. The bath in Japan is almost a religious rite, but the
trooper bade good-bye to it, as he supposed, when he started for the
front. Not so. Circular metal tubes were provided. These were sunk in
the ground level with the surface. Ten feet away at the bottom of a
trench a stove was placed heating a coil of pipes which went inside,
around and around the sides of the tube. The tube served as the tub. It
was filled with water and in a few minutes the hot bath was ready. In
protected spots all along the lines Nippon could be seen hastily
stripping beside the steaming hole in the ground. Then he would vanish
until only his head was visible. As well as he could he scrubbed
himself. Comrades raised him swiftly from the tube and swathed him in
heavy blankets, wrapped in which he vanished over the edge of the
trench and so into his underground home, clean and happy.

[Illustration: A NIGHT ATTACK ON A RUSSIAN POSITION.]

[Sidenote: Hot Baths and Hot Meals]

Hot meals were cooked at the doors of the dugouts for the fifty
occupants on improved portable camp kitchens. Telephones connected
every battalion headquarters with its regimental headquarters and so
throughout the army, every unit with the next largest and all with the
general headquarters at Liao-yang. Great fur overcoats, pure wool
underclothing, heavy uniforms well adapted for comfort and warmth; in
every detail the Japanese were splendidly equipped for the ordeal of
cold. Thousands of slight cases of frost-bite reached the hospitals
after occasional sorties demanded by fitful attacks of Russian scouting
parties, but there was none of this in the normal life of the vast army
of nearly 300,000 men.

The Japanese medical department during the winter made a wonderful
fight against disease, that bane of armies, and continued under these
unrecord of the actual campaign.

[Sidenote: Wonderful Sanitary Record]

Until now disease has always been much more destructive than shot and
shell. During the brief conflict with Spain 268 Americans died of
bullets and wounds, while mortality from disease reached the appalling
number of 3,862, or about fourteen to one. In the Boer War 7,792
English were killed in action or died of wounds, while 13,250 fell
victims to disease. Of the Turkish army operating in Thessaly seven
years ago, 1,000 men were lost in battle, while 19,000 died at the
front of disease. Twenty-two thousand others were invalided home, and
of these 8,000 subsequently died. This was a ratio of twenty-seven men
killed by disease to one by bullets. Even more frightful was the
experience of the French expedition to Madagascar in 1894. Only 29 were
killed in action, while over 7,000 perished from disease. Compare these
frightful experiences with the record of the Japanese. During the last
nine months of 1904, throughout a difficult campaign, in a country
noted for lack of sanitation, only forty deaths from disease occurred
in the immense army in Manchuria commanded by General Oku. It is a
wonderful lesson in sanitation Japan has taught to the world.

While disease scored but forty victims in nine months among the
soldiers of General Oku, no fewer than 5,127 officers and men were
killed and 21,080 wounded. This shows that the period was one of great
activity, of hard campaigning and severe fighting--which makes the low
disease death rate all the more astonishing. Soldiers in the field
cannot be looked after as carefully as those in camp; hygiene and
sanitary surroundings are only temporary, and, therefore, more crude;
dietetic regulations are more difficult to enforce. Of course, there
were many cases of disease in Oku's army--24,642 in all--but the
majority were of bronchial troubles, resulting from climatic
conditions. Of beri beri, a malady peculiarly Oriental, 5,070 cases
were reported. But the progressive Japanese seem to have gotten the
mastery even of this, once notable, because of its mortality. It is,
however, in battling with those most dreaded scourges of an
army--typhoid fever and dysentery--that the Japanese have scored their
greatest triumphs. Of typhoid fever they have had only 193 cases, and
of dysentery only 342 cases.

[Sidenote: Civil War Comparisons]

During the first year of the American Civil War typhoid fever attacked
8 per cent. of the Federal troops, killing 35 per cent. of the white
and 55 per cent. of the negro soldiers who contracted it. But here is
an army in the wilds of Manchuria larger than that of McClellan before
Richmond, which had only forty deaths in nine months. The great
American conflict was one of the bloodiest in history. In the Federal
ranks, 110,070 men were killed in battle or died of wounds, while
249,458 were sent to their graves of disease. Why is it the little
brown islanders of the East were so successful in fighting the unseen
foe?

"Every death from preventable disease is an insult to the intelligence
of the age," says Major Louis L. Seaman, late surgeon in the United
States Volunteers, who returned from Japan during the war.

"When it occurs in an army, where the units are compelled to submit to
discipline, it becomes a governmental crime."

"Disease bacteria," asserts another writer, in discussing the medical
aspects of the Boer War, "are even more dangerous than Mauser bullets
shot off with smokeless powder. Both hit without giving a sign to the
eye whence they come, and of the two, the Mausers hit less often and
hit less hard." It was through prompt recognition of these propositions
that the Japanese held down their death rate from disease. Major Seaman
relates that, in conversation with a Japanese officer early in the
conflict, the subject of Russia's overwhelming numbers was mentioned.

"Yes," admittted the officer, "we are prepared for that. Russia may be
able to place 2,000,000 men in the field. We can furnish 500,000. You
know that in war four men die of disease for every one who falls from
bullets. We propose to eliminate disease as a factor. Every man who
dies in our army must fall on the field of battle. In this way we shall
neutralize the superiority of Russian numbers and stand on a
comparatively equal footing."

[Sidenote: The Japanese Scientific]

When Japan started out to make war she did so upon a scientific basis.
For many months in advance the store rooms of Tokio were crowded with
surgical materials, cots, tents, bedding, ambulances and all kinds of
hospital supplies, ready for any emergency, and under the personal
example of the Empress the women of the land made bandages for those
who might be wounded. Japan realized also that the keystone to the
health of the army lay in the character of the ration provided for the
individual soldier. So she set about to master that problem. First of
all, the ration evolved was suited to the climatic conditions of the
campaign. It consisted largely of rice, compressed fish, soy, army
biscuits, a few salted plums, tea--all of which necessitate the
drinking of large quantities of boiled water--a few ounces of meat and
some juicy, succulent pickles.

No more thorough or efficient medical preparation could be imagined
that Japan made for her great conflict. Not only was the ablest of
medical counsel obtained, but the members of that staff of the army
were given rank and full authority to enforce their decrees. The
Japanese had a medical director who ranked as a lieutenant-general. Six
medical officers ranked as major-general. With every 20,000 men in line
a surgeon ranking as brigadier-general, and all have power to enforce
their orders. Every body of moving soldiers, however small, was
accompanied by one or more medical officers, who were almost
omnipresent, and were always watchful. Field and line officers and men
were obliged to obey them without question. The solution of the greater
problem engaged the attention of the medical corps. This was in
preserving the health and fighting value of the army. Nothing seemed
too small to escape the vigilance of the medical officers, or too
tedious to weary his patience. He was with the first line of scouts,
with his microscope and chemicals, testing and labelling wells so that
the army to follow should not drink water that was contaminated. When
the scouts reached a town, he immediately instituted a thorough
examination of its sanitary condition. If contagious or infectious
disease was found, he quarantined and placed a guard around the
dangerous district. Notices were posted, so that the approaching column
was warned and no soldiers were located where danger existed.
Violations of such a notice was as great an offense as disobedience to
a line officer on a battlefield. An officer with only the rank of a
lieutenant might post the notice, and yet General Oku himself dared not
disregard it. No foraging party ever set out to gather supplies unless
accompanied by a medical officer.

[Sidenote: No Detail Overlooked]

He sampled the various kinds of food, fruit and vegetables sold by the
natives along the line of march long before the arrival of the army. If
the food was tainted, or the fruit over ripe, or the water ought to be
boiled, notice was posted to that effect. In camp, too, the medical
officer was always busy, lecturing the men on sanitation and the
hundred and one details of personal hygiene--how to cook, to eat, and
when not to drink; to bathe, and even to directions as to paring and
cleansing the finger nails to prevent danger from bacteria. More than
any other preventive, the boiling of all drinking water was insisted
upon. Every Japanese soldier carried a small copper camp kettle with a
double bottom. By the use of it he was enabled to boil water even in a
gale. Charcoal was burned on the inside, the water being heated between
two layers of copper. Great kettles for similar use in camps were also
provided.

Large bathing basins, or kettles, formed an important part of the
equipment of each company. They were placed upon the ground and are
ready for use in a few minutes after camp was made. In this way
personal cleanliness was maintained. A troop might encamp beside a
small stream, the water of which was needed for several different
purposes. It was not scooped up indiscriminately, but the flow was
divided into separate channels--one for drinking or cooking, another
for bathing, a third for laundry service, and so on.

[Sidenote: Wounded Rarely Died]

Up to July 1, 1106 wounded were taken to Tokio, and of that number not
a single man died. These men were shot in almost every possible way;
six had bullets through the brain, nine had bullets through their
chests, and six had bullets through the abdomen--and yet all got well.
The medical service of the United States in its war with Spain was not
any more discreditable when compared with that of Japan than the
medical service of the English Army during its war with the Boers. The
report of the English Hospital Commission, which inquired into the
medical end of that conflict, shows that there was "an immense amount
of needless suffering and misery." There is no attempt "to hide
incompetency and unpreparedness under the platitude that 'was is war.'"
Just as in the Spanish-American War, a large number of civil surgeons
were employed for army work in South Africa. They had no knowledge of
military duties nor of military methods and discipline. Consequently,
they were ineffective, except when accompanied and, to some extent,
controlled by officers of the service. They were absolutely without
authority. Perhaps all these lessons were observed and absorbed by the
keen-eyed Japanese. In any event, they have given the world the most
pronounced examples of scientific warfare that the hoary old globe has
ever seen.

[Illustration: JAPANESE TROOPS CAUGHT IN BARBED WIRE ENTANGLEMENT.]



                             CHAPTER XVII.

  The Greatest Battle of History--Rout and Disaster for Russia--The
    Ancient City of Mukden--The Tombs of the Manchus--A Flourishing
    Mart--Betwixt Winter and Spring--The Line of Battle--Lone Tree
    Hill--The Russian Position--The Japanese Task--Mukden the Real
    Battleground--Russian Flanks Strongly Protected--Well Protected
    on the East--Battled for Mountain Passes--Russians Had
    Advantage of Position--The Outlook for Oyama--Busy Preparations
    During Winter--Oyama's Plan of Battle--Nogi to Strike
    Culminating Blow--"Out of the Way for Us"--Master Stroke of the
    Battle.


Not only the climax of the Japan-Russian War, but a climax to all wars
was reached in the Battle of Mukden, fought February 19-March 13, 1905.
This memorable struggle, resulting in a sweeping victory for Japan, was
practically a campaign in itself. The results, a cataclasm which
overwhelmed the Russian army, were not merely what had been expected
for this one battle, but comprehended all that the Japanese had hoped
for a year's campaign. It was more than rout. It remains a grisly
monument to the potentiality of war to write horror on the pages of
world history. It was more than defeat, retreat, disaster, it was
practical annihilation for Russia's power of resistance in the Far
East. Her vaunted military power was trailed in the dust, was
obliterated. When the smoke of the contest had rolled away Oyama stood
master of Manchuria with only a demoralized horde of the enemy "without
form and void" fleeing in panic with no thought but to shake off a foe
to whom no resistance could be offered.

[Sidenote: The Greatest Battle of History]

No nation in the world's history has faced a greater blow to its
military prestige, and from the standpoint of the Japanese--no military
force has achieved for its nation a more sweeping or more complete
victory. The Battle of Mukden is destined to occupy a unique place in
the story of the nations for these and other reasons. In point of the
territory involved; in point of the number of men engaged; in point of
the duration of the struggle; in point of the lessons, the authentic
history of the world has no peer for its record.

General Kuropatkin, the Russian Commander-in-Chief, had at the
beginning of the struggle an army of 300,000 infantry; 26,700 cavalry,
and 1,368 guns. This is the estimate of the Japanese intelligence
bureau. On the other hand the German Military Review credited
Kuropatkin with a total of 370,790 men of whom 36,790 were cavalry. The
Germans estimate that the Russians had a total of 1,598 field guns, and
72 heavy guns. Somewhere between these two estimates the actual
figures, carefully concealed by the Russians, may be taken to lie.
Marshal Oyama had 500,000 men of all arms and artillery equal to that
of the Russians with a preponderating number of big guns, a great many
having been moved from Port Arthur to the northern battleground. In the
two armies therefore, there were in round numbers a total of about
800,000 men.

[Illustration: MAP OF THE BATTLE OF MUKDEN.]

[Sidenote: Rout and Disaster for Russia]

The battle developed into a struggle for possession of Mukden, the
ancient Manchu capital, near which lie the Imperial Tombs of the
founders of the Manchu dynasty, a spot sacred throughout the length and
breadth of China. The battle lines around this city stretched for one
hundred miles. The fighting began on February 19. On March 7th the
Russians already seeing disaster in the advance made by the Japanese
under General Nogi, toward cutting off the line of retreat north of
Mukden, fell back from the centre along the Sha-ho River and on March
10 evacuated Mukden, beginning a retreat that was turned into a
disastrous rout by the desperate flank attacks of the Japanese from
both sides.

The Russian losses to March 13, when the Battle of Mukden actually came
to a close, were 175,000 men, killed, wounded and prisoners; 60 guns;
25,000 rounds of small arm ammunition and immense quantities of stores.
The Japanese casualties to March 12 were 41,222 killed, wounded and
missing and several hundred of the missing were recovered in the
capture of Mukden. The Japanese sent 43,000 prisoners to Japan as one
of the results of the victory.

[Sidenote: The Ancient City of Mukden]

Mukden, round which the greatest battle in history raged, is, without
exception, the most interesting place in the whole of Northern China.
In the eyes of all Manchurians it is the one holy city in the world,
for it is here that the tombs of the founders of the Manchu dynasty are
situated. For this reason the Chinese Government demanded that the
sacred precincts of the Imperial Tombs must not be violated by foul
warfare, and both sides engaged in the horrible work of killing,
entered into solemn undertakings to respect the sanctity of the famous
burial grounds.

The great city stands in the middle of a vast alluvial plain,
surrounded by rich and highly cultivated land. The population of Mukden
is over a quarter of a million, and the city is modelled on a similar
plan to that of Peking, presenting an imposing appearance, in spite of
the decay into which many of the ancient buildings have been allowed to
fall.

The railway, which runs north to Harbin, does not pass within a mile of
the city, the Chinese having refused to allow the neighborhood of the
sacred tombs to be desecrated by the construction of an iron road in
the immediate vicinity. The station is consequently about a mile away
from the city, but on alighting from the train, one is immediately
struck by the sight of the tremendous brick walls, 60 feet high, which
surround the inner town. This is built in the form of a square a mile
wide, and entrance is gained through eight enormous brick gates,
surrounded by watch-towers and batteries. Outside this, suburbs extend
for about a mile in every direction, and the whole is surrounded by a
mud rampart from ten to twenty feet in height.

A little to the north of the city is the sacred shrine of Na Ta, and a
mile to the east of this is the Temple of Heaven, where sacrifices of
black cattle and white sheep are offered up in the Emperor's name. To
the east of this pagoda, buried in the midst of a grove of fir trees,
is the famous tomb of the great Chinese conqueror, Tai Tsung. Access to
the tomb is gained through a great gateway, roofed with red and yellow
tiles, down a long avenue flanked by colossal stone figures of animals,
great marble columns, and stretches of high wall.

[Sidenote: The Tombs of the Manchus]

The other great tomb lies due east of the city, in the heart of a great
forest. Here, amid similar walls, figures of animals, and decayed
marble columns, lie the remains of Nao Chu, the father of Tai Tsung.
The fact that both these sacred relics were surrounded by acres of
forest made it likely that no violation, either by Russians or
Japanese, would take place, though the possible misdirection of a shell
from one of their heavy guns might very easily have ruined either of
them. Such an accident would very probably have stirred the somnolent
Chinese to their very depths.

For an Eastern city Mukden is extremely clean and well kept. The
Manchus are well known for their cleanly habits, which are often in
striking contrast with those of the southern Chinese. The streets are
well scavengered, and there are many most imposing, if not beautiful,
private mansions belonging to wealthy mandarins. There are also a great
number of handsome shops, and the centre of the city is always busy
with the incessant movement and bustle which are only to be found in
prosperous trading centres.

[Sidenote: A Flourishing Mart]

For Mukden is the centre of an enormous trade between the north and the
south of China. From the north come enormous quantities of fur, and
from the south millions of bushels of all sorts of grain, while in the
immediate vicinity wheat, barley, tobacco, melons, and cucumbers are
grown in the fertile plain which stretches away on all sides. The
silkworm, too, is cultivated all round Mukden, so that there is never
any lack of trade from one source or another, whatever the season.
Mukden, in the Manchu language means "flourishing," and for centuries
the city has lived up to its name.

Two miles to the south of the city is a wide, sandy stretch of ground,
twenty miles long, through which runs the Hun River, which can be
forded almost anywhere. This approach to Mukden, forming the Russian
center, was strongly held with sand-bag batteries. On the west of the
town the very high railway embankment, running north and south of the
river for many miles, was used to protect Mukden against attack from
the west. The most vulnerable point in this line was the bridge over
the Hun River, against which the Japanese delivered incessant attack.
Mukden was strongly fortified by General Kuropatkin. The fortifications
extended for nine miles, with forts and redoubts at intervals of a
mile. The redoubts were all cleverly masked, and the line of
fortification was protected by deep ditches and pits, all with stakes
at the bottom, by wire entanglements, land mines, and a line of felled
trees.

[Sidenote: Betwixt Winter and Spring]

Winter still howls over Manchuria when February is drawing to a close,
but the early days of March, just as through the central United States,
bring the first flush of spring. The ground remains locked in the grip
of a frost that turns earth to steel to a depth of seven feet. The
rivers are still securely ice-bound, but overhead the sun begins a
mastery over the overpowering cold. If the nights remain bitterly cold,
the days are increasingly warm and throughout the daylight hours
conditions are ideal for the work of the soldier. The weather,
therefore, fairly trumpeted a call to arms to the two vast armies that
confronted each other south of the Sha-ho River. The earliest moves
were made over whitened plains with snow storms still driving over
hills and plain out of the bleak north. Marshal Oyama, the Japanese
commander, evidently realized that the struggle would be long and,
indeed, before its end winter had, in fact, given place to the opening
days of spring. The advantages were many. The movement of artillery was
facilitated by the hard surface of frozen ground and the ease with
which ice-covered streams and rivers could be crossed. Lack of foliage
deprived the army of the protection that so greatly aided the advance
on Liao-yang, and so effectively shielded the artillery in that
struggle. The broken nature of the country, the heavy calibre guns,
firing from one to five miles with accuracy, minimized the disadvantage
of fighting over a bare land and if lack of protection of foliage and
growing crops added to the Japanese losses it failed to check the vigor
or relentlessness of the advance once it had begun.

[Sidenote: The Line of Battle]

The lines of the two armies on the eve of the great battle, stretched
from the Hun River, on the west, in a southeasterly direction south of
the Sha-ho River, along that stream, then bending more southward,
across the Taitse River, near Bensihu, at a point thirty-five miles
east of Yentai Station, on the Harbin--Port Arthur Railroad. These
lines had been determined by the battle of the Sha-ho River, October
6-13, the end of the campaign of 1904. Strategically the advantage lay
with the Russians. Though defeated in the memorable battle along the
Sha-ho, General Kuropatkin had secured a position south of Mukden far
superior to any below Tie Pass, the gateway to the great plains around
Harbin, always regarded as the ultimate decisive battleground of
Manchuria.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN RETREAT IN MANCHURIA.]

[Sidenote: Lone Tree Hill]

The whole lay of the land was adapted to defensive fighting. Along most
of the front lay the Sha-ho River, broad enough and deep enough to
demand bridging except when frozen over. The culminating event of the
battle of the Sha-ho had been the recapture by the Russians of Lone
Tree Hill, a mile east of the railroad, just south of the Sha-ho, at
the very centre of the battlefield. From this point the Russians
commanded a territory five miles in radius. The hill, naturally adapted
for defense, was strongly fortified to a point nearer impregnability
even, than achieved by any of the boasted fortifications of the
mountains around Port Arthur. Thousands of Japanese were ultimately to
immolate themselves on the slopes of Lone Tree Hill in vain efforts at
its capture. It still stood invincible when events elsewhere demanded
retreat and its abandonment. Westward the Russian line spread across a
rolling country dotted with Chinese villages. The low, stoned walled
cottages of these clusters of hamlets formed the basis for defenses
which were well calculated to offer enormous resistance to troops
advancing across the wide-stretching flats along the Sha-ho, and the
east bank of the Hun, the only approach for the Japanese.

[Sidenote: The Russian Position]

Eastward from the Sha-ho the defense line followed the foot hills that
become mountains thirty miles east of the Sha-ho. In front flowed a
river for twenty miles of the distance, and a vast level plain
approached the river from the south, over which the Japanese right
flank must make its advance. The Russian position was enclosed in a
vast triangle with the upper angle between Mukden and Fushan,
northward, its base the eighty-mile line from Madyanapu, on the Hun
River, to Tsenketchen, thirty-five miles east of Yentai. Mountains
protected the left flank; the Hun River protected the right flank,
while Lone Tree Hill, and the Sha-ho River were chief elements in the
strength of the centre. All the genius of the Russian commanders was
exerted to find the weak spots in this long line. Artillery of the
heaviest types, ranging through all the grades of siege and field guns,
and the more mobile and most deadly machine guns were scattered with
prodigality across the whole vast front then in receding lines to the
apex of the triangle, where were arranged the defenses of Mukden and
Fushan. To facilitate communications over the battlefield, two hundred
miles of light railroad track was laid, and thousands of light cars for
horse or man propulsion were in constant use carrying munitions,
provisions, guns or whatever was needed, to depots from which every
part of the battlefield was readily accessible. Telephone and telegraph
wires connected the headquarters, just north of the Sha-ho River, with
every command along the entire line. Crowning all, an army of 350,000
men rested on its arms, elbow to elbow, along the front, as bulwarks to
the flanks, and northward, thronging Mukden and Fushan, the reserves.
This was the immediate situation on the Russian side that confronted
Marshal Oyama.

[Sidenote: The Japanese Task]

The Japanese task, however, was more than to defeat the Russian army.
Criticism had followed the victory of Liao-yang because, despite the
awful defeat administered, the battle had been indecisive. The Russian
general had been able to extricate his army and by a masterful retreat,
to realign his forces in a new position with no alternative but to
follow and prepare to renew the struggle left to the Japanese
commanders. The Battle of Mukden must be estimated in the light of an
effort to prevent a recurrence of this feat by the Russians. The chief
world interest centers about the strategy of Marshal Oyama to encircle
his foe, to cut off his retreat completely and to force the alternative
of annihilation or surrender. The geography of the country, its
strategical features far afield from the actual Russian positions,
therefore, become matters of moment which must be understood to permit
a comprehensive understanding of the battle and its results.

[Sidenote: Mukden the Real Battleground]

Marshal Oyama's problem, as has been said, was to envelope the Russian
armies. It was as though the Russian triangle were a bottle into which
a cork must be driven. On the neck of the bottle, ten miles apart, are
Mukden, on the West, and Fushan, on the east. Between these points the
Russians would be compelled to disgorge in a retreat northward should
the center be broken and a retreat became necessary. Here, then, was
the Japanese objective. To take Mukden and Fushan, to drive the forces
there southward toward the Sha-ho, and to place a force northward to be
the cork in the bottle, driving back the retreat on the advance of the
center, right and left armies, thus surrounding the Russians with a
hoop of men and guns that would make escape or victory impossible. Thus
it is that a battle that centered twenty-five miles southward on the
Sha-ho River becomes officially known as the battle of Mukden, for here
centered the really vital struggle of the whole memorable engagement.
The Russian line of communication centers at Harbin, where the railroad
which pierces Manchuria and the Liao-tung Peninsula to Port Arthur,
branches southward from the Siberian railroad, the artery through which
flows life from St. Petersburg and European Russia to the Far Eastern
armies. The whole Manchurian campaign has moved northward along this
railroad, the salvation of the Russian army always depending on its
ability to keep open at its rear this means of sustenance, of
ammunition supply, of reinforcement supply, of transport of every kind,
whether advancing or retreating. The railroad reached the actual
Russian lines just west of Mukden and then continued southward to the
Sha-ho, branching here and there to various field depots convenient to
the various army units. Marshal Oyama's plan of battle comprehended, as
its greatest achievement, the cutting of this railroad north of Mukden
before a retreat could be made. This was the first and most vital
contribution if the ultimate plan to envelop the Russians was to
succeed. This plan failed and hence the prize of decisive, final
victory slipped from the grasp of the Japanese commander, however great
the blow he dealt to the Russian army.

[Sidenote: Russian Flanks Strongly Protected]

General Kuropatkin was fully alive to the dangers on his flanks as well
as at the front. His right flank rested on Mukden, but the actual lines
to which were given the task of preventing the turning of the right
flank were far afield from the actual city. To the southwest they
extended to the Hun River, thirty-five miles away, while the far
outpost was within touch of Sinmintin, a Chinese city, thirty-five
miles westward of Mukden on the banks of the Liao River. Sinmintin is
actually in the territory which was excluded from the theatre of war by
the famous agreement proposed to the European Powers by John Hay, the
American Secretary of State, by which the neutrality of Chinese
territory was assured. Nevertheless, while not actually occupied by the
Russians, Sinmintin was to all intents and purposes within their lines
and was continually used as a receiving point for supplies bought or
commanded in the Mongolian provinces. Cossacks in large force remained
in close touch with the city while the road leading from Sinmintin to
Mukden, a famous caravan route, was occupied by large forces of
Russians and was regarded as an effective bulwark for the Russian right
flank.

The Russian defences on the right, or west wing of their army began
just west of the Sha-ho River, extended thence westward for thirty-five
miles to the Hun and then bent due northward across the left side of
the Liao River Valley to a point a few miles east of Sinmintin; thence
along the Sinmintin-Mukden road to Tatchekiao, five miles northward of
Mukden; thence due westward until the line intercepted the railroad, a
few miles north of Mukden. Lieutenant General Baron Kaulbars was
commander of the army of nearly 100,000 men which made up this wing of
General Kuropatkin's forces. The left wing's divisional commander was
General Linevitch, who, with General Rennenkampf, stands among the
greatest of the Russian commanders. Occupying a position to the Russian
left flank exactly similar to that of Mukden on the right, is Fushan,
ten miles east of Mukden. With this position firmly held at center and
on its flanks it would be impossible for the Japanese to drive in their
cork in the neck of the bottle between Fushan and Mukden. To the
average strategist, indeed, universally among strategists, the view
would prevail after a glance of the battlefield as it lay at the
opening of the struggle that there was the real vital point to the
attack as well as to the defense. In the opening days of the battle
events all shaped themselves to bear out this view. General Kuropatkin
manifestly thought so. Here he threw the weight of vast numbers of
troops and thought victory near when the Japanese attack from this
quarter had been fought to a standstill. Logically, Fushan was the
chief danger point, and the fact that Marshal Oyama, the Japanese
commander, chose another strategical solution for the problem is among
his achievements that have resulted in the appellation of "The Napoleon
of the Orient."

[Sidenote: Well Protected on the East]

Just as on the west, the Russian lines were far afield from the actual
key position at Mukden, so on their left, or eastern positions their
lines formed a far-reaching protective barrier, 20 miles away. As has
been said, the main front on the east stretched away from the Sha-ho,
thirty-five miles eastward to the Taitse River, which winds in a
general northeasterly direction from Liao-yang. The defensive position
of importance was at Tsinketchen, in the foothills of the Sierras,
which run across Manchuria, and finally reach the east coast of Korea.

The only practicable path northward for the Japanese army was to skirt
these foothills to the passes, northeast from Tsinketchen and
Bentsiaputze and then debouch into the valley of the Hun River and
fight their way northward to Fushan, the rugged nature of the country
eastward from that place practically preventing any opportunity for
play of strategy in a turning movement to strike northeast of the city.
One of the wonders of the war and one of the most amazing of the feats
constantly accomplished by the Japanese has been the skill and success
with which they have attacked and captured mountain positions. General
Kuroki in the campaign which, after a few months followed the victory
of the Yalu, repeatedly drove the Russians from veritable Thermopylæs
and in the fighting on every front which preceded the surrounding of
the Russian army at Liao-yang the Japanese were constantly confronted
with the necessity of making frontal attacks on mountain defiles which
seemed to offer impregnable shelter to the defenders.

[Sidenote: Battled for Mountain Passes]

So also in the campaign on the east in the battle of Mukden. General
Kuropatkin chose his defensive positions with skill. No pains were
spared in fortifying the gaps in the mountain ridges through which the
Japanese must pass. The principal routes open were through Da Pass and
Gauto Pass. While these were the main defensive positions the Russians
pushed fifteen miles further southward toward the enemy, and the
earlier reverses at Tsinketchen were only fairly unimportant preludes
to the battling at these mountain passes. The Russian line on the east
had less geometrical regularity than the line of the west owing to the
nature of the topography. The lines from the front extended to the
foothills, as has been pointed out, and then were concentrated at the
passes, the danger points, offering only a limited battle line until
the fighting had swept over the mountains into the Valley of the Hun.
What with artillery of a thousand guns and an army of 75,000 men only
called upon to defend positions of vast natural strength, there was
little wonder then when the open guns of the battle rolled over the
plains in the west, General Kuropatkin concentrated his attention to
the centre and gave little thought to events on his left. As it turned
out the General's confidence was well founded. In all the war no braver
or more stubborn or more successful fight has been waged by any Russian
force than was waged by the army under Lieutenant-General Linevitch and
General Rennenkampff on this flank. It has been said that the Japanese
were fought to a standstill. That statement is literally true, and only
the beginning of the Russian retreat made it possible for General
Kuroki, the Japanese Commander here, to play any conspicuous part in
the total disaster which befell the Russian Army.

[Sidenote: Russians Had Advantage of Position]

To summarize, the position in which General Kuropatkin found himself at
the opening of the battle was an admirable one from every standpoint.
His defensive lines fitted in well with the topography of the country.
Broad rivers, rugged mountains, apparently impregnable mountain passes,
commanding hills on front and flanks promised to aid materially in his
defence. His army was nearly of equal strength with that of the enemy,
while superior natural positions compensated for the slight deficiency
of men. In the long winter months every possible means of communication
from one to another of the units of his army had been perfected, while,
apparently unassailable, stretched a great railroad behind him offering
ready link between the front and the Russian base of supplies for all
of Manchuria. His army had been recuperated, was eager to fight, and
would be called upon to defend fortified positions, heavily supplied
with artillery, a position which, as history plainly proves, brings out
the best qualities of the Russian soldier. So far as the centre was
concerned he had no fear. Lone Tree Hill, or, as he renamed it for the
Russian who led the charge that had recaptured it from the Japanese,
had been made as nearly impregnable as men and arms could make a
position made by nature for defensive fighting. So westward, so
eastward, topography, the condition of his army, the whole aspect of
the field, spoke only of a repulse to the Japanese attack. Then would
come the offensive against a worn-out army, then the victory for which
all Russia was clamoring and upon which depended the future of the
Commander-in-Chief himself.

So much for the Russian viewpoint.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN SUFFERING AT THE BATTLE OF MUKDEN.]

[Sidenote: The Outlook for Oyama]

When the smoke of the battle of the Sha-ho cleared away it left the
Japanese armies masters of practically the same territory they had
occupied at the conclusion of the pursuit of the Russian after the
victory at Liao-yang. General Kuroki, commanding the Japanese right
army, had fallen back from Bentsiaputze to Bensihu, a distance of
twenty miles; but this move had been made to correct the alignment of
the army with the centre, at the Sha-ho River as a basis. Certainly, no
great effort was made to advance this force after the initial Russian
successes on this flank after the battle of the Sha-ho. Some advantages
attached to the position finally occupied by General Kuroki, hence the
view that he was impelled by strategic reasons when he had failed to
advance, rather than by inability to retake the lost positions farther
north. At the centre, which followed the south bank of the Sha-ho
River, the Russians had succeeded in retaking Lone Tree Hill in the
closing hours of the battle, and had a decided advantage. Every
possible effort was made to retake the position, but when called upon
for this effort the Japanese were exhausted by twelve days of incessant
fighting, and they failed. Marshal Oyama, at the centre, therefore, was
confronted by a practically impregnable position. Westward, on the left
flank of the Japanese Army, the Russians were less aided by natural
features of the country than at any other point. Their lines crossed
the Sha-ho just west of the railroad and then spread northeastward
through a series of villages dotting a comparatively level plain lying
between the Sha-ho and the Hun Rivers. Of all the positions on the
entire Russian front this seemed to offer the best opportunity for
attack, for while an advance would have to be made over an open
country, approach to the Russians' positions was facilitated by the
innumerable villages in this fertile river plain. On the other hand,
the Japanese were open to the same style of advance, and both
commanders made unusual preparations to defend this angle of the great
battlefield.

The Japanese lines along the front were merely a parallel of the
Russian lines which have been described, except that while on the west
and on the centre the entrenchments were only a few hundred yards
separated, the lines farther east, except for outpost positions, were
separated by distances ranging from five to fifteen miles, as developed
when the operations of the Battle of Mukden were actually under way.

To the Japanese Commander-in-Chief the general situation could not have
been particularly reassuring, except that he could count on the
indomitable efforts of an unbeaten and fanatically brave army. So far
as the topography was concerned, the enemy had every advantage. In all
a very difficult and interesting problem was presented as the Mikado's
hosts settled down for their long winter inaction.

[Sidenote: Busy Preparations During Winter]

Liao-yang was made the Japanese base after the occupation of that city,
and the Engineer Corps performed a notable feat in the speedy manner in
which the railroad running northward from Port Arthur was made over for
the use of Japanese engines and cars. The Russians had a five-foot
gauge, while the Japanese rolling stock was built to the standard
measurement. This fact made necessary the relaying of the entire line,
a task which was promptly completed, thereby affording the inland army
base ready communication with the general supply base at Dalny and at
Port Arthur after the capture of that port. In addition to this line of
communication the Japanese had a line to the Yalu. Stores for the right
army were landed at the mouth of the Yalu River, and then were
transported overland on a light railroad for which horses were the
motive power, to points well in reach of General Kuroki. Both of these
lines of communication were vital to an army that had now penetrated
two hundred miles inland and were the first consideration when the
flanks and protective units were being placed in their winter quarters.
The Liao-yang-Yalu line proved to have been safeguarded against danger,
but Cossack raiders in January twice encircled the Japanese left army,
penetrated to the railroad at Yinkow, and damaged the line. In each
case the damage done was quickly repaired. The second raiding party was
so nearly cut off and so nearly annihilated in its flight to the
Russian lines and activities on a broader scale so soon after were
begun, that no further attempts of the kind were attempted. Such
trifling inconvenience resulted from these perilous raids that it would
seem that the Russians were hardly recompensed for the sacrifice of
life. Certainly, the vast bulk of all needed stores and ammunition were
already within the Japanese lines before the attempts were made, and
Marshal Oyama, in all probability, could have fought the entire battle
of Mukden without further need of the railroad, particularly as no
Japanese retreat resulted from that struggle. The incidents only bore
out the long held reputation of the Cossacks for reckless bravery.
Indeed, the Japanese have repeatedly expressed their admiration for the
Cossacks as a foe worthy of their steel.

[Sidenote: Deciding the Way to Strike]

With his front well aligned, and with every possible precaution taken
to safeguard his lines of communication, the question then before the
Japanese Commander-in-Chief was the strategy to mark a resumption of
hostilities. At Liao-yang, despite the sweeping nature of the victory,
there can be no doubt that the Japanese were bitterly disappointed
when, despite tremendously determined efforts to prevent their escape,
practically the whole Russian Army had disentangled itself from a
well-set net and had escaped to occupy new positions there to be fought
all over again. The first thought in all of the planning of the new
campaign that was to succeed the winter of inactivity, was to
accomplish the actual envelopment of General Kuropatkin, forcing upon
the Russian Commander a surrender as the only alternative to
annihilation. The line of action decided upon is fully revealed in the
details of the battle to be told later. This program of complete
destruction stands out even more plainly than at Liao-yang. It came far
nearer realization than in that struggle, and was not concluded with
the mere taking of Mukden; but like the tentacles of a great octopus,
Marshal Oyama's grim determination for complete annihilation of the foe
spread far northward beyond the scene of the initial victory and
relentlessly realized in large measure all that he had hoped.

[Sidenote: Oyama's Plan of Battle]

In brief, the plan was to hold the Russian centre in a combat which,
however desperate and bloody, was only a feint. While this struggle
went on with apparent success to Russian arms, the right and left
flanks as aligned east and west of the Sha-ho were to press home an
attack calculated slowly to bend back the Russians toward their line of
retreat northward from Mukden.

But the culminating fact in the entire plan was an entirely separate
blow at the Russian rear north of Mukden by an army which, while it no
doubt figured in the Russian calculations of probabilities, eventually
burst into the plain eastward from Sinmintin with a fury of surprise
attack which ultimately crumbled the entire scheme of Russian defence.

[Sidenote: Nogi to Strike Culminating Blow]

That army was made up of the conquerors of Port Arthur. The fall of
that fortress released a host of 80,000 seasoned fighters, flushed with
a victory that filled the world with awe and admiration. Just so soon
as the details of the surrender had been completed this force was under
way northward to reinforce Marshal Oyama. At its head was the savagely
brave Nogi, who had just won for himself undying place in the history
of Japan by successfully reducing the Gibraltar of the Orient. Swift
from the scene of one great triumph he was speeding to another. It was
in the disposition of this force that all of the genius of Oyama was
expended. When he sent Nogi westward in a wide circuit to swing
completely around the Russian right army, to plunge northward by forced
marches as far as Simintin and then bend eastward to burst upon the
Russian rear, sweeping within five miles of their lines before an
adequate defence could be provided, he settled the fate of Russia's
great army of nearly a half million men. He struck a blow that made an
awful rout possible, and the blow that made possible the final
disaster, the forced abandonment of Tie Pass, that left the Russian
Army a demoralized horde of panicked troops facing northward into the
bleak stretches of Northern Manchuria.

By this blow he added the final humiliation to Russia's greatest
soldier, Kuropatkin, and lost that erstwhile leader with half of a
century of popular adulation behind him, the command of Russia's Armies
in Manchuria. He ended every hope of an offensive campaign in
Manchuria, achieving at a stroke every result that for which a year's
campaign had been allotted.

[Sidenote: "Out of the Way for Us"]

Nogi's army swept into the ranks of the opposing Russians, shouting,
"Out of the way for us; we're from Port Arthur". To them fighting in
the open country face to face with the enemy was as child's play
compared with the horrors they had faced in scaling the bristling
mountainsides north of Port Arthur. There they advanced against hidden
terrors that lurked behind dull gray walls of huge forts; they braved
the cunningly devised high priests of death that are hidden underground
and work havoc and disaster when victory seems within grasp. They had
looked death in the face in a hundred hidden forms unflinchingly, had
fought and conquered a foe behind vast walls. Here there was only man
to man. Shells burst overhead, scattering deadly shrapnel, but what was
that to the rain of ponderous steel from siege guns that tore out the
face of hillsides and annihilated regiments at a single puff. These
were the men who, with a strident battle cry of scorn for the ease of
the task, swept through thirty miles in a single day, trampling Russian
regiments under foot, storming over fortified towns as though no men or
guns were there, right up to the gates of Mukden, right where their
guns could search the huddled ranks of Russians, fleeing from the
destructible force that was welding a ring around them. Nature finally
checked them. Up from the Manchurian plains a mighty wind swept a
blinding simoon that halted their irresistible host at the moment when
they were driving home the last fatal blow. For a day the whole
battlefield was wrapped in a blinding curtain of sweeping sand. When
once again Nogi's men could take up the work they had begun the bulk of
the Russian force had fled past. Undaunted they swept northward, and
four days later, when the beaten and dispersed army was reorganizing
its ranks from the chaos of the flight, it was Nogi's men, springing
once more out of the west, that set Kuropatkin's whole remnant in
flight again, leaving behind them the last fortified position in
Southern Manchuria. Oyama planned, but the palm for the victories of
Mukden and the further flight from Tie Pass belongs to Nogi and the
host that took Port Arthur.

[Sidenote: Master Stroke of the Battle]

This was indeed the master stroke of the battle, nevertheless a way had
to be prepared for it by tremendously desperate work on every quarter
of the long battle line. As vigorous as was the assault made on the
Russian front, there can be no doubt that this was nothing more than a
feint. The readiness with which the Japanese Commander-in-Chief
sacrificed thousands of lives in assaults of a secondary nature is one
of the significant things of the story of the battle. Such methods are
reminiscent of Grant's massed attacks in the closing days of the Civil
War, when life was counted as nothing when in the scale beside the
value of victory. No pang for the sacrifice reached the heart of Oyama
or the Generals under him who were directing the assaults. Victory was
the stake, and the soldiers were there to die, if need be. They died by
files and ranks and regiments. But victory was won. Over against the
total of the blood-letting in their own ranks was the awful slaughter
of the enemy, here, as in every battle of the war, far heavier in the
Russian totals than with the Japanese. Two generations have come since
the famous struggle of Gettysburg, yet statisticians are still
struggling to determine the exact number who fought and died there or
who remained alive, as victor and vanquished. The actual figures are
still only approximately known. Multiply the difficulties of accounting
for the less than two hundred thousand who fought at Gettysburg an
hundredfold, and something of the difficulty of getting at the actual
facts of the battle at Mukden begin to be realized. Ultimately, the
Japanese may give the details, but no actual statement of the number of
Russians engaged, of the losses in killed, wounded and missing, may be
expected. The story forms too tragic a page in the history of the
nation ever to be willingly spread broadcast.

[Illustration: ON BOARD A JAPANESE BATTLESHIP DURING THE BATTLE OF THE
JAPAN SEA.]



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

  Prelude to the Great Battle--Gripenberg Fails and Quits Army--The
    Battle Begins--The Struggle on the East Front--The Battle at
    the Center--Battle Culminates on the West--Village by Village
    Taken--Russian Artillery Impotent--When the Crushing Blow
    Fell--A Cloud in the West--Kuropatkin Ignores Danger--Center
    Positions Abandoned--Japanese Ingenuity Marvelous--Retreat a
    Carnival of Slaughter--Oyama's Prophecy Fulfilled.


[Sidenote: Prelude to the Great Battle]

There was a prelude to the actual battle fought early in January by a
portion of the Russian right flank under General Gripenberg, which is
chiefly interesting for its effect in the Russian ranks. Whatever may
have been the purpose of the attack, it failed. Heiketau, a town in the
angle of the Hun and Liao Rivers, was the scene of the opening attack.
Here the Japanese had an outpost in sight of the Russian lines.
Resistance was made to the advance until it was seen that the Russians
were in earnest and that a large force was actually about to give
battle. Thereupon the Japanese outpost fell back on the main position
at Sandiapu, three miles away, the Russians following. For two days a
severe fight waged around their position, and General Gripenberg made
enough gains on the first day to give rise to the belief that he was in
position to break the entire Japanese line, divide their army, flank
the centre, and compel a retreat. He sent an urgent representation of
the situation to General Kuropatkin, asking for reinforcements, and,
taking for granted that these would be sent, he plunged in on the
second day to win, at last, a victory for Russia. The force against
which he had thrown three divisions consisted of a single division of
the Japanese, who counted on stopping the advance by dint of the
earthworks protecting Sandiapu. Before morning of the second day
General Oku, exhibiting the rare initiative and resourcefulness common
to all of the Japanese generals, was ready to deal a crushing blow to
Gripenberg, and the Russian General in his eagerness to take advantage
of the opportunity which he believed had been opened by the apparent
advantages of the first day of the fight, fell into one of the most
deadly of the many traps from time to time set for Russian commanders.

[Sidenote: Gripenberg Fails and Quits Army]

To make sure that the Russians would not fail to renew the attack,
General Oku caused a decoy battery of useless guns to sweep into
position in full view of the Russian lookouts. The bait was too
tempting. Gripenberg advanced on the dummy battery into a triangle of
death. Batteries on three sides held their fire until the Russian lines
had swept into practically point blank range. Then there burst over
them a rain of shrapnel and a deadly sweep of rifle fire which spread
confusion as hundreds were mowed down. Retreat from the death zone
became rout, and General Gripenberg, with Oku's men in full pursuit,
left ten thousand dead and wounded behind him in their flight to safety
within the main Russian lines north of the Sha-ho. The fight was
unimportant in itself, but it led to a personal encounter between
Generals Kuropatkin and Gripenberg, which added to the demoralization
already existing among the officers of the Russian Army. General
Gripenberg bitterly assailed Kuropatkin for having failed to send
reinforcements. Kuropatkin declared the only possible value of attack
at that time and place was to uncover the strength of the enemy and to
reconnoitre his positions, that a general engagement was folly and
could not hope to achieve anything. For be it known, the initial
advance had been made in a driving blizzard. General Gripenberg gave up
his command and left the front for St. Petersburg to lay charges of
incapability against the Commander-in-Chief and to join the group at
the Russian Capital engaged in intrigue for the downfall of Kuropatkin.

In the army the line and staff officers took sides in the bitter
controversy that followed, and possibly the fight at Sandiapu, itself
so insignificant, did more in the end to bring the disaster of Mukden
and Tie Pass than can be estimated. A commander-in-chief, without the
confidence of the officers of staff and line, can hardly hope to
command the confidence of the men in the ranks. To say the least, the
incident, coming so soon before the army was to be locked in a life and
death struggle, was not calculated to add to the chances that victory
would crown Russian arms.

[Sidenote: The Battle Begins]

The battle was actually begun on the initiative of the Japanese. By
February 19, Marshal Oyama believed he was ready to begin the struggle
for Mukden. He prefaced the battle by the prophecy that Mukden would be
occupied by his army on March 10, a prophecy which caused only
merriment in Russia, but which was literally fulfilled. To General
Kuroki was given the honor of firing the first guns of the renewal of
the campaign. General Kuroki, after the battle of the Sha-ho River, had
wintered on the southern bank of the Taitze River, the centre of his
army resting in the neighborhood of Bensihu, thirty-five miles east of
Yentai. The Russian line was ten miles north, and the first place to be
taken was Tsinkhetchen, at a point where the level river country began
to rise to the Tie range of mountains, running in a generally
northwest-southeast direction across all of Manchuria, into Mongolia
northward, and into Korea southward, passing along the eastern side of
the Russian triangle. The task assigned to Kuroki was to drive the
Russians from Tsinkhetchen into the foothills to the passes of the
mountains, then to take these and to debouch his army on the plains of
the Hun River, twenty miles east of Mukden, and eastward of Fushun,
then to strike northwestward toward the railroad and line of retreat of
the Russian Army northward from Mukden, joining at the railroad the
forces under Oku and Nogi, which were to attack from the west.

Kuroki's army got under way February 19, crossing the first of the
rivers, the Taitse, without opposition. Then the advance was made
northward to the Sha-ho, and here the Russian lines were encountered. A
surprise night attack cleared away the Russians guarding the Sha-ho at
Vanupudza, ten miles east of the railroad. Kuroki then bent
northeastward toward the outermost position of the Russian left,
avoiding the forces commanding the hills north of the Sha-ho.

[Sidenote: The Struggle on the East Front]

On February 24 his army delivered a tremendous assault on the Russian
positions at Tsinkhetchen, preceding the infantry advance by a
bombardment of great force and effectiveness. Three lines of
entrenchments were literally destroyed by the fire of siege guns which
had been brought from Port Arthur, and despite the tremendous
difficulty involved had been placed within range of the Tsinkhetchen
positions. The Russian defence was stubborn, but the Japanese were
irresistible, and after a few hours of awful carnage General
Rennenkampff, commanding the Russians, ordered a retreat. Kuroki failed
in an effort to envelop the position, and the Russians reached in
safety their main position on this flank at Da Pass. Here one of the
bloodiest struggles of the war followed, opening on February 28 and
continuing until March 1, when, despite one of the most gallant
resistances credited to the Russians, General Kuroki flanked the Pass
notwithstanding insuperable obstacles offered by the rugged nature of
the country. Then followed a retreat and pursuit, every step of which
was marked by fighting of the most desperate nature, thousands of
bodies carpeting the gradually rolling country, which finally became
the plains along the Hun. Fushun was the Japanese objective. Kuroki
bent every energy to roll back the front which Rennenkampff presented,
but for ten days after the plain had been reached his army was fought
to a standstill. General Linevitch, commanding the division of which
Rennenkampff's command was part, checkmated every attempt made to cross
the Hun and flank him, while at his front he rolled back as many as
thirteen infantry assaults in a single day. This section of the field
was remote from the main battle line and few of the details reached the
world. With the slow filtering of the story of this fighting it has
become apparent that here was waged a struggle even more desperate than
that which made history west of Mukden. Kuropatkin appreciated the
vital necessity of preventing the turning of his left flank at Fushun,
and it must be said to the credit of the Japanese that they were
fighting here a force twice the size of their own and one that was
continually being reinforced by every battalion that could be spared
from the west. The marvel is that Kuroki's army was not utterly
annihilated. It was the tremendous fight he made that compelled
Kuropatkin to weaken his right to support Linevitch, and it was the
fact that the right had been so weakened that made possible the
brilliant victories won by the Japanese on the west. Hence, in addition
to credit for the great fight he made in carrying out his own share in
the battle, Kuroki stands for credit in drawing strength from other
positions which materially aided in the ultimate outcome. Nevertheless,
until fateful March 10, his army had been fought to a standstill within
five miles of Fushun, its objective. The outcome here even encouraged
Kuropatkin in the belief that the battle was going his way.

[Sidenote: The Battle at the Center]

It is necessary, in recording the story of the battle, to leave Kuroki,
still fighting in vain to take Fushun and open the road to the Russian
rear, and to record events on other parts of the field. The battle
line, when both armies had actually been joined, extended for a
distance between eighty and one hundred miles. Every event at every
position dovetailed into the whole strategy of the battle, yet a vast
difficulty is imposed in collating all of the scattered events into a
continuous story. No one observer, possibly not the Generals-in-chief
themselves, could follow all of the swift moving events, and the best
and at that a most difficult achievement was to follow the main trend
of events interpreting separate achievements, advances, retrogressions,
as they bore on the grand object of each army.

The battle of Mukden was, in fact, four battles in one. One of those
battles was fought between Kuroki and Linevitch on the east. The second
battle within the battle of Mukden was fought between the centre armies
and focussed in the beginning of the conflict at Lone Tree, or Putiloff
Hill, just east of the railroad, forty-five miles south of Mukden. Here
General Nodzu commanded the Japanese and General Kuropatkin in person
and General Zassulitch, divisional commander, directed the Russian
defence. The battle here began on February 24, the date on which
General Kuroki delivered the attack on Tsinkhetchen. General Nodzu's
immediate task was to keep the Russian centre too well occupied and in
fear of a general assault, thus preventing the sending of
reinforcements to the flank, where Kuroki was at his important work.
The artillery duel which waged around the centre positions has never
been equalled in the history of war. The Russians had at this point
alone 530 guns, fifty of them siege guns on permanent emplacements
firing eight-inch shells. Putiloff and Novgorod Hill bristled with
field and machine guns, and these commanding hills were flanked east
and west by fortifications upon which five months' work had been
expended and which are perhaps the finest defensive works ever erected
on a battlefield.

The Russian centre was the hope of the Russian Commander. He claimed
impregnability for it, and impregnable it proved. Nevertheless Nodzu
sent scores of assaults at its steep slopes, and the later advances
were made by the Japanese over the bodies of comrades who had fallen in
earlier efforts. The Russian centre resisted without a break, and only
left its positions March 7, when events elsewhere resulted in the order
to fall back north of the Sha-ho. The story of the struggle here is an
exact replica of many which waged in the bloody days of the siege of
Port Arthur, though here the loss of life was heavier, since none of
the protective engineering devices used at Port Arthur were resorted
to. The assaults were simply dashes by Japanese infantry up the bare
slopes of a hill rising five hundred feet in the air. It was man
unprotected against steel in armor, and the man lost. Behind the
Russians was the Sha-ho River. Their second line of defences was sunk
in the hillsides and hilltops there. With the river in front, the ice
weakened until it was questionable whether men in any numbers could
make safe crossing, this position was only a little less strong than
the first. All in all, it is little wonder that the Japanese Commander
elected only to feint here and deal his blow at other positions. The
second line, however, availed the Russians little except to hold in
check the pursuit and leave General Nodzu to be only a minor factor in
the culmination of the disaster that finally befell the Russians. The
centre army, while it played no conspicuous part in the battle, while
it was not called upon to repel, and was not expected to take the
Russian positions as a vital part of the Japanese strategy, possibly
even greater credit belongs to these men who died in droves, knowing
that they were being sacrificed as a matter of secondary importance,
that upon others elsewhere, miles and miles away, was falling the
really great events and upon whom would fall the glory. Whether they
knew it or not, there was no faltering. With cries of "banzai" they
stormed up Putiloff Hill, up Novgorod Hill; by regiments they fell, and
regiments as loyal and heroic took their places, apparently satisfied
that all the sacrifice was only to prevent reinforcements from the
centre from being sent to the lines northeast, northwest, where their
brothers were writing victory in blood across Manchuria's plains. War
is essentially waste; waste of men, waste of money. Here the spirit of
waste was fully exemplified, yet the waste was a factor if victory was
to be won, and Oyama sent his armies to their work bent on victory as
perhaps never an army was bent on victory.

[Illustration: THE RUSSIAN FLEET IN THE BATTLE OF THE JAPAN SEA.]

[Sidenote: Battle Culminates on West]

The battle of Mukden, as the whole struggle has been officially called,
had its climax on the west. The strategy of Marshal Oyama, as has been
explained, culminated in the attack by the army of Port Arthur
veterans, commanded by General Nogi. This attack was but part of the
assault on the Russian right. The actual Japanese left army was
commanded by General Oku, and during the long winter season had
occupied a position extending westward from the Sha-ho River to the
Hun, upon which at the front the Russian right rested, though when the
battle had gotten under way this line was extended fifteen miles
farther west to the banks of the Liao River. General Oku's lines and
also the Russian lines, which he opposed, occupied a series of unmapped
villages, most of them only occupied during the spring, summer and
fall, when the fertile river valleys are in cultivation, the products
of the region being similar to those of the Northern Central United
States, east and west from Chicago as a centre. The village huts are
built of rough hewn stone, the walls being of primitive build and
oftentimes twelve inches thick. Stone walls around fields are of common
occurrence, so that while the country generally was level, it had in
these houses and walls many features offering protection to soldiery.
To-day not a wall or fence in the whole region but shows the signs of
the struggle that waged around them. Immediately after the battle heaps
of dead marked every one of these shelters, showing where hand to hand
struggles had taken place, as the Japanese, foot by foot, from house to
house, from wall to wall, from village to village, had advanced across
the plain.

General Oku's attack was ferocious. To him had been assigned the task
of turning the Russian right back upon Mukden at the centre to make it
impossible for this force to assume an offensive initiative and swing
northward to cut off Nogi when the culminating attack had been
delivered. Sandiapu, that had been the scene of the desperate failure
of Gripenberg, was the pivot for the Japanese attack. General Oku
avoided the Russian right centre just left of the railroad, because
these positions were in part commanded by Putiloff Hill, and the taking
of the Russian fortifications here would only mean a falling back under
the protection of Russia's impregnable centre. With Sandiapu as a
pivot, however, Oku drove the attack in a northeasterly direction,
rather than northward, parallel to the Russian lines. His assaults
began simultaneously with Kuroki's attack at Tsinkhetchen, and in one
tremendous dash the Russian line was broken, crumbled in the plain five
miles north of Sandiapu, and the struggle had begun which after ten
days' fighting had doubled the Russian flank back until its line,
beginning at a point five miles west of the railroad, was bent back at
right angles to the line it had occupied at the opening of the battle.
This achievement had been accomplished in the face of a determined
resistance. Throughout the struggle the artillery was rendered useless
for hours at a time, while the infantry engaged in hand-to-hand
struggles. The story of the attack on a single of the score or more of
villages is typical of all of them.

[Sidenote: Village by Village Taken]

There was a brief lull just at dawn. Then for an hour field guns roared
all along the line searching for the infantry lines and batteries of
the enemy. House and walls were the targets. Shells in deadly showers
ground walls to dust, ploughed the fields, shaved the crowns from
broken ground that might hide creeping lines of troops. An hour of
systematic, sweeping bombardment, then the army was ready for the
business of the hour. From cover on every side little squads of
Japanese troops dashed into the open. Ten yards they sped then threw
themselves prone on the ground wherever any approach to protection
could be found.

Now it was the turn of the Russian guns to bark. From all along their
lines in the dusk of dawn resounded the din of artillery. The open,
when the advance had begun, instantly grew lividly aflame with bursting
shrapnel. It seemed that nothing could live under that awful baptism of
steel. Then the din subsided before the Japanese, glasses glued to
their eyes, could catch telltale feathers of smoke that even the
smokeless powder sends out from big guns. The echoes of the guns are
still reverberating far away among the foothills, when up from the
ground again spring those lithe, invincible shadows that speed once
more ten yards or more and then vanish as they hug the earth. Where
there were five, three have survived; here and there a single one gets
up to continue the advance where a group had been. But from behind
others are making these short dashes, too. The plain finally is fairly
alive with troops, dashing forward, taking cover, dashing forward
again. Five hundred yards away when they started, their numbers are
already thinning when the first hundred yards has been crossed. Others
fill the gaps and two hundred yards are crossed, and in the growing
light it can be seen that strewn all along the line of the advance are
forms that lie stark and still when the living spring to action for
those unhalting sprints.

Now Russian riflemen are heard from. Rifles crackle from every side,
and then death begins high carnival. But the advance goes on. No rising
now and speeding those few yards. The Japanese are crawling. The living
use the bodies of the dead for protection. Often pushing these before
them they cover yard by yard, the zone of death. Now only a hundred
yards divides them from the outermost huts of the village. Hotter and
hotter becomes the fire of the defenders. In a moment the assault has
begun. A hundred, two hundred, are on their feet. Bullets eat holes in
their ranks, but only the dead falter. Presently, with the ring of
steel on steel, the ranks close. The rifle fire is fitful in the
disorder of hand-to-hand fighting. Then up from all parts of the open
rise scores of Japanese. They sweep into the midst of the fray, whole
companies still coming press the fight. Back through the village from
house to house, from wall to wall, goes on the hand-to-hand, man to man
duel. Never once did the Japanese fail in the early days of the
struggle to drive back the Russian defenders, for when one such attack
failed there were countless others eager to begin again the same
tactics.

[Sidenote: Russian Artillery Impotent]

The Russians seemed demoralized by the apparent impotency of their
artillery to prevent these advances. Often the Russian lines suffered
by their shrapnel, so thoroughly was the ground in front of their
positions searched by their gunners. Nevertheless, the guns had
hardly hushed before men seemed to spring from the ground and speed
on toward them. To the more superstitious there was something uncanny
about this little foe. The only solution was the open ranks, the
each-man-for-himself, the use of every fragment of shelter. Russian
solid formations fairly melted as they rushed into the Japanese
shrapnel fire. A single shell mowed down a score. It took ten shells
at least to disable a single Japanese because of the way they
scattered out over the field.

Just behind the final advance of the main force which never moved until
the skirmish attack had engaged the Russians too closely for either
artillery or a destructive rifle fire, came the engineers with
telegraph and telephone equipment. Bamboo poles were swiftly in place,
and yard by yard the wire followed the advance. Presently at Oku's
headquarters, usually the shelter of a hut within a mile of the actual
fighting, would come the thick click, click of the telegraph or the
jingle of the telephone. "We have taken the village" was usually the
message.

Thus village after village was taken in this memorable struggle, until,
as has been told, the Russian line had been driven from miles of
positions upon which months of labor had been expended and in the
closing days of the battle were paralleling the railroad from the
Sha-ho to a point five miles northwest of Mukden. Oku had done his part.

[Sidenote: When the Crushing Blow Fell]

Thus we have told the story of the battle on the Japanese right, centre
and rear, up to the time when the assault of the Port Arthur army was
to be launched. The battle had continued without intermission from
February 24 to March 5. The Japanese on the right or east front had
driven back the enemy from his advanced positions across the rugged
hills of the Tie range and was battling to drive back that flank on the
railroad and to effect an advance to reach a position in the rear of
Mukden. At the centre a struggle had gone on without decisive result
because, largely, the Japanese only planned to keep this part of the
enemy's line busy with fighting until the flank-attack armies achieved
positions, either in the rear of Mukden or near enough to strike, and
strike hard at the foe should he be compelled to retreat. Oku's army,
we have seen, came nearest to accomplishing this task. So far as the
actual results of the fighting of these three armies were concerned,
while the Japanese everywhere had outfought and had outgeneralled the
Russians, there was nothing accomplished which made the situation
particularly alarming to Kuropatkin. His left flank, eastward had been
driven in twenty miles but with the aid of heavy reinforcements he had
checked the enemy five miles away from Fushan and when March 5 drew to
a close the reports from that direction to the Commander-in-Chief not
only recounted that every assault by the Japanese had been repulsed but
that after thirteen bloody reverses on March 4, Kuroki seemed to be
drawing away to the south.

Hope rose high in the mind of the Russian General. He believed that
this attack on the east had been the real strength of the Japanese
attack. He perceived that the Japanese had not been in earnest at the
center and he attributed reverses on his right to the fact, that he had
withdrawn a full division from Lieutenant-General Kaulbars, commanding
there and he hoped, now that Kuroki seemed to have given up the
struggle, that he could withdraw a force from the east, throw it into
the fight west of the railroad, turn the tide against Oku and win a
negative victory by defeating the manifest purpose of the Japanese to
drive him from the Sha-ho River positions. While his right flank had
been bent back through an arc of ninety degrees from the original
position on the Hun River they still held a strong line five miles west
of the railroad. The falling back of these troops had resulted in a
loss of ground but had also resulted in a strong concentration and his
lines were capable of greater resistance as a result. Then, too, the
Japanese had been fighting continuously for twelve days and must be
near the limits of human endurance. Altogether when the sun went down
on the field the Russian Commander felt that victory was near. He did
not expect a decisive, positive victory but after so long a series of
disasters even that sort of victory which consisted only in having
prevented the enemy from forcing the abandonment of a position, would
have sent a thrill of joy and hope through the army and the Russian
nation. It would have inspired the army with confidence for its work.
It would have been a weapon at home against the revolutionist, the
opponent of the war, the foes of the dynasty. For the General himself
it meant a return of confidence in his leadership on the part of the
army, on the part of the Emperor. It would go far toward wiping out the
record of unbroken defeat, retreat, disaster which had marked the
entire campaign. Victory was more vital to Kuropatkin, personally, than
to Russia. The General was fighting as much for personal vindication as
for the glory of Russian arms. To him, therefore, the outlook for even
a negative success was charged with personal happiness.

[Sidenote: A Cloud in the West]

This was the outlook when day dawned, March 5, 1905. By nightfall of
that same day a cloud, no larger then than a man's hand, was rising in
the west that was to break in a storm, crushing the Russian defense,
banishing the dreams of Kuropatkin. That cloud was the army of General
Nogi.

The tale must be told from the beginning.

Port Arthur capitulated January 2, 1905. A week later General Nogi
stood within the heart of the Russian settlement there and reviewed
companies from the various army units that had participated in the
siege. Out to the world went the message that Nogi's great task was
accomplished. But there was other work for Nogi. Within three weeks
after the Gibraltar of the Orient had fallen, 80,000 troops, released
by that event were bound northward to join the armies under Marshal
Oyama, then in winter quarters facing Kuropatkin. The army had been
reinforced largely from Japan with fresh troops who had not known the
smell of smoke. Enough of these had been sent to equal any possible
reinforcement that could be sent to Kuropatkin, as nearly as this
number could be estimated. Nogi's army meant reinforcement of an
entirely different kind. Here were men inured to the rigors of
campaigning by eleven months of as arduous fighting as ever fell to
troops in all of the history of war. By the first week in February the
entire army had reached its new position west of Liao-yang, ready for
whatever mission might be assigned to it. That task was the actual
capture of Mukden. More than that, Nogi's men were called upon to break
the defence on the east, to strike the railroad north of Mukden, to
intercept the line of retreat and to join with Kuroki in the enveloping
of the Russian army. It was the crowning work of the battle. It was a
tribute to the bravery and skill of the men who had humbled Port
Arthur. It was one that meant hardship, all but superhuman exertion,
but if they succeeded it meant that chief credit for another great
victory would belong to this army of veterans.

Nogi's work did not begin until the battle had been well developed on
every front. His was to take up the work begun against the Russian
right flank by Oku and with a fresh army carry it to a conclusion. As
has been shown, Oku prepared the way in a splendid manner. He broke the
Russian lines and rolled back the flank from the plains east and west
of the Hun River. When this had been accomplished Nogi's army got under
way. Leaving their positions west of Liao-yang, the veterans sped
northwards. They crossed the Hun at a point a few miles above the
junction of the Hun and Liao Rivers where two days before Oku had begun
forcing back the Russians. His army after the crossing, was divided,
one small detachment, amply supplied with artillery moving swiftly
northeastward to the Liao; thence northward to Sinmintin, thirty-five
miles due west of Mukden. This city was outside the limits of the war
zone as laid down by the Powers in their agreement to preserve the
neutrality of China. Nevertheless it had been a veritable supply depot
for the Russians, caravans of foodstuffs of all kinds and even of
ammunition coming from Chinese points on the Siberian border and from
southern coast cities to deliver contraband here to waiting bands of
Cossacks. As a result of this use of the city by the Russians the
Japanese did not hesitate to enter there. They found a few Cossacks and
a great horde of Russian civil officials together with great stores of
supplies most of it in carts as it had reached the city ready to start
westward for the Russian base at Mukden. Some prisoners were taken but
no goods that were not actually in the possession of Russian civil and
military officials were seized.

[Sidenote: Kuropatkin Ignores Danger]

The detachment then began the dash westward along the Sinmintin-Mukden
road toward Mukden. On the morning of January 5, they formed a junction
with the main force that had marched northward on a line parallel with
the railroad, twenty miles west of the Russians and, of course, had met
no opposition, so effectively had Oku prepared the way. The news of the
arrival of the Japanese at Sinmintin, March 5, was the first intimation
of this movement and General Kuropatkin ignored the news imagining that
the force had only been a handful of Japanese cavalry raiders. They
were raiders, in fact, but there were 80,000 of them and they were
under orders from Marshal Oyama to enter Mukden as conquerors on March
10.

[Sidenote: Center Positions Abandoned]

In their four days' march northward Nogi's army covered 30 miles the
first day, 25 miles the second day, 23 miles the third day and 28 miles
the fourth day, and after that tremendous feat their real work was
before them. The army turned eastward at the Sinmintin-Mukden road,
twenty miles from Mukden, and five miles nearer Mukden they met the
first resistance. As a protection to Mukden, Kuropatkin had thrown
three lines of protective works eastward. Nogi's army came upon the
first of these March 6. His troops, swept over the Russian defenders
like the sea over a sunken wreck, so swiftly had come the overwhelming
attack. March 7, the veterans covered the distance to the second line
of defences. In the meantime Kuropatkin had awakened. He saw that he
was in danger of being overwhelmed from this unexpected quarter. His
visions of victory of March 4, were already fleeting and only two days
had gone by. Every available squadron from centre and left were ordered
post-haste to meet the danger. The Russian lines that up to this time
had only been called upon to concentrate by orderly retrograde
movements were called upon to reform the whole line, falling back from
his impregnable position at the center, south of the Sha-ho. There was
movement everywhere. On the east regiment after regiment moved out and
the remaining regiments realigned themselves. This fact is important
because it brought Kuroki's opportunity to fulfil the mission that had
been entrusted to him and will be told later. Meantime Nogi's veterans
rushed on unchecked until March 8, when the Russian resistance showed
the strength that had come with the reinforcements. Baron General
Kaulbars took immediate command, met and placed the arriving Russian
regiments and displayed finer generalship than any general in the
entire Russian line throughout the battle. On the east Rennenkampf had
splendid plans for offensive movements until General Kuroki made a
move, then his plans crumbled like houses of cards and he fought only a
defensive fight from start to finish, brilliant though his resistance
may have been. But Kaulbars, when his force had been completed, met
Nogi manfully and the duel between these great captains forms a notable
addition to the history of military achievement.

For all the magnificent offensive ability of the Russian General,
however, Nogi's veterans would not be denied. The first fifteen miles
of their advance was like the rush of a hurricane. Then came the real
fighting. This continued March 8, 9, 10, in which time the Russians had
been forced back literally step by step on Mukden. Calmly the Japanese
General ordered assault after assault on the Russian lines ignoring the
heaps of the dead that, when the third day of the battle had brought
decisive victory, numbered 20,000 choked into the narrow line of
advance through those last five miles to Mukden. The shells from his
artillery swept the railroad and the Trade Road that runs beside the
railroad over which the Russian center was retreating. If Nogi, in
those three days saw 20,000 of his brave men fall and if this
imperturbable soldier felt any pang there was balm in the fact that he
had inflicted a loss on the enemy of three for every one of his own men
who had fallen.

[Sidenote: Japanese Ingenuity Marvellous]

In the course of the three days whole new chapters were written into
books of strategy. The Japanese General and troops answered once for
all the accusation that they were mere imitators of western methods.
Among the uncanny tricks that they successfully used many have no equal
in military annals. Taking advantage of the first dust which began to
rise on the second day and played an important part in the whole of the
battle, a Japanese force turned their backs on the Russians and fired
into the ranks of their own men pushing on behind them. The Russians
took the force thus engaged for reinforcements and valorously aided
them in holding off the Japanese pursuit. Meantime, back, back, step by
step this mock Russian battle line drew nearer and nearer the duped
Russians. Presently when only a few yards separated them they turned
with the savage battlecry that had carried them over the ramparts of
Rihlung fort and practically annihilated the victims of the ruse. This
was only one of many unheard of acts which marked the path of Nogi to
victory. When shells from his artillery began to reach the railroad his
battle front turned as on a pivot around the little town of Tatchekiao
and the advance was directed not directly toward Mukden but to a point
five miles north of that city as part of the effort to envelop the
Russians and more particularly to cut off the retreat. Thereupon the
Russian resistance was redoubled in fury. With reinforcements that had
been sent to this danger point the Russians outnumbered the Japanese
two to one. But just as it was of more and more importance for the
Russians to hold Nogi in check so it was more and more important for
Nogi to crush the resistance and to drive his wedge in on Mukden. The
struggle at every moment was hand to hand. The artillery on both sides
fired into the indiscriminate masses of struggling men. Absolute frenzy
marked the struggle as waged on both side.

[Illustration: THE RETREAT FROM MUKDEN.]

[Sidenote: Retreat a Carnival of Slaughter]

Slowly but surely the Russian resistance weakened and with dismay
Kuropatkin saw that his flank could not withstand the weight of the
incessant attack. If the flank should be broken it meant annihilation
or surrender for his entire force. Retreat would be impossible except
at inhuman sacrifice of life. Already shells were reaching the railroad
while the battle was swinging northeastward toward the line of retreat
and every possible man had been thrown into the defence. There was only
one thing to be done--retreat, and the order went forth on the evening
of March 7. Under cover of darkness every available car had been loaded
with stores, guns, whatever could be saved. Troops in Mukden piled into
miles of box-cars that soon after midnight began the dash northward.
The rearguard was organized of the troops then opposing Nogi and such
of those from the center as could be made available. These retreated
eastward from Mukden leaving as the last of the center army passed
northward toward Tie Pass, the next station. The flank that had so long
opposed Kuroki in the last crumbling of the Russian defence was
completely cut off. The disorder along the front occasioned by the
hasty withdrawal of reinforcements for the hard pressed right flank
west of Mukden has been mentioned. Kuroki, who amazed the Russians by
the readiness with which he interpreted every move that they made, saw
in this disorder his opportunity. He had been battling for an
opportunity to pierce the Russian line and join with Nogi, but fairly
had been checked and held by the tremendous resistance of Rennenkampf.
A brigade fell back from in front of the left flank of his army.
Another stood ready to fall into its place. But while the very
manoeuvre was being carried out Kuroki struck hard directly between
the two forces. His wedge went deep into the Russian ranks and the
Japanese General threw in behind them every available unit of his army.
Desperately the Russians struggled to crush the foe and rejoin their
broken lines but the Japanese, every man of them, knew that their hour
had come. Thousands fell but thousands took their places. Mile by mile
went Kuroki's wedge and by March 10, when on the west Nogi was forcing
the vanguard of his fighting line into Mukden, Kuroki at last had won a
position from which to strike the long line of Russians now surging
northward in a retreat that had now become a rout.

[Sidenote: Oyama's Prophecy Fulfilled]

Mukden had been taken. Nogi had fulfilled Oyama's prophecy. So far as
the long struggle had been for possession of the Sha-ho River position
and Mukden it was over. The Japanese had won a momentous victory. Vast
spoils had fallen into their possession. Fully twenty thousand
prisoners had surrendered when Kuroki had broken through the Russian
left, completing the circle of steel around whatever of the Russian
army had not already made good its escape north of the line from Fushan
to Mukden. There were hundreds of thousands of shells, millions of
rounds of small ammunition; there were stores enough to feed the army
for months, there was Russian property valued at millions, there were
guns, horses, wagons, railroad material, enough for one hundred and
fifty miles of track. There was also the knowledge that a loss in men
had been inflicted three times as great as the Japanese had suffered.
Mukden and Fushan and a score of smaller towns and cities had been
taken, invaluable coal mines were now within the Japanese lines
practically the last upon which the Russians could rely for fuel with
which to operate the railroad. The victory, indeed, from every
standpoint, save one, was complete.

The Russian army had escaped.

This escape had been effected, because despite the wonderful extent of
their victory the Japanese armies had failed to meet across the north
of the Russian position before the bulk of Kuropatkin's army had swept
out of the mouth of the bottle. Nature herself saved them. When on the
evening of March 7, Kuropatkin ordered the retreat the great
battlefield had already become enveloped in tremendous clouds of
blinding dust and snow swirled up from the dry plains by a tremendous
gale. Beginning on March 7, this veritable cyclone increased in fury
throughout the night of March, 8, and continued with unbroken severity
during March 9, 10 and 11, days vital to the Russian army. In the main
the Japanese suffered most from the storm. Their object was to find the
foe and attack, the Russian object was simply to plunge northward
toward safety. Ultimately the storm had reached a degree of violence
which made sight impossible and the Japanese pursuit was halted at a
moment when it seemed that the full purpose of their Generals' strategy
was to be realized. When two days later they were able to take up the
pursuit the possibility of complete success had passed. But there was
still opportunity to strike the fleeing army and the horrors of that
flight and pursuit, from March 12 to March 15, will never adequately be
told. The Japanese forced a way parallel to the line of pursuit on both
sides and clung relentlessly to the routed army. Here a company was
annihilated by furious cavalry charge. Here a regiment was cut off,
surrounded and compelled to surrender after awful slaughter. Forty
thousand prisoners were taken in the four days of this carnival of
slaughter and when the remnants of the Russian army had reached Tie
Pass, forty-three miles away, Kuropatkin had lost 170,000 men, killed,
wounded and missing. His army had lost fifty per cent. of its strength,
a slaughter not equalled in the history of civilization. No parallel
exists until the half mythological days of Asian conflicts are reached.



                              CHAPTER XIX.

  Battle of the Japan Sea--Fleet Russia's Last Hope--Tragedy
    of the North Sea--Reaches Asiatic Waters--On the Eve of
    the Struggle--Russians in Double Line--Borodino First to
    Go Down--Russians in Full Flight--Admiral Nebogatoff
    Surrenders--Togo's Reports of the Battle--Rozhdestvensky
    a Prisoner--Searching Sea for Remnants--Japan's Loss Only
    424 Men--Your Utmost for the Empire--Russian Line
    Enveloped--Destroyers Took Last Thrust--As Sailors Saw
    the Battle--Blowing up the Izumrud--The News Reaches
    Russia--Russian Story of Disaster--Why Russians Were
    Defeated.


[Sidenote: Battle of the Japan Sea]

The Japanese-Russian war has added many pages of awe-inspiring
achievement to the vast volume of the world's valorous records of land
and sea. Notable, among all of the amazing array, ever will stand the
naval battle of the Sea of Japan, fought in the Straits of Korea,
Sunday, May 28; Monday, May 29, and continuing as a pursuit on Tuesday,
May 30, 1905. Russia's enormous armada of thirty-seven fighting ships,
and one hundred ships in all, had been sent to the Far East to recover
command of the sea from Japan, which had been won from her in the naval
campaign of 1904, when the Russian Port Arthur fleet had been destroyed
and the Russian Vladivostok squadron had been weakened to a helpless
condition. The result was overwhelming victory for Japan, achieved at
the cost to Russia of the annihilation of her entire armada. No naval
battle of history equals this in the enormous power of the fighting
array; none exceeds it in the degree of its decisiveness. Trafalgar, a
hundred years earlier, affords the only possible parallel, and
Trafalgar, for a century the world's greatest naval struggle, was
outdone.

The story begins eight months before these thrilling events in the
Straits of Korea, when the Russian fleet, variously called the Baltic
Fleet and the Second Pacific Fleet, sailed from Cronstadt, in the
Baltic, on its 20,000 mile journey, around Africa and by way of the
Indian Ocean to the Orient.

[Sidenote: Fleet Russia's Last Hope]

The fleet represented every available Russian warship. A half dozen
others, too old for active service or still in course of building, were
left in Russian waters, the Czar deciding to leave the home shores
practically unprotected after securing a secret agreement with Germany,
which amounted to a temporary offensive and defensive alliance. The
fighting strength of the squadrons included seven battleships, two
armored cruisers, six cruisers, with a full complement of torpedo boat
destroyers, a fleet equal, on paper, to the entire available navy of
Japan, and in some aspects stronger than any Japan could hope to
muster. Supreme command of the armada was entrusted to Vice-Admiral
Rozhdestvensky, with three divisional commanders, Vice-Admiral
Volkersham, Rear Admiral Nebogatoff, and Rear Admiral Enquist. The
ultimate task of the fleet was to regain mastery of the sea from Japan,
in undisputed possession by reason of having destroyed the Russian
Pacific squadrons at Port Arthur and Vladivostok. Vladivostok, Russia's
sole remaining port in the Orient, was the destination. From that point
it was intended to assail Japan on the sea; to interrupt her transport
service, which was vital to her army then in the midst of a victorious
campaign, 300 miles from the sea, in the heart of Manchuria, and thus
cripple and harass the Island Empire until no other course than to sue
for peace would be open to her. The task was enormous; so vastly
difficult, indeed, that until the actual departure of the fleet few,
anywhere, believed that such a plan was seriously contemplated. Even
when departure had been made, experts rather held to the view that
Russia, herself, meant to ask for peace and was merely making a
demonstration that might be counted on to modify Japan's demands.

[Sidenote: Tragedy of the North Sea]

The voyage had hardly been begun when an incident occurred, which has
been already narrated, and which astonished the entire world and nearly
led to war between Russia and Great Britain. In the North Sea, at the
point known as the Dogger Bank, the Russian vessels encountered the
Gamecock fishing fleet from Hull, England. The Russian admiral mistook
some of the trawlers for torpedo boats and ordered his vessels to fire.
One fishing boat was sunk and two men were killed, others being badly
wounded.

For some days the excitement in England was intense, and British
official documents published later on showed that the two countries
were on the point of war, but the crisis was ended by an agreement to
refer the incident to an international naval tribunal. This board of
inquiry met in Paris, and after a long investigation reported that the
Russian contention that hostile torpedo boats were present when the
firing took place was not justified. Rozhdestvensky, however, was
acquitted of the charge of conduct unbecoming a sailor, and the
incident was ultimately closed by the payment of a large money
indemnity by Russia.

The Dogger Bank affair caused some delay to the Russian ships, though
not nearly as much as Englishmen expected. After leaving the Straits of
Gibraltar the fleet divided, one division, under Admiral
Rozhdestvensky, proceeding by way of the Cape of Good Hope and the
other, under Admiral Vollkersham, going via the Suez Canal.
Rozhdestvensky had with him most of the battleships and Voelkersam the
majority of the cruisers.

Both squadrons proceeded very slowly, and the reports from time to time
regarding their whereabouts were of the most puzzling character. On
January 1, however, Rozhdestvensky reached Madagascar, and there he
awaited the cruiser squadron. The long time spent there led to renewed
assertions that the Admiralty at St. Petersburg would never order the
fleet to the Far East. In the middle of March, however, reports were
printed that the Russians had sailed. These reports were denied, and
then repeated, and at length it was definitely established that the
Baltic fleet had sailed.

[Sidenote: Fleet Reaches Asiatic Waters]

Nothing more was heard of it till April 8, when the news came that the
fleet had passed Singapore and was in the China Sea. On entering the
China Sea, Admiral Rozhdestvensky sailed directly to Kamranh Bay, on
the coast of Indo-China, in French territorial waters. The prolonged
stay of the fleet resulted in a vigorous protest from Japan to France,
back of which was the possibility that Japan would invoke the
Anglo-Japanese alliance, calling upon Great Britain to compel respect
of neutrality by France. France, in addition to instructing her
representatives in Indo-China to demand that the Russians leave
territorial waters, forwarded the protest to Russia.

[Sidenote: On the Eve of the Struggle]

Admiral Rozhdestvensky, on the eve of the great struggle, had dismissed
every unnecessary ship. More than a half hundred colliers and supply
ships, which had accompanied the fleet or had met it in the China Sea,
were dismissed after the last ton of coal had been stored on the big
fighting ships.

                           THE RUSSIAN FLEET.

                      Displace- I. H. P.  Nominal     Gun     Weight of
    Name                ment               speed   protection broadside
                       --Tons.            --Knots.   --In.    fire--Lbs.

    Kniaz Suvaroff     13,516    16,800     18.0      11.6      4,426
    Alexander III      13,516    16,800     18.0      11.6      4,426
    Borodino           13,516    16,800     18.0      11.6      4,426
    Orel               13,516    16,800     18.0      11.6      4,426
    Oslabya            12,674    14,500     19.0      10.5      2,672
    Sissoi Veliky       8,880     8,500     16.0      12.5      3,186
    Navarin             9,476     9,000     16.0      12.5      3,404

                           ARMORED CRUISERS.

    Dmitri D'skoi       5,893     7,000     15.0      12.2       444
    Admiral Nakhimoff   8,500     9,000     19.0      6.0        944

                          PROTECTED CRUISERS.

    Oleg                6,675    19,500     23.0      4.0        872
    Aurora              6,630    11,000     20.0      4.5        632
    Svietlana           3,828     8,500     20.0      4.0        476
    Almaz               3,285     7,500     19.0      184
    Jemtchug            3,200    17,000     24.0      184
    Izumrud             3,200    17,000     24.0      184

                          THE JAPANESE FLEET.

    Asahi              15,000    15,000     18.0      14.6      4,232
    Shikishima         15,000    15,000     18.0      14.6      4,232
    Mikasa             15,000    16,000     18.0      14.6      4,232
    Fuji               12,300    13,000     18.0      14.6      4,005

                           ARMORED CRUISERS.

    Tokiwa              9,750    18,000     21.5      6.6       1,779
    Asama               9,750    18,000     21.5      6.6       1,779
    Yakumo              9,850    16,000     20.0      6.6       1,679
    Azuma               9,436    17,000     21.0      6.6       1,679
    Idzuma              9,800    15,000     24.7      6.6       1,779
    Iwate               9,800    15,000     24.7      6.6       1,779
    Kasuga              7,853    14,000     20.0      6.6       1,686
    Nisshin             7,853    14,000     20.0      6.6       1,606

                          PROTECTED CRUISERS.

    Takasago            4,300    15,500     24.0     4-1/2       804
    Kasagi              4,784    15,500     22.5     4-1/2       804
    Itsukushima         4,277     5,400     16.7      11.4      1,260
    Hashidate           4,277     5,400     16.7      11.4      1,260
    Matsushima          4,277     5,400     16.7      11.4      1,260
    Naniwa              3,727     7,120     17.3                1,200
    Takishibo           3,727     7,120     17.3                1,200
    Atkitsushima        3,150     8,400     19.0                 380
    Nitaka              3,420     9,500     20.0                 466
    Tsushima            3,420     9,500     20.0                 466
    Suma                2,700     8,500     20.0                 335
    Akashi              2,700     8,500     20.0                 335
    Idzumi              3,000     6,000     18.0                 335

From the Saddle Islands, a thousand miles stretched away to
Vladivostok. Coal and stores for the dash there were on every ship.
Then prows were turned northward, there was a full day when nothing was
known of the Russians. Then came this word, that the great
destiny-laden armada was sighted approaching Admiral Togo's lair in the
Straits of Korea. Forty-eight hours more, and the Japanese admiralty
was electrified by the characteristically modest announcement from
Japan's great naval captain:

"The main force of the Russian second and third fleets is nearly
annihilated. Please feel assured of it."

Between lies a tale marvelous for brilliancy, valor, daring, for all
that is spectacular and awe-inspiring in war; for all that spells glory
to the victor; for all that defeat, disaster, can mean to the beaten
and crushed. In brief, of Russia's seven battleships, five had been
sunk, and two, captives, were flying the flag of the victor; Of the
mighty array of cruisers, all but four were at the bottom of the sea.
Of the destroyers, three were afloat. In the harbor of Vladivostok were
a single unarmored cruiser, and these three destroyers, the sorry
fragments of the armada that reached this destination for which the
flower of Russia's European squadron had set out. Sixty hours after the
battle three armored cruisers, the _Aurora_, _Oleg_ and _Jemtchug_,
laden with wounded, riddled with shot and shell, crept into the harbor
of Manila, there to be interned, with their officers, Admiral Enquist
among them. As a climax to the victory, Admiral Rozhdestvensky was a
prisoner, badly wounded, and in the care of Japanese physicians in the
naval hospital at Sasebo. Admiral Volkersham was dead. He had fallen in
the first havoc-working broadside from the Japanese fleet. Admiral
Nebogatoff was a prisoner. Without a fight he had surrendered two
battleships and two coast defense ironclads, with the result that after
the battle that had annihilated the Russian fleet, the Japanese fleet
was even more powerful than when it cleared decks for action.

The Russian fleet had, in truth, sailed into Admiral Togo's lair. The
Straits of Korea lie between Japan and Korea, and are an average of one
hundred miles wide. Half way across rise the Tsu Islands, which Japan
has fortified until they are a veritable Gibraltar. Only twenty-five
miles wide is the Tsushimi Channel or Strait, between Tsu Island and
the Japanese coast.

[Sidenote: Under Guns of the Forts]

So narrow indeed is the water that as the Russian ships were pressed
eastward toward Tsu Island the forts there got range of the battleships
and sank the _Oslabya_. Togo's base was at Masampho, on the Korean
coast. Thousands of Japanese knew this fact, but so deeply was the
necessity for secrecy appreciated by all classes of the islanders that
throughout the nine months of waiting the entire world never had the
slightest intimation of the point from which Japan's defensive blow
would be struck. The general impression was that Formosa, the
southernmost of the Japanese archipelago, would be chosen. This opinion
was fostered by show of activity there and by various orders calculated
to mark this spot as of especial significance in the campaign. When
Rozhdestvensky had traversed the Straits of Formosa without opposition
and had reached the China coast north of there, Russians even rejoiced,
declaring that their admiral had outwitted the Japanese by eluding
their trap. Meantime Togo waited. His position enabled him to meet the
enemy should the direct route to Vladivostok via the Straits of Korea
and the Sea of Japan be chosen, or he was in position to sail northward
to intercept the Russians should Rozhdestvensky decide to go further
eastward into the Pacific, circle Japan, and finally approach
Vladivostok by La Pelouse or another of the channels between the
northern islands of the Japanese archipelago. When Rozhdestvensky
headed north from the China coast toward the Straits of Korea he fell
in with the plan of battle to meet which the whole genius of the
Japanese admiral had been preparing. Only one detail failed to agree
with what Togo had expected. He believed that the Russians would shun
the narrow channel east of Tsu Island, nearer Japan, and would traverse
the western channel between Tsu Island and Korea. In the latter event
the blow would have been dealt by a dash from Mesampho. As it happened,
the fleet had only to round the northern promontory of Tsu Island and
fall upon the Russians in the most disadvantageous position that could
have been found in all of the waters of the Orient.

The strength of the fleets as they approached on that fateful Saturday
morning may be shown in tabular form. The chief units are here given.
In addition, there were twelve torpedo boat destroyers with the Russian
fleet and a veritable swarm of destroyers and torpedo boats with the
Japanese fleet. Nevertheless, the armada, with practically twice the
number of Japanese battleships, would, on paper, have advantage over a
large fleet, made up so largely of lighter vessels.

[Sidenote: Russians in Double Line]

The Russian fleet advanced in a double line, the battleships on the
side away from the Japanese coast; the inner line, nearer Japan, made
up of cruisers and light craft. Admiral Togo swung northward of Tsu
Island, then turned sharply toward the southeast, thus moving parallel
to the line of bows of the Russian ships, opening the broadsides of all
of his ships, while through practically all of the first day's battle
the Russians had only available bow and forward guns, a manoeuvre
which eliminated enough of the effectiveness of the Russian battleships
to give Togo an advantage despite his weakness in these floating
fortresses.

It had been planned that the initial attack should be made by the giant
twelve-inch guns of the Japanese big ships, and that under cover of
this bombardment the torpedoers and destroyers should dash for the
leading Russian ships and attempt to throw the enemy's column into
confusion.

The commanders of the torpedoing flotilla had previously been summoned
and had been notified in a few words by the admiral of the desperate
service that was required of them and of the small chance of any of
them reporting again for duty.

They were told, in fact, that it was a simple case of sacrifice, and
they accepted it so willingly that the admiral found it difficult to
detail a torpedo reserve in case the first division failed in its task.

Until sunset the heavy guns of the Japanese battleships and the
ten-inch battery of the cruiser _Kasuga_ roared and fired at the
oncoming Russians, while the Russian guns roared in reply.

[Sidenote: Borodino First to Go Down]

First of the Russian battleships in line behind the protected cruiser
_Jemtchung_ was the 13,000-ton _Borodino_, and these two soon showed
that they were receiving the brunt of the shelling. The cruiser
_Nakhimoff_, in the van of the Russian port column, was also observed
to be in distress, and then, the sun having set and the quick-setting
darkness having come, the torpedoes were sent out under cover of a
still heavier cannonade. The flotilla formed into two divisions, one
heading for the battleship column of the Russians and the other for the
cruisers.

The searchlights of the Russian fleet threw out their great beams and
their small gun batteries swept the sea but the swift hornets of the
sea went wallowing and buzzing on their way. They circled and swept,
and then came the dull roars and heaving fountains that told that the
torpedoes had been loosed from their tubes and were doing their deadly
work.

Again and again came the roars, and as the Japanese searchlights swept
across the field of fight and then went out it was seen that the great
battleship _Borodino_ was sinking; that the protected cruiser
_Svietlana_ was a wreck; that the battleship _Alexander III_ had gone;
that the two armored cruisers _Dimitri Donskoi_ and _Nakhimoff_ were
out of the fighting. A far-sailing shell had also reached and sunk the
supply ship _Kamchatka_. Thus ended the first day's fight.

[Sidenote: Russians in Full Flight]

In the darkness of the night of Saturday, May 27, the shattered Russian
fleet reformed as well as it might, and once more took up its
despairing run for the Sea of Japan and the haven of Vladivostok.

Hanging on to the already beaten enemy, an easy matter with his faster
ships, Togo picked up the Russians all of Saturday night with his
searchlights, occasionally sending a long-distance shell toward one of
the shadowy hulls that were racing to get through the straits.

But just as Togo had selected his fighting ground for working out one
chapter of the tragedy, so now he chose the scene of the second day's
fighting.

To the northeast of Osino Island lies a dangerous little archipelago
known as the Liancourt Rocks, and with his battleships and heavily
armored cruisers the Japanese admiral stood out in crescent form across
the Korean Strait and drove the enemy toward this dangerous running.

Keeping together in some semblance of order, five Russians, consisting
of the battleships _Nicolai I_ and _Orel_ and the coast defence vessels
_Senyanin_ and _Apraxine_ and the protected cruiser _Izumrud_, were
heading bravely for the Sea of Japan. Seeing a possibility of their
escape, Togo, who was personally conducting the pursuit, signaled to
close in and attack.

With their forward turrets blazing and roaring, the Japanese squadron
dashed on. The Russians replied vigorously for a time, but the gunnery
of the Japanese was too deadly and accurate; shells were carrying death
and destruction into the fleeing five, and the fight went out of the
Russians.

[Sidenote: Admiral Nebogatoff Surrenders]

One after another flew surrender signals, the Japanese ceased firing,
and the _Nicolai I_, _Orel_, _Senyanin_ and _Apraxine_ were added to
the Mikado's navy. Only the _Izumrud_ got away. Fleeter than her
sisters, she steamed boldly to the northwest. But she was doomed. Swift
pursuing Japanese cruisers followed, hurling after her tons of metal,
much of it taking effect. The end came when the Russian ship, entering
Vladimir Bay, went fast on a reef. The Russian captain blew up the ship.

So practically ended the second day's fight, and here again the
apparently impossible happened--Togo's captains all reported, "No
damage to men or ships."

Togo's captains, had, however, other things to report, for while the
main force of the combined squadron was hammering the four Russians
into subjection off the Liancourt Rocks others of the cruisers were
chasing scattered Russian ships, while still others were completing the
work of destruction around Osino Island. Two special service ships and
a destroyer were captured, and so was the armored cruiser _Monomach_,
but she foundered soon after transference of flags.

And there were prisoners to report, 3,000 of them, including the
unhappy Nebogatoff, while up and down the seas the fight between
pursued and pursuer still went on.

Battles at sea are necessarily fought away from the eyes of neutral
observers. The active participants are unable to know of more than the
immediate scene of the drama in which their own ship is engaged. Even
the admiral of the fleet is unable to see all that occurs. Hence
detailed, continuous accounts of such occurrences rarely, if ever, are
written until years later the disconnected stories of here one, there
another, can be assembled, corrected, dovetailed. Sufficient time has
not elapsed since this remarkable battle to permit of such assembling
of facts. But both Japanese and Russians have told of individual
experiences. These have a graphic interest, coming hot from the scene
of the great events which, perhaps, a more finished narrative might
lack. First in interest, come the actual reports from the admiral
himself. Few great fighters have been men of fewer words than this
Togo. His reports, and, indeed, all of the Japanese reports, have been
in marked contrast to the elaborate, verbose messages sent to the
Emperor of Russia.

The story of the battle, as told by Admiral Togo, follows:

First report, received morning May 27:

[Sidenote: Togo's Reports of the Battle]

"Immediately upon the receipt of report that Russian squadron was in
sight our combined squadron started for attack. Weather is fine to-day,
but with heavy seas."

Second report, received night May 27:

"Combined squadron attacked Russian squadron to-day near Okinoshima
(southeast of Tsushima) and defeated it, sinking at least four ships
and inflicting heavy damage upon others. Damage to our ships is
insignificant. Our destroyer and torpedo flotillas delivered attack
after sunset."

Third report, received Monday, May 29.

"Main force of our combined squadron continued pursuit since the 27th,
and attacked (28th) near Liancourt Rocks (northeast of Okinoshima) a
squadron consisting of _Nicolai I_ (battleship), _Orel_ (battleship),
_Senyanin_, _Apraxin_ and _Izumurud_. _Izumurud_ fled while remaining
four vessels surrendered. No damage to our ships. According to
statements of prisoners, vessels sunk in engagement May 27 were
_Borodino_ (battleship), _Alexandre III_ (battleship), _Jemtchug_ and
three other ships. Rear Admiral Nebogatoff and about 2,000 other
Russians were taken prisoners."

The following are damages suffered by enemy in addition to those given
above since commencement of battle, as reported by commanders not under
immediate command of Togo and by observation stations:

SUNK--_Admiral Nakhimoff_, _Dmitri Donskoi_, _Svietlana_, _Admiral
Usakoff_, _Kamchatka_, _Irutshush_ and three destroyers.

_Vladimir Monomach_, foundered after capture. One special service ship,
whole name unknown, and one destroyer captured.

Russian losses definitely known so far may be classified as follows:

Two battleships, one coast-defence ship, five cruisers, two special
ships, three destroyers were sunk; two battleships, two coast-defence
ships, one special service ship, one destroyer were captured. It is not
yet clear whether three vessels, as stated by prisoners to have been
sunk, are included or not in above list. There are more than 1,000
prisoners, besides 2,000 taken by main force of combined squadron.

"The naval engagement is still in progress, so that it will take some
time before the final results can be known."

Fourth report from Togo received afternoon, May 30:

"The main force of our combined fleet, upon accepting surrender of the
remaining Russian main force near Liancourt Rocks, in the afternoon of
May 28, as already reported, stopped pursuit, and while engaged in the
disposition of surrendered ships found in a southwestern direction the
_Admiral Ushakoff_, a coast defence ship. Thereupon _Iwate_ and
_Yakumo_ were immediately dispatched in pursuit and invited her to
surrender, but she refused and was sunk at 6 P. M. Her crew of over 300
men were rescued.

"Cruiser _Dimitri Donskoi_ was also found in the northwestern direction
at 5 P. M. and was immediately overtaken and was fired upon vigorously
by our fourth division and second destroyer flotilla.

"She was attacked that night by the second destroyer flotilla, and the
next morning was found aground on the southeastern shore of Urleung
Island, off the Korean coast.

[Sidenote: Rozhdenstvensky a Prisoner]

"Our destroyer _Sazanami_ captured, toward the evening of May 27, in
the south of Urleung Island, the Russian destroyer _Biedovy_, wherein
were found Admiral Rozhdestvensky and another admiral, both severely
wounded, together with eighty Russians, including staff officers from
the flagship _Kniaz Suvaroff_, which was sunk at 5.29 P. M. on May 27.
They were all taken prisoners.

"Our cruiser _Chitose_, while cruising to the northward on the morning
of May 28, found and sunk another Russian destroyer. Our cruiser
_Niitaka_ and destroyer _Murakumo_ attacked also at noon on May 28 a
Russian destroyer, which finally went aground.

"According to various reports hitherto received and statements of
prisoners, the result of the battle from May 27 to May 29, is as
follows:

"_Prince Suvaroff_, _Alexander III_, _Borodino_, _Dimitri Donskoi_,
_Admiral Nachimoff_, _Monomach_, _Zemtchug_, _Admiral Ushakoff_, one
converted cruiser and two destroyers sunk.

"_Nicolai I_, _Orel_, _Admiral Apraxine_, _Admiral Senyavin_ and
destroyer _Biedovy captured_. According to the prisoners, the
_Osliabia_ sunk about 3 P. M., and the _Navarin_ also was sunk.

"_Almaz_, on May 27, was observed in a disabled and sinking condition,
but her final fate is yet unknown.

"The full particulars regarding the injury to our ships are not yet in
hand, but as far as I could ascertain none was seriously injured, all
being still engaged in operations. The whole casualties are not yet
ascertained. Casualties of first division are a little over four
hundred. Prince Yorhito is in excellent health; Admiral Misu slightly
wounded, May 27.

"Fifth report, received the afternoon of May 30:

"Loss of _Osliabia_, _Navarin_, confirmed. _Sissoi-Veliki_ also
definitely reported to have sunk on the morning of May 28.

"Official statement of Russian losses so far as ascertained: Following
six battleships sunk: _Prince Suvaroff_, _Imperator_, _Alexander III_,
_Borodino_, _Osliabia_, _Sissoi-Valiki_ and _Navarin_.

"Following five cruisers sunk: _Admiral Nachimoff_, _Dimitri Donskoi_,
_Vladimir_, _Monomach_, _Svietlana_ and _Zemtchug_.

"Coast defence ship _Admiral Ushakoff_ sunk.

"Two special service ships, _Kamchatka_ and three destroyers also sunk.

"Two battleships, _Orel_ and _Imperator_, _Nicolai I_; two coast
defence ships, _General Admiral Apraxine_ and _Admiral Senyanvin_, and
one destroyer, _Biedovoy_, captured.

"Thus Russians lost altogether twenty-two ships, the aggregate tonnage
whereof amounting to 153,411 tons, besides cruiser _Almaz_, suspected
to have sunk.

"Later reports from the different divisions of the fleet engaged in the
naval battle of May 27 show as follows:

[Sidenote: Havoc Among Battleships]

"The Russian battleship _Oslabya_ was heavily damaged in the early part
of the fight on Saturday, going down at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

"The first Russian vessel sunk was the battleship _Sissoi Veliky_.

"The armored cruisers _Admiral Nakhimoff_ and _Vladimir Monomach_,
after being in the general engagement during the daytime, were still
further damaged by torpedoes during attacks by night, and were
eventually completely disabled. They drifted into the vicinity of Tsu
Islands, where they were discovered on Sunday morning, May 28, by the
auxiliary cruisers _Shilano_, _Yawata_, _Tainan_ and _Sado_, which were
about to capture them, but they all sank.

"The crews of our auxiliary cruisers rescued 915 of the crew of the
sunken Russian ships.

"The battleship _Navarin_ was torpedoed four times after sundown on
Saturday, May 27, and sunk. The survivors of the Navarin's crew confirm
the story of her destruction.

"The cruisers _Niitaka_ and _Otawa_ discovered the Russian cruiser
_Svietlana_ at 9 o'clock on Sunday morning in the vicinity of Chappyan
Bay and immediately attacked and sunk her. The commander of the
_Niitaka_ reports the fact.

"It is suspected that the Russian cruisers _Almaz_ and _Aurora_ were
sunk by torpedoes on the night of May 27.

"The former report includes the statement that the Russian cruiser
_Jemtchug_ was sunk, but as yet this remains unconfirmed, and the
cruiser's name has been excluded from the revised list of Russian
vessels destroyed.

"Judging from this and former reports, the enemy's main strength,
consisting of eight battleships destroyed or captured, three armored
cruisers and three coast defence ships destroyed or captured, with the
second-class cruisers and other vessels destroyed, the enemy's fighting
power is thus annihilated.

"Later reports show that during the night of May 27 our torpedo boats,
numbered 34, 35 and 69, were sunk by the enemy's fire. Comrades rescued
the majority of their crews. Besides the above, there was no damage
worth reporting. No warship nor destroyer suffered any loss of fighting
or navigating power.

[Sidenote: Searching Sea for Remnants]

"We anticipated a heavy loss of life, but find that our casualties were
comparatively slight. They do not exceed 800 killed and wounded. The
casualty reports will be rendered as speedily as possible in order to
reassure families and friends.

"Nearly the whole strength of both combatants met in battle, and the
area of the fighting was very wide.

"The first day proved foggy, and even without the smoke and fumes
resulting from the battle it was impossible to see five miles.
Consequently, during the day it was impossible to locate or observe all
the ships under my command. Moreover, the fighting having lasted two
days, and the ships of my command being scattered for the purpose of
chasing and attacking the enemy, some having received special orders
after the battle, it is impossible to collect and frame any detailed
report covering the whole battle at the same time."

Admiral Togo telegraphed, May 30, as follows:

"The ships sent northward to search for Russian ships returned
yesterday. The cruisers _Iwate_ and _Yakumo_ and other vessels sent
southward to find Russian ships, returned to-day. They thoroughly
searched the Shanghai course from Tsushima and vicinity, but on both
sides found no trace of the Russians."

Admiral Shimamura, on board the cruiser _Iwate_, reports:

"During the battle on May 27, at 3.07 P. M., the cruiser _Iwate_
vigorously attacked the protected cruiser _Jemtchug_ at a distance of
3,000 metres. The _Jemtchug_ sank in one minute. The loss of the
_Jemtchug_ is, therefore, confirmed.

"During the engagement fire broke out on the _Jemtchug_ and smoke
concealed the hull of the vessel. Consequently the remainder of our
fleet were unable to see the ship."

Admiral Togo gave this list of casualties, surprisingly small even to
himself, for he had estimated his losses as 800 men.

[Sidenote: Japan's Losses Only 424 Men]

"The Japanese losses in the battle of the Sea of Japan were 113
officers and men killed and 424 officers and men wounded. The
completion of the revised list shows that the losses were fewer than
the original estimates. The flagship _Mikasa_ was the heaviest loser,
losing 63 killed and wounded. The losses were distributed among the
ships of the fleet as follows: _Mikasa_, 63; _Adzuma_, 39;
_Shikishima_, 37; _Asashi_, 31; _Fuji_, 28; _Idzuma_, 26; _Nisshin_,
27; _Otowa_, 26; _Kasaga_, 26; _Tsushima_, 19; _Asama_, 15; _Naniwa_,
17; _Tokiwa_, 15; _Yakumo_, 11; _Chitose_, 6; _Idzumi_, 10; _Kasaga_,
9; _Hashidate_, 5; _Niitaka_, 4."

The casualties on the destroyers and the torpedo boats were 87.

Commander Togo was wounded on the _Adzuma_.

Admiral Togo concluded his series of reports with this absolutely
accurate statement of the ships that had escaped, in the main a
remarkable feat, when the conditions of alternating fog and sunshine
and the natural confusion among the Russians is taken into account.

"The Russian vessels present in the recent battle which were not sunk
or captured and which are unaccounted for are," Togo's report adds,
"the protected cruisers _Oleg_, _Aurora_, _Izumrud_ and _Almas_, three
transports, two torpedo boat destroyers and one towboat. During the
battle the _Oleg_ and _Aurora_ were within range of our third and
fourth squadrons and were on fire. They may have escaped, but it will
take time to restore their fighting power."

A Japanese officer described the battle more connectedly in the
following words:

[Sidenote: Your Utmost for the Empire]

"At 5.30 Saturday morning a wireless message, reading, 'The enemy's
squadron is in sight,' reached the naval base. This message was
transmitted to all our ships by the flagship, with instructions to get
ready for action. Our squadron left their rendezvous and headed for the
eastern channel off Tsushima. Our men seemed to be filled with new
inspiration, and were eager for the long-delayed fight to begin.

"When Tsushima was sighted to the southwest the sea was rough and the
torpedo boats were forced to run for the shelter of the island. Our
third fighting squadron, with the _Takashiho_ to port, reconnoitred the
Russian course, and at 11.30 A. M. informed the main squadron by
wireless telegraph that the Russian ships were passing into the east
channel, whereupon our main squadron, changing its course somewhat to
the southward, came in sight of Okinshima at 1 o'clock in the
afternoon. The third division arrived later and joined the main
squadron. The first and second divisions, accompanied by the destroyer
flotilla, changed to a westerly course, while the third division and
the fourth destroyer flotilla headed slightly eastward.

"During the manoeuvre the Russian flagship appeared to the southward,
at 1.45 o'clock. The Russians steamed up in double column. The fleet
was numerous, but no living being was visible. The Russian ships seemed
to be in good order. Our ships hoisted the flag of action, the _Mikasa_
signaling: 'The defence of our empire depends upon this action. You are
expected to do your utmost.' Our men seemed to silently weigh the
significance of this signal.

[Sidenote: Russian Line Enveloped]

"Our first and second divisions turned to the Russians' starboard,
while the third division kept in close touch with the preceding two
divisions. With the Japanese ships proceeding in this order, it was
2.13 o'clock when the Russians opened fire. The first two shots fell
short of our line, and it was some minutes later before we commenced
firing. Then the battle was on, with firing from both sides. Our
destroyers kept on the port side of the main squadron, and in this
formation we pressed the Russians against the coast of Kiushiu, and
they were obliged to change their course to the east.

"We so manoeuvred our ships as to have their bows parallel to the
north side of the Russian line. The _Mikasa_, of our first division,
which had been leading, changed to the rear of the line, while the
_Kasuga_ headed the line. The engagement now became very fierce. The
_Borodino_ was seen to be on fire. A little later the Russians headed
west, and we changed our course accordingly. Five ships of our second
division concentrated their fire on the _Borodino_. Our first division
now began firing vigorously, proceeding parallel with the Russian line,
and as we began to press against the head of the Russian line our third
division veered to the Russian rear, thus enveloping their ships.

"The engagement proceeded hotly. Our second division followed a course
parallel with the northern side of the Russians, and this movement
completed the envelopment. The Russian ships were seen trying to break
through, and our destroyer flotilla intercepted their new course. This
state of envelopment continued until the following day, with the ships
at varying distances. Thus enclosed on all sides, the Russians were
helpless and powerless to escape the circle.

[Sidenote: Destroyers Took Last Thrust.]

"Previous instructions had been given the destroyers and torpedo boats
to attack the Russian ships. Following instructions, the fifth
destroyer flotilla advanced against a Russian ship, upon which the
second division had been concentrating its fire, signaling, 'We are
going to give the last thrust at them.'

"The Russian ship continued to fight, and seeing the approaching
torpedo boats, directed its fire on them. Undaunted, our destroyers
pressed forward, the _Chitose_ meantime continuing its fire. The
torpedo flotilla arrived within 200 metres of the Russian ship and the
_Shiranus_ fired the first shot. Two other torpedo boats fired one
each. The _Shiranus_ received two shells, but the other boats were not
damaged. The Russian ship was sunk.

"Sundown saw the battle raging furiously. Our shells were evidently
telling on the Russians, who showed signs of confusion. Our fifth
torpedo flotilla, after destroying the _Borodino_, followed in the wake
of our second division, the signal reading, 'Something like the
Russians' submarines have been sighted. Attack them.'

"The flotilla followed and located the object, which proved to be a
sinking ship with its overturned bottom showing. Thirty survivors clung
to the wreck, crying for assistance. Firing ceased with the approach of
darkness.

"According to orders previously given for a torpedo attack after dark,
all the destroyer flotilla, dividing into two squadrons, proceeded to
attack the Russians during the whole night. The Russians frustrated the
first and second attacks with searchlights. A third attempt was
carefully made, and the _Yugiri_ sank a ship of the _Borodino_ type,
and also hit others. During the night the Russians continued to move,
and we preserved our enveloping movement some distance from the Russian
position. The Russian ships headed northeast after daybreak, hoping to
reach Vladivostok. Our officers and men were determined that not a ship
should escape, and resolved not to relax their efforts until they had
succeeded in either sinking or capturing every Russian ship.

"Our ships always kept ahead of the Russians. The battle was resumed at
9 o'clock Sunday morning, twelve miles east of Chiyupyon Bay, and
lasted all day. Here the Russians suffered their heaviest losses. They
seemed unprepared to repel night attacks. During our first night attack
the Russians showed nine searchlights and frustrated the attacks, but
clearly gave us the location of the fleet, which brought success later."

Still another version has been supplied by Japanese tars, as follows:

[Sidenote: As Sailors Saw the Battle]

"At dawn on Saturday our squadron left its rendezvous and advanced
through the Tsushima Channel. At 2.08 in the afternoon we sighted the
Russian fleet. Gradually closing in, we found the _Kniaz Souvaroff_
leading the line, with the _Borodino_, the _Alexander III_, the _Orel_,
the _Osliabia_ and the _Navarin_ following in the order named. The
_Nicolai I_ brought up the rear. Parallel to this line we observed five
cruisers. After them came the special ships and torpedo boat
destroyers. We counted thirty-two Russian ships in all.

"Our fleet, with the battleship _Mikasa_ leading, proceeded toward the
Russians in vertical line formation. The _Souvaroff_ opened fire first
and then suddenly turned, reversing her course. Almost simultaneously
the _Mikasa_ opened fire with her big guns, and thus the curtain rose
on the great sea battle. The hostile fleets gradually closed in toward
each other, exchanging a vigorous fire. The armored cruiser _Asama_
approached within 3,000 metres of the Russian fleet and carefully
observed its action.

"After a short but fierce fight the _Admiral Oushakoff's_ deck was
observed to be ablaze, and the ship left the line. By 4.30 in the
afternoon the Russian line was disordered and its fire slackened. The
_Borodino_ and _Kamchatka_ had been disabled and soon sank. The
_Borodino_ continued to fire bravely until the ship was submerged.

"The Japanese fleet continued to maintain enveloping positions from
sundown until dawn. Sunday morning opened misty, but the weather soon
cleared, and the search for the remnants of the Russian fleet was
begun. Five Russian ships were discovered in the vicinity of Liancourt
Island, and they were immediately surrounded. One, supposed to be the
_Izumrud_, escaped at full speed. The remaining four offered no
resistance, and hoisted the Japanese flag over the Russian colors,
apparently offering to surrender. Captain Yashiro, commanding the
_Asama_, started in a small boat to ascertain the real intentions of
the Russians, when Admiral Nebogatoff lowered a boat and came on board
the _Asama_, where he formally surrendered. The prisoners were
distributed among the Japanese ships, and prize crews were selected to
take possession of the captured vessels."

[Sidenote: The Capture of Rozhdestvensky]

To have destroyed the Russian armada was, of itself, an amazing feat;
but to have captured the commander-in-chief, and to have compelled the
surrender of an admiral of the line, add vastly to the glory of Togo.
The story of Rozhdestvensky's capture is dramatic.

The destroyers, _Kasumi_, _Usugumo_, _Sazanami_ and _Kagerou_, were
ordered to attack the Russian warships on the night of May 27 and were
steaming ahead when they suddenly encountered a number of Russian
ships. The _Kasumi_ narrowly avoided a collision with a Russian
cruiser, the closeness of which seems to have saved the destroyers from
being damaged by the heavy fire which the Russians directed on them.

During the Russian attack the vessels forming the destroyer flotilla
divided. The _Sazanami_ and _Kagerou_ continued the search for Russian
ships throughout the night, and in the morning discovered two torpedo
boat destroyers. One of them steamed away, but the other was unable to
do so. On approaching the latter the Japanese discerned a white flag
flying from the foremast and the Red Cross flag astern. She proved to
be the _Bedovi_ with Admiral Rozhdestvensky and his staff on board. The
_Bedovi_ signalled that her engines were damaged, and that she was
short of coal and water. An armed guard was sent on board the _Bedovi_
to receive her surrender. The Russians requested the Japanese not to
remove Admiral Rozhdestvensky and the other officers on account of
their wounds, and the Japanese complied, with the understanding that
the guard would shoot Rozhdestvensky in the event of the delay leading
to a meeting with Russian ships, thus running the danger of his
recapture. The _Sazanami_ ran a line to the _Bedovi_ and began to wing
her. The line parted twice. In the morning the _Sazanami_ met the
Japanese cruiser _Akashi_, which convoyed the two destroyers to Sasebo.
During the trip the destroyers encountered heavy seas, and their decks
were awash during part of the time.

[Sidenote: Chiefs of Japan's Fleet]

Thirty naval commanders participated in the battle of the Japan Sea.
Vice Admiral Togo was commander-in-chief, leading the first squadron.
Vice Admiral Kamamura was in command of the second squadron, and Rear
Admiral Kataoka led the third squadron.

The chiefs of staff in the order named were Admiral Kato and Captains
Fujii and Saito. The commanders of the squadron divisions were Vice
Admirals Dewa, Uriu and Mitsu, acting as rear admirals under Vice
Admiral Togo, Captains Yamada, Shimamura, Taketomi and Kokura.

[Sidenote: Blowing Up the Izumrud]

The fate of the cruiser _Izumrud_ is a chapter of itself in the story
of the battle. Baron Ferzen, her captain, with survivors of the ship's
crew, reached Vladivostok on June 1 and sent a report, which, in
addition to confirming the disaster to the entire fleet, told the fate
of his own ship. The Baron reported that before dark, on May 27, the
_Osliabya_, _Alexander III_ and _Borodino_ had been sunk, and the
_Kniaz Souvaroff_, the _Kamtchatka and_ the _Urel_ had been seriously
damaged and were lost to sight. The command then devolved on Rear
Admiral Nebogatoff.

In the evening the _Nikolai I_, the _Orel_, the _General Admiral
Apraxine_, the _Admiral Seniavin_, the _Admiral Oughakoff_, the _Sissoi
Veliky_, the _Nevarin_, the _Admiral Nakhimoff_, and the _Izumrud_
sailed northeastward, the latter being charged to transmit orders to
the battleships. Two other cruisers were cut off from the fleet and
were not again seen.

The battleships, steaming at fourteen knots, were repeatedly attacked
by the Japanese torpedo boats, especially at the extremities of the
line.

At dawn it was ascertained that the battleship division consisted of
the _Nikolai I_, the _Orel_, the _General Admiral Apraxine_ and the
_Admiral Seniavin_.

At sunrise, May 28, smoke from the Japanese ships reappeared on the
horizon, whereupon the admiral gave orders for increased speed. The
_Admiral Seniavin_ and the _General Admiral Apraxine_ dropped behind.

Toward 10 o'clock, the Japanese fleet appeared first to port and then
to starboard, while the cruiser division manoeuvred behind the
Russians to starboard. Baron Ferzen's account continues:

[Sidenote: Flight Ends in Disaster]

"I was cut off from the squadron and finding it impossible to rejoin it
resolved to make for Vladivostok. I put on full speed and the enemy's
cruisers came on in pursuit. Owing to the insufficiency of my coal
supply and the certainty of meeting the enemy's cruisers, I
subsequently altered my course for Vladimir Bay, where I arrived on the
night of May 29. At 1.30 o'clock next morning, in pitch darkness, the
_Izumrud_ ran full on a reef at the entrance of the bay. Having only
ten tons of coal and seeing that it would be impossible to again float
my vessel, I ordered the crew ashore and blew up the _Izumrud_ to
prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy. Ten of my sailors were
wounded in the battle, but the officers and the rest of the crew are
all safe."

[Sidenote: The News Reaches Russia]

Intimations of the extent of the disaster first reached Russia through
foreign telegrams. The emperor and naval officials hoped against hope
that their own advices would bring some ray of comfort. It was hoped
that a portion of the fleet might reach Vladivostok strong enough to
aid in protecting the fortress against attack from the sea.

One unprotected cruiser and three torpedo boat destroyers were all of
the splendid fleet that ever were to reach Vladivostok. The cruiser
_Almaz_, which by reason of her lack of protective sheathing had been
ordered by Rozhdestvensky to flee in event of battle, got through the
Japanese lines with a minimum of damage, though well scarred by shots
that had reached her by chance. Captain Chagir, her commander, speedily
communicated with the emperor at St. Petersburg through Lieutenant
General Linevitch, commander-in-chief in the Far East. This was the
message:

"The cruiser _Almaz_ has arrived at Vladivostok. Her commander reports
as follows:

"'On May 27, Vice Admiral Rozhdestvensky's fleet in the Tsu Strait
engaged the Japanese in battle. During the day we lost the battleships
_Kniaz Souvaroff_, _Borodino_, _Osliabya_, and the cruiser _Ural_. The
battleship _Alexander III_ was seriously damaged at the start of the
battle.

"'After the separation of the cruiser _Almaz_ from the fleet the battle
was renewed in the darkness. The result of the night battle is not
known.'"

The _Almaz_ was cut off from the fleet and reached Vladivostok.

"Supplementary reports of the commander of the _Almaz_, forwarded by
the post commandant at Vladivostok, state that the transport
_Kamtchatka_ was seriously damaged."

"The _Almaz_ had Lieutenant Mochalin and four sailors killed and ten
sailors wounded. There is no news as to those who were saved or those
who perished on the sunken warships."

The arrival of the _Almaz_ has thus been described by an eye witness at
Vladivostok:

The _Almaz_, which arrived at her anchorage here Monday evening, May
29, bore scars of the battle. Her mizzen mast was shot away, and one of
her smokestacks was pierced by a cannon shot. But the _Grozny_, though
engaged for several hours in a running fight at short range with a
large Japanese destroyer, showed no signs of the fray. After her
commander, Captain Andriffski, had been wounded, and an officer and
three men had been killed, the _Grozny_ succeeded in sinking her
opponent with a luckily placed shot, and reached Vladivostok without
further adventure.

For two days Vladivostok had been buzzing with rumor and excitement.
The fact that a battle between the rival fleets was imminent, if
Rozhdestvensky was not already at hand-grips with Togo, was made known
through telegrams from Europe, and when it was learned Monday morning
that a Russian cruiser had been sighted off Askold Island, headed for
the harbor, the city was filled with the wildest reports of every
nature.

[Sidenote: Story of Russian Survivors]

The inhabitants clustered in the streets, thronged the waterside or
climbed the frowning hills overlooking the harbor for a better view.
Finally, toward 6 o'clock in the evening, a graceful cruiser with two
snowy-white stacks, shot in view at the entrance to the Golden Horn and
rounded to an anchorage beneath the bristling guns of the curving
promontory. From afar the broken stump of her mizzen-mast and a shot
hole showing black upon the white paint of one stack indicated that the
cruiser had encountered the Japanese. As the anchor chain rattled in
the hawse holes the vessel wreathed itself in smoke--it was an
admiral's salute in honor of Rear Admiral Von Jessen. Scarcely had the
boom of the last cannon begun to echo from the surrounding hills when
Von Jessen's flagship, the cruiser _Rossia_, answered the salute, and a
minute later the guns of the fortress took up the cannonade.

Excitement beyond description seized the thronging spectators, who,
with frantic "huzzas," tossed high their caps.

Citizens embraced each other and danced jubilantly upon the pier, while
the crews of the ships in the harbor joined in wild cheering.

In a thrice the boats were dropped from the davits, and in a moment the
officers of the cruisers and torpedo boats in the harbor and the
military officials from the fortress were swarming on board the _Almaz_
to learn news of the fight.

[Sidenote: Saw Flagship Go Down]

The story was short. According to the officers of the _Almaz_, the
fleet under Rozhdestvensky met the Japanese in the Straits of Korea,
near Tsu Island, and the opposing fleets immediately closed in.

Being lightly armored, the _Almaz_, as had been expected by Admiral
Rozhdestvensky before the battle, separated itself from the main fleet
at the first opportunity and headed for Vladivostok soon after the
commencement of the action, but not too soon to observe that the losses
on both sides in the titanic combat were great.

Early in the battle an officer of the _Almaz_, while watching
Rozhdestvensky's flagship, the battleship _Kniaz Souvaroff_, for a
signal, saw the flagship shudder from stem to stern, as if under a blow
from a gigantic hammer, and hesitate in her course, while the waves
rose high from her armored sides. Then she commenced to list and sink.

The officers believe that the debut of the submarine boat as an
effective agent in naval warfare, or perhaps a large mine caused the
disaster to the _Kniaz Souvaroff_. The damage, however, was so
extensive that the flagship soon went down, leaving the deck officers
and many of the crew struggling in the waves.

One of the Russian torpedo boats, either the destroyer _Buiny_ or the
_Bravi_, ran in and picked up a number of the swimmers, one of whom was
recognized through a glass as Admiral Rozhdestvensky.

Under a grueling attack by the Japanese warships, aided by torpedo
boats, mines and submarines, the _Borodino_, _Osliabia_ and _Ural_ were
placed out of action and followed the flagship to the bottom.

The fog, which had raised and lowered intermittently during the
morning, began to settle down again, and the distance of the _Almaz_,
which now succeeded in disengaging herself in the combat from the
struggling ships, made it difficult for her to see clearly.

The arrival of the _Grozny_ on the following day was marked by the same
scenes of excitement as those which characterized the advent of the
_Almaz_. The wounded commander of the destroyer, Captain Andriffski,
confirmed the details given by the officers of the _Almaz_. He
described his combat as a running fight, in which the _Grozny_ was
engaged for several hours, finally sinking the pursuing Japanese
destroyer.

[Sidenote: Russian Story of Disaster]

From this and further fragmentary reports the Russians pieced together
a story of the disaster. They figure that Admiral Togo, with his main
squadron, must have lain somewhere off the coast of Korea, while
Admirals Kamimura and Uriu held their squadrons further north to head
off the Russian vessels which might get through Togo's lines or be
prepared to bar the entrance to the Straits of Tsugaru in case the
Russians should be reported moving up the east coast of Japan. When
Togo's scouts reported that Admiral Rozhdestvensky was heading for the
eastern channel of the Straits of Korea the Japanese Admiral steamed
around the northern part of the Tsu Islands, and came upon the Russians
steaming in double column, with the cruisers to port.

Togo enjoyed the great advantage of tactical position when he opened
fire, having the lightest of the Russian ships between him and
Rozhdestvensky's heavier vessels, thus smothering the fire of the
latter. Besides, Togo was able to use all his broadsides, whereas the
sternmost ships of the Russian columns, coming on in line ahead
formation, could probably only with difficulty use any guns at all.

When Sunday morning came the Russian fleet was divided. The faster and
stronger division, under Rozhdestvensky, was met by Kamimura and Uriu,
while the slower division, under Nebogatoff, renewed the fight with
Togo. With some of the scattered Russian units it was a case of save
himself who can. In the running fight the Japanese enjoyed the
advantage of superior speed, enabling them to concentrate their fire
and bring every crippled Russian ship to bay. Admiral Nebogatoff's
battered remnant surrendered off Liancourt Rocks, while Rozhdestvensky,
with the best remaining battleships, fought on for the honor of the
Russian navy.

Torpedo attacks were the feature of the Japanese program, which more
surely than anything else brought disaster. Torpedo boats in night
attacks launched their deadly missiles within a hundred yards of their
Russian targets. They completely encircled the Russian ships, swarming
like angry hornets. Much of the sweeping character of the victory will
ultimately be traced to these comparatively tiny craft, fighting under
the shower of shells being hurled from the big guns of the battleships
and cruisers far away.

Summarizing scattered reports, the results of the battle may be
accurately stated to be annihilation for Russian sea power in the Far
East. Thirty-seven Russian warships of all classes entered the Korean
Straits. Of these, three, a cruiser, and two destroyers, reached
Vladivostok; three armored cruisers reached Manila; two battleships and
two coast defence ships were captured and were taken to Sasebo; one
destroyer, found helpless at sea, was towed to Shanghai; leaving a
total of twenty-six ships that were sent to the bottom, five of them
battleships. The Russian loss in life reached a total of 6,500 men, one
admiral and ten captains among them. The loss to Russia in gold
amounted to $75,000,000. Japan's loss in ships was three torpedo boats
and a few more than 400 men. Experts the world around failed to find
adequate explanation for this amazing disparity. As summarized at
Tokio, these are reasons which in part contributed to Admiral
Rozhdestvensky's defeat:

[Sidenote: Why the Russians Were Defeated]

"First. An imperfect reconnaissance and incomplete, faulty and
misleading intelligence.

"Second. An imperfect battle formation, which indicated that
Rozhdestvensky did not expect to meet Togo off Tsushima.

"Third. The weather, the direction of the wind and the sunlight were
unfavorable to the Russians, Togo having the sun behind him and firing
with the wind, while the Russians had the sunlight in their eyes and
fired against the wind.

"Fourth. The Russians wasted their ammunition and eventually their
supply ran short. It is believed that the surrender of Nebogatoff was
necessary because his ammunition had been expended.

"Fifth. The marked inferiority of the Russian gunnery."

[Sidenote: Japan Honors Togo]

Japan hailed Togo as the nation's hero. A popular subscription will
raise to him a giant lighthouse on lofty Tsu Island, commanding the sea
for a radius of eighty miles, the area through which the battle was
waged.

[Illustration: PEACE ENVOYS IN SESSION AT PORTSMOUTH.

Copyrighted by Brown Bros., New York, 1905.

The Russians, from left to right are C. Berg, M. Pokotiloff, M. Witte,
Baron Rosen and M. Nabokoff. The Japanese from left to right are Mr.
Adatchi, Mr. Otchiai, Baron Komura, Minister Takahira and Mr. A. Sato.]



                              CHAPTER XX.

  Aftermath of the Victory of the Sea of Japan--The World Hopes
    that Peace Will Result--The President of the United States
    Takes the Initial Step--Meantime the Japanese Decline an
    Armistice--Operations Begun for the Seizure of Saghalien
    Island--Japanese Landing Parties Successful--Russians Continue
    Flight After Series of Conflicts--Japanese Take Chief Town of
    Island, Alexandrovsk, July 25--Flight of Russians and Pursuit
    Continued--Governor of Island and Remainder of Garrison
    Surrender to Japanese, July 30--Russia and Japan Accept
    President's Proposal to Meet and Discuss Terms of
    Peace--America Chosen as Scene of Meeting--Envoys
    Named--Portsmouth, N. H., Selected as Scene of Meeting--Russian
    and Japanese Envoys Formally Received by the President at
    Oyster Bay, August 5--Sessions of Peace Conference Begin at
    Portsmouth, August 9--Conference Adjourns Without Achievement,
    August 18--President Begins Effort to Effect Compromise, August
    19--Japan Withdraws Demand for Indemnity and Other Demands on
    Which There Had Been a Deadlock, August 29--Announcement Made
    That Peace is Assured--Work of Drafting Treaty Begun--Peace
    Treaty Signed--The Treaty of Peace.


A wave of awe went 'round the word when the full effects of the Battle
of the Sea of Japan were realized. Russia stood before the world in the
light of a thoroughly vanquished nation. On land her armies had been
invariably defeated in a series of battles of stupendous magnitude. Her
original Asiatic fleet had been annihilated. Her last great effort to
stem the victories of Japan, the sending of a vast Armada to the
Orient, had resulted in complete annihilation of that fleet. The
nations forgot to grieve for the thousands slain in the hope that this
last crowning disaster to Russia would bring what every civilized land
had desired for months--an end to the titanic war.

[Sidenote: President Takes Initiative]

While this was the universal wish it remained for the President of the
United States to take the initiative. The fact that, with the exception
of a minor campaign for the possession of the Island of Saghalien, off
the Siberian coast, this was really the closing chapter of the war, has
added a brilliant feat to the annals of American diplomatic
achievements and has placed the name of Theodore Roosevelt eternally
among those of the famous benefactors of humanity.

[Sidenote: Japanese Take Saghalien]

As has been said, one minor martial enterprise remained for the
Japanese. Saghalien Island, blanketing the coasts of Siberia for a
distance of 700 miles, had been secured by Russia from Japan by a
treaty partaking, it was claimed by the Japanese, the nature of a
coercive measure. Among the objects for which the Japanese had entered
upon the war were to secure permanent fishing rights in the waters
along the Siberian coast and the recession of Saghalien Island to her.
The seizure of this Island, too, was a necessary corollary of a land
and sea campaign against Vladivostock, which would have been the next
step in her military campaign had not the war come to an end. There was
little surprise, therefore, when the Tokio government, while giving
consent to a proposal that the belligerent nations meet to talk of
peace, refused to consent to an armistice. Possession of Saghalien
Island was still to be gained. The Japanese campaign began when a
landing was effected on the East coast of the Island on July 8. The
Russian garrison numbered 8,000 men and while there were defensive
works of some strength at a number of points, the defenders were
helpless before the advance of the invaders. The campaign amounted to a
half dozen engagements, mere skirmishes, when compared with the battles
of the Manchurian campaign. The Russians made a brave defence, but lost
position after position and the subjugation of the Island was completed
on July 30, when the Russian Governor and 3,500 men surrendered "in the
name of humanity." Five days previously the Japanese had occupied
Alexandrovsk, the chief town of the Island and co-operative naval
forces were disposed so that the escape of the garrison from the Island
to the mainland was impossible. The slaughter of the entire force of
the defenders could have been the only result of continued resistance.
The Japanese announced the organization of a civil administration of
the Island the moment the surrender had been completed, and were thus
in possession of what was actually Russian territory. This fact was
important to the Japanese from several standpoints. The Island is rich
in minerals, it is the centre of the vast fishing industry of the North
Pacific and has strategic value on account of its position with regard
to the entire Siberian littoral. More important than any of these
circumstances, however, was the fact that it had been soil over which
flew the Russian flag. The Japanese contemplated making a demand for
indemnity at the forthcoming peace conference. Precedent demanded that
there should have been the occupation of territory to make valid such a
claim. The occupation of Saghalien gave this necessary basis for the
indemnity demand which, ultimately was presented and only withdrawn
when it became apparent that the war must go on unless Japan withdrew
her claim.

But the conquest of Saghalien marked the last of actual warfare between
Japan and Russia. President Roosevelt had sent an identical note to
Japan and Russia on June 8, calling upon each, in the name of humanity,
to meet to discuss terms of peace and the whole Saghalien campaign had
gone on while, following this request, diplomatic machinery had been
slowly at work preparing the way for the peace conference. The rest of
the story of the Japan-Russia War has to do with the events which
finally called permanent truce to the long struggle and caused a
million fighting men and their auxiliaries to turn their faces from the
rugged plains of Manchuria, where thousands on thousands had given
their lives for their Emperors and their Fatherlands.

[Sidenote: Preparing for Peace Parleys]

Russia's acceptance of the President's invitation reached Washington on
June 12, two days after Japan had announced her assent. A ripple was
caused by difficulty in choosing a place for the meeting. Russia
preferred an European capital. Japan would not consent to any that
could be named. Russia ultimately yielded the point, and on June 15,
with the consent of both of the belligerents, Washington was named, and
a day within the first ten days of August was accepted for the
assembling of the envoys. The Czar named Sergius Witte, greatest
statesman of the Empire, to head the peace delegation, with Baron
Rosen, Russian ambassador at Washington, as his associate. The Mikado
named Baron Komura as chief of the Japanese delegation, and as his
associate, Mr. Takahira, Japanese Minister to the United States.
Accompanying each was a suite of a dozen secretarys, legal and military
experts and interpreters. On July 11, the President named Portsmouth,
N. H., Navy Yard as the actual place of meeting. It was feared that
Washington, under the torrid conditions usually prevailing there in
mid-summer, would prove a too uncomfortable place for the guests of the
nation to spend the weeks that must necessarily be consumed in the
negotiations. The Japanese envoys and their suite reached New York on
July 25. M. Witte, the chief Russian envoy, arrived in New York with
his suite on August 2, and was joined by Baron Rosen, his associate.
Both the Japanese and the Russian delegations were informally presented
to the President at his summer home at Oyster Bay, N. Y., prior to the
formal reception of the two peace missions which took place on the
President's yacht, the Mayflower, in Oyster Bay on August 5. The
President, in a toast to which no reply was given, expressed the hope
that a "just and lasting peace" might be arranged. The envoys and their
suites were conveyed in warships to Portsmouth, reaching that city on
August 7. The envoys were formally welcomed by United States officials
and the Governor of the State of New Hampshire. The Hotel Wentworth, on
an island off the mainland was made their place of residence. The newly
constructed general stores building in the Navy Yard, which had been
elaborately fitted up with every possible convenience, was designated
as the scene of the sessions.

[Sidenote: The Japanese Terms]

The first meeting of the envoys was held on August 9. The Japanese
terms were presented in twelve sections, as follows:

I. Recognition of Japan's "preponderating influence" in Korea.

II. Mutual obligations to evacuate Manchuria, Russia to retrocede to
China all special privileges.

III. Japanese obligations to restore the sovereignty and administration
of China in Manchuria.

IV. Mutual obligations to respect the territorial and administrative
integrity of China and the principle of the "open door."

V. The cession of the Island of Saghalien.

VI. The surrender of the Russian leases in the Liaotung Peninsula,
including Port Arthur, Dalny and the Blonde and Elliott Islands.

VII. The cession of the branch of the Chinese Eastern Railroad from
Harbin southward.

VIII. The retention by Russia of that portion of the railroad line
through northern Manchuria connecting the Transsiberian road with
Vladivostock.

IX. The reimbursement of Japan for the war--commonly spoken of as the
indemnity.

X. The surrender of Russian warships which have been interned in
neutral ports during the war.

XI. The limitation of Russia's naval forces in the Pacific.

XII. The question of fishing rights of Russia and Japan off the
Siberian coast.

[Sidenote: Japan Makes Peace Possible]

These demands, one by one, were discussed by the envoys. It developed
that Russia absolutely refused to grant an indemnity, to surrender
warships interned in Chinese and American ports, or to cede to Japan
the Island of Saghalien. Whatever hope of compromise there seemed to be
with regard to the other questions at issue it was regarded as
absolutely essential to the signing of a treaty of peace that Russia
should yield on the subject of indemnity. The President's efforts were
directed toward accomplishing this result under some other name than
indemnity. It was proposed to arrange for the payment of the amount
demanded as a purchase price for Saghalien, or for the railway rights
over which Japan had become master. No compromise would be listened to
by the Czar, "Not a kopeck for indemnity," was the phrase of M. Witte,
and there was no yielding. By shrewd diplomatic manoeuvring the
Russian envoy had placed Japan in a position which meant that were the
war to be continued it would be upon the responsibility of Japan and
for the sole reason that money must be had. The Tokio government, after
long discussion, decided upon a magnanimous course, which at once won
the encomiums of the whole civilized world. She yielded every point in
dispute, gave up her demand for indemnity, gave up half of Saghalien,
gave up her claim upon the interned warships and, though triumphantly
victorious in every step of the war, accepted terms of peace dictated
by the nation she had conquered, and this "in the name of humanity."
Russia had won the victory on the face of it, but the historian will
credit to Japan the greater and the real victory, a victory of vast
moral and humanitarian significance.

The glad news went out to the world on August 29, that the envoys had
agreed upon every point and that a treaty of peace would forthwith be
drafted. To Prof. Maartens, the famous authority of international law
and to Mr. Dennison, an American, long an adviser of the Japanese
Foreign Office, was assigned the task of actually drafting the treaty
in accord with the general agreement that had been reached by the
envoys. Their work was speedily accomplished and the "Treaty of
Portsmouth" brought to an end this struggle that had cost hundreds of
thousands of lives, billions of dollars and had completely changed the
status of political power in the Far East.

The treaty of peace was finally signed at Portsmouth, N. H., on
September 5, 1905; Sergius Witte and Baron Rosen signed for Russia,
while Baron Komura and Mr. Takahira signed for Japan. It was signed by
the Emperors of Russia and Japan and made public October 16, 1905.

                          TEXT OF THE TREATY.

The text of the treaty is as follows:

The Emperor of Japan, on the one part, and the Emperor of all the
Russias, on the other part, animated by a desire to restore the
blessings of peace to their countries, have resolved to conclude
a treaty of peace, and have for this purpose named their
plenipotentiaries, that is to say, for his Majesty the Emperor of
Japan, Baron Komura Jutaro, Jusami, Grand Cordon of the Imperial
Order of the Rising Sun, his Minister for Foreign Affairs, and
his Excellency, Takahira Kogoro, Imperial Order of the Sacred
Treasure, his Minister to the United States, and his Majesty the
Emperor of all the Russias his Excellency Sergius Witte, his
Secretary of State and President of the Committee of Ministers of
the Empire of Russia, and his Excellency Baron Roman Rosen,
Master of the Imperial Court of Russia, his Majesty's Ambassador
to the United States, who, after having exchanged their full
powers, which were found to be in good and due form, have
concluded the following articles:

                               ARTICLE I.

There shall henceforth be peace and amity between their Majesties the
Emperor of Japan and the Emperor of all the Russias, and between their
respective States and subjects.

                              ARTICLE II.

The Imperial Russian Government, acknowledging that Japan possesses in
Korea paramount political, military and economical interests, engages
neither to obstruct nor interfere with measures for guidance,
protection and control which the Imperial Government of Japan may find
necessary to take in Korea. It is understood that Russian subjects in
Korea shall be treated in exactly the same manner as the subjects and
citizens of other foreign Powers; that is to say, they shall be placed
on the same footing as the subjects and citizens of the most favored
nation. It is also agreed that, in order to avoid causes of
misunderstanding, the two high contracting parties will abstain on the
Russian-Korean frontier from taking any military measure which may
menace the security of Russian or Korean territory.

                              ARTICLE III.

Japan and Russia mutually engage:

First.--To evacuate completely and simultaneously Manchuria, except the
territory affected by the lease of the Liaotung Peninsula, in
conformity with the provisions of the additional article 1 annexed to
this treaty, and,

Second.--To restore entirely and completely to the exclusive
administration of China all the portions of Manchuria now in
occupation, or under the control of the Japanese or Russian troops,
with the exception of the territory above mentioned.

The Imperial Government of Russia declares that it has not in Manchuria
any territorial advantages or preferential or exclusive concessions in
the impairment of Chinese sovereignty, or inconsistent with the
principle of equal opportunity.

                              ARTICLE IV.

Japan and Russia reciprocally engage not to obstruct any general
measures common to all countries which China may take for the
development of the commerce or industry of Manchuria.

                               ARTICLE V.

The Imperial Russian Government transfers and assigns to the Imperial
Government of Japan, with the consent of the Government of China, the
lease of Port Arthur, Talien and the adjacent territory and territorial
waters, and all rights, privileges and concessions connected with or
forming part of such lease, and it also transfers and assigns to the
Imperial Government of Japan all public works and properties in the
territory affected by the above-mentioned lease.

The two contracting parties mutually engage to obtain the consent of
the Chinese Government mentioned in the foregoing stipulation.

The Imperial Government of Japan, on its part, undertakes that the
proprietary rights of Russian subjects in the territory above referred
to shall be perfectly respected.

                              ARTICLE VI.

The Imperial Russian Government engages to transfer and assign to the
Imperial Government of Japan, without compensation and with the consent
of the Chinese Government, the railway between Changchunfu and
Kuanchangtsu and Port Arthur, and all the branches, together with all
the rights, privileges and properties appertaining thereto in that
region, as well as all the coal mines in said region belonging to or
worked for the benefit of the railway. The two high contracting parties
mutually engage to obtain the consent of the Government of China
mentioned in the foregoing stipulation.

                              ARTICLE VII.

Japan and Russia engage to exploit their respective railways in
Manchuria exclusively for commercial and industrial purposes and nowise
for strategic purposes. It is understood that this restriction does not
apply to the railway in the territory affected by the lease of the
Liaotung Peninsula.

                             ARTICLE VIII.

The Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia with the view to promote
and facilitate intercourse and traffic will as soon as possible
conclude a separate convention for the regulation of their connecting
railway services in Manchuria.

                              ARTICLE IX.

The Imperial Russian Government cedes to the Imperial Government of
Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty the southern portion of the
Island of Saghalin and all the islands adjacent thereto and the public
works and properties thereon. The fiftieth degree of north latitude is
adopted as the northern boundary of the ceded territory. The exact
alignment of such territory shall be determined in accordance with the
provisions of the additional article II annexed to this treaty.

Japan and Russia mutually agree not to construct in their respective
possessions on the Island of Saghalin or the adjacent islands any
fortification or other similar military works. They also respectively
engage not to take any military measures which may impede the free
navigation of the Strait of La Perouse and the Strait of Tartary.

                               ARTICLE X.

It is reserved to Russian subjects, inhabitants of the territory ceded
to Japan, to sell their real property and retire to their country, but
if they prefer to remain in the ceded territory they will be maintained
and protected in the full exercise of their industries and rights of
property on condition of submitting to the Japanese laws and
jurisdiction. Japan shall have full liberty to withdraw the right of
residence in or to deport from such territory of any inhabitants who
labor under political or administrative disability. She engages,
however, that the proprietary rights of such inhabitants shall be fully
respected.

                              ARTICLE XI.

Russia engages to arrange with Japan for granting to Japanese subjects
rights of fishery along the coasts of the Russian possession in the
Japan, Okhotsk and Bering Seas.

It is agreed that the foregoing engagement shall not affect rights
already belonging to Russian or foreign subjects in those regions.

                              ARTICLE XII.

The treaty of commerce and navigation between Japan and Russia having
been annulled by the war the Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia
engage to adopt as a basis for their commercial relations pending the
conclusion of a new treaty of commerce and navigation the basis of the
treaty which was in force previous to the present war, the system of
reciprocal treatment on the footing of the most favored nation, in
which are included import and export duties, customs formalities,
transit and tonnage dues and the admission and treatment of agents,
subjects and vessels of one country in the territories of the other.

                             ARTICLE XIII.

As soon as possible after the present treaty comes in force all
prisoners of war shall be reciprocally restored. The Imperial
Governments of Japan and Russia shall each appoint a special
commissioner to take charge of the prisoners. All prisoners in the
hands of one Government shall be delivered to and be received by the
commissioner of the other Government or by his duly authorized
representative in such convenient numbers and at such convenient ports
of the delivering State as such delivering State shall notify in
advance to the commissioner of the receiving State.

The Governments of Japan and Russia shall present each other as soon as
possible after the delivery of the prisoners is completed with a
statement of the direct expenditures respectively incurred by them for
the care and maintenance of the prisoners from the date of capture or
surrender and up to the time of death or delivery. Russia engages to
repay to Japan as soon as possible after the exchange of statement as
above provided the difference between the actual amount so expended by
Japan and the actual amount similarly disbursed by Russia.

                              ARTICLE XIV.

The present treaty shall be ratified by their Majesties the Emperor of
Japan and the Emperor of all the Russias. Such ratification shall be
with as little delay as possible, and in any case no later than fifty
days from the date of the signature of the treaty, to be announced to
the Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia respectively through the
French Minister at Tokio and the Ambassador of the United States at St.
Petersburg, and from the date of the latter of such announcements this
treaty shall in all its parts come into full force. The formal exchange
of ratifications shall take place at Washington as soon as possible.

                              ARTICLE XV.

The present treaty shall be signed in duplicate in both the English and
French languages. The texts are in absolute conformity, but in case of
a discrepancy in the interpretation the French text shall prevail.

                             SUB-ARTICLES.

In conformity with the provisions of articles 3 and 9 of the treaty of
peace between Japan and Russia of this date the undersigned
plenipotentiaries have concluded the following additional articles:

                      SUB-ARTICLE TO ARTICLE III.

The Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia mutually engage to
commence the withdrawal of their military forces from the territory of
Manchuria simultaneously and immediately after the treaty of peace
comes into operation, and within a period of eighteen months after that
date the armies of the two countries shall be completely withdrawn from
Manchuria, except from the leased territory of the Liaotung Peninsula.
The forces of the two countries occupying the front positions shall
first be withdrawn.

The high contracting parties reserve to themselves the right to
maintain guards to protect their respective railway lines in Manchuria.
The number of such guards shall not exceed fifteen per kilometre and
within that maximum number the commanders of the Japanese and Russian
armies shall by common accord fix the number of such guards to be
employed as small as possible while having in view the actual
requirements.

The commanders of the Japanese and Russian forces in Manchuria shall
agree upon the details of the evacuation in conformity with the above
principles and shall take by common accord the measures necessary to
carry out the evacuation as soon as possible, and in any case not later
than the period of eighteen months.

                       SUB-ARTICLE TO ARTICLE IX.

As soon as possible after the present treaty comes into force a
committee of delimitation composed of an equal number of members is to
be appointed respectively by the two high contracting parties which
shall on the spot mark in a permanent manner the exact boundary between
the Japanese and Russian possessions on the Island of Saghalin. The
commission shall be bound so far as topographical considerations permit
to follow the fiftieth parallel of north latitude as the boundary line,
and in case any deflections from that line at any points are found to
be necessary compensation will be made by correlative deflections at
other points. It shall also be the duty of the said commission to
prepare a list and a description of the adjacent islands included in
the cession, and finally the commission shall prepare and sign maps
showing the boundaries of the ceded territory. The work of the
commission shall be subject to the approval of the high contracting
parties.

The foregoing additional articles are to be considered ratified with
the ratification of the treaty of peace to which they are annexed.

In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed and
affixed seals to the present treaty of peace.

Done at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this fifth day of the ninth month of
the thirty-eighth year of the Meijei, corresponding to the twenty-third
day of August, one thousand nine hundred and five. (September 5, 1905.)



------------------------------------------------------------------------



Transcriber's note:

Names, italicized phrases, and inconsistencies in capitalization
and hyphenation have been left as printed. Otherwise, obvious
typographical errors, punctuation errors, and inconsistencies in
the punctuation of sidenotes and captions have been corrected.

Illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs, thus the page number of the illustration might not
match the page number in the List of Illustrations.

On page 278, "Commander-inChief" has been changed
to "Commander-in-Chief" ("During the months which
had elapsed since the arrival of the Russian
Commander-in-Chief at the seat of war").

On page 373, "silhouttes" has been changed to
"silhouettes" ("two long dark silhouettes, emitting
quantities of smoke and evidently steaming at high
speed").

On page 374, "silhouttes" has been changed to
"silhouettes" ("two long, dark silhouettes emitting
quantities of smoke").

On page 427, "(9)" has been changed to "(10)" ("(10)
Wounds inflicted by modern arms heal readily").

On page 433, "mobility" has been changed to
"immobility" ("the inexorable grasp of the Manchurian
winter had fallen upon them and frozen them into
immobility").

On page 458, "unrecord" has been left as printed
("continued under these unrecord of the actual
campaign").

On page 507, "tht" has been changed to "the" ("General
Oku avoided the Russian right centre just left of the
railroad").

On page 518, "Russians resistance" has been changed to
"Russian resistance" ("Thereupon the Russian resistance
was redoubled in fury").

On page 537, counts of ships have been left as printed.





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