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Title: Port Arthur - A Monster Heroism
Author: Barry, Richard
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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PORT ARTHUR



[Illustration: _From a painting by Massanovich_

_From Everybody’s Magazine, by permission_

GOING INTO ACTION

Out from the maize, on a dog trot, springs a battalion, pushing
across the winnowed terraces, over the stubble. Scientific
fanatics, they, pressing on up to the griddle of death.]



  PORT ARTHUR

  A MONSTER
  HEROISM

  BY
  RICHARD BARRY

  _Illustrations from Photographs
  taken on the field by the Author_

  NEW YORK
  MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY
  1905



  COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY
  MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY

  _Published April, 1905_



  TO
  FREMONT OLDER



  Grateful acknowledgment of permission to reprint some of the
  articles and photographs which enter, with additional new
  material, into the redaction of this volume is made to the
  Century Magazine, Everybody’s Magazine, Collier’s Weekly,
  the Saturday Evening Post, the Scientific American, the
  London Fortnightly Review and Westminster Gazette, the Paris
  L’Illustration and Le Monde Illustre, and the London Illustrated
  News, Black and White, Sphere and Graphic, in which journals they
  in part originally appeared. The reproduction of the frontispiece
  in oils by Mazzanovich, redrawn from Mr. Barry’s snapshot on the
  field, is here made by courtesy of Everybody’s Magazine.



CONTENTS


  PREFACE

                                                                PAGE
  THE SIEGE AT A GLANCE                                           15


  INTRODUCTORY

  THE INVESTMENT, SIEGE, AND CAPTURE OF PORT ARTHUR               17


  CHAPTER I

  THE CITY OF SILENCE                                             33


  CHAPTER II

  THE INVISIBLE ARMY                                              40


  CHAPTER III

  TWO PICTURES OF WAR--A GLANCE BACK                              67


  CHAPTER IV

  THE JAPANESE KITCHENER                                          81


  CHAPTER V

  CAMP                                                           108


  CHAPTER VI

  203-METER HILL                                                 118


  CHAPTER VII

  A SON OF THE SOIL                                              142


  CHAPTER VIII

  THE BLOODY ANGLE                                               152


  CHAPTER IX

  A BATTLE IN THE STORM                                          164


  CHAPTER X

  THE CREMATION OF A GENERAL                                     183


  CHAPTER XI

  THE GENERAL’S PET                                              191


  CHAPTER XII

  COURTING DEATH UNDER THE FORTS                                 198


  CHAPTER XIII

  FROM KITTEN TO TIGER                                           211


  CHAPTER XIV

  SCIENTIFIC FANATICS                                            234


  CHAPTER XV

  JAPAN’S GRAND OLD MAN                                          253


  CHAPTER XVI

  THE COST OF TAKING PORT ARTHUR                                 276


  CHAPTER XVII

  A CONTEMPORARY EPIC                                            289


  CHAPTER XVIII

  THE NEW SIEGE WARFARE                                          316


  EPILOGUE

  THE DOWNFALL                                                   339



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                            OPPOSITE
                                                                PAGE

  Going into Action. From a Painting by Massanovich.
  Out from the maize, on a dog trot, springs a
  battalion, across the terraces, over the stubble,
  these Scientific Fanatics press on, up the Griddle of
  Death                                                 Frontispiece

  Richard Barry and Frederick Villiers. They were mess-mates
  during the siege. Mr. Villiers, the veteran
  war artist of seventeen campaigns, was dean of the
  War Correspondents at Port Arthur. The photograph
  shows them before their Dalny home                              34

  Starting for Port Arthur. Reserve regiment leaving
  Dalny for the firing line, eighteen miles away                  46

  General Baron Nogi, Commander of the Third Imperial
  Japanese Army, studying the Defenses of Port
  Arthur in his Manchurian Garden in the Willow
  Tree Village                                                    62

  General Baron Kodama, Chief of the Japanese Staff,
  standing on his door step                                       84

  Bo-o-om! Discharge of the Japanese 11-inch mortar
  during the Grand Bombardment of October 29th.
  This gun stood a mile and a half from Port Arthur
  and is shown firing into the Two Dragon Redoubt.
  The vibration made a clear photograph impossible               112

  The Hyposcope. Lieutenant Oda looking from 203-Meter
  Hill through the hyposcope at the Russian
  fleet in the new harbor at Port Arthur                         120

  Orphans. Driven from home by shells which killed
  their father and mother, these brothers tramped
  from camp to camp selling eggs                                 148

  Human Barnacles. Clinging to the bases of the
  forts, like barnacles to a ship, these sturdy Japanese
  existed in wretched quarters throughout the summer,
  autumn and half the winter                                     160

  Ammunition for the Front                                       180

  How They Got in. Eighteen miles of these terminal
  trenches were dug through the plain before the
  Russian forts                                                  202

  The Last Word. The officer is giving last instructions
  to his men before the Grand Assault of September
  21st. This photograph was taken in the front
  Parallel, 300 yards from the Cock’s Comb Fort                  222

  Preparing for Death. A superstition holds that the
  Japanese soldier who dies dirty finds no place among
  the Shinto shades; so, before going into action, every
  soldier changes his linen, as this one is doing                241

  A map of Port Arthur. Showing the defenses and
  the direction of the Japanese attack                           281

  Home. The shack, 800 yards from the firing line,
  occupied for three months by the fighting General
  Oshima, Commander of the Ninth Division                        290

  Plunder. Showing Adjutant Hori, Secretary to General
  Oshima, standing near plunder taken from the
  captured Turban Fort                                           290

  In action. Loading a 4.7 gun of the ordinary field
  artillery during the assault of September 20th                 312

  The Osacca Babe. Loading the 11-inch coast defense
  mortar during the general bombardment of October
  29th, two miles from Port Arthur                               332



      Cloud girt among her mountains,
        Nippon, in wrath as of old,
      Unleashes her young warrior;
        Lo, the world’s champion behold!

      He comes abysmal as chaos,
        A boy with the smile of a girl,
      Tumbles his man with a handshake,
        And spits him up with a twirl.

      Nourished on rice and a dewdrop,
        He fans him to sleep with a star,
      Believing the fathers of Nippon
        Created things as they are.

      So up and across the short ocean
        He sails to the land of can’t,
      To keep up the name of his fathers
        And smash down the things that shan’t.

      Ah! What a freshet of glory
        When into the noisy fray
      Against a shaggy old giant
        Comes this youth asmile and gay!



PREFACE

THE SIEGE AT A GLANCE


The sea attack on Port Arthur began on February 9th, 1904, at noon.
The land isolation occurred on May 26th, when the Second Army,
under General Oku, took Nanshan Hill. Four grand series of Russian
defenses from Nanshan down the peninsula were then taken by the
Japanese. The capture of Taikushan on August 9th, of Shokushan
two days later, and of Takasakiyama the following day, drove the
Russians into their permanent works. The real siege of Port Arthur
began, thus, on August 12th, and continued for four months and
nineteen days.

The failure of the first grand assault, continuing seven days
from August 19th, forced Nogi and his army to go slowly about the
terrific job of digging a way into the fortress. In the following
four months there occurred six more grand assaults, the periods
between them being occupied in mining, sapping, and engineering.
What was known as the second assault was made from September 19th
to 25th; the third from October 29th to November 1st; the fourth
from November 28th to 30th; the fifth from December 4th to 9th; the
sixth from December 18th to 20th; the final assault from December
28th to 31st. The morning of January 1st, 1905, General Stoessel,
the Russian commander, asked for terms of capitulation, and the
following day these terms were submitted and ratified.

The grand strategy of the Japanese operations was simple. It
comprehended one brief design: to demonstrate on the west, where
203-Meter Hill is, while the infantry and the heavy ordnance
smashed the Russian right center, where are located the principal
Russian forts, Keekwan (Cock’s Comb), Ehrlung (Two Dragons), and
Panlung (Eternal Dragon). Four and a half months of sapping,
mining, bombarding, and hand-to-hand fighting, than which history
holds no record of more desperate contest, won the forts of the
Cock’s Comb and the Two Dragons for the Japanese. The fall of the
Two Dragons on December 31st brought Stoessel to his knees.



INTRODUCTORY

THE INVESTMENT, SIEGE, AND CAPTURE OF PORT ARTHUR


In all the long history of military exploits, there is not one
that can compare, in point of difficulties surmounted, with the
reduction of Port Arthur. That this fortress should have been taken
by assault entitles the Japanese operations to rank with the finest
work done by any army in any age; that it should have been taken in
five months from the day on which the investment was completed (the
day on which the Russians were driven into their permanent works)
is an exploit which has never been approached. For Port Arthur’s
defenses had been laid out on the most modern plan. Nature,
moreover, has cast the topographical features of the place on lines
that are admirably suited to defense. The harbor is surrounded by
two approximately concentric ranges of hills, the crests of which
are broken by a series of successive conical elevations. The
engineers took the suggestion thus offered, and ran two concentric
lines of fortification around the city, building massive masonry
forts on the highest summits, and connecting them by continuous
defensive works. The inner line of the forts lay at an average
distance of one mile from the city, and constituted the main line
of permanent defense; the outer line, at an average distance of
a mile and a half from Port Arthur. Beyond these again were the
semi-permanent defenses. The positions of the various forts were
chosen in such a relation to each other that they were mutually
supporting--that is to say, if any one were captured by the enemy,
it could not be held because it was dominated by the fire from the
neighboring forts; and, indeed, it often happened that the Japanese
seized positions from which they were driven in this way.

In the majority of cases the slope of the hills was very steep, and
what was even worse for the Japanese, smooth and free from cover;
so that if an attempt were made to rush the works, a charge would
have to be made over a broad glacis, swept by the shrapnel, machine
gun, and rifle fire of the defenders. Once across the danger zone,
the attack was confronted by the massive masonry parapets of the
fort, over which the survivors, cut down to a mere handful, would
be powerless to force an entrance.

The defense of Port Arthur, however, did not stop at the outer
line of fortifications, but extended no less than eighteen miles
to the northward, to a point where the peninsula on which Port
Arthur is situated narrows to a width of three miles. Here a range
of conical hills, not unlike some of those at Port Arthur, reaches
from sea to sea; and these had been ringed with intrenchments for
troops and masked (or hidden) emplacements for artillery. Between
Nanshan and Port Arthur the Russians had built four more lines
of intrenchments, reaching from sea to sea, all very strong and
admirably suited for defense. Now it must be borne in mind that all
this wonderful net-work of fortifications, strong by nature of the
ground, strong by virtue of the great skill and care with which it
had been built, was distinguished from all other previous defensive
works by the fact that in this fortress, for the first time, were
utilized all those terrible agencies of war which the rapid
advance of science in the past quarter of a century has rendered
available. Among these we may mention rapid-fire guns, machine
guns, smokeless powder, artillery of high velocity and great
range, high explosive shells, the magazine rifle, the telescopic
sight giving marvelous accuracy of fire, the range-finder giving
instantaneously the exact distance of the enemy, the searchlight,
the telegraph and the telephone, starlight bombs, barbed-wire
entanglements, and a dozen other inventions, all of which were
deemed sufficient, when applied to such stupendous fortifications
as those of Port Arthur, to render them absolutely impregnable.

The Russians believed them to be so--certainly the indomitable
Stoessel did. And well he might; for there was no record in history
of any race of fighters, at least in modern times, that could face
such death-dealing weapons, and not melt away so swiftly before
their fury as to be swept away in defeat.

But a new type of fighter has arisen, as the sequel was to tell.

On February 8, 1904, the first blow fell upon Port Arthur in that
famous night attack by the torpedo boats. On February 9th occurred
the engagement between the remnant of the Russian fleet and the
Japanese fleet under Admiral Togo which ended in the Russian
retreat into the harbor and the closing of Port Arthur by sea.

On May 26th the Japanese Second Army, which had been landed at
Petsewo Bay, attacked the first line of defense at Nanshan,
eighteen miles north of Port Arthur, and gave an inkling of the
mettle of the Japanese troops by capturing the position in a
frontal attack. The Japanese pushed on to Port Arthur and there
followed, in quick succession, a series of bloody struggles at the
successive lines of defense in which the Japanese would not be
denied. The fiercest fight took place at the capture of a double
height, Kenshan and Weuteughshan, which Stoessel re-attacked
vainly for three days, losing three times as many men as were lost
originally in the attempt to hold the position.

On May 29th Dalny was occupied, and became the base of the
besieging army. A railway runs from Dalny for three miles to a
junction with the main line from the north to Port Arthur.

On August 9th to 11th the outlying semi-permanent works Taikushan
and Shokushan, lying about three and one-half miles from Port
Arthur, were taken, and the Russians driven in to their permanent
positions.

The army detailed for the capture of Port Arthur was 60,000 strong;
Stoessel at the date of the battle of Nanshan probably had 35,000
men.

Encouraged by their uninterrupted success in capturing Russian
intrenchments by dashing frontal attack, the Japanese, particularly
after their brilliant success of August 9th to 11th, believed that
they could storm the main defenses in like manner. They hurled
themselves against the Russian right center in a furious attack
upon the line of forts stretching from the railway around the
easterly side of the town to the sea. For seven days they battled
furiously. But the wave of conquest that had flowed over four lines
of defense, broke utterly against the fifth; and after a continuous
struggle, carried on day and night, beneath sunlight, moon, and
searchlight, they retired completely baffled, with an awful
casualty list of 25,000 men.

On September 1st the Japanese, finding that they could not take
Port Arthur by assault, settled down to reduce it by an engineering
siege. This latter was carried on by means of “sapping and mining,”
supported by heavy bombardment, its object being to shake the
defense by terrific artillery fire, blow up the parapets and
other defenses by subterranean mines, and capture the fortress by
fierce assaults delivered from concealed trenches close to the
fortifications. Sapping and mining may be described as a method
of attack by tunneling. The Japanese found that they could not
get into the forts by a rush above ground, so they determined to
burrow in below ground. The main attack was directed against the
line of forts to the east of the city, or the Russian right center.
The first operation was to cut a deep trench, not less than six
feet in depth and a dozen or more feet in width, roughly parallel
with the line of forts, and at a distance of about 1,000 yards
therefrom. From this trench three lines of zigzag trenches were
dug in the direction of the principal forts of Ehrlung, Keekwan,
and Panlung. These trenches were about six feet deep (deep enough
to hide the sappers from view) and eight feet wide (wide enough
to allow the troops to march to the assault four abreast). The
zigzag consisted of an alternate approach and parallel, the former
extending diagonally toward the fortification, the latter parallel
with it. The angle of the diagonal approaches was always carefully
mapped out by the engineers, and was so laid with reference to
the enemy’s forts that it could neither be seen nor reached by
shell fire. The digging was done chiefly at night, and the soil
was carried back through the excavated trenches in gabions and on
stretchers, and dumped out of sight of the enemy. As the parallels
were advanced across the valley or level spaces, they were roofed
at intervals, with planks covered with soil and grass, so that as
the Russians looked out toward the ravine in which the army was
supposed to be encamped, there was nothing to indicate that the
enemy was cutting a series of covered roadways, right up to the
base of the forts themselves. Of course in many cases the trenches
were located, and desperate night sorties were made in the endeavor
to break up the work. But it went remorselessly forward. When the
foot of the fortified slopes was reached, a second great parallel,
extending around the whole face of the fortified eastern front,
was cut--this latter for the purpose of assembling the troops for
the final dash upon the forts. From this parallel the Japanese cut
tunnels straight through the hills until they found themselves
immediately below the massive parapets of such forts as they wished
to reach. Here cross tunnels were cut, parallel with the walls and
immediately below them, in which tons of dynamite were placed and
the wires laid ready for the great explosion--much of this being
done, it must be remembered, entirely unknown to the Russians,
secure in their great fortifications overhead. The work of the
sappers and miners was now complete.

It must not be supposed that while this slow work was being carried
on, the garrison at Port Arthur, or the city itself, or even the
fleet in the harbor, was being left in peace, or had any respite
from the harassments of the siege. For as soon as the investment
was complete, the Japanese erected hidden batteries in various
carefully-selected positions, until they had no less than 300
guns trained against the city. All the furious assaults that
failed so disastrously were preceded by bombardments, the like of
which had never been witnessed in the history of the world. These
batteries consisted of regular siege guns of from 5 inches to 6
inches caliber, a large number of naval guns of 4.7-inch and 6-inch
caliber, and the regular field ordnance of the three divisions and
two independent brigades composing the Third Imperial Army.

By far the most formidable pieces used in the bombardment, however,
were the powerful 11-inch mortars, which were mounted in batteries
of from two to four in various positions behind the ranges of hills
which effectually screened the Japanese from Russian observation.
The pieces are the Japanese latest type of coast-defense mortars,
such as are used along the Straits of Shimoneseki and about the Bay
of Yezo. They were brought by sea to Dalny, carried by railroad
for a distance of fifteen miles to the end of the track, and from
thence were hauled by hand over special tracks laid direct to the
emplacements. In some cases, indeed, the guns were dragged on
rollers through the sand, as many as 800 men being required to
haul a single mortar; for the mortar barrels, without the carriage,
weigh eight tons apiece. This task was accomplished under fire, in
rainy weather, and in the night, to the accompaniment of bursting
shrapnel and other discouragements which would have daunted a less
dauntless race. Even when the selected site of the batteries was
reached, every one of the eighteen mortars had to be placed upon
a concrete foundation eight feet in depth and eighteen feet in
diameter. In each case an excavation had to be dug, the concrete
prepared and rammed into place, the heavy foundation plates,
traversing racks, and the massive gun carriage, weighing much
more than the gun itself, erected and adjusted, and the whole of
the heavy and costly piece put together with the greatest nicety.
All through the long months in which the sappers and miners were
cutting their trenches, the engineers were putting in place these
huge mortars, which were not originally intended, be it remembered,
for such field operations as these; but were designed for permanent
sea-coast fortifications around the harbors of Japan.

The mortar itself has a bore of 28 centimeters, or 11 inches.
The shells are designed to burst on contact. They are loaded
with a high explosive designed by the Japanese Dr. Shimose, and
corresponding in its terrific bursting effects to the English
lyddite, the French melinite, and our own maximite. Each shell
weighs 500 pounds. Its cost is $175, and the cost of each
discharge, including that of the impelling power, is about $400.
During the heavy bombardments, each gun was fired once every eight
minutes, and as the grand bombardment lasted in every case about
four hours, the cost for these mortar batteries alone must have
been over $200,000, and for the whole of the batteries, including
naval guns, machine guns, etc., the cost of each bombardment was
approximately half a million dollars. The 11-inch mortar has a
maximum range, with a moderate degree of elevation, of seven or
eight miles; but as none of these batteries were more than three
miles distant from the point of attack, they were fired at angles
of as great as sixty degrees, the huge shells hurtling high into
the heavens, passing over two ranges of hills, and falling like
thunderbolts out of the blue sky, vertically upon the devoted city.

But if the batteries were located behind hills that entirely shut
out the object of attack from view, how, it will be asked, could
the guns be aimed with such accuracy, to sink, as they did, a whole
fleet of warships, one by one? It was in this way: For the attack
of stationary objects such as forts, docks, buildings, ships at
anchor, etc., the artillery officers were provided with a map of
the whole area of bombardment, which was laid out in squares, each
square having its own number. The Japanese having, at the close
of the Chinese war, been in possession of Port Arthur themselves,
and having possessed during the past few years an excellent bureau
of intelligence, knew the exact location of every building or
object of importance in and around the city. Consequently, when
the artillery officers were directed to attack a building in a
certain square, or a particular fort, they knew exactly what angle
of elevation to give their gun, and how far to traverse it, so as
to cause the shell to fall with mathematical accuracy upon the
particular object to be hit.

The attack upon the warships, however, was another proposition,
for they could be, and were, shifted, from time to time. To make
sure of hitting them, it was necessary to have some direct line
of vision. The Japanese knew that such a line of vision could be
obtained from the top of a hill to the west of the city known
as 203-Meter Hill--the Russians knew it, too. Hence that awful
struggle for possession of this hill, which cost so many thousands
of lives. The Japanese won the position. When they had taken it,
they placed observers provided with the hyposcope--a telescope that
enables the observer to observe the surrounding country with out
exposing himself above the surrounding parapet--upon the summit,
in suitable positions, and held the hill with sufficient force to
prevent its being retaken. The batteries were then trained at the
individual warships, and the effects of the shells was telephoned
from 203-Meter Hill to the various batteries, and the errors
corrected, according as they were long, short, or wide, until the
huge shells commenced to drop with unerring accuracy down through
the decks and out through the bottom of the doomed warships. The
ships tried to escape observation by hiding on the outside of the
harbor behind the Tiger’s Tail hills, and in a cove behind Golden
Hill; but there was no escape, and ultimately every ship of the
squadron was sunk.

That was the beginning of the end. The 11-inch batteries when
directed at the forts tore gaping holes in the parapets, and
according to the testimony of General Stoessel, they were simply
irresistible. One by one, after furious bombardments, the
walls of the great forts were blown up by the explosion of the
subterranean mines that had been laid by the sappers and miners,
and the Japanese massed in readiness for the attack in the inner
parallels swept in through the wide gaps thus formed, and seized
the fortifications, from which, a few months before, they had been
swept back in terrible and crushing defeat.



PORT ARTHUR



Chapter One

THE CITY OF SILENCE


Dalny, August 3d: Guns have blown their thunder to us distantly
all the afternoon. The sounds boom a low thud with monotonous
distinctness. Lounging on the taffrail of a small cargo steamer in
Dalny Bay they strike those of us who are innocent of war, who have
never felt the thrill, the halt and the plunge of battle as tame;
almost without interest. In a California cottage, a summer’s night,
a mile from the seashore I have listened before now to the surf
climb up and lay down upon the beach with the same heavy lust.

This sound has in it, too, something of nature’s immanence and
majesty; an elemental force of decay and a primal grandeur of
progress. Yet it is ominously deadly. The sky above is a perfect
azure, the sea below a perfect turquoise, the town beyond a haze
of tranquil ocher. We are lying among warships, but they are
silent. Beyond us a troopship is unloading a thousand conscripts
for the trenches, but they are silent. The city of Dalny is
beautiful--and silent. Silence everywhere. Then comes that
boom--silence--boom--boom--boom! The captain steps up and speaks a
few words. We begin to realize that we are listening to siege guns
pounding the life out of a doomed city. The captain waves an arm
toward a point of land to be seen faintly through a glass. Only
half a day’s walk that way and beyond--to the southeast--lies Port
Arthur.

We are ten. Yesterday there landed here eight military
observers--four British, one Spaniard, one German, one Chilean and
one American. These eighteen have been assigned by the Japanese
Government to the army now operating against Port Arthur. The
eighteen are the only Occidentals who will see the siege.

[Illustration: WAR CORRESPONDENTS

Richard Barry and Frederic Villiers. Mr. Villiers (in
knickerbockers) the veteran of seventeen campaigns, was Dean of the
War Correspondents before Port Arthur.]

Four days ago we left Moji in a transport steamer, the _Oyomaru_.
The ship’s name tells of the trip--“The prosperous ocean
ship.” We might have come across a millpond so placid was our
journey. Yesterday afternoon we sighted a line of sand piles and
verdure-covered rocks rising out of the ocean. We were about to
steam past when a flash of sunlight, like a gay salute from a boy’s
pocket mirror, struck our bow. It was the heliograph. The _Oyomaru_
put to port and slid in under the lee of the islands. As we came up
an old gray battleship veered on her anchor to give us room and as
we turned her bows we floated in among the fleet, dragging at its
chains, steam up, waiting to dash at the word to Port Arthur, four
miles away.

We were at the Elliot Islands, inhabited by fisher folk and seized
by the Japanese for a naval base. Around us lay the silence of
death, though twenty men-of-war were within gun shot. Only the
spiral upshoot of smoke from fifty stacks and the heave and push
of tide-driven fighting craft gave evidence of the tensity we were
in. From the highest hill a thin shaft, like a straw in the wind,
cut against the sunset. There lay the wireless-telegraph station
to which are flashed signals from the torpedo craft and cruisers
guarding the mouth of Port Arthur.

At dawn we left the fleet, silent, with that lazy curl of smoke
uplifting its ragged fringe. On for five hours we came at ten knots
until we rounded a cape and turned into Talienwan Bay. In the
farther curve, as a pebble in a sling, lay Dalny.

“It looks like Greece; the Piraeus with Marathon in the distance,”
said Frederic Villiers. I thought of another place; San Diego Bay
with Point Loma curving a crescent out of the Pacific.

The Russians came here to stay; that is plain. We can see miles of
brick buildings, some five stories high. The great brick chimney
of an electric light plant towers above the city. The public
buildings, hospitals, schools and railroad station are as fine as
those of Los Angeles. Costly villas with spacious grounds, coolie
covered, stretch back under the hillsides. A zoological garden of
several dozen acres can be seen off at the left. There are miles
of new wharves cemented and built with stone. Two piers strike out
four hundred yards into the harbor, locked down by solid masonry.
A breakwater half a mile long stretches at our stern.

Ten years ago could the Romanoff seated in the Winter Palace at
Petersburg, placing a finger on the map of western Asia, as he
said: “Let there be a Russian city here;”--could he possibly have
foreseen to-day?--the Russians gone, half of the magnificent
city burned, the safe and beautiful harbor filled with Japanese
transports and men-of-war, the railway held for a Japanese line of
advance and Russian prestige on the Manchurian littoral smashed
like a rotten egg!

This afternoon we have found how desperate the silence is. For mere
movement after three days on shipboard and five months solitary
confinement in Tokyo we asked to launch the ship’s boat and row
about the harbor. The captain assented. Eight of us got in and
started off among the transports. Next to us was a hospital ship
painted white with a green stripe running across her middle like
an abdominal bandage round an invalid. “Looks as enticing as a
cocktail before dinner,” said one of the boys. It did have a cool
glance that must be grateful to a wounded man just in from the
battlefield. We but turned her bows when we ran into a warship--a
gunboat of the third class. She was in black, with red stripes
about her portholes and stanchions. The gun carriages were outlined
in red--stuff put on to keep off rust. Just beyond the gunboat lay
a torpedo destroyer--the most devilish craft that floats--long,
thin, low, with four thick funnels above engines like a bull’s
lungs.

As we passed the gunboat a bugle piped “to quarters” and several
officers turned their glasses on us. But on we went, gay with
the freedom of the lark, and stretching our ship-bound muscles
against the buffeting of the choppy sea. Yonder lay the torpedo
boats and brother destroyers and beyond an armored cruiser of the
second class. The cruiser piped “to quarters” and more glasses were
leveled on us.

About this time the coxswain turned her nose to the _Oyomaru_, but
before we got there the ship’s sampan glided alongside, the mate in
her alive, jabbering Nipponese and gesticulating toward the ship.
We hurried back.

As we climbed on board Villiers yelled: “You’ve spoiled it now.
You’ll never see Port Arthur.”

Then we found we had created a sensation--this strange boat manned
by eight foreigners, appearing in broad afternoon in the harbor
of the nearest naval base to the scene of the fleet’s activities.
Two warships had prepared to fire on us at word of command and
signaling from the fleet to the shore had only found that it was
“supposed” we were “neutral allies,” but that officially we could
not be recognized. The captain was reprimanded and we were told to
keep close to the ship until released. Tokyo had said nothing of us
to Dalny. To-morrow we will be released. But we will not again go
about the harbor. We will go on shore. We will have ears and eyes,
but no legs or tongues.



Chapter Two

THE INVISIBLE ARMY


Ho-o-zan, (the Phœnix Mountain) three miles from and looking into
Port Arthur, Sept. 14th: Here we are with the Third Imperial Army
waiting for Russia’s downfall in the Far East. With her fleet gone,
Russia’s sea power has vanished. With Kuropatkin smashed it will be
another year before she can have a great army in the field. So now
there remains only impregnable Port Arthur to say that Russia but
eight months ago held all Manchuria.

Ten of us are privileged to follow the fortunes of the army of
investment. We alone of eighty-four war correspondents who entered
the field are here to record the details of a siege that promises
to go down in history with Plevna and Sebastopol. At the present
time I may tell you only of how the army lives and works, and what
sensations engulf one in the midst of this elemental contest at
the apex of a world, where two civilizations are in life and death
throes.

Impregnable is the word for the line of forts confronting us.
Military authorities innumerable have predicted it would never
be taken from a white soldiery, although Japan ten years ago did
take it, in a single day of fierce assault, from the weakly armed
and poorly trained Chinese. But through seven years Russia has
been preparing for what she faces to-day--a great army of veteran
troops from a warlike nation, equipped for scientific fighting and
officered by men trained in the best schools in the world. She has
repaired and rebuilt the old Chinese Wall till it lies across the
back of the city, from sea to sea, a buttress of protection and
menace, plentifully loopholed for rifles and hung at intervals,
like huge fobs on a gigantic chain, with forts. Every natural
elevation is commanded by a battery, and every weak depression
built up for similar defense. Six miles from sea to sea, convex
into the valley, and cutting off the apex of the Liaotung peninsula
as a conical cake might be cut by a spoon, lies this bristling
line. Looking at it, and what confronts it from above, this
appears as grand a battlefield as the mind can conceive.

The mere names of some of the forts bring gleams of the situation.
To our right, in the center, lie Anzushan and Etzeshan, the Chair
and Table Mountains. Some giant might hang his legs over Anzushan
and sup from Etzeshan, but were he built in proportion he would
be nearly two thousand feet high, for they rise from the valley
precipitously half that distance. It was here, the key to the
center, that the Japanese pierced the line ten years ago, but
they have tried no such move this time; a different foe confronts
them now. Far beyond the Chair and Table Mountains, the key to
the outer, we see Golden Mount, the key to the inner defenses, at
once a sea and land fort. It shines glorious and confident in the
sunlight, the model of a conventionally built fortification, rising
square and solid from the hills, buttressed with sod and sand bags
and parapeted on a bevel.

After all the outer seventeen forts have fallen and after that
terrible Chinese Wall has been pierced, there still remains Golden
Mount, the Tiger’s Tail and Liaotishan. Just below Golden Mount,
to be seen only from a certain angle in the valley in front of
us, lie the shattered remnant of the Russian fleet--three gray
old battleships, four tarnished cruisers and a half dozen torpedo
boats, smashed and done by Togo’s fleet, whose smoke curls
irregularly over the sky line as it tugs warily there on perpetual
watch, a watch uninterrupted for seven months, in which the
monotony has been varied by three great naval battles.

To the right of Golden Mount and still below it lies the new town
of Port Arthur built by the Russians. Hid behind a hill is the old
town of frame houses. There is not a living thing to be seen on the
streets, lying in plain view through a strong glass, as though in
miniature on the palm of your hand. It is unharmed and spotless,
seemingly in fresh paint. Four sticks piercing the sky line tell
of the wireless telegraph station. To the right a huge crane can
be seen sticking up to indicate the dock yards and a patch of
blue, landlocked water, the west harbor. Nearest us the arsenal
and railroad shops are plain. Then comes the railroad mockingly
deserted in the sunlight. Then a high embankment shuts the view,
but we know that under the embankment nestles a series of barracks.
Far out on the plain, between the two armies, and between us on
the mountain and the Russian forts, two miles off, a lone factory
chimney up-slants to the blue; though bursting shells have been
thick about there it is unharmed, and, so far as we can see, Port
Arthur is unharmed. So far the Japanese have not shelled it at all.
But we are told the navy has wrecked the Russian quarter. The army
scorns to destroy the city which now lies at the mercy of its siege
guns, just as it scorns to starve out the beleaguered garrison. It
is a civilized game the Japanese are playing, one of strategy and
force.

Far down in the plain called the Mariner’s, or the Shuishiying
Valley, a little to the left and back of the lone chimney, is a
great fort known as the Two Dragons, a most difficult place to take
because of its long approaches. It is the advance guard of the
Russian line; only eight hundred yards from the Japanese trenches.
Far out to the right, resting on the northern arm of Pigeon Bay,
is a bald-headed peak some eight hundred feet high. This is
Liaotishan, the extreme left of the Russian position. Behind the
town are great peaks, the highest hereabouts, and on them, in the
early morning, four brass cannons can be seen glittering. They are
thought to be dummy cannon, for they have not yet spoken.

To the left of the town, with its Golden Mount, begin the really
great forts, scenes of carnage destined for history’s brightest
page, and about which have taken place the battles I am about
to describe. The Eternal Dragon and the three batteries of the
Cock’s Comb are the essential. Far behind this Eternal Dragon and
the wall, a few hundred yards from the sea, is a wooded driveway,
leading to a mountain called Wangtai, or “the watch tower.” Up
this, of an afternoon, a carriage can sometimes be seen drawn by
white horses. Prisoners tell us it is General Stoessel’s carriage
and that he thus goes to his headquarters. Why is he not fired
upon? Because he is out of close rifle range and the Japanese never
waste a shell on a single man or on even a group.

Occasionally we can see men moving a heavy gun about, or walking in
squads through the town. The Japanese wait to concentrate their
fire; they never harass the enemy. On the contrary, the Russians,
now when they should hoard every shell, waste hundreds each day.
They will fling a six-inch screamer at a mule or an umbrella, and
no part of the Japanese rear is safe, though distances are so great
that the chances of being hit are one in a thousand.

[Illustration: OFF FOR PORT ARTHUR

A reserve regiment leaving Dalny for the firing line eighteen miles
away.]

All is quiet except that now and then a Russian shell whizzes.
The sound can no longer be called the “boom of cannon,” so savage
and rending is the detonation of these mighty modern charges. To
hear one explode even half a mile off sets every fiber of the
body in action, so angry is the report. Infantry popping can be
heard, oftenest in the night, as the outposts come together, or the
sentries chaff each other by showing dummy heads or arms. But over
beyond that ragged line we know that twenty thousand men, driven
into a corner--and what a corner it is!--are fighting like rats
in a hole, that they are of the same blood that defeated Napoleon
when on the defense a century ago, the same that half a century
ago stubbornly contested Sebastopol, the same that a quarter of
a century ago, at appalling loss of life, reduced the marvelous
Plevna. They sit thus hunted, at bay, well ammunitioned and
provisioned, determined to sell every ounce of blood dearly.

To take Port Arthur seems impossible. It takes men drunk with
victory and strong in ancient might to dare the task. It is only
looking at what the Japanese have already taken that makes one have
faith in their ability to do what they are now trying; otherwise,
looking across at that six-mile line, one would say as he might
have said of the ridges lying behind us: human energy and prowess
cannot force them; only madmen would attempt it. But the Japanese
have already forced at least five positions, seemingly as difficult
as Port Arthur. First, they took Nanshan, which was even worse than
this, for the approaches were gradual for two miles, while here
precipitous heights and deep ravines give shelter. Nanshan the
Japanese took in a single desperate day; Kenzan, where they had to
climb hand over hand, they scaled in a night; Witozan, where they
broke in over parapets built on rocks seven hundred feet above the
sea, they reduced at high noon; Anshirey, where the road climbs
up a spiral for a mile, and is raked at every yard, they enfiladed
and took in two days; and Taikushan, a saddle of malachite and
granite straddling the main road to Port Arthur, they shelled out
in thirty-six hours. Thus it is we have faith that some morning the
world will wake to hear that the Rising Sun flies over Port Arthur,
which the military experts of the Powers have declared impregnable.

Bitter as the contest is, war has not touched the bowels of the
land. Looking into the plain behind me I can see a score of busy
and peaceful villages serene in a sea of golden harvest. Maize and
buckwheat, beans and millet, cabbage and barley alternate green
and russet over the meadows. Springless bullock carts, ancient as
Jerusalem, helped by tiny donkeys and naked children, painfully
garner the grain. Women sing in low monotones at the primitive
stone mills where blindfolded donkeys travel all day in a circle,
grinding out the seed and flour. Lines of coolies wend through
the footpaths, spring-kneed with huge weights on limber poles.
Shells at the rate of four or five an hour drop into this great
area, separated from the field of battle by a range of mountains,
plowing up a hill, shattering a house, tearing a road, killing a
donkey, wounding a coolie, but of no great damage. No one minds.
The harvest goes on. The glorious, golden September continues. The
women sing, the naked children play, the tiny donkeys labor.

It is the plain in front, under the Cock’s Comb and the Golden
Mount, guarded by the Two Dragons that has desolate quiet. There
the maize is untouched and the heavy heads of the millet fall from
sheer weight, while the cabbages are crushed by infantry passing in
the night. Fires have blackened the villages, the Manchurians have
fled, and in ragged lines from sea to sea the two armies hold their
hostile trenches, from which, through the twenty-four hours, goes
up the intermittent ping and pop of rifle bullets.

What of the army? You cannot see it; much less can you hear it. An
army of a hundred thousand men is here, around us, among us, but
we do not know it, we can hardly guess it. Little would one think,
were it not for the firing, that so much as a company were idling
along that plain. A machine gun rattles, a low, deep boom comes
from the sea; the forts reply, a flash streaks the air, we see a
puff of smoke, then a cloud of earth is thrown up; finally, after
a long while, as we are about to turn away, the angry shriek of a
shell comes over and we hear it burst a thousand yards below in
the valley. Only our ears tell us that war is on. The Japanese are
as invisible as the Russians. It will take days and weeks to spy
out the labyrinthine ways of this great army as it toils among the
hills, into the valley and up the ravines, mounting its guns, and
digging its way up to the parapets, where its units will cling,
like barnacles to a ship, until the monstrous hulk founders.

But getting down into the rear plain, traveling the road, taking
a different one each day, passing among the villages and through
the hills, one begins to realize that the country is honeycombed
by grim activity. Back and forth, from the front to Cho-ray-che, a
railroad station halfway from Port Arthur to Dalny, travel lines of
transport. Each line has from one to five dozen light wagons drawn
by single small shaggy horses, each guided by a small dust-visaged
soldier.

“There is the strength of our army,” said an officer to me one
day as a company of them passed, grimed, heated, menial. They are
the flower of Japanese youth, clerks, professional men, students,
exiled on rice and pickled plums, getting none of the glory of war.
They are the unnamed and unknown but all-powerful commissary.

As the transport passes in, loaded with bags of rice, there comes
out another line, this time of coolies, paired, and well burdened
with human freight. They are bearing the wounded, in bamboo
stretchers that do not jolt the piteously shattered frames, to
the railroad station, whence they go by train to Dalny, thence by
hospital ship to Japan. Every day comes this dribble of wounded,
some days only a score, but after a battle the ways are thick with
them--hundreds, thousands.

Occasionally, but very seldom, a battalion or a regiment of
infantry will be seen moving in, with compact lines, knapsacks on
back, bearing rifles with the barrel holes brass covered. The
other night over by the western sea I suddenly came upon a troop
of cavalry racing along the sands in the sunset. They rode their
horses well, considering that the Japanese is not a horseman. Each
had an extra mount. They frolicked like plainsmen till the coves
rang. I had not seen so much gayety before in all the Japanese
army. But what can cavalry do at a siege?

For the sublime we need not go to the firing line where men risk
their lives and lose them. At the front of our mountain lies a deep
rutted road, at the end of which, hid well among the hills, is
the hole for a concrete gun-emplacement, redoubted with sandbags,
the glacis slippery with shale. Along this road as the sun sinks
we see what looks like a gigantic snake, its tail pulling an ugly
head slowly backward, its dust-covered belly squirming laboriously.
Descending we find a cable thick as a man’s thigh stretched between
two long lines of men, each of whom has hold and is pulling
that ugly head--a siege gun--nose and breech clap-boarded, and
wallowing, without its carriage, on wooden rollers. We count the
men--300. Men alone can do the work, for they alone can move in
unison, quietly, at the word of command. There is no noise. The
commands cannot be heard five hundred yards away. The three hundred
bend their backs as one and the Pride of Osacca bunts her nose
through the dust a rod nearer emplacement. They toil there a week
to get that monster into position, pygmies moving a power that
will rend the mountains, as tradition has it that Hendrick Hudson
and his crew moved the ships’ cannon into the Catskills for the
eternal generation of Knickerbocker thunder. To look upon that gun,
helpless but disputatious in the hands of the three hundred, to
realize that a week hence its bulk, into which one of these naked
Manchurian children can easily creep, will toss five hundred weight
of shell five miles through the air into one of those Russian forts
where it will shatter the skill, labor, and life of an Empire--ah,
that is sublime! Is it not also terrible?

The same scientific skill with which the gun is handled is seen
throughout the army. Even after a battle, in the disorder of
regiments, the search for the wounded, the burial of the dead,
there is no confusion. All moves quietly and quickly. No officer
swears, for the simple reason that the Japanese language hasn’t
the words. Only the interpreters, who know English, swear. They,
however, can be excused; they handle the correspondents, to whom
they can’t speak, as the soldiers do to the Russians, with lead.
You read of “the confusion and bustle of an army” and “the terrors
of war.” There is no confusion, no terror here. No shrieks, no
shouts, no hurrying. Once, as a regiment, after losing half its
men, scaled the top parapet of one of those lower forts across the
way, it gave out three rapid “Banzais.” Just that triple cry in the
early dawn, from troops drunk with victory and mad with fatigue,
is about the only evidence I have that the army possesses nerves.
It rings in my ears yet and will always ring there--a wild shriek
of samurai exultation floating out of the mist of the valley above
the voice of rifle and cannon. “The officers lost control for a
few minutes, but not for long,” explained a certain general to me
later, apologetically. He didn’t countenance such enthusiasm. War
is business here--the most superb game of chess ever played upon
the chequered board of the world.

One thing that relieves the situation of much of the evident hurry
that once made war picturesque is the absence of the orderly. The
mounted officer, riding for life, dispatch in breast-pocket or
saddle bag, from the general to his brigadiers and his colonels,
is food for reminiscence. The telephone rang his knell. This
is the first time in history that the field telephone has come
successfully into extensive active use. General Nogi can sit in
his headquarters, four miles from Port Arthur, and speak with
every battery and every regiment lying within sight of the doomed
forts. Little bands of uniformed men, carrying bamboo poles and
light wire frames on transport carts, and armed with saws and
shovels, have intersected the peninsula with lines of instantaneous
communication. It is the twentieth century. Yet, as I walked over
the hills near the headquarters of the commander of artillery
yesterday, I saw, hanging from one of the bamboo poles and all
along a wire leading from it to the artillery commander’s tent,
strips of white cotton cloth called “goheis.” You can see the same
before all the Shinto shrines in Japan. They are offerings of
supplication to the spirits of the fathers. Some simple linesman,
garbed in khaki and wearing an electric belt, not content with
telephonic training, would thus guard his general. “Oh, ye who
have watched over Japan, in peril and in safety, from the age of
Jimmu, even to the present day,” he cries, “now, in a foreign land,
faithfully guard this, our talisman and signal!”

I have said there are no sounds in the Japanese army. But there
are--a few. At night, from far back on the rear plain, comes
the monosyllabic sound of singing, several companies in unison,
interspersed with light laughter--nothing hilarious, nothing loud,
only an overflow of happy spirit into the night--never in the
daytime, always at night. The song is a long one by Fukishima, a
Major-General now in the north with Marshal Oyama, with a refrain:
“Nippon Caarte, Nippon Caarte; Rosen Marke-te.” (Russia defeated
is, Japan victorious.) The laughter comes from the game they play,
something like our fox and geese, an innocent sport with nothing
rough about it. Of late the Osacca band has been here, playing
for the generals at luncheon and for the convalescents in the
field hospitals, but very quiet music--The Geisha, some Misereres,
waltzes from Wang, and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s tunes. They avoid
the military, the dramatic, and the inspiriting. The music is
taken to soothe, just as their surgeons use opium when necessary.
How different from the Russian, of whom each regiment has a band
busy every day with the pomp and circumstance of conflict! One
day, a week before we came here, the Russians made a sortie into
the plain, parading for several hundred yards in front of the Two
Dragons. That was before the lines were as closely drawn as they
are now and the Japanese looked with amusement on the show-off.
At the head marched two bands, brassing a brilliant march. Then
came the colors flashing in the sun. The officers were dashingly
decorated, and the troops wore colored caps. It was a rare treat
for the Japanese, for they had never seen anything such as that in
their own army. Like a boy bewildered at the gay plumage of a bird
he might not otherwise catch, the simple and curious Japanese let
the foe vaingloriously march back into the town. So here they sit,
playing children’s games, to the chamber music of women, as gentle
as girls--but you should see them fight!

The transport camps are sheltered by mountains so high and steep
that Russian shells cannot be fired at an angle to drop in behind
them. Through one of these nooks I came one morning, unable to
find the main road, and pushed among the horses. As I emerged at
the farther end a soldier rushed at me with a bayonet and slashed
at my legs. The bayonet was sheathed and I had a stout stick, so
no damage was done. I soon explained who I was. He sullenly let me
pass and his comrades began chaffing him. Some officers across the
ravine also laughed. I thought they were laughing at me. Almost any
human nature laughs at the foreigner. That was the first evidence
of violence and the first evidence of rudeness I had seen in the
Japanese soldier. I passed the day off in the regiment and, as
night fell, came back through the horses, where I went without
comment. Round a corner, out of sight of the camp I suddenly came
upon the same soldier apparently waiting to see me. I grasped
my stick tightly, but he was weaponless, and advanced smiling,
cigarette box in hand. He wanted to apologize and be friends. His
comrades had been laughing at him, not at me, and had taunted
him till he felt so ashamed of himself that unless I smoked with
him and returned for some tea he would never stand right with
them again. We had the tea and the whole mess joined in. That was
a private soldier--a hostler. The courtesy of the officers is
embarrassing, it is so continuous and exacting. Everywhere, from
general to private, it is real and delightful, especially toward
an American. I have heard many say that it is only a crust, that
underneath the Japanese is a devil and a dastard. But a very nice
crust. Let us enjoy it; as to the pie underneath, let the Russians
testify.

For the essence of courtesy and thoughtfulness there is General
Nogi. James Ricalton and I went to call on him two days ago. He
spent half an hour with us at his headquarters in the village of
Luchufong, which is Chinese for Willow Tree Apartment. It is one of
the prettiest villages in the great plain, on the edge of a brook,
fringing the zone of fire. Everything shows seclusion and quiet,
though there is located the brain that directs these gigantic
operations, the girth of which Nogi alone comprehends. “Do you
understand the situation?” I asked weeks ago of Frederic Villiers,
the veteran English war artist, survivor of seventeen campaigns,
present ten years ago at the other fall of Port Arthur, and dean of
the war correspondents.

“No,” said he, “I was at Plevna with the Russians, but that
was jackstraws to this game of go. I know nothing of go. Ask
the military attachés.” In turn I asked the different military
attachés--the German, French, English, Chilean, Spanish, Swedish,
and finally the young lieutenant here for the United States. They
all understood all about Port Arthur, but the trouble was, no two
knew it the same. So I went back to Villiers. “Nogi is the only man
that knows,” said he; “Nogi alone can tell you how the batteries
are placed, how the divisions and regiments are to be deployed
and played, what forts are the keys, what Russian batteries the
weakest, the reserve force, the commissary and hospital supplies.”

So, naturally, coming to meet such a man we must have some awe,
some curiosity and some respect for the master strategist,
commander of the army which drove the Russians down the peninsula
and which holds it now in a death trap. We expected to meet a man
of iron, for Nogi is the General whose eldest son, a lieutenant in
the Second Army, was killed at Nanshan; who has under his command
a second son, a lieutenant, and who wrote home after the first
disaster: “Hold the funeral rites until Hoten and I return, when
you can bury three at once.”

The General received us in his garden. He was at a small table,
under a willow, working with a magnifying glass over a map. He wore
an undress blue uniform with the three stars and three stripes of
a full general on the sleeve--no other decoration, though once
before I had seen him wearing the first class order of the Rising
Sun. His parchment-crinkled face, brown like chocolate with a
summer’s torrid suns, beamed kindly on us. His smile and manner
were fatherly. It was impossible to think that any complicated
problem troubled his mind. A resemblance in facial contour to
General Sherman arrested us. Lying near, in his hammock, was a
French novel. He reads both French and English, but does not trust
himself to speak in either. Miki Yamaguchi, Professor of languages
in the Nobles School, Tokyo, for seven years resident in America,
and graduate of the Wabash college, was the interpreter.

“Look after your bodies,” the General said after greeting us. “I
was out to the firing line the other day and came back with a touch
of dysentery, so take warning. I do not want any of you to be sick.
At the first sign of danger consult our surgeons. We have good
surgeons.”

“We are of little account, General,” said Ricalton, “but it is a
very serious thing for a man on whom the world’s eyes are centered
to have dysentery.”

The General smiled. “I am quite well now,” he said; “but how old
are you?” he asked, looking at Ricalton’s gray hairs. They compared
ages. Ricalton proved to be three years the older.

[Illustration: _From Stereograph, Copyright 1904, by Underwood &
Underwood, New York_

GENERAL BARON NOGI

The photograph shows the Commander of the Third Imperial Japanese
Army studying the defenses of Port Arthur in his garden in the
Willow Tree Village, Manchuria]

“The command of the army, then, belongs to me,” said Ricalton. “I’m
your senior.”

“Ah,” said the General, “but then I should have to do your work
and I fear I could not do it as well as you do.”

That night a huge hamper came to Ricalton’s tent in charge of the
headquarters orderly. It contained three huge bunches of Malaga
grapes, half a dozen Bartlett pears, a peck of fine snow apples,
and bore a card reading: “The General sends his compliments to his
senior in command.”

“He is a great man,” said Ricalton, “who can so notice, in the
midst of colossal labors, a passing old photographer.”

But, as Nogi goes, so go the other generals, and so goes the
army. Villiers and I went yesterday to call on a certain
Lieutenant-General who commands the most important third of the
forces. His division has borne the brunt of the fighting, and
he doesn’t live as Nogi does, on the edge of the zone of fire,
but close under the guns within a mile of the Russian forts, so
close that in his lookout two of his staff officers were recently
killed. His home is a dugout in the side of a mountain. It is large
enough for him to lie down in and turn over. He had a heavy white
blanket, a rubber pillow to be inflated with lung power, a fan,
an officer’s trunk that carries sixty pounds, and a small lantern
of oiled silk--this was his furniture, his complete outfit. On a
peg hung his sword, and outside, on the ground, lay his boots. Some
member of his staff had fixed up an iron bedstead and a water bowl,
but they were lying off at the side of the dugout, untouched. He
came to meet us in a thin pair of rubber slippers, his uniform a
bit worn, the string on his breast, where the order of the Rising
Sun is usually worn, barren, his eyes kindly, his manner fatherly
and his hospitality generous; he spread a lunch bountiful as Nogi’s.

“I know the Russians,” said Villiers that night. “I was with them
all through the Russo-Turkish War. I remember Skoboleff, their
great cavalry leader, a magnificent type of man, a soldier to the
ground, but fiery, emotional, vivacious, vain, fond of orders,
jewels, wine and women, looking on war as a lark, dashing and
brilliant, the scourge of Europe! He was not this type of man--a
scientific chap, sober, full of business to the chin, no lugs to
him, and as unemotional as a fish. Kuropatkin was Skoboleff’s
Chief of Staff and you see what these fellows have done with him.
The day of cynical dash and reckless valor has gone by in war, my
boy. We are living in an age of modesty and gentleness, of science
and concentration; Japan is the master.”

We lay under the searchlights, which were turning the night valley
into a noontide halo, as Villiers spoke. Every light came from
the Russian side, which lay wary and restless beyond us. From the
Japanese side came no light, no sound. All was secrecy and silence.
Yet we knew those hills were alive with toiling brown figures,
that a ten-mile line of rifle pits was guarded at every rod by a
sleepless soldier watching for the Rising Sun and that the tents
of those Generals blinked unceasingly with the steady glow of the
oiled silk lanterns, quivering cabalistically with ideographs.

As I looked upon swaying and heavy searchlights, I could think only
of the Indian cobra and his mortal enemy, the mongoose. Silently,
rolled in a ball, alert for a fatal spring, the little mongoose
watches, and the hooded cobra swings ponderously, more nervous
with each move. All other enemies he can crush; none other he
fears; his body is murderous, his fangs deadly, his stealthy glide
noiseless and sure. How well he knows his power! Despot of the
jungle, why should he fear? And yet, since the world dawned his
tribe has done well to avoid the mongoose.

Steadily swings the cobra; viciously he lunges. Now look! In the
folds of the cobra’s neck those incisive teeth, those death-dealing
claws! With the fury of whirlwinds lashes the cobra. With eternal
calm cling the teeth and claws. Hour after hour goes the unequal
struggle. The huge coils relax, the great head falls. Then the
beady eyes twinkle. The mongoose slips off in the darkness; prone
lies the cobra. Who sheds tears?



Chapter Three

TWO PICTURES OF WAR--A GLANCE BACK


Tokyo, June 1st:--Who pays for the war? Here are a few telling
one another that they are the bankers. It is at a Sunday concert
in the fifth city of the world, a wilderness of sheds flimsy over
two million human beings. In the midst rise vast acres of country
solitude and rest. A tangle of cryptomeria and fir shade puzzled
paths winding through furse of elderberry and hawthorn. Haze and
vista spread away past hills and forests, past hothouses and
lawns of firm packed earth. A lake dimples a vale, as a smile the
cheek of a lovely woman, and its pebbly bed reflects the laughter
of the sun. About it fluttering flags, new and gay, festoon the
sentiment of all nations, one--Russia--excepted. Thousands, tens of
thousands, dot the paths, are merry with the lake, instill from the
greenery a quiet joy. Hundreds of voices, atune with instruments,
filter the fragrant air with music. Beyond the fence is squalor so
dense three sen a month pays for a dwelling; here is leisure so
luxurious the senses float in dreams. In a corner a moldy Diabutsu,
the calm of Nirvana on his face, nods on a leaf of lotus; “out of
the slime itself spotless the lotus grows.”

Tokyo is beautiful--brunette and beautiful. This first day of June
she has risen past the cherry blossom, past the wistaria, through
the freshness of spring to the full radiance of summer. Pink, like
the fleece of clouds in the sky, and heliotrope, like the first
flush of sunrise, are past. Now green, rich and deep from a soil of
winnowed sustenance, mantles her in Oriental splendor--a splendor
simple and elegant with the wealth of the east, shadowy and sunny
with the blow of Japan. It folds her about with the assuring clasp
of a lover, and she responds with the shy, voluptuous acceptance of
a maid o’erwon.

This is a summer of content, a dream of gayety, of insouciance.
A million babies gurgle with the baby glory of it. A million
mothers coo and coddle at the eternal freshness of it. But here,
to-day, in this wilderness of terraced garden, in this bouquet of
smiling East, have assembled the daintiest mothers in the land--the
peeresses. The son of one is a major-general. Others have captains,
colonels, aides-de-camp to tug their heartstrings with fear, to
inflate their pulses with pride. Have we not penetrated to the very
viscera of war’s nature when we find the mothers of its heroes thus
assembled?

One of these mothers, a Princess, passes. Should she buy that
delicate lace and lingerie, so charming with all that’s feminine,
from boxes labeled and graded, she would choose misses’ sizes,
so tiny is she. A toy of a woman, demure and pretty; yet put
up by the finest of Parisian makers. The dotted mulle of her
veil sweeps slightly away, scallop-like, from a face thin with
aristocratic aquilinity. Behind that face, with wax complexion and
eyes of bead-like purity, scintillates a mind bred on intellectual
fashions. She speaks with the cultured English of Vassar. She knows
Omar Khayyam as well as any. The major-general is her son. Beside
her walks another son, his gold-rimmed spectacles completing a
fine picture of esthetic pride. His silk tie is the envy of every
Japanese not bred abroad, for his clothes are from Piccadilly.
The garden is full of these and such as these. They are giving a
concert for the relief fund.

The music! It is the choicest that the sensuous imagination of
man has built out of rules and dreams. “William Tell” thunders
its diapason from the hid footholds of the earth. The audacious
march of Leroul spits out its song of triumph. “America” murmurs a
swelling hymn. A Weber overture sparkles, ascends, leaping crags,
whirling diaphanous gayety through cloud and shadow.

Then a Japanese aria, weird with the rapt genius of the land,
molten with Malay poise, floats a mystery of ancient longing
through the broad day’s haze. It weaves through fir and
cryptomeria, assaults the hearts of thousands, and, triumphant,
storms the heavens; is lost in the faint sky, a sky blue with the
dreaminess Whistler would have etched in immortal phantasy.

The Relief Fund gets fifty sen apiece from these peeresses with
Piccadilly sons, brothered by major-generals. And all other manner
of folk, down to the little sister, carrying on her back a future
soldier of the emperor, daughter of a rice cleaner in a three-sen
dwelling beyond the gate, thus while the pleasant hours away.

On the heights of Tokyo they are paying for the war.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here are the heights of Nanshan on the 27th of May. It is 5.20
o’clock in the morning and seas of sunlight are hid in a fog across
Korea Bay. The fog lifts, and as the day bursts in along the
whole line the banner of the Rising Sun is planted on the Russian
ramparts of Kinchow. Since midnight the artillery of the third
division has been hammering from the right, off toward Talienwan.
At intervals the infantry of the first and fourth divisions charge
from the front whence they have been advancing for two days. It
is the second army of 60,000 Japanese and the investment of Port
Arthur has begun. The railway has long been cut. Now Kinchow is
taken and the Russians are helter-skelter Dalnyward.

Here, then, is the theater, scene of such sublime assault and
conquest as the eye of history has not looked upon since Grant
stood on Orchard Knob and watched his thin blue line scale
Missionary Ridge; the hill of Nanshan, key to the advance on
Port Arthur. Turned in its lock Nanshan confronts the Japanese,
impregnable, ghastly grim in the fresh sunlight. We may well
pause to inspect the position. It rises, formidable, the height
of a church steeple, from a narrow plain. The edges of this
plain dip sheer down a hundred feet of slippery rock to the two
bays--Talienwan and Kinchow. From bay to bay is scarce three miles.
From Nanshan we may see, through a glass, the bay of Kinchow.
Riding on it are four of the enemy’s gunboats. Their shells are
flying over our heads. They have not yet found the range. To the
left in Talienwan, a Russian gunboat, guarding four transports, is
enfilading the third Japanese Division and supporting a regiment
of its own men flanking the base of the hill. The hill has been
cleared of underbrush and terraced, divided into four intervals
and on these intervals trenches built. One hundred and ten cannon
are there manned. At the bottom are barbed-wire fences, Spanish
trocha, not like the fences of a cow pasture, but dovetailed and
doubled so that if a man breaks through one he stumbles into the
oblique, bloody arms of another.

This the Japanese are to assault before noon. There is no timber,
only a few bushes and rock the size of a bull’s head, hard things
to wade through, but no defense. They must cross the open plain,
500 yards, in full range of those one hundred and ten cannon,
smash the barbed wire, climb the terraced plateaus where they will
be picked off like rabbits in a shooting gallery, assault the
trenches and finally take the heights. To take one trench seems
heroic achievement, four an impossibility. Impossible but for
one thing--orders. The navy was ordered at the outset of the war
“to exterminate” the Russian fleet, this Second Army went out to
“take Port Arthur.” And they obey orders--these Japanese. So why
contemplate that to attempt that Hill of Nanshan is folly, to take
it madness?

The Russians wait. All is silence--the awed hush preceding carnage,
terror, death. Waiting they sing, not light tunes heard so bright
and gay on the heights of Tokyo to-day; chansons of France,
Italy’s peerless compositions, America’s solemn new-born hymn or
Japan’s flute note weird and penetrating. From deep bass throats
and barytones majestic rolls organ music of fierce, wild grandeur,
as through some vast forest aisle the harmonies of winds and
woods and waves unite in mighty pæans, celebrating to the august
fastnesses glories yet fresh to man. Schools, traditions, customs
civilized have not touched the fiber of that central gauntness,
shining up through the spirit of the singers, like dreamland on a
tragedian’s afterglow. Siberia with all its wildness, with all its
immensity, where aback the mammoth wallowed; the Caucasus tossing
aloft primeval ecstasy the long slant of the steppes, and Russia,
bold, defiant, revengeful; all rolled in one, are in that note.
The clothes of the men are heavy, ungainly, ill-made, nothing
serviceable but the boots, which are well adapted for running away.
The faces--sodden with ignorance and vice--reflect only stolid
endurance; no initiative, no individuality. Only through the song
shines the soul.

The singing ceases. There is a dreadful hush. It is eleven
o’clock. Off toward Kinchow, which is hid by a fringe of low
fir trees, something is moving. Soon hunchbacked dabs can be
seen bobbing across the furze, leaping over the stones, pausing,
searching, then onward dashing. The firing begins. Two machine
guns--only ten of the one hundred and ten are quick-firers--lead
off. You can easily tell them. The sound is little, like the
popping of a dozen beer bottles in quick succession. Then silence.
The strip of cartridges is torn aside, another inserted, again a
dozen pops. So it goes until the ten are brought into action and
there is no intermission. Flicks of dust are kicked up by the
shells, most falling short, a few passing on through the trees. One
of the bobbing dabs falls, the rest press on. Now the gunners are
getting the range; the shells pick off more hunchbacks.

But there is no stop. This is not reconnoisance; it is battle.
The skirmishers deployed and well up, now the main line advances.
Out from the trees on a dog-trot springs a battalion. It is going
to try that griddle of death. The men dash valiantly on, agile
fellows, intense as fanatics. Now the hundred field cannon come
into play. Most are Chinese of ancient date, some are modern,
rim-firing. Smoke fills the plain. It is difficult to see. The
torrent of lead is on. Snatched through the noise of firing you
can hear great cries; they grow spasmodic, then cease. The firing
slows. Soon only the automatic pops are heard. The smoke drifts
off. The foremost man is there on the wire, gutted. He hangs, a
frightful mass, limp on the barbs. Here and there a poor fellow is
crawling, as you have seen some worm trodden on vainly seek its
hole. Not a man of the battalion has survived. A thousand brave,
faithful soldiers are gone. So this is civilized warfare!

Yes. They now see it was folly to attempt the hill of Nanshan. So
they open up with artillery, a whole regiment of it, infinitely
superior to the sixty antiquated cannon, the forty Canet pieces
and the ten quick-firers. For an hour they rain that leaden taunt
back at dubious Nanshan, who austerely barks out a thin reply,
coughs a wheezy growl and ceases. Meanwhile the thousands in leash,
battle inflamed, recall that the dead battalion are Osacca men,
and, being merchants from the Japanese Chicago, had been hailed as
cowards by sons of samurai. A company of Osaccans went down, stuck,
like pigs, in the _Kinshu Maru_. But after Nanshan the pork packers
of Osacca will hold their heads decently high with the boldest.

Toward three o’clock the second advance is ordered. Half the third
division and a part of the first, nearly 15,000 men, close in. They
get across the plain, dropping a few hundreds, and smash the wire.
Drunkenly dizzy, flaring with the lust of battle, the vanguard
tears clothes, limbs, and tosses on the treacherous barbs.

They have no scissors, no choppers, no axes. Worse, they have
no time. They keep on at the fence, gashing shins, stripped of
impediments, down to the instincts and passions, all discipline
gone, every vestige of civilization lost. Now they are through,
half-naked, savage, yelling, even Japanese stoicism gone. Up to the
very muzzles of the first entrenchment they surge, waver and break
like the dash of angry waves against a rock-bound coast. It seems
no tide or wind can melt that precipitous front. But only seems.
A rest, a terrible breathing spell, the slow, wounded gasp of an
animal in pain, and again the intrepid Japanese lash their haggard
forms against that low trench. Glory! They win! The Rising Sun
glares in the afternoon as it greeted the sun of that morning above
Kinchow.

Yet only a quarter of the battle is won. Another rest. Another
assault. Again and again they go up. Nine times they hammer away,
muskets to jowl, heads down like bulls in the ring, with one
thought; nay! not a thought, an instinct--to win or die.

The officers are picked off by sharpshooters, as flies are
flicked from a molasses jug. Two colonels are killed, the list
of done captains swells. Then, through the haze, commanding the
first division, looms a prince of the blood, the general whose
peeress-mother is but this afternoon smiling serene on Tokyo
heights. He below Kinchow, smoke-stained, grimed with death, hears
the artillery report that ammunition is about gone, but one round
left and Nanshan still Russian. Defeat stares Prince-General in
the face. Retreat, disgrace seems right ahead. And orders were to
“take Port Arthur.” Smiling, he tells the gunners to wait. “Charge
again,” he says.

So up they go, for the tenth and last time. At the top more
civilized warfare. Spottsylvania Court House was no more savage.
Japanese bayonets clash with Russian sabers. Bayonets struck from
hands they grasp knives carried suicidally in belts. Thus, hand
to hand, they grapple, sweat, bleed, shout, expire. The veneer of
centuries sloughed, as a snake his cast-off skin, they spit and
chew, claw and grip as their forefathers beyond the memory of man.

The Prince-General waits, ready to fire his last round, and
retreat, hopeless. It has been a desperate fight--yes, reckless,
unparalleled. If lost he loses nobly. “Are you through, General?”
his aide asks. “I have just begun my part of the fighting,” he
answers. His name is Fushimi--remember it. As he speaks a weak cry
goes up--weak because even victory cannot rouse spirits so terribly
taxed.

It was a bloody sun going down in Korea Bay that night, but it saw
its rising counterpart flaunting above Nanshan, while the Russians
were making use of the best part of their apparel, sprinting
towards the Tiger’s Tail.

The cost! The fleeing ones left five hundred corpses in the four
trenches. The others paid seven times that price--killed and
wounded--to turn across the page of the world’s warfare that word
Nanshan, in company with two others, perhaps above them--Balaklava
and Missionary Ridge.

Now who pays for this war?



Chapter Four

THE JAPANESE KITCHENER


Headquarters, Third Imperial Army, Before Port Arthur, Oct. 12th:

“Goddama’s here!”

“Who?”

“General Goddam--what’s his name?”

“Kodama?”

“That’s it. Who is he? They couldn’t do more for the
Emperor--special train, guard mounted, and all that. He came while
I was in the staff tent--a mite of a fellow in a huge coat.”

Thus Villiers two weeks ago announced the advent to the army of the
Chief of the General Staff. Who is he? The soldiers know, for they
have a verse in their interminable war song:

      “On with Nippon, down with Russia
        Is the badge of our belief;
      The Son of Heaven sends us saké,
        And Kodama sends us beef!”

But who is he? A poor, unlettered samurai of the famous Censhu
clan who to-day, at fifty-two years of age, rules Japan and guides
her armies. Many will dispute this. They will tell you that the
illustrious Mutsuhito, member of the oldest dynasty in the world,
rules Japan. They believe that the Marshal Marquis Oyama and the
Marshal Marquis Yamagata, veteran spirits, great warriors, shrewd
in counsel, valorous in conflict, guide their armies. They forget,
perhaps they do not know, that Gentaro Kodama, whose rank is that
of Lieutenant-General, his title Baron, his position Assistant
Chief of the General Staff, thinks while the others sleep and works
while the others eat; that the “illustrious ones” may “guide” and
“rule.” People seldom know the boss behind the President, the power
behind the throne, or the advisor at the general’s ear.

Most public men in Japan will tell you that Kodama is an unsafe
person of second-rate capacity. That is what the Directorate said
of Napoleon, it is what Halleck and his staff said of Grant, it is
what the Crown Prince said of Von Moltke. They will tell you that
his charge of the commissary and transport in the China war was
an accident. That is what the Directorate said of Napoleon after
Egypt, what Halleck said of Grant after Donelson and Henry, what
the Crown Prince said of Von Moltke before the Franco-Prussian war.

The public men sent Kodama to Formosa to get rid of him, as
Napoleon was sent to Italy, as Grant was sent to Pittsburg Landing,
as Von Moltke was shipped from Metz. Kodama went and raised Formosa
from savagery to commerce and prosperity. He could have been Prime
Minister. “No,” he said. “I would rather pull strings than be one
of the strings to be pulled. Russia is peeking up over the border.
Let us prepare. Give me a desk in the War Office.”

The public men shook hands, grateful that the unsafe upstart was
out of the way. Only soldiers and seers foresee war. Kodama is not
a seer. The public men reveled in peace and wondered occasionally
that Kodama should bury himself in that dry hole of a war office.
They were grateful because the unsafe upstart kept out of the way.

Then the war came and what a scrimmage there was as the public men
scrambled for place! One had his finger on things; this only one
knew just where, when and how to strike. He alone knew where every
merchant steamer in Japan was and how quick each could be turned
into a transport. He alone knew the points in the Korean coast
where an army could be landed and how quick it could be gotten
there. Above all he had audacity--the audacity of genius. His name
was Gentaro Kodama, sometime military governor of Formosa, sometime
chief of the etape bureau.

[Illustration: _From Stereograph, Copyright by H. C. White Co., N.
Y._

GENERAL BARON KODAMA

The photograph shows the Chief of the Japanese Staff on his
doorstep.]

How shameful for the upstart to command! He had never left his
native land. He spoke only Japanese. He had a most vulgar way
of pitching into things, of living on the tick of the watch, of
showing people in and out minus ceremony, of laughing as a boy
might at the things he liked and of frowning ingenuously at what
displeased him. More horrors! He scorned a frock coat for ordinary
wear and stuck to a kimono. Only upstarts defy the fashions.
Sometimes, however, the upstart happens to be a great man--a
Socrates barefoot, a Grant without his shoulder straps. Now
there were plenty of men who had been abroad, who could speak
French and English perfectly, who could crease their trousers and
who could add the proper dignity to a function. Besides, Kodama was
only a lieutenant-general, of whom the realm had a dozen others,
to say nothing of four full generals, two field marshals and an
emperor. Why should he run the war?

But Yamagata and Oyama knew and the Emperor knew. They were too
keen not to see and they were too patriotic to let Japan suffer.
They could not give Kodama the place, but they crowned him with
power. So to-day he has the only coach on the Japanese end of the
Trans-Siberian railway and is the first to pass over the rebuilt
road from Liaoyang to within sight of Port Arthur.

Yamagata stays in Tokyo, one foot in the grave, holding himself to
work with will and prayer, snowed with seventy years, in counsel
with the Emperor; Oyama, loved by the people, always a figurehead,
goes to command the northern armies, and Nogi is given the glory
of reducing the “Gibraltar of the East,” but Kodama, with his
hands on everything, the brains of all, unifies the whole. I saw
him leave Tokyo, cheered by the coolies of the streets, who, like
the Emperor and his marshals, know. Already the campaign was in
his hands. He went straight to Liaoyang and saw the first great
blow struck at Kuropatkin. Then he came here, stayed two days,
saw his plans being effected to his satisfaction and got back to
Liaoyang before the battle of the Shaho. It was on his way back,
during the day’s rest in Dalny, that I saw him for the second time,
when he granted me an interview, in which he made his first public
utterance.

Certain names flash across an age as meteors across a sky. Cæsar
and Napoleon are such names to the student of history, Bernhardt
and Irving to the lover of the stage, Shakespeare to the man of
books. Their mere pronouncement has a mysterious power, some occult
influence to startle and make dumb. Like a searchlight’s flare they
throw one into a hopeless sense of insignificance and awe. So it
was with me, a student of the war, when Villiers uttered that word,
“Goddama,” two weeks ago. I recalled the months in Tokyo when we
stormed the war office in vain, how London, Washington and Berlin
brought their influences to bear, how the cabinet was assembled,
how the ministers pleaded that correspondents, creators of that
vast, indefinable power called “public opinion” have some rights.
Kodama said they had no rights; they might have privileges, but
no rights. One day a grave-faced official announced: “I am very
sorry, gentlemen, but you will have to wait the pleasure of General
Kodama. We have done all we could for you. The question now is,
shall the ministers or Kodama run the war? I much fear Kodama is
the man of the hour.”

Thus the name rose over me as a symbol of power and hauteur. Three
days ago I started to Dalny from the front to lay in stores. There
was a four- or five-mile walk to Cho-ray-che, the field base where
acres are covered with rice and ammunition cases and where a
shattered Russian station is being used by the Japanese commissary.
On the siding lay the train of flat cars we were to take. In the
center was the first coach seen on the Liaotung since the battle of
Nanshan, May 26th. It was an ordinary Japanese third-class coach,
with paneled doors for each compartment, and hard seats. Out of
the corner chimney rose a whirl of smoke and it was easy to see
what an improvement even those hard seats would be over the tops of
ammunition cases where there was a three-hour ride to be made in
the face of a sleet Manchurian wind.

“Back to civilization,” I cried.

“Not for us,” said Gotoh, my interpreter. “That is General Kodama’s
coach. It was transported especially for him and he has just
brought it down from Liaoyang.”

Then I saw him, with his salient, pointed chin, and his goatee like
a French noble, bent over an improvised table, scanning papers.
Five or six members of his staff gazed lazily out at a company
of soldiers doing fatigue duty with the empty ammunition cases,
swarming up over the track and back again, human ants. They had
heard the captain say the eyes of Kodama were upon them and they
worked feverishly, with rhythmical precision. The General never saw
them. His staff did, but he had work to do, and he knew the men
were doing theirs.

As we lay shivering on that jolty ride into Dalny, day dying out
with bursts of grand color and night coming in to the orchestral
music of battle opening in our rear, Gotoh snuggled among the empty
cases at my feet, pulled his overcoat about his head, and hummed a
song composed by the biwa players of Kioto:

“As a slender boat alone in a great storm,” it ran, “so Japan
sails the sea of modern civilization; does she not then need great
leaders for her forty million souls!”

The mudflats of the bay were chocolate brown in late sunset as we
turned south and slid into the city, shivering, crouched low on the
pouches kept huge for bullets anon. Two kerosene lamps in the coach
and the sparks from the engine streaked the night as we tooted into
the revamped station of spruce and corrugated tin which stands
where the hole in the ground was out of which the Russians blew
their beautiful Byzantine architecture. We slipped to the ground,
cold, hungry, tired, and slouched under the two arc lights that
make Dalny a brilliant metropolis after our six weeks around camp
fires and tallow dips.

Hurrying along I suddenly found myself in a group of officers
bound the same way. All but one instinctively fell back and left
me ahead with a tub of a man in a fur coat and a red cap with two
braid stripes which told him to be a lieutenant-general. Swathed
to his ankles in an overcoat of thick martens he looked huge,
but the two red braids and the star of Nippon were level with my
armpit. When he shook hands he lost all the clumsiness of the fur.
As his fingers grasped mine in real earnest there passed from them
the spirit of the island empire--its tininess, its audacity, its
febrile intensity--for the grip was sinuous and sure as the clasp
of a wild thing, hearty and elegant as a comrade’s. He walked with
the stately swing of a star actor, poised his cigar with the air
of a gentleman of leisure and smiled roguishly on me as he talked.
A word brought a thin man in spectacles--his secretary--from the
group behind. Through him the General said he had not seen a
foreigner in three months, he remembered me from a chance word over
a tiffin in the Shiba detached palace last May, and would I be kind
enough to call on him to-morrow when he would have a day of rest
before his trip north toward the Shaho. We parted at the first
corner and he walked on with his stately swing, which his enemies
call the strut of a turkey cock, his staff grouped artistically
behind.

Dalny bristled with the military. The base now of all the armies,
it had become a huge supply depot through which passed the food and
ammunition for a third of a million men, and to which poured the
dribble of wounded. Every house in the Russian quarter, including
two magnificent churches and the fine hotel, were used for
hospitals, in which four thousand patients then were. A hospital
ship left every day for Japan, carrying from 200 to 1,000 wounded
and prisoners. Each day a transport came in bearing twice as many
fresh troops. A brigade had just landed and was to be sent north at
dawn to take the place of the lost in the Liaoyang battle. There
was no barrack room, and though the general wore a fur coat his men
stacked arms on the curbs and slept on the pavements. It was two
days after the arrival of the advance guard of the civic invasion
of Manchuria. Fifteen Tokyo and Osacca merchants had left home
with all their fortunes to try luck in a new land. In a Chinese
restaurant that night I met one of them, an old Tokyo friend who
spoke English. It was a great moment in his life, he said, this
parting with the old and taking on of the new. He had already been
given a house in the old Russian quarter at a nominal rental,
which he expected later to acquire from his government at a low
figure. In a few days he expected to open a store. He asked me to
call on him and gave me his card with an address in “Nogimachi.”
Thus I learned that all the town has been re-christened. The old
Russian names attached to the elegant streets which looked more
like roads among fashionable English villas were changed. Japanese
generals had been honored. The chief hospital was in Oyamamachi,
the etape office on Yamagatamachi, the reserve detail bivouacked on
Fukishimamachi and I slept on Kurokimachi.

In Kodamamachi Gotoh and I the next day called on General Kodama,
who was living in the Russian Mayor’s house. In a side room where
the secretary ushered us we waited for the General, then in his
bath. This gave us time to examine the house. The Mayor was the
engineer who laid out Dalny, and, naturally, he spread himself on
his own home. Three stories high, with a wide balcony, a yard full
of flowers and a big brick fence, it looks out on the convergence
of the two main streets. It is built like the early palaces on what
is now Tar Flat in San Francisco, with casements two feet thick,
buttressed by solid masonry. The walls are thick enough to harbor
great Russian stoves and bear evidence to the coming cold. The
ceilings are enormously high, the double windows stained glass, the
balustrades massive, the flooring of matched hardwood polished,
all conveniences in the latest modern style. I know of no house
in all Japan so fine. The panels were scratched in places where
the Chinese bandits had sacked, and there was little furniture.
Otherwise, all was in good condition. In scorn of the place the
Japanese guard had slipped his neat, low futon into an alcove,
but in respect he stood at “present arms,” his rifle loaded, to
prevent outlawry. The silence was deep, the dispatch of business
swift. Occasionally a messenger passed through the hall, with no
hurry and with no dignity. It would have been difficult to persuade
Sherlock Holmes that the army was about.

Presently the secretary announced that the General was ready,
and led us down a corridor to a side room on the west, which the
sunlight, falling through the stained windows, dyed purple and
gold. As we advanced I could not but think of the superb setting
Mansfield gave the throne room scene in “Richard III,” and how he
knelt by the dais as the light died out, whispering to himself,
“Richard, to thy work!”

Here there was no false splendor, only the light of purple and
gold--and a great character. I felt his presence before he advanced
to meet me with a lithe stride. He shook hands with the intensity
of the night before and again I felt that clasp as of a palm all
sinew and nerves. But there was gayety in his gesture as he threw
his hands out, palms up, like a Frenchman, and bade me welcome.
He wore a kimono and slippers--nothing more. I could see the bare
V sloping in to his chest, thin and skin-drawn, and it was plain
where the brown of sun-tan shaded into the clothes-covered white.
He stepped back around a table and, dropping the slippers, climbed
into a great chair, against whose russet leather he nestled the
kimono and became lost, curling his bare toes under, whence, from
time to time, they peeked and wiggled.

Overwhelmed by his littleness, for the swivel armchair could easily
have held three generals like him and have had room left, top and
bottom, for several colonels and a major, I thought of the huge
overcoat of the night before and remembered what Lincoln said to
Grant when the two met Alexander H. Stephens in a similar greatcoat
on the _River Queen_ in the fall of ’64: “That certainly is the
littlest ear out of the biggest shuck that ever I did see.”

Gotoh and the General plunged into the labyrinths of the impossible
Japanese language and left me to the joy of studying the toes and
mustaches of this remarkable personality. He did not touch his
mustaches, which, though long, had none of the ordinary poise and
polish. No. They partook of the nature of the man and seemed the
superficial ganglia of his sensitive alertness. Three single hairs
from each side, twisted in a loose wisp, glimmed the air furiously
like the whiskers of a cat, as the General’s salient, pointed chin
chopped out the sentences. Then I noticed a phenomenon. While the
body of the mustache and the whiskers on one side were as black as
my coat, untouched by time, the right wisp was white with hoary
snow. It was as if the Genius of his time had selected him from
among the common race of men and touched him there.

“The General wishes to apologize for receiving you this way--in
a kimono.” At last the interpreter spoke, after the two had been
chattering several minutes. Could it really be the great General
familiar with a mere man of words like Gotoh, so insinuating
the smile, so comradely the gossip? Yet, doubtless, in that few
minutes he got from Gotoh every pertinent rag of information the
interpreter had about me. “But he has been a long time without the
luxury of a good bath, and the Russian Mayor left a fine one----”

“Tell the General,” I interrupted, “that he is the first man
I have met in six months who has given me the satisfaction
of appearing as he is. This is his finest tribute to Western
civilization--informality.”

Then they went at it again--chattering. The General, thrusting his
elbows on the table, banged his chops into his palms, and, with
his eyes, pierced first me, then Gotoh, a roguish twinkle lighting
up his face for an instant to be replaced by the curl of irony on
his lips. Could this be the man of lightning decision, and of iron
will, who gave the order on February 8th to attack Port Arthur
before a declaration of war? I looked at his head, round and small
like a bullet, yet singularly long from nose bridge to dome. The
absence of excess tissue, skin stretched tight over parietal bones
and neck scrawny from spirited strain, together with a peculiar
atmosphere of concentration and mastery which invested him, said
it was as full of meat as an Edam cheese. Not a statesman, the
ministers say, but a giant of organization, a master of detail, the
brains of new Japan.

Is he not also the greatest editor in the history of journalism?
Because it is he who for six months has cornered the news market of
the world, so that, until the present time, not a single authentic
account has come from the field except those issued in the official
reports of his own generals. He has controlled the news as he
has controlled the armies--noiselessly, perhaps clandestinely,
but nevertheless absolutely. If the telegraph announces Japanese
victories, he reasoned, the public will not listen to the wail of
the special correspondent. He has substituted fact for criticism,
and, like the Duke of Wellington, announces his victories first,
his reverses afterward. Now that the campaign is outlined and all
can see what he is driving at, the time for speech has come; so he
speaks.

“You have seen Port Arthur. You may think it easy to take,” he went
on through Gotoh. I protested.

“It is not easy,” he continued. “It is quite difficult to take.”

“Of course--of course--thirty forts--ten years of
engineering--impregnable natural defenses--a stubborn army of great
fighters--clever officers to face----”

“But----” he reached halfway across the table, not waiting for
Gotoh to tell him what I said, and I had no need of an interpreter
to know the five words he uttered:

“I hold Port Arthur there!” I looked into the hollow of his hand,
twitching nervously, and saw the palm that is without bones, the
palm all nerves and sinew.

“But where will the army winter? You are not building barracks.
You have only shelter tents, flimsy as paper, which the Manchurian
winds would laugh at.”

“Do not worry. You shall winter inside. We will take it soon. I
hesitate to use the big guns for fear of hurting noncombatants.”

Then the tea came, via a soldier whose shoulder straps bearing the
figure 9 showed him to be one of the few survivors of the famous
9th regiment, which lost 94 per cent. of its men in repeated
unsuccessful assaults on the Cock’s Comb forts during the three
days battle from August 21st to 23d, and I saw that Kodama, like
Nogi, rewards the heroism of private soldiers by relieving them
from duty on the firing line and giving them honorable work as body
servants.

The General fondled his tea, delicious in a lacquered cup; Giokuro
it was, the best Japan grows, and bits of the leaf glittered in the
bottom like particles of steel. The steam curled about his face.
He lit a cigar, puffed vigorously, and smoke wreathed with steam.
Through the haze his whiskers, twisted in a loose wisp, bobbed
spasmodically as his pointed chin spat out the sentences. He pulled
himself further together, tying his legs acrobatically, and made
room in the great chair for still another general. I wondered if he
would disappear entirely, wizard-like, in a cloud of smoke. Then I
thought of that criminal condemned to capital punishment, executed
in experiment by the tea expert, who drank and drank until he
shriveled and shrunk to powdery fiber. Plainly Giokuro, Havana and
hot baths had helped hard work in drying up this tiny great man.

“We can’t tell what damage the big guns will do,” went on the
aspirate voice out of the smoke. Gotoh was turning over the
sentences now as fast as they came. “This is the first time in
history that coast defense guns have battled with each other. We
have brought ours from Japan. As the Russians cannot use theirs
against our navy they have turned them landward.”

“Why not against your navy?”

“Because--” he quickly drew from a drawer a brass tube attached
to a pot of India ink. Out of the tube he drew a brush and began
sketching nervously on a piece of blotting paper. The brass tube
was a yatate, the first one I have seen in the army. Generations
before siege artillery Japanese warriors who took arrow holders
from the enemy disgraced them by converting them into ink pots and
brush holders, for to soil a thing with business in those days was
to disgrace it. But merchants found the device a neat invention
and made arrow holders in miniature. The idea spread and soon all
the men of business in the empire carried yatates in their belts.
The army discarded them in disgust. Now Kodama comes, oblivious of
tradition, satisfying his caprice and comfort, and to his work, as
a samurai of old, introduces the yatate. When he finds the samurai
superstition concerning the gaining of eternal life by a soldier
killed in battle of value in his chess game of war he cherishes the
belief, but when the silly prejudice against business gets in his
way he cuts acquaintance with the samurai.

Quickly, under the yatate brush, there grew a sketch of Port Arthur
and the peninsula--curves for the east and west harbor, a cross
for the town, fuzz for Liaotishan, a loop for the Tiger’s Tail.
Then from east to west of the Liaotung he drew a dotted line in a
semicircle and paralleled it with another dotted line.

“Our mines,” he said, pointing to the outer; “their mines,”
pointing to the inner. “We have laid a series of electric mines
counter to theirs, which, if firing at, they explode, will ignite
their series and damage their coast defenses and harbor. Locked in
this mutual mining our navy and their coast defense must remain
inactive, as neither cares to take an initiative. So they have
turned not only their coast defense, but their navy guns landward.
We, in reply, have landed our navy guns and brought from Japan
our coast defense artillery. So you will see the spectacle of two
great naval equipments fighting on land. I wish I could bring all
the tacticians in the world to witness. There will be much to
learn for future warfare.” He puffed vigorously. The whiskers
poised themselves. His eyes, looking at the sketch, were lost in
introspection. He was reveling in the situation.

“You think it, then, a battle of strategists?”

“Only that. This is entirely a game of strategy. The chief question
is: are our naval and siege guns, reinforced by field artillery,
more powerful than their naval and coast defenses reinforcing the
forts? Lesser questions concern the individual generalship of
divisions and brigades.”

“But the boy in khaki--is he not the deciding force?” My mind ran
back to those terrible August days when I lay in the broiling sun
watching the soldiers hurled against the barbed wire, under the
machine guns, onto the parapets, only to melt away like chaff
before the wind. I thought of the night in the storm when the
general in command gave the order to retreat, but before his
aide could deliver it to the colonel in the field, the soldiers,
impatient, went in and took the opposing trenches. I thought of
all the sights in that mighty game I had just left; great guns in
the shock of battle peppered by shrapnel but holding to their
work like bulldogs on the grip, the sappers creeping with pick and
shovel through the night hounded by shells, the pioneers going up
with pincers to nip the wire met by the death sprinkle of Maxims,
the infantry in a thin brown line following, the men popped out
as expert drivers flick off flies with a whiplash, but advancing,
advancing, till a handful out of a host creeps up, and flings
itself, fanatical with the lust of battle, worn in the gory charge
so that life never can be the same again in sweetness and in peace,
into the redoubt paid for a dozen times with blood, and which even
then is but curtain raiser for drama still more heartrending,
because, beyond, rising tier on tier, series after series, are
redoubts and forts, trenches and barbed wire, moats and gorges,
rifles and cannon until the soul grows sick with the thought that
Port Arthur must be bought with sacrifice so great, agony so
monstrous.

“No,” said Kodama. “This is a question of military strategy.” He
thrust the yatate from him, stretched back into his chair and
puffed cigar wreathings into the air. They looked like the smoke of
a volley from a battery of howitzers. As he settled down to the
talk again, sometimes his eyes flashing, sometimes his mustaches,
one black, the other white with a venerable sign, twitching, his
bare toes twisting with suppressed energy, I thought I saw a huge
black spider serene in the Russian chair.

“Will you bring any more reserves?”

“No. We have an army large enough to take Port Arthur. The enemy
has about 20,000 men, we about 60,000. Three to one makes the
odds about even when you consider the defenses. More men are not
necessary. It is not a question of men now, but of ammunition and
generalship.”

“How about food? It has been reported that you let junks and even
transports run the blockade, that you won’t starve them out, but
want the glory of forcing them to surrender?”

His eyes snapped as he answered: “That is absolutely false. We have
them entirely hemmed in and maintain a perfect blockade.”

“Do you find the forts stronger than you expected?”

“They are very well built--on the Belgian model, I believe. They
are like the forts on the Belgian frontier where the lay is
similar. Toward the sea side they are iron plated, but toward us
there is only earth, with some concrete and masonry. It is the
arrangement that puzzles us. A very clever engineer must have
devised them, for we find an absolute change from the Chinese war
of ten years ago when we took Port Arthur in a day. Then, one fort,
Issusan, taken the others fell. That was the key to the position.
Now, one cannot say that any single fort is the key. All are so
arranged we must take them in detail. The capture of one means
only the capture of an individual fort, not of a series as in the
old days. Study as we may we find it difficult to minimize their
strength. They have even carried the fortifications to such an
extent that the sea escarpments jut over and they bathe there with
ease and safety.”

He looked so cosy in his kimono, redolent of the bath, that I
ventured: “You envy them, then. Aha! This is the secret of Japanese
persistence. The Russians have such a fine place to bathe.”

He gurgled and continued: “We began yesterday to shell with our new
guns--the Osacca mortars. It will be most interesting to watch
their effect on the earth forts.”

The General paused. It was time to go. We had taken the better part
of an hour from him. We rose. He slipped from the chair, tickled
his toes into his slippers, and threw his shoulders back jauntily,
giving himself the air that a little man does unconsciously when a
sense of the physical is borne in upon him.

Then I felt that creepy clasp as of a boneless hand. When I closed
the door he crept back to his perch. So I left him, noiseless
leader of forty millions, swathed in the great Russian chair, lost
in the Mayor’s Byzantine house, withered to essence like a tea leaf.

And his salary is the same as that of a congressman of the United
States.



Chapter Five

CAMP


Before Port Arthur, Headquarters Third Imperial Army, Oct. 9th: We
have left the mountain--the Phœnix--where by day we saw artillery
duels and by night flashes of lightning illumining the big guns,
while the plains stood out under the searchlights. There we could
step from our lunch table and, down the cliff, look into the
upturned ecstasy of a victorious army, or feel the dull weight of
its despair surge in and close upon us.

Now we are with the army, part of it. From the Manchurian hut,
where we live in insect powder, on tinned beef, biscuit and jam,
we go a few rods to a plateau and look into Port Arthur. The path
of the army can be traced by beer bottles--Asahi, Yebisu, Kabuta
and Saporo--but in all the army there is not a guardhouse. If the
company has a man who doesn’t smoke cigarettes he is pointed out
as a curiosity; the empty boxes--Peacock, Tokiwa, Pinhead, Old
Rip, Cherry and Star--dot the fields thick as the beer bottles;
the price of a box is two days’ pay; there is no way to have money
sent from Japan to the front, but a field savings bank to take it
back; and yet, into this field bank, from the three cents a day
pay, in spite of the beer and the cigarettes, over $10,000 has gone
since the opening of the campaign. Approach a battery and find a
lot of uncouth boys, gentle and friendly as children, curious as
savages, as lacking in assertion as a comedian off the stage; you
take them for menials, for most Americans in such a place would
carry mountains of dignity and be covered with placards, “hands
off.” These are expert gunners, handling scientific instruments,
and yet simple. Generals the same! It is an unaccountable thing,
this naturalness and modesty, like the morality of a man of genius.
A paradox? Yes; when you think of what fighters they are! But how
does a hen know when to turn her eggs, and where does a girl carry
her powder puff?

But to us, of whom there are three--Frederic Villiers, the war
artist, James Ricalton, the war photographer, and myself. The
public knows about Villiers, hero of Plevna and the Soudan,
discoverer of artistic Abyssinia, decorated by seven governments,
veteran of seventeen campaigns, dean of the war correspondents,
who has traveled the world round lecturing, sketching, writing.
The public knows less of Ricalton, one of its obscure great men.
He has gone through a long life with his nose to his work, like a
dog to a scent, heedless of fame and money. He is original, alone,
and has done things no other man has done. It was he that Thomas
A. Edison sent into all the tropical jungles twenty years ago to
search for a vegetable fiber for the electric lamp. He took most
of the photographs for John H. Stoddard’s lectures. He was the
first foreigner to walk through northern Russia, 1,500 miles from
Archangel to St. Petersburg. He has traveled through every country
on the globe, exposing 75,000 negatives, and has photographed most
of the great men of his generation. Of late years he has become
one of the most expert of war photographers. In the Philippines
he was the only man to get troops actually firing on the foe. At
the battle of Caloocan a soldier near him was winged; Ricalton
picked up the useless rifle, grabbed the cartridge belt and went
up with the skirmishers. At the siege of Tien Tsin he stood on the
walls and photographed Americans as they were dropped by Chinese
bullets. Little the public knows when it sees photographs of war
how few of them come from the front. Ricalton is one of the few
who gets the real thing. He is sixty years old, yet he tramps ten
and twenty miles a day with a thirty-pound camera under his arm,
for he sneers at the snap shot and will carry a tripod. Yet he
outlasts the young men on the march. Here he goes everywhere--into
captured forts while the corpses are still about, through the most
dangerous artillery positions, among reserves waiting for battle,
into the actual fighting if they would let him. To-day he is off to
gratify one of his few remaining ambitions, for he is sighing like
Alexander at already exhausting the world. He wants to get one of
the new siege shells, 500 weight, as it leaves the gun on its trip
to the battleships in the bay. Four of these shells were dropped
yesterday into the _Retvizan_ and _Pallada_. To-day the gunners
will try to put in another. Ricalton plans to have his camera all
set and tilted at the proper angle behind. Then as the gunner
pulls the lanyard he presses the bulb. He has stuffed his ears
with cotton so the shock will not break the drums, for a gunner
yesterday was deafened for life. He will probably be hurled to
the ground and his camera may be smashed, but he wants that shell
hurtling through the air, no bigger than a bee, while the dust of
the recoil curls up over the emplacement and all the grand tensity
of power and motion is about the place.

“Why take the risk?” say I, “when you can so easily take the gun
at rest and then paint in a little dust and that wee dot up in the
air.”

[Illustration: BO-O-OM!

Discharge of the Japanese 11-inch Mortar during the Grand
Bombardment of October 29. The gun is a mile and a half away, and
is firing into the Two Dragon Redoubt. The vibration made a clear
photograph impossible.]

“But it wouldn’t be the real thing,” said he, as he started off.
Then I saw why he is Ricalton and not some faker at his ease over
a chemical tray in the city. Just now, looking out of the window
under which I write, I can see the battery where he has gone. It
lies snug among the hills, two great guns cocked on concrete and
flanked by howitzers aloft on peaks. The Russians have the range
and are pumping shells in, two or three a minute. It looks as if
nothing could live there, but I know that probably not a man is
injured, for I was there yesterday and saw how safe the dugouts
are. Villiers looks up from his sketching and watches the firing
through his glasses. A ten-incher plunges into the hillside and the
earth boils up as if the foundations were ripped away.

“I hope dear old Ricalton is out of that,” he exclaims.

“Don’t fear for him. He has gone through too much to be rapped by
that,” I reply. I remember how he walked there yesterday, his eye
always on a dodgehole. A ten-incher came just as this one to-day.
He threw himself flat on his stomach, hugging his machine, tenderly
as though it were a baby, in a ditch by the roadside. Ten yards off
the shell exploded. The pieces flew over and clods of earth fell on
him. Hardly had the pieces stopped before he was up and after them,
for he is as great a curio hunter as he is a photographer, and he
has a house in Maplewood, New Jersey, converted into a museum,
which the natural history experts declare is the finest private
collection in America. But enough of Ricalton.

Along a deeply rutted road in front of our village we gaze in awe
at the big guns and their accouterment spread beside a narrow-gauge
track. A pile of empty shells with points like needles and thick
as a telephone pole, so heavy two men can hardly lift one, lies
scattered down the slopes. A recoil vamp lumbers a truck. An
ungainly steel thing nestles belly deep in the sand while a company
of human ants sweats and wrestles with it. Then suddenly we come
upon the beautiful breech, delicate as clockwork, dazzling as a
jeweler’s case, gleaming in the sun, and Ricalton exclaims:

“The only thing that gives one respect for man--his achievement--is
to look at such a piece of mechanism. It has the power of a jungle
of elephants, yet is as sensitive as a little girl!”

Some days we take trips off to the various divisions and get close
in for a big battle, feel the pitch and pallor of war, see heights
assaulted, won and lost, hear the adventure of conflict from heroic
mouths and get in close upon the red anathema. Then we visit the
hospitals and know the slow agony of it--the suffering, endurance,
silent sacrifice. Two weeks ago I saw the same operation that was
performed on President McKinley--laparotomy. A soldier’s stomach
was pierced, as McKinley’s was. The surgeons took it out, sewed it
up and replaced it. To-day I was told the man would recover. He is
a strong, hardy chap, a peasant boy, who lives on rice, fish and
tea, which was not McKinley’s diet. The soldier at the same time
lost his right arm by amputation. Visiting him again yesterday I
asked how he was getting on.

“Well enough,” he replied. “The hard thing is not to think about
it. You’re all right if you only don’t think. It’s the mind that
rips one up, sir, the doctor says.”

Our village shelters most of the impedimenta that an army
headquarters must carry. Band-musicians are our neighbors. The
interpreters, next door, swap tea, cigarettes and news with us.
The Russian interpreter, who lived in Moscow three years, sketches
so well, Villiers says he will take him to Paris and make him the
fashion. Behind us are the Japanese correspondents, so clandestine
in their ways that even a Manchurian farmer must know they are
yellow journal reporters. Of a morning we see a curious pair
strolling off over the hills, one with a fowling-piece, looking for
snipe, the other with a camera watching for a chance to get a shell
as it explodes. One is Mr. Arriga, the expert on international law,
who will adjudicate all property rights as soon as Port Arthur
falls; the other is the official photographer.

Then there are the war correspondents, who have a camp three miles
off. In bargaining for junks to take the news out, two of the cable
men have become so bitter in rivalry that they go around with
Mauser pistols, each threatening to shoot the other if he tells how
the censor was evaded. There is the Norwegian nobleman with the
eyes of a viking who is writing serials for one of Harmsworth’s
London dailies. Finally, there is what Villiers calls “The Bartlett
pair”--A. Bascom Bartlett, Esq., son of the Hon. E. Bascom
Bartlett, M. P., who came out to see the fun and what Villiers
calls the Tossup, because it was a toss-up whether or not he should
come, and who is here to make fun. It was he, who recently, after
hearing a general tell of the desperate charge of a brigade,
patted the officer on the back and said: “A very noble act, sir. I
shall relate that in Tossup Hall.”

The elder Tossup is a country brewer in Yorkshire. The younger
insists that he is an officer and a gentleman and knows how to
conduct himself. But a few days ago he was caught, while visiting
an outpost with an officer, in a crossfire, and ducked into a
trench. The officer tried to reassure him by following into the
trench. There, while a battle was raging beyond, and in the
presence of all the sublime panorama that surrounds us here the
Tossup said: “I hope you will come and visit me in England. We will
go to the autumn maneuvers.”

The officer, not expert with English, pulled out his dictionary and
ran his thumb down the “ma’s.” “man--man--manur” he read. “Ah,”
he cried at last, “the autumn manuring! I see, sir, yours is an
agricultural country.”



Chapter Six

203-METER HILL


What Blaine’s unfortunate “three R’s” were to his Presidential
campaign “203-Meter Hill” was to the siege of Port Arthur. Risen to
the dignity of key to the situation, it had, in an ordnance sense,
little to do with the case. It was but one of seven advance posts
for final assault. A pimple of progress to the engineer, it was
not permanently fortified, did not belong to the primary scheme of
defense, and was dominated by three of the finest forts--Etzeshan,
Anzushan, and Liaotishan: mountains of the Chair, the Table, and
the Lion’s Mane. For three reasons heavy guns could not be mounted
there. First, the cost in energy and life would be too vast,
because rifles whose barrels alone weigh from two to eight tons
each would have to be hauled by hand up 680 feet of rock, a task
heroic even in peace. In war, wedged among three magnificently
intrenched hostile positions, this would be impossible. Second,
even if these heavy guns--only of any value against forts or
fleets--had been gotten there, they would have been pounded to
pieces within an hour of arrival by the more numerous and better
emplaced artillery of the Chair, the Table, and the Lion’s Mane.
Finally, heavy guns are never emplaced on mountain peaks in an
offensive campaign.

“203” had one value--a great one. It was the best point of
observation the Japanese had yet had. Line of vision, not line of
fire, was what they needed. From “203” they could look into all
portions of the harbor that could float a warship, but, what was
more essential, they could look around the promontory of Golden
Hill into the cove, where the hunted remnant of the Russian fleet
had been hiding, at loose anchor, since the disastrous attempt to
escape on August 10th. They had no need for better artillery posts
than the positions which they had held for four months and from
which they had been able to place shells in any spot on the Russian
side.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, 1905, by Collier’s Weekly_

THE HYPOSCOPE

Showing Lieutenant Oda looking from 203-Meter Hill through the
hyposcope at the Russian fleet in the New Harbor of Port Arthur]

“Any spot,” that is, if they knew where the spot was. To locate
the spot had been the difficulty. “203” gave the line of vision,
but it was so wedged in among commanding batteries that its value
depended upon an instrument new to warfare--the hyposcope. This
is merely a telescope cut in half--the front half elevated above
the other, like the head of an ostrich above the body, and the two
connected by a further length of scope. In the joints thus formed
mirrors are placed. Thus a view of the interior of Port Arthur was
brought over the topmost trench of “203” to the eyes and brain of
the Japanese lookout, protected there by the rocks. Through the
hyposcope a lookout could observe the effect of every shot from his
own batteries, located not on “203” or anywhere near “203,” but
distant, most of them, two or three miles. While he operated the
hyposcope with his left hand, with his right he held to his ear
the receiver of a telephone connected directly with each of these
firing batteries. These batteries were emplaced, not on mountain
peaks, not on the front of the mountain range from which their
operations were being directed, but entirely behind this range,
which was parallel to the coast range, forming the permanent
line of Russian defense. From these points, scattered in the rear
of the Japanese position, distant from the Russians, the nearest
half a mile, the farthest three miles, the work of the bombardment
went on. The firing was what the military man calls “high angle” or
“plunging”; that is, the shell traveled in the line of a parabola
over two mountain ranges, which separated the Japanese batteries
from the Russian ships. The gunners never had a sight of what they
were firing at, the officers in command of the batteries never had
a sight of what they were firing at. Only the lookout on “203”
knew where the shells went, and he got his knowledge through a
mirror. This knowledge was used by the artillery officer, who found
the range by means of a quadrant. The hyposcope, the telephone,
the quadrant--these were the scientific ganglia that wiped the
mountains from the map of the Liaotung Peninsula, and brought the
operations, in the mind’s eye, to the level of a billiard table.
“203” was the cushion needed for successful caroming. It would be
useless to lug heavy guns up there; the hyposcope was carried up,
but not artillery.

Dispatches have said that the capture of “203” gave the besiegers
command of the town. Such dispatches concerning other captured
positions were published repeatedly. Their effect was to keep
the world continuously expecting the fall of Port Arthur. Let it
once be comprehended that none of the positions captured up to
December 15th was permanent, that none was a part of the grand
scheme of defense perfected by the Russians through the past seven
years; that there still remained seventeen primary and twenty-five
secondary positions on the land side in addition to the finest
forts which are on the sea side, and it will be apparent that this
expectation was not, until General Stoessel decided that further
resistance was useless, justified by the actual conditions.

Commanding the town meant little. The Japanese navy put shells into
the town on the 8th of February, and had been able to put them in
ever since; the army put them in on the 11th of August, and had
been qualified for destruction ever since. They wanted to save the
town. They looked upon it as their property. Why smash up what they
would have to rebuild? The fleet had been their chief objective.
Though inert for four months, it was a menace until sunk; that
out of the way, they need not worry. Of course their shells had
searched about for arsenals and storehouses; if the town got in the
way of the search--well, so much the worse for the town, but the
Japanese effort had been to save their own. It was not Port Arthur,
but Stoessel and his forts, that Nogi was after, just as it was not
Richmond, but Lee and his army, that Grant was after.

As for the strategic position, no one can say that any one fort
at Port Arthur is the key. Nature assisted expert engineers in
devising those forts. All are so arranged that each is commanded
by two or three, and, in some cases, by a dozen others; thus when
one was taken it drew Russian fire from its fellows until it became
untenable. Such was the situation at “203-Meter Hill.” The Japanese
had driven the Russians out, but they were unable to mount guns of
large caliber there, or do aught but locate a farther station from
which to direct final assaults. Ten years ago, when the Japanese
took Port Arthur from the Chinese in a day, one fort, Etzeshan,
taken, the others fell. That was the key. To-day no single fort is
so important. “203” is dominated by the Table fort, the Table fort
by the Chair fort, the Chair fort by Golden Hill, and Golden Hill
by the Lion’s Mane. And after all this was taken, there would still
remain the east forts. Yet, the capture of “203” was decisive. On
September 19th, the Japanese lost two thousand men in trying to
take it. The attempt failed. The division with the job in hand sat
down, waited, and worked. Two months and a half of sapping, and one
day of assault, on December 4th, turned the trick. Though it did
not mean the fall of Port Arthur, it meant the beginning of the
end. This for the reason that every contraction in the Russian line
meant a gain in Japanese strength. The smaller the circumference
the less the capacity for resistance. And, after all, the physical
fact of the fall was simply a question of mathematics. The loss
of life appalls, the spectacle attracts, the glory inthralls, but
the intellect, backed by whatever impulse it is that gives man
resolution for the supreme sacrifice, commands. A chessboard and
two master minds--such was Port Arthur, Nogi, and Stoessel. The
checking move was made as long ago as May 26th, when the battle of
Nanshan was fought. The fate of Port Arthur was sealed then just as
it was sealed again when “203” was taken.

Let us look at that September assault on “203,” of which the one in
December was but a repetition, and glimpse what it meant to storm
Port Arthur. Could all the bloody story of the siege be told, “203”
would be forgotten, a detail lost in vista, swamped in gigantic
operations, veiled in the mist of vast sacrifices. Yet the mind,
puny as it is, must grasp an incident and cling tight, as a poet to
the fringe of metaphor, for comprehension even distant.

Passing from the rear of the army to the front, you might realize
something of the tricky skill used to move those pawns over that
vast chessboard. To the eye of an eagle all would have been
invisible. The sum of his sight would have been a tongue of land
making faces at the sea, ridged with deep blotches from whose
recesses thin pricks of smoke slipped to the crack and roar of
great guns.

Yet lively work was seen. Close to the right rear was the first
battery, a six-gun emplacement of field four point sevens. At one
o’clock in the afternoon the telephone rang, the lieutenant in
command called, and instantly the redoubt swarmed with figures
that sprang like ants from the earth. Busy as ants, they answered
the order from brigade headquarters for the signal shot to open
the grand bombardment. They had come from their bomb-proofs, into
which they would dodge again as soon as the shot was fired. There
was much pride in the chief gunner as he took a cartridge from its
bomb-proof shell chest, ran to his gun, threw open the cordite
chamber, pulled out the breech block, rammed in the shell, snapped
the block, and stepped back to signal the lanyard man; more pride
than is usual in the Japanese gunner, a timid, simple being,
dexterously handling his delicate instrument with as little vanity
as he would handle a potato hoe.

Hurrying on the road to escape the shock, and looking back, the
battery was invisible. The bewilderment of the eagle, if told that
danger lurked there, would be overwhelming. A shell spat out,
revealing the battery behind a mass of earth forming a natural
redoubt. This was in a narrow valley with only a small range of
foothills between it and the sea, a place later called “The Valley
of the Shadow of Death.” Behind every mountain shoulder, and up
every gorge, firing high angle over the eminence in front, was
a battery nestled in its redoubt, with bomb-proofs for the men
and bomb-proofs for the ammunition. It was hardly a valley, but
a ravine, barren of grass, a torrential place through which, in
spring, huge rains tore. Soon other rain--red rain, powdery and
leaden--was to pour there.

Directly in front, out of the west, loomed “203,” flanked by its
gigantic brothers, granite-tossed, the Chair and the Table and the
Lion’s Mane. Bone of the world’s vertebræ, Russia had capped them
with science and determination. Their cordoned batteries, cunning
and intricate, spoke not a word in reply to the Japanese taunts
hurled in upon them, savage and vain. Why reply? They knew their
strength. Before “203” lay a height down on the map, like the
disputed key itself, under figures to denote in meters its reach
skyward; “176” they call it, lacking more intimate speech, but the
soldiers quickly dubbed the hill “Namicoyama,” for they saw its
resemblance to a flying fish abundant in these waters, called by
us the trepang, by Japanese the namico. The mongers of Kamikura,
after disemboweling, inflate this fish for hanging lamps. There
it lay--the namico--its slopes spread finwise, its two peaks,
furze-capped, rising above the mists of the valley as incandescents
struggle through the fog of the night. Ringed with barbed wire was
each peak and close about the top were lines of loopholed rock.
As the following step of a stair, “203” rose beyond, fortified
likewise. From the nearer peak the tardy glint of the sun caught
the brass muzzles of two cannon. From the farther, down the slope,
ran a trench continued to the sea.

The battle was on. Before the Russian outlook knew it the Japanese
advance was at the base of Namicoyama. Each man was stripped to
his khaki uniform, his cartridge belt and his rifle. Four hundred
rounds of ammunition were in the four leather boxes at his belt,
and in his hip pocket was a ration, dubbed with a soldier laugh,
“iron”--three hard biscuits with a piece of salt fish the size of
his palm.

Up they went cautiously, a squad of twenty at a time, slinking
along the ravines, their rifle-butts dragging the ground; one file
of twenty, then another and another, until the slopes were dotted
with figures colored like the earth--silent, nimble, tiny.

Now the artillery was at it heavily. Beginning with the battery we
had seen go into action, the pieces spoke up, one by one, until
near a hundred guns were spitting fire from the nooks behind;
astonishing to an eagle, but the Russians seemed not to mind.
The shots increased, the din augmented. A shell appeals to the
imagination--snarls like a wild beast, flings fierce shrieks into
unwilling ears, rends tooth and claw at fear. The place might have
been a nest of demons with the old devil hen hatching them out.
The Japanese kept those two ridges so hot with shrapnel that not
a man dared show himself. For twenty yards below the parapet the
slope bubbled as does a pot boiling above the kettle’s brim. Not a
sound from the nearer Russians. From Anzushan, from Etzeshan, from
“203,” and even from far-off Liaotishan the replies spoke distant
and absurd, but Namicoyama, slated for assault, was silent, silent
as though no brass cannon were mounted in the sight of all men, as
though no twenty companies of sharpshooters were lying low with
Maxims and repeating rifles waiting to receive the final charge.
Were there cowardly Japanese it was a secret shared by no man with
his neighbor. Sound to the core or not, they went on with the
precision of a clock. As the infantry advanced, occasionally a
huddled figure, inert, was grouped here and there with others who
moaned piteously. At times a squad, sinking, would lose itself in
a hollow, only to climb presently up the opposite slope, there to
sink on one knee, rifles at fixed bayonets, while the lieutenant
in command reconnoitered to right or left, searching for the line
of best deploy. Then on, skurrying another few rods, to another
halt, until they came to the precipitous rocks up which it seemed
a goat would have skinned his shins in climbing. Here, hugging the
mountain proper, having lost but few, considering the advance made,
they waited for night.

Meanwhile, aloft, hell reigned. Shells constantly bursting
apparently shattered guns and killed gunners, but when the dust
cleared all was instantly life again, the gnomish figures
busy--busy as ants with eggs. For a minute thus, then all would
drop back into the earth simultaneously with the reply, and at the
very moment that another Russian shell was in upon them.

Was it the same beyond in Namicoyama and in “203”? Doubtless the
Russians were as safe, though with them the shells must have
been multiplied by twenties, because the space of a few rods,
lying exposed to every range, received the constant fire of every
Japanese gun. The Russians had a wider target, a range of hills
from which occasionally they could see smoke curling upward. It was
far more difficult to hit than the Japanese target, for nothing
was plain, all was guesswork. The Russians could not see a thing
they were aiming at. A range of hills, seared with autumn, bare
of husbandmen, innocent of apparent defense, alive with hissing
venom, confronted them. They lashed it desperately as they could,
frantically as a boy beset with nightmare. The little men had a
plain target, parapets outlined against the sky, trenches clear and
distinct. Yet the Japanese were often covered with dust from bursts
on the slope beyond, and through the Valley of the Shadow the
diabolic screeches mounted with the dying of day. Night came with
the wild clamor on in full fury, the little brown squads still at
the base of Namicoyama, the reserves creeping around toward “203.”

Could they climb it--that six hundred feet of almost perpendicular
rock, where, in daytime, with sticks and hobnailed boots, the
best of mountain climbers would have found an adventure? And
they must go up dragging rifles, shrapnel dropping among them,
shells bursting overhead, bullets mowing them down, not to rest at
the top, but, once there, to plunge against troops well rested,
superbly intrenched.

The reserves threw up shelter tents and staked down the flaps with
heavy rocks, but the wind, howling across from the inlet, flung
them to the laugh of the rising equinoctial. Some sought rest on
bean straw, under blankets, the September moon streaming in, but
there was no rest.

A flash in the eyes and the mountain is thrown into a silhouette of
fire, then plunged into blackness. From the extreme Russian left
the searchlights are wheeling into position, one by one, until the
whole seven are out, playing day over the battlefield, throwing
suspicious investigation into the little squads of brown. Science
has intensified war. Formerly men could get their fill of fighting
by day, but now they needs must flare the candle at both ends. Like
Joshua, these generals are deciding their empires’ fates under
light of their own ordering.

The second searchlight comes out of the right. In between,
the others dance, now a minuet, now a tarantella. Then a red
line streaks the air, parabola-like, and its end breaks into
molten balls, illumining the Valley of the Shadow of Death as
by candelabra of stars. Its path is crossed by another. Still a
third leaps into life till the night is frightful with fireworks.
Processions peaceful and gay have danced through the cities to such
salvoes fostered by Pain. You have seen them on Coney Island, you
have watched for them on Manhattan Beach, you have romped through
merry summer nights canopied by their dazzle; you have seen them
split into golden bursts and rain diamonds of child joy; but do not
wish to see them bred by the Russians, grisly and deadly, laying
bare every joint of action and throwing into ghastly relief every
hope of surprise.

A growl among the mountains rolls into power, and a naval shell
from our left has burst in “203.” The forts respond, the mountains
reply. The small arms open up, the machine guns rattle, the pompoms
clatter in. Pitch, fuzz, dingle and pop are drowned. Crash, roar,
hurtle and boom are out. The devil is loose.

A clatter on the stones below comes nearer, steadily, rhythmically.
Listen! The tread of soldiers marching! Soon an indistinct line
wavers into sight. A low whistle and it turns square across the
Valley of the Shadow toward that terrible din. Another whistle and
it twists up from single to double file. Each man has his full
kit on his back, an extra pair of hobnailed boots, the pick, the
shovel, the rifle. The steel is hooded with brass caps, a challenge
to the dew. Officers’ swords, sheathed in dull cloth, defy the
glitter of sunlight and of searchlight. It is the reserve regiment
advancing to reinforce at dawn. Company by company it passes, and
at the end marches the gray-haired colonel, stumbling in the dark,
peering off at the searchlights, blinking at their bravado. The
troops enfile into the farther ravine and deploy by battalions. The
din lessens not. So another grist is fed into the mill of war.

The reserves’ echo dies to the incoming of crunches on the stones
as of a wagon lumbering--a heavy wagon. Then out of the mists
a caisson rolls behind six horses, the mounts walking, calmly,
slowly. Another caisson and another, then the guns--one, two,
three, four, five, six in all--while overhead whistles the shot and
beyond gleams the searchlight. The rear battery is going forward,
past the front battery, almost to the base of Namicoyama, where,
at a sixty-degree angle, it can reinforce the infantry as the sun
comes up.

Sleep is fitful when blaze is flirting with blackness and sentries
with death. Long before light the trench guards on the front ridge
are waiting for the big guns to salute the morn. The fire has
slackened. There is fair quiet. When one has heard the wild gabble
of a thousand guns he is _blasé_ before the chatter of a dozen.
Down the Valley of the Shadow a shell sometimes wings a nasty way
and the searchlights hold vigil, but the infantry sleeps.

Then a little light fades the immense shadows, and soon over
the rim of the world peers a new day. Peace, beauty, tingling
health--this for another moment--when off to the right a shell
wheezes. The snap is touched. The army wakes. Again it is on--the
fearful din, the unendurable bombardment. So it has been for two
months; so it will be until the end. Again and again.

But what is that under the crest of Namicoyama where it rises,
furze covered, its incandescent struggle fighting fog? A patch of
brown, then a patch of blue, then a flag--yes, a flag--a white
flag, with a red sun in the center, the most legible flag in the
Volapük of bunting, the Rising Sun of Japan!

In the night they have done it because they have slipped the thongs
of civilization and risen triumphant to the hold of rice paddy and
sacred mountain. What they did was simple--they changed shoes;
rather, they threw away shoes. If one asks how the Japanese took
“203” the answer is in terms of feet.

Such heights had been attacked before with scant success. Boots,
though the nails be hobbed, help no man trained as the chamois
to nature’s aid. Yet boots were all they had. The government in
flirting with the ways of white men recognized nothing but leather
and thread as proper footgear for Mikado worshipers. But that
was before “203.” Here, at last, the soldiers knew more than the
officials of state. They knew enough to toss aside a weapon made
for pavement fighting when they went against precipice and moss.
Reduced to essentials, fighting for life, they forgot the ambitious
new ways. Instead of boots they tied on their feet waraji, the
Japanese straw sandal. Having none of proper make, they improvised
from the rough rice sacking brought by the commissary. Since then
the government has been compelled to officially supply waraji.

Barefooted, but for the tight cling of the straw, hid from the
searchlights by the shadows of Namicoyama and “203,” in the night
they had climbed the heights and are now waiting the introduction
of Mr. Bombshell before they reel audaciously across the parapet.

The brown is khaki-covered men, the blue those with overcoats. Far
down at the lower left is a gray-haired figure standing apart--the
colonel. He makes no effort to shield himself. The artillery of two
armies have concentrated their fire above his head. That is their
business, no concern of his, so he hazily observes the unfurling of
day beyond the Tiger’s Tail as he would dwell upon the empurpling
of a convolvulus. At Nanshan he led the victorious charge. Three
bullets went through his coat and two through his hat. He wears
Shinto emblems and believes he was not born to be killed in battle.
He has been in forty-seven engagements without a wound. His name is
Tereda, and he commands the first regiment of the first division;
in rank but a lieutenant-colonel, his colonel slain May 26th.

Shrapnel begins bursting above. The Russians are far from sleep,
farther from death. It being high time for business, the white
flag with the red sun in the center waves once to the left, once
to the right, and twice to the front. It is the artillery signal.
Again the ridge falls under the terrific fire of the day before.
But this time the infantry is 150 yards nearer, and this 150 yards
is in a direction similar to that pursued by a telephone lineman
when he follows his calling. The men crouch low, their own shells
bursting less than fifty yards above them.

The introduction is long. The Russians are saucy hosts. They parley
and talk back with their big guns, and that bluster of the day
before is repeated. All day long Tereda and his men emulate the
furze, for when they take the fort they want night handy to help
them intrench, to give them a bit of cover despite the searchlights
and star bombs. Besides, one climb of that sort is enough for
twenty-four hours. They must have the cumulation of another
twenty-four for the final charge. Yet it is costly recuperation.
Blood spurts frequently. Wounded wilt under the sun, the dead lie
untouched.

At half-past four in the afternoon Tereda orders the final charge.
Three cheers go up--Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! With bayonets fixed the
squads deploying as before, the khaki-covered spots begin to move.
In advance the men crawl hand over hand, helped by blessed waraji.
Twenty feet from the parapet they pause and fling something that
leaps through the air like balls from catcher to second base.
These hand grenades of gun-cotton explode on and in the parapet,
introduction more intimate. The brilliant bursts play off the fast
settling evening as the khaki-covered ones go in, Tereda pausing
and peering with his glass. The entire battalion tumbles over the
parapet. Then the reserves begin climbing from the base.

Silence. All is over. What has happened? Five, ten minutes pass,
then the firing recommences, but now the object is changed; all the
Japanese shrapnel is playing over the road leading to the Chair
fort and all the Russian fire is directed against Namicoyama. The
Russians are retreating, throwing their rifles as they run. Over
Namicoyama floats the white flag with the red sun in the center.

Two hours later a fat old man with a heavy beard and baggy
trousers is brought in--a prisoner. An officer, originally in
the commissary, he had been called into the line, business being
dull in his department. He commanded six companies on Namicoyama.
Wounded in the arm and sullen, he has no greeting for us.

“The pigs,” he cried; “I stood at the end of the trench with my
pistol ready to shoot every bolter, but it was no use. The beasts!
Ah, my poor Russia.”

He had a son in a Siberian regiment shot four days previously
before his eyes. For a year he had had no word from his wife and
two younger children in the Trans-Baikal, but he was well fed.
Bearded, tanned, deep-eyed, he loomed with dignity and might above
his captors. There was no consoling him.

“The beasts,” he cried, “papa disowns them. Why didn’t I use the
pistol?”

There was plenty of flour and small-arm ammunition over there, he
said. The troops were in good morale, but needed bucking up by the
officers. What could be done for him?

“Nothing,” he replied. “My boy is dead, my wife, my children, where
are they? And Russia, ah, Russia, where is she!”

To him Port Arthur had fallen.



Chapter Seven

A SON OF THE SOIL


Headquarters Third Imperial Army, Before Port Arthur, Oct. 9th:
Often we dine with the Army’s leaders. To-day all the temporary
occupants of the headquarters village, which include the human
impedimenta of an army, such as the expert on international law,
the official photographer and the correspondents, were called to
the General’s house. My invitation read:

  “Sir: I am desired by General Baron Nogi to write to you, and
  tell you, with his compliments, that he will be happy if you will
  favor him with your company at tiffin on Sunday, the 9th inst.,
  at one o’clock. He wishes to become well acquainted with you by
  having chit-chats. I have the honor to be, sir,

  “Your Obedient Servant,

  “Y. YOSHIOKA, Major Aide-de-Camp:

  “By Order.”

We went. There were some long tables peppered with aluminum ware,
fruit and wine under the pear trees of a Manchurian back yard.
We stood up to the cold luncheon, partly foreign, partly native,
charmingly served by soldiers. There was a crowd of dignitaries
distinguished by uniforms. They were of all ranks, from the three
stars and three stripes of the General of the forces to the single
star and stripe of the sub-lieutenant, who is commissary adjutant.
But it was not an affair of dress, so out of the crowd rose two
personalities who burned themselves into my consciousness, where
they hang yet, resplendent in energy. There was about them a
native dignity, a primal force, that indefinable something that
distinguishes great men.

One wore a pair of yellow boots and might have stepped from an
American fashion plate. There was American vitality and freshness
in him, too. He dispensed with ceremony, spoke keenly, decisively,
almost brusquely, and looked you square in the eye with a twinkle
that said he appreciated all the social gayety and yet kept back
his own opinion. He had a square jaw, thick neck, broad shoulders,
massive palms and a head long from chin to crown--all unusual
for a Japanese. This was Major Yamaoka, the _parliamentaire_ who
recently rode into Port Arthur with the Emperor’s offer of safety
to noncombatants. He is one of General Nogi’s most trusted aides,
a popular orator, a man of decision. He walks like a thoroughbred.
Had Cæsar seen Major Yamaoka walk across that Manchurian garden he
would surely have put him on his staff.

The other wore a pair of Pomeranian top boots, elegant and
serviceable as Yamaoka’s were fresh and hardy. They were pulled
snugly over his knees to keep out the bitter Manchurian wind. Above
were a pair of white kersey breeches, spectacular as Napoleon’s.
He was fond of rising on the toes of these boots and writhing
sinuously in them, like an acrobat testing, as he responded to
a toast or applauded the music and fun. Everything about him
indicated the strong man of action--the tensity of his muscles,
the flex of his waist, the sure set of his heels, the poise of his
head, the ease and power of his bearing, his well-knit mouth, his
regular, beautiful teeth, the clarity of his eyes, the sincerity
of his smile, even the straight, tough fiber of his hair. In
physique the opposite of Yamaoka, for he is five feet nine in
height, exceedingly tall for a Japanese, slender, and with delicate
hands, the two yet have the same vivacity and shrewdness, the same
kindliness touched with hauteur. But the second man is chief of the
army, not only in rank, for it was General Nogi, but in worth as
well. His mastery was easily felt to-day. He stands at the pinnacle
of a wonderful career and the world’s eyes center on him. How
handsome he was--and how simple and friendly, how easily pleased,
how innately courteous! Is he not also that ideal philosopher whom
the Roman Emperor Aurelius wrote about as bethinking him always
of his enemy’s comfort? I asked him how he would like to exchange
places with General Stoessel.

“I think often of General Stoessel,” he replied. “To be frank I
think of him every day. When I go to bed at night and when I get
up in the morning, and often between times I wonder about him, how
hard his position must be, and how well he defends it, and if he
is really injured as we have heard. Sometimes I put myself in his
place and imagine what I should do. Then I try to think that some
day I might be in just his position. And so I fight the battles all
over again from his side and from mine.”

“Does it teach you much?”

The General laughed heartily. “We have learned much from the
Russians. I am always pointing them out to my soldiers as model
fighters.” He took from the ground a pick whose handle had been
splintered by a shell, evidently found on the battlefield. Both
nose and heel had been worn half away, rounded with dullness and
rust. It was not like the Japanese picks, which are small and
short-handled.

“I assembled all the battalion commanders a few days ago,” he
continued, “and showed them this pick as an object lesson. It has
turned over many a hundred weight of earth and shows how expert
the Russians are at trench-making. Our soldiers do not like to dig
trenches. Many of them are of gentle blood and think it is coolie
work. Besides, they say: ‘We are going forward in the morning. Why
dig trenches to-night?’ The Russians have taught us tactics, too.”

Here Villiers interrupted. “Men who, like the Russians, build
trenches so they must show themselves on the skyline to shoot can’t
teach tactics,” he said. The talk slid on to the bonzais, mutual
promises to dine together next in Port Arthur, and au revoirs.

But I started to write of the Manchurian. He knows not, neither
does he learn. Yet you can scarcely ask who let down that shaggy
jaw and who sloped that head away, for he has a magnificent,
strong, clean jaw and his head is handsome and high. That he bathes
only once a year and cares not who owns the land so long as he
tills it; and that his wife and daughter sit on the stone fence
of his donkey stable picking the lice from one another’s heads,
doubtless has nothing to do with the question propounded by our
sociological poet.

Nor is the Manchurian uncivilized. He has, indeed, reached quite
a state of development, for he is the abject slave of fashion--at
least his wife and daughter are. They bandage their feet until
where a No. 8 boot should go they wear baby 6’s. This, I dare
say, is a less harmful fashion than that other silly one of
corsets, for surely the organs beneath a shoe lace are not so
vital as those under a waistband, but it looks sillier. To see
women in the harvest fields, by the roadside washing clothing,
cleaning the donkey stable, baking bread, spanking boys, suckling
babies, attending husbands, all the time balancing themselves as
a _première danseuse_ on her toes, is to think of stake and rack!
They say that this is not real Manchuria, that up North, where
the other army is, the women do not bind their feet. The present
Dowager Empress of China, considered by many the most remarkable
living woman, is a native of northern Manchuria. In all this vast
country the women are noted for modesty and virtue. Ten years
ago, during the China-Japan War, many committed suicide to escape
expected ravishment. But it was well learned then that the Japanese
never outrage a woman. An incident of such atrocity by Japanese, in
either war, has yet to be recorded. It is said that the Russians
are different, though it is difficult to see how any Westerner
could look with more than curiosity on a Manchu woman. Certain
it is that they go about their lives here in complete freedom and
security. Not only do the Japanese respect women; they respect
property also. Here is a fertile country with rich crops sustaining
a vast army, yet no farmer has lost a bushel of grain, except when
the chance of battle has substituted shot for scythe.

[Illustration: ORPHANS

Driven from home by shells which killed their father and mother,
these brothers tramped from camp to camp selling eggs.]

A son of the soil is the Manchurian, but not a friend of nature,
with whom he wars valiantly for his daily bread. He fights terrible
suns in summer and ghastly winds in winter. When the winds and
snows drive out the flies that eat him up, the lice come in until
the sun and flies can have another turn. So can you blame him
for being a money grabber? He thinks only of this season’s maize
crop and of next spring’s plowing. Whether the Russians or the
Japanese or the Chinese rule the land is much the same to him. He
will put his tax into the Governor’s coffer and go on with his
toil. Why should he bother? He remembers that Confucius was born
on the Liaotung and that Confucius taught to resist no violence
and remember the fathers. Consequently he fills the country with
tombstones and babes while other men fill it with war and nameless
graves. Over in the valley is a granite monolith erected in the
memory of one who honored his father and mother. A Russian shell
has struck it in the pit of the stomach and Japanese bullets have
shattered its back.

Patriotism? No. But he has his religion and it is this: to remember
the fathers and owe no man.

Recently the master of our house went out with us for a day to
carry supplies. A stray shell passed over us, perhaps twenty feet
above. We all ducked, but as soon as the coolie recovered he ran.
We called him, for we were without other help. He kept running. We
sent a soldier. The coolie came back grudgingly. Finally we gave
him a yen. But he shook the yen impudently in our faces, and fell
back simulating death, crying out: “Coolie dead, yen no good.”

He should be used to danger now. His neighbors are. The shells
and bullets are to them what blowsnakes and mosquitoes are to an
American country district. To-day I saw children playing among
corn stubble while three shells burst within a hundred yards. The
children did not look up. For three months the Russians were in the
land; now for three months the Japanese have been in the land. For
three months the Manchurian nonchalantly carried Russian wounded
into Port Arthur and buried Russian dead by the roadside for fifty
kopeks a day. For three months he has nonchalantly carried Japanese
wounded into Dalny and buried Japanese dead in the fields for fifty
sen a day. What concern is it of his which survivor he gives up sen
and kopek to afterwards?



Chapter Eight

THE BLOODY ANGLE


General Nogi’s Headquarters Before Port Arthur, Oct. 22d: To-day
we went to the Eternal Dragon, and looked in on the bloody angle.
D’Adda was with me--the Marquis Lorenzo D’Adda of Rome, naval
expert, military engineer, designer of the _Niishin_ and _Kasuga_,
which, even now, on clear days, our spyglasses can discern held in
leash, ten miles off, by Togo.

Yesterday, from the Phœnix, D’Adda looked on the fortress--its two
mountain ranges, its stone wall, its chain of twenty forts, its
concrete glaces, its barbed wire morass, its artillery pregnant
with repose, its infantry hideous with secret might--and said:

“Eemposseebl! Eet ees eemposseebl--absolutelee. Zee Japonaise
can nevaire take. Eet ees stronger zan Sevastopol--stronger zan
Gibraltar--absolutelee.”

To-day, from the foot of the Dragon, he looked down into a plain
lost to the husbandman who bears on his arm no red cross, yet
furrowed far deeper with vast and terrible furrows, its creased and
aching joints curled into the glaring sun. Up, he looked under the
muzzles of Russian cannon, useless now that the plain they were
wont to fill with dead is lost to them.

“Extraordinaire--colossal!” he cried. “Port Art--eet will be one
smoke puff zee nex attac.”

We had left the siege parallels and were climbing into the fort,
our backs bent low so that no Russian sharpshooter might give
his government cause to decorate the forgotten names of two
noncombatants. We had wormed our way, zigzag, a mile and a half
through the valley along a trench that a division might foot with
equal safety, four abreast. Lives precious, toil enormous, and
brains cunning and quick had hid their army from the enemy as
prairie dogs hide their spring litters. A clever attaché with the
Boers had shown how they who learned the tricks from the Kafirs,
hid vulnerable turnings with maize stalks. Another, schooled with
D’Adda in the arts that Julius Cæsar taught the legions in Gaul
and which have not been improved on to this day, had outlined the
most economic angles of advance, had shown how to take advantage of
every gully, how to hide behind every terrace tuft, how to cross
sodded planks above at equal distances until the way resembled the
weave of an Indian basket. All of this that we had passed was but a
sixth of the work of one division, of which the army holds three.
And it has been done in less than two months.

The Marquis continued to exclaim that since the invention of
gunpowder there has been no such engineering. “I know zee historee
well,” he said, “veree well. I know Plevna, Sevastopol, Dantzig,
Paris, Vicksburg, Metz, Ladysmith. Zay are no-thing. Port Art--eet
ees zee greatest. Zee world cannot comprehend.”

Halfway back we had passed a Chinese village, shattered by shells,
blackened by smoke, its tumbling walls utilized for the trench.
Earthen wine pots had been filled with shale and placed on the
sandbags to deceive the gunners beyond. Two days before there was
rain and in one part the trench was filled with muddy water. We
had to pick our way on submerged stones and planks. As I hurried
along, looking at my feet, I noticed that the water grew dull red
as though the wine pots above had burst. At that moment I stumbled
and caught the wall for steadiness. My hand struck something
flabby. I drew it back in horror and found sticking to the palm
a white piece of flesh dented with convolutions--a bit of human
brain. A pace away he lay, his feet toward me. A stray shell had
blown him off from brain base to nose bridge. He was still warm and
the officer called back shrilly for a soldier to come with pick and
shovel. Then we took notice of the shells bursting, some five miles
off, some a thousand yards away. This had happened within the hour.

As we came closer to the Dragon a stretcher was borne down by two
red cross men. A bullet had picked a private through a peephole.
Just ahead of us two soldiers were walking, one with his full
kit, rifle and shovel on his back, the other bareheaded and
barebacked. Both wore on their sleeves the two yellow stripes of
the distinguished soldier. The finger of the one who was to go was
held by the hand of the one who was to stay. Neither spoke. They
walked silently and slowly in the full sunlight. He of the full kit
was ordered into the thirty-minute trench to take the place of the
one who had passed out on the stretcher. He, too, is almost sure
to pass, ere long, the same way. As the two comrades walked toward
the place of death I saw how true Dickens is, for it was precisely
thus--finger in palm--that he sent Sydney Carton and the seamstress
to _la guillotine_ in “The Tale of Two Cities”; the one who was to
go clasping the finger of the one who was to stay, the one who was
to stay looking with kind, brave strength calmly into the face of
the one who was to go.

“Ah! Tragique!” cried D’Adda.

The officer said we might one at a time go into the front trench.
I started. It was a short climb over shale and debris of sundered
shells and of a sudden I hobbled into a hollow space, girt with
bags and silent, silent as is the place of execution the morning
of capital punishment. It was the redoubt, thrust into the air
like the maw of a dragon. The sun beat in beautiful and sure. The
rocks, with deadly glare, spat up their challenge. An occasional
bullet sang as a ripsaw tears through a pine knot. Then a machine
gun rattled and the shale beyond pattered. I was carried back to
a boiler factory and an automatic riveter. Of all war sounds that
of the machine gun is least poetic, is the most deadly; it has the
ring of business.

Silence, blankness, death. At first I could see no life, but the
officer spoke a low word--here all words are whispers as they are
beside the couches of those about to leave this world--and four
spots on the wall that had seemed monotonous and brown as the shale
moved. Four simple, peasant faces with the star of Nippon above
looked at me. Then one, attracted by something beyond, suddenly
kneeled, seized the rifle beside him, leveled it through a chink
and pulled the trigger. That deadly rip sawed its knot.

Boldened by the presence of soldiers kneeling as I was, I began
to look around. A groan, first aspirate, then low, as of an
asthmatic man snoring, brought my eyes across the bag-protected
dragon’s mouth and I saw two figures kneeling above a third.
Presently the two lifted the third into a stretcher and filed
past me with it. I saw a face blood-dabbed, the lips piteously
moving. A bandage across the eyes saved me the worst. The officer
beckoned for me to peek through the farther hole. The incident
was but a bit of the day’s work for him. I followed and saw a
shattered field glass under the parapet. It told the story. He
was--had been--a non-commissioned officer in charge of the sentry
squad and was looking across at the Russians when a sharpshooter
spotted the glass. I felt that I was hurt more than he, for I lay
awake thinking of it much of that night, only to remember that
the surgeon-general had told me that a man shot through the brain
is instantly unconscious, though his lips move and he moans for
minutes.

“Each day--how many?” I asked the officer.

“Twenty.”

“And how many days?”

“Fifty-nine.”

“How many to take the fort?”

“Four thousand six hundred and fifty-three.”

“With each night a battle to resist a sortie?”

“Yes. Each night a sortie, each night a battle.”

“Thus--by night--how many to hold this awful place?”

“Since the beginning? Perhaps a regiment, perhaps a few more.”

He motioned me to the corner hole--the hole through which a
minute before the bullet had sped into the officer’s eye. I
emulated neither bullet nor officer, but at a respectful two
feet glimpsed a ridge ghastly and glimmering in the sun like any
other ridge in this hell hole. Quite near enough to reach in a
short dash--200 yards, the officer said--a row of sandbags were
backed business-like toward me. Between us were five heaps of blue
clothes, four in a huddle and one a bit off--Russian dead killed
in the battle of Hatchimakiyama four days ago in the zone where
nothing lives. Grass withers there. Vermin alone germinate.

Behind those sandbags and behind these men crouch and have crouched
every minute for two months hunting game the most lordly and the
most cunning, the most deceitful and the most contemptible, the
boldest and the fiercest, the most inspired and the most depraved
this earth can boast.

The Russians on three sides held us in a vise. The bottom of the
crater was paved with empty cartridge shells and bullets flattened
on the rocks. Constantly more knots were being ripped by the saw
above. Except for that rasp--a rasp that bore in with crescendic
violence on the nerves--the silence was profound. Life was
everywhere--intelligence at the keenest pitch, ingenuity the most
diabolical, agility the most intense, sacrifice heroic, daring,
sublime--but not a sound, not a motion. Everywhere the silence
kept--the unendurable silence of the Eternal Dragon. Its insatiable
maw thrust up there in the ghastly sunlight, drenched in blood, yet
cried for more.

[Illustration: HUMAN BARNACLES

Clinging to the bases of the forts, like barnacles to a ship,
these sturdy Japanese existed in miserable quarters throughout the
summer, fall and half the winter.]

Sick with the thought that through this bloody angle, bought at so
dear a cost, held at so terrible a price, there must yet be fought
the supreme fight that will eventually reduce the citadel I turned
to go. At the top of the downward trench I paused, kneeling, where
three soldiers stood with rifles waiting to relieve the sentry on
duty. Down through the plain swept the ten-mile front of the
two armies--the might of Russia and the might of Japan, locked
in a struggle so desperate there was no sound but the asthmatic
wheeze of the ripsaw buzzing above. It was very close to the
other world--yet the resources of two empires centered there, the
heartthrobs of great people, raging like the wind in from two seas,
swept it all into a typhoon of gore and grief.

I felt my hand clasped by a palm moist and gentle with feeling,
friendly with comradeship. The eyes I looked into were not those
of a beast of prey. They were quite pleasant eyes, even lovable.
The face was touched with soil. I could see it came from the rice
paddies, yet it had sympathy, and pity, and much capacity for
happiness. Was there not also capacity for suffering? The low
word came and he went off, food for powder. Will he be one of the
twenty? The sun was quite as devilish as ever in the Dragon’s maw
as he stepped into it. As I scrambled into safety I saw him propped
against the wall, his rifle against a chink, his cheek to the
breech, “sniping.” It was a salute and an appeal that he pressed
into my hand, a reproach and a challenge. I was a white man, he a
yellow, and he was killing white. What difference was there between
us? Could I not also have found friends two hundred yards farther
on? Still the ripsaw buzzed the knots. Again the machine gun
rattled, without poetry, business-like and deadly.

“Tragique!” whispered D’Adda, as he came back from the same journey
and sat beside me. “Zis ees zee focal point--most eentense, most
sublime. Perhaps here Port Art will be taken--and by surprise. I
know zee historee. I study Plevna, Sevastopol, Metz, Gibraltar,
Vicksburg, Ladysmith. Always by surprise. Zee physical is but
zee one aspect of zee situation. Zere are zee three aspect--zee
physical, zee mental and zee moral. Zee moral aspect will
be--what you call it? zee final decidence. When what you call zee
psychologique mo-ment come--in zee wind, zee rain, zee storm, zee
quick rush--zen zee high spirit go low--phwaat! like zat--zen Port
Art fall. By a surprise. One sergeant he take Dalny, one private
soldier he will take Port Art.”

We loiter along the parallel on our way back. The ripsaw strikes
a knot above our heads and we shy to windward. D’Adda reminds
me that once when Skoboleff, greatest of all Russian soldiers,
thus ducked in giving way to a purely physical reflex action, he
immediately leaped to the parapet, and walked along in full view of
the enemy, until two members of his staff dragged him down as he
sputtered out his disgust with himself.

We stop, winded. Again the ripsaw. Again the shrink. Then, content
with what breath we have, fearful we may have no more, we hurry on,
our knees sprung, our heads drawn in, like turtles slinking through
the mud. We have no troops to encourage, no reputations to sustain.
We are not Skoboleffs.



Chapter Nine

A BATTLE IN A STORM


Ho-o-zan (the Phœnix Mountain), Manchuria, August 28th:--Ninety-six
hours of almost incessant fighting--from sun to moon, from moon
to searchlight and from searchlight to dawn--is more than human
endurance, backed though it be by Japanese pluck, can stand, and
there was nothing to do last night but rest. Only an occasional
sentry pop or the roll off to the right of a wheezy cannon whose
shot traveled on wheels in need of grease, told us that the sublime
panorama of mountains and valleys lying before us hid a hundred
thousand armed and warring men.

Until last night the weather has been all sun and moonlight, with
dawns and sunsets tinted persimmon russet, and the valleys bright
twenty hours out of the twenty-four; fighting conditions ideal for
the defense, whose searchlights and star bombs made the other four
hours bright and left surprise as difficult as to a poker student
playing with his back to a mirror. But mirror or no mirror the
Japanese attacked. Night was day to them and daytime hell, as they
hurled themselves against that iron chain of forts, only to break
as the waves of the sea climb up to shatter upon the rocks. The
rocks disintegrate. Yes. Yet hard on the waves--and slow.

Losses? Officially it was admitted that more than twenty-five
thousand were done for. Not since Grant hurled his inefficient
brigades on Cold Harbor has there been such a slaughter against
a fortress. In the Ninth division, which lay in our immediate
front and which formed the center of the army, two regiments were
entirely decimated and a battalion and a company of artillery put
out of action, to a man. For a week the roads at the bases of our
mountain dribbled stretchers loaded with masses of flesh, clothes
and blood. The soldiers’ “bandaging places” overflowed, and the
living were so busy helping others to live, and still others to
die, there was no time to bury the dead.

And all for nothing. Not a single permanent fort had been taken,
not a prisoner, not a gun from the enemy was in our hands. The
opposing mountains, responsive with explosives to the touch, where
no art of the engineer was lost, held before us as always, grim,
monstrous, calm in mighty strength. On their under-features,
between the opposing outposts, lay thousands whom no first aid
dared reach, and other thousands whom no burial squad came near.
The men of words argued long that week. They could not agree
whether it was a reverse or a repulse. The anti-Japanese contended
that as we had not gained one point the action was a “reverse.” The
lenient were certain that as we had not been driven back no one
vain of military technique could call it more than a “repulse.”
The fifty thousand interested parents in Japan knew not if it was
victory or defeat; presently they are to find that it is death.
“Reverse” or “repulse” the commander cared not: he had disobeyed
an Imperial order, for the instructions were to enter Port Arthur
on the 21st of August. And the caterers of the treaty ports,
what cared they of “reverse” or “repulse”? The banquets had been
ordered, the five-dollar tickets sold, the day fireworks stored
for the fall of the eastern Gibraltar on this pre-ordained day. And
now the eggs were no longer strictly fresh, the vegetables were
stale, the meats off-color, while the back of Port Arthur was still
game and careless in all that brilliant weather.

With us, to meet an officer was to see a face drawn and grave.
Useless to utter sympathy, superfluous to express confidence. They
had underestimated a great foe, miscalculated his strength, and
were paying the price--a fearful one--with the “two o’clock in
the morning” courage of desperately determined men. They did not
waver or complain, but it was terrible to see them, calm, patient,
silent, suffering, still resolute to go on, meeting each salutation
with a hollow smile, ghastly with ache.

“What fine weather,” we say, wanting better speech.

“For him--yes. Bad for us.” “Him” is the enemy, on whom the sun
shone gayly and for whom the new moon was a few hours off.

Clouds came with last evening. Slowly the houses on the edge of the
old town disappeared against the murky hills. Then the new town
went. The huge cranes that marked the western harbor, where lay the
hunted warships, evaporated, the docks faded away, the stone quarry
was lost. At length the tall factory chimney on the outskirts,
which for days had been our chief landmark, went out in the haze.
That was the last we saw of the complete Port Arthur, whose
beleaguered, respected front had mocked us for eight desperate days.

The moon had a hard time. She came up with a huge cigar in her
face--shocking in a lady moon!--which choked her till she spewed
and sputtered and went out. She was a new moon and died gamely,
filling the air with impudence and bravado, so it was some time
after midnight before the rain pattered her off about her business
with that silly cigar behind the clouds, and filled the valley
with mist. Thus, the rain was our friend and we welcomed it,
casting happy and fragrant remarks into the rising storm, singing
the mountain to sleep with our lullaby of content, for we knew
that “his” searchlights could do little, perhaps nothing, against
our soldier boys, already sore and tired, but valiant down there
in the huge night. Foiled in the light, we looked for them to do
something in the dark.

But even before that we knew the night was big with promise, for
eight officers climbed up at dusk to stay the night with us. We lay
at length under rubber blankets and rough oiled paper used in Japan
for cart covers, with our noses stuck between the rocks, scenting
for excitement as deer are fire-stalked in the great woods.

This mountain, the Phœnix, is directly in the rear center of Nogi’s
army and about a mile from his advance posts. Thus, with little
danger, we command as grand a battlefield as the world has yet
produced. From here we have seen, at the same time, exasperating as
a three-ring circus, two infantry assaults, three artillery duels,
and a naval engagement. The human impetus we knew not until last
night. Until then we knew only the sound and color of battle, and
its wild glory. So we fell asleep, the rain pattering.

Past midnight and only stray sentry shots have carried out that
promise of something big. With difficulty we keep awake, yet the
officers behind lie expectant and the night is young. The fresh
rain dapples delicious coolness and filters mosquitoes--tiger
mosquitoes--more terrible than war. I hear deep breathing--then
quiet--and dreamland.

Rain pelting in my face wakes me to greet a flash of lightning.
I tuck in the rubber blanket, reach for my watch and by the next
flash see the hands at seven minutes past three. I snuggle myself
into a ball and crunch the rocks closer. Another flash behind and
I spasmodically close my eyes, but open them in time to see the
mountain side and road below livid. Two horses are lying in the
road, killed, I suppose, by the flash. But, no, I remember that a
shell laid them out yesterday. Ricalton cries:

“They’ve begun.”

“No,” I yell, “it’s the storm,” and my voice is lost in the thunder.

Is it thunder? Is it cannon? Who can tell? The vivid flashes, too
great for artillery, lighting up the whole mountain, come in now on
all sides and as fast as the lanyards of a battery could be pulled.

The horrid grandeur rises. Prayerfully thankful to be in it I
desperately resolve not to run. How the molten sheets drag me
from that hole in the rocks! Surely every glass in Port Arthur is
leveled here! The next instant the Russian fire will concentrate
on the Phœnix. Yes. There it is--a flash from Golden Mount, like a
dynamic spark from one electrode to another, pointed this way, lost
in the ink of night.

A double fear--the fear of shame and the fear of death--consumes
me. I shiver. But I grow brave, for I am not alone. Ricalton leaps
to his feet, wrapped in the trailing cart cover.

“Sublime!” he cries, waves his arms aloft, laughs at the storm.

More flashes from the Russian hills, the Japanese answer. The vast
night is hideously alive. Artillery flicks as fireflies spark,
spits tongues of flame, answering thunder with thunder, lightning
with lightning. The rain beats down a torrent.

In the intermittent flashes the ugly eye of the searchlight looks
in, licks phosphorus about us and ambles off into the valleys, as
a cow might run the fur of her tongue over a cocklebur and calmly
go to grass. No taste for rocks over there. They are out for softer
game. Six more fling their deviltry from the head of Cyclops and
down in the valley struggle with mist and rain.

Then, ’mid the sky’s and cannon’s belch, as a fairy into the land
of demons, a thin red line is tossed gracefully over the valley
from the Russian side. It reaches high over the mountains from
the sea forts and above the center of the great plain falls, as a
sailor casts a halyard over the yardarm on to the deck beyond. In
mid-air bursts the _feu de joie_, the delight of fireworks, in war
a spy. On other nights this deathly star bomb revealed all secret
movements, but now the Japanese have allies in the mist and rain.
Neither searchlight nor star bomb can penetrate the storm veil.

Now comes the crackle of infantry, followed by the pop, pop, pop,
of quick-firers, the clatter of Hotchkiss howitzers, the more
sprightly click of Maxims. Another assault--and they have had
eleven in a week! Will they win this time? They are going for the
Cock’s Comb, whose crest stands out ominously against the sky.

Boom! Bo-o-o-m! Far out of the distance a deep voice.

“The navy. That’s a twelve-inch gun. Togo’s with us to-night!”
Ricalton ought to know, but who can tell? Is it a Japanese siege
mortar, a Russian coast defender, field artillery, star bomb,
machine gun, howitzer, or that grand bombardment from the heavens?
They are all in action to-night. Is it defeat or victory? Can they
take the fort?

I can answer none of these questions. I only know that “a child
could understand the De’il had business on his hand.”

As the crashes increase, the wind rising, the furor mounting, I
throw the cart cover aside wrap the blanket more closely about me
and run down the mountain. Ricalton calls, but I hear him not. The
reality of this din must be known. Over my shoulder as I run the
Phœnix looms up monstrous, haughty, wise and terrible, silhouetted
as she was born, anon in fire.

At the foot a regiment is drawn along the road, the men squatting
on their heels, ponchos over heads, their rifle barrels,
brass-capped, peeping from the corners. I make for the valley.

Seeking a trench where I have been before, between the lines of
fire, I hurry for the village of Shuishiying, the location two days
before of our outposts. No living thing is to be seen, but overhead
the big bullets crash from behind and lumber in from the front.
Down here between the two lines of batteries the way grows long,
the village distant, the desire to return manifold. The artillery
of two armies centers on me; not a pleasant sensation! Not on me,
of course, but I am not a Christian Scientist--nor yet a veteran!
It gets on my nerves. I turn back. Then through the dark I feel a
file of soldiers near and go on.

Starting at every sound, in the purest darkness, not knowing
whether we or the enemy occupy the village, and yet so far by this
time I cannot return, I enter the village. A dull light around
the first corner shows me the headquarters of the infantry line
officers commanding the reserves--a place I had been two days
before. I go up. Only a sergeant is there answering the telephone.

“My friends? Where?”

He waves an arm toward the front. I tumble out of the village and
there are the advanced reserves drawn up, squatting on heels,
poncho-covered, rifles uncapped. A movement is beginning. I fall
in with the young lieutenant I know. The regiment quickly breaks
into charging formation--squads of twelve, and deploys single file
into the mealie fields to the left. I am discovered, ordered to
the rear. I protest. The sentry orders arms, bayonets fixed. I
go--back. The regiment goes--ahead.

But why be foiled? Why come halfway round the globe to be turned
back at the summit? There is another way--to the right. I hurry
along it as day begins to break. The mists are heavy, the rain
drizzling, the first light struggling. I find the conical hill in
the center of the plain, quite detached from the fortress proper,
taken by our troops the day before and called the Kuropatkin
battery. I struggle through battered abattis and entanglement
for the elevation. The foss is filled with water--the only moat
before Port Arthur that has the traditional morass. The place is
deserted and if I can reach the front trench the whole action will
lie before me like a chessboard. Across the parapet lies a line
sergeant, his head gone. There has been no time for the dead. The
trail is thick with khaki bodies. Picking my way slowly forward,
halting at each yard to be sure that I am not in range of the
musketry whose wild rattle is now filling the air, I at length find
myself near a bombproof partially splintered by shells. The plain
now luminous, I pause for rest and safety, the din not lessening.

But no sooner do I look around than I scramble quickly on--into
danger. Two figures are rigid there in the half-light of the
bombproof, one in khaki uniform, one in blue blouse and marengo
pants. The one in khaki has his teeth in the throat of the other,
whose eyes, popped like peas from the pod, peer over, rakishly
curious, at his limp hand dropped over the khaki back and holding a
pistol. The khaki hip is drenched with blood, partially dried. The
sun is come and gone and is now here again since that happened. The
faces are ghastly with bloat. I leave the half-light of the shelter
and go out where bullets are.

The star bombs cease, the searchlights die away, the artillery
flags, the infantry grows noisier. Then I see the reserves falling
back, the squads of twelve escaping from one terrace to another,
in good formation, continually firing, but still falling back.
This Kuropatkin battery may see other dramas like the bombproof
duel. I hasten down. In the village I find the lieutenant busy with
trenches, improvising the defense. He throws all his English at me
as I come up:

“The Russians--they come--I fix them. They are very wild. Our men
are very wild. Ah, it is a wild war.” The telephone rings. He runs
to speak with the general. Then the sergeant informs me.

They had attempted an assault in the rain and dark. Beginning with
shrapnel they had tried to find the searchlights. Charges burst
above two of them nearest the Cock’s Comb, and they expired, as
if hit. The guileless infantry then went in, supposing the way
clear. Halfway up the glacis every searchlight, including the
two apparently hit, converged on them, throwing them out, in
spite of the rain, clearly against the red earth. More. They
carried nippers able to cut wire theretofore found before Russian
positions, but here the wire was as thick as the little finger, not
cutable with their weapons. Thus, instead of a lump of dough to be
bowled over the first dark night the advance regiment had found,
even in the rain, that the Cock’s Comb stood out intact as a racing
yacht stripped for her tryout.

Yet another Russian dodge, for a battlefield is as full of
intrigue as a ballroom, completed the disaster. Under our fire of
the afternoon which preceded the rivalry with the storm Stoessel
had his batteries reply, but when we opened up with the storm he
ordered his guns to cease, one by one, battery by battery. Soon our
forces thought that like the searchlights the artillery was done
for. So when the advance, after creeping through the nipper-defying
barbed wire, expecting their job done, was about to leap with a
“Banzai” over the parapet, they were met by light and fire. Turning
to look for their comrades of the second regiment they found these
deep in the dunga, attempting, not to come on, but to cut their way
back, for a battery of pompoms and a regiment of sharpshooters
had sortied, almost segregating them from the command. The whole
brigade was threatened with annihilation and at this moment the
reserves I had joined were ordered to the relief.

The regiment under fire of the machine guns retreated
precipitately, leaving one-half its number on the slope. Turmoil
again through the barbed wire and plump into the rear of the
second regiment, also retreating, not into its own lines, but into
the Maxims and Nordenfeldts. Overwhelmed on all sides, tricked,
defeated, two-thirds of the men killed or wounded, grimy with sweat
and powder and almost fainting in the muggy August, the decimated
brigade, its regiments back to back, fought as Custer fought on the
Little Big Horn, with a coolness that comes to men in the supreme
hour.

Most of them died as Custer died, for out of that brigade of 6,000
men there are to-day uninjured but 640. These were saved by the
reserves from Shuishiying, my lieutenant and his comrades, who, as
dawn came in, hammered the Russian rear and drove the Siberians,
sullen with the joy of successful trickery, up into their trenches.

Wandering back toward Ho-o-zan, the forenoon well on, the rain
almost finished, I wondered was it “reverse” or “repulse”? Coming
to a place where the rear guard had been at my descent of the
mountain before dawn I looked for them in vain. Instead of the
greeting I expected from the side of the road the dust about me,
here and there, was flicked up, as if stones were thrown at me.

“Is this a bit of soldier fun?” The pelting kept up. One of the
stones struck a few inches from my toe, when I heard the well-known
voice of Ricalton yelling from behind a shoulder of rock:

“Here--out of that, you young ass!”

Then I saw him frantically waving, from behind his shelter. But why
should he look for shelter there? The artillery fire was down. All
I could hear was a counter-attack of infantry a mile and a half in
my rear. But as soon as I got near him he ran out and dragged me
into the ditch at his side.

[Illustration: AMMUNITION FOR THE FRONT]

“Where are the soldiers?” I asked. Then I saw his fun. “You were
tossing things at me,” I cried.

“Those! Spent bullets! You ----!”

At this moment an orderly galloping along fell from his horse
several hundred yards up the road, and crawled into the ditch ahead
of us. We wormed up to him and found a slug had traveled from
shoulder to trunk under his ribs and into his thigh.

They were fighting down the reverse slope of the Eternal Dragon,
an outwork of the Cock’s Comb, and the Russian bullets, aimed at
the foe above, cut a parabola in the air, and came down with their
initial velocity two miles off across the plain--where we stood.
The Russians on the reverse, the Rising Sun must be above the
Eternal Dragon.

It is now noon. We are back on Ho-o-zan, looking out to sea. Twelve
warships are on the horizon. From one, the nearest in, comes an
occasional puff of white smoke, then a low, long bo-o-om! A shell
drops into the town. The eye follows.

Now we see how the brigade is avenged. The houses of the old town
are charred and broken. The new town is gutted and smoldering. A
shell has carried away the factory chimney. One leg of the crane is
demolished and the other sags. The rain has put out the flames and
a dirty brown smoke fills the gap from Golden Mount to Tiger’s Tail.

Between sun and sun the navy, brother of the army, has laid a heavy
paw upon the place. Its claws away, the deep scratches show where
Port Arthur bleeds.



Chapter Ten

THE CREMATION OF A GENERAL


Before Port Arthur, Sept. 27th.--Major-General Yamamoto was shot
and instantly killed two days ago. The brigade he commanded--one
leading the right wing of the Army--had captured the outworks of
“203.” This mountain had been long in dispute and was dominated by
certain Russian forts, which made it, while Japanese territory, yet
untenable by our forces. Yamamoto’s brigade, however, clung under
the reverse ridges and occupied trenches at the top, keeping the
foothold secure until artillery could be advanced to reduce the
opposing positions. In this critical situation the General thought
it best to be on the ground in person and advanced his headquarters
to the base of the mountain, which exists on the map only under
the figure “176,” denoting its height in meters, but which his
soldiers had cherished “Namicoyama,” because of its resemblance
to the trepang or namico, a long angular fish abundant in eastern
waters.

The night of the move Yamamoto climbed the mountain and crept
into the trenches for a look at the contested heights opposite.
He came before he was expected and his engineers had not had time
to prepare a bombproof shelter through whose chinks he could look
in safety. He would not wait, but put his glasses through a rift
in the trenches and settled into a comfortable seat to study the
situation. There was no regular firing, but only the desultory
popping that is heard night and day along the whole ten-mile front,
where sharp-eyed pickets are keen and cautious. The General became
bold, raised his head--whit--a bullet through his brain.

Neither officers nor men can be said to be reckless, or even
incautious. The army is devoid of that extravagance expected of
war, when each man’s courage seems in question and cowardice
impels bravado. Evidently, there is not a coward in the army,
for the bravery of each soldier and of each officer seems taken
for granted. All make of war a serious business, in which lives
are units to be kept for the Emperor and skillfully used, as
a go-player advances his pawns, saving all he can for final
victory. The labor done in a week to build cover would gather all
the harvests of Manchuria, which just now are mellow ripe and
gloriously beautiful in the keen sunlight. Whole mountains are
tunneled, in some places through solid rock; in others through
slanting shale, to afford covered ways. At each divisional
headquarters, of which the army has three, the lookout has two
bombproofs dug in the solid rock on commanding heights, buttressed
by three layers of sand bags, covered with two feet of earth,
all supported by poplar poles, with the loophole for lookout
cunningly slanted so the sun will not show behind and indicate to
the enemy--perhaps only 500 yards away--the precious eyes behind.
These bombproofs sometimes are made quite comfortable with rugs
and improvised stools, but mostly knees suffer and the wretched
correspondent traveling from post to post comes to complain not of
“writer’s cramp,” but of “general’s stoop.” A month ago on the left
wing of the army two staff officers were killed in a bombproof
by a bursting shell. The army was scared, for a staff officer is
valuable freight. Since then care has been redoubled; sand bags
have been laid a layer deeper on all lookouts, ramparts have been
heightened, and now venerable, curious heads sink lower as they
turn up for a view.

The death of the General, Yamamoto, was another warning. It
was also a severe blow. He was one of the most competent men
in the army, commanded a star brigade and was slated for early
advancement. Last night his memory received a most distinguished
honor: the corpse was cremated on the battlefield where he lost his
life.

To appreciate how great the honor was it will be necessary to
explain two conditions: First, wood on the peninsula here is worth
its weight in cash. The country is not wooded to begin with, which
is the cause of another difficulty the army has to face--scarcity
of water. About the villages there are usually a few poplars, but
the mountains have nothing but Scotch heather and the plains only
Ventura County bean pods and San Joaquin wheat fields. Then two
great armies have boiled water and savagely wrangled here for three
months, until all the rotten timber of old Manchurian dwellings
has gone for firewood. As a consequence a frequent sight is a
transport cart with some stubs of spruce tied to the whiffletree,
being carried from Dalny, twenty-two miles away. Dried maize stalks
are the universal fuel. Cracker boxes sell for a dollar apiece and
the other day I found my servant brushing the pencil whittlings
from the floor to use for kindling. Second, it was the samurai’s
belief that a warrior who sacrificed his life in combat should be
honored by cremation on the spot of his vicarious atonement. And
the difference between the army of to-day and a samurai clan of a
generation ago is far less than the difference between cuirass and
bombproof; you can’t wipe out the clinging beliefs of generations
in forty years--not in the Orient. It may take hyposcopes and
searchlights, wireless telegraphy and machine guns to win
victories, but only funeral pyres and Shinto sacrifices will pay
for them.

Wood-impoverished, the army cannot honor its humble dead; _i. e._,
not immediately; wait till Port Arthur falls--but of that later.
It is different with generals. As a daimyo in feudal times received
the forehair of all his clan as a final offering, so to-day a
general gone gets the camp fires of his soldiers. Last night the
brigade which had lost its intrepid head ate its rice dinner cold
and went without hot water for its tea. All the mess fires were
contributed to make a pyre worthy the deceased.

Just as the sun went down, at the bottom of Namicoyama, whose
heights war had swept but a day before, in sight and sound of the
grim proofs of his last victory--emplaced batteries and occupied
field hospitals--the body of the major-general was given to the
flames, while his men in the trenches above sternly held the
Russians at bay. Occasional cannon rent the air, infantry popping
cracked in the stillness, myriad tent lights twinkled up into the
moonlight; the blaze shot up, waned, crackled and died down. The
midnight shift of sentries presented silent arms. A donkey brayed
out of the valley. Miles to the left a howitzer boomed. The ocean
lay black like ink beyond a fringe of shore gray under the moon. A
line of coolies passed with bamboo stretchers carrying piteously
mangled forms--the day’s harvest to which the coolies had been
called from their maize and their millet. Embers gleamed from the
brigade’s mess fire. Two orderlies stepped up with a wooden box,
kicked the embers away, and placed in it some ashes.

A week hence a family in Tokyo--a quiet, dry-eyed Japanese lady
with two half-grown boys--will receive the wooden box. It will be
borne a few days later through the streets of the capital on a gun
carriage to Aoyama Cemetery. There, after two white-robed priests
have said a few words over it, a long shelf in a narrow vault will
receive the wooden box. The widow will have notification by special
messenger that his August Highness, the Emperor, sees fit to
remember the illustrious deeds of the departed by conferring upon
him--who is not dead, but who has passed on to wait--the order of
the Rising Sun, and, in the absence of the husband the wife will be
permitted to receive the pension attached thereto. Japanese history
will record that Major-General Yamamoto, after a valiant career
in the service of his Emperor, gave up his life at the Battle of
Namicoyama, in Manchuria, Sept. 24th, 1904.

Last night the brigade bivouacked in joyous envy. Had not its
general received what every soldier longs for--death before the
enemy; had he not also received the soldier’s apotheosis--cremation
on the scene of his exaltation? This is as near religion as these
people get. But the staff and the new major-general, educated
in Europe and living in the twentieth century, when they climb
Namicoyama to spy upon Port Arthur will wait until the engineers
have safe-marked the heights with bombproofs.



Chapter Eleven

THE GENERAL’S PET


He was small, like all his race, and he looked as harmless as a
musician. In fact, his eyes had the dreaminess of a musician’s,
and the clasp of his hand was like that of a woman. He touched
me on the arm one day as I came out of the staff tent at General
Nogi’s headquarters, and asked me in fairly good English if I knew
San Francisco. Together, with a crooked stick, we traced out a
map of the city on the sand at our feet. He knew it as well as I
and he pointed to his former home, near the corner of Washington
and Mason streets. Then he pulled from his breast pocket a letter
sweat-stained and travel-worn, which, read:

  “To whomever this may concern, I wish to say that the bearer,
  George, is the most faithful servant I have ever had, that he is
  a good cook, and that he has a lovely character. I will consider
  it a favor to myself if his next employer treats him generously.

  “MRS. H. L. HEVENER,

  “1180 Mason Street

  “San Francisco.”

His real name was Eijiro Nurimiya. He had seen me the day before at
the General’s tiffin and had read the word, “San Francisco,” on my
arm band, but had not ventured to speak to me when in the General’s
presence. He was one of Nogi’s bodyguard, and I immediately knew he
must be a man of some distinction, for throughout the camp it was
well understood that Nogi had about him only those private soldiers
who had become eminent for service in the field. That day and the
following days when Nurimiya came to my bean shed, we had long
talks over the tea and cakes. Thus his story is here set down:

He left the Hevener home nearly a year before the war began and
worked in a watchmaker’s shop on Jackson Street in San Francisco.
Like all of his countrymen he had ambition and desired to rise
above the kitchen. But he was a reserve conscript, subject, as such
reserves are, to the call of the Emperor at any crisis similar to
the one that his country is now in. So he responded to this call
March 23d, sailing on the _Korea_ from San Francisco to Kobe,
twenty miles from which his home lay in the Ugi Provinces.

His father, a mender of broken barrels, is separated from his
mother, who keeps a tea house in Kioto. There is one sister at the
tea house with his mother. He had three days with his parents,
the first time he had seen them in six years. Then he sailed for
Manchuria, where he joined the famous Ninth Regiment, the Black
Watch of Japan, a part of the Ninth Division of the Third Army
chosen to conduct the operations against Port Arthur. This same
regiment had a number of other American Japanese.

The campaign had progressed two months, when Nurimiya saw his first
great battle. It was the grand assault against the permanent forts
of Port Arthur, lasting through seven frightful August days. He is
one of the fifteen survivors of Company C of this Ninth Regiment,
which marched into the Seven Days’ Battle three hundred and fifty
strong.

The first day Nurimiya went with his comrades against the north
battery of the Cock’s Comb Fort, which was finally captured on
December 18th. Thus, it took the Japanese four months of desperate
work to accomplish that for which Nurimiya’s comrades were lost
those seven days in August. Most of the regiment was wiped out
in front of the Cock’s Comb. What was left, including Nurimiya,
was ordered to reinforce the Seventh Regiment, operating to the
right against the fort of the Eternal Dragon. Against the Cock’s
Comb Nurimiya fought in the front line. He also had the same
good fortune in the fight against the Eternal Dragon, for to the
Japanese such an opportunity is considered good fortune. More of
his comrades were lost here, including all that came from America.
The following two days he lay with a few others hugging the base of
the fort in the broiling sun, cut off from provisions. About this I
asked him:

“Were you thirsty?”

He replied: “By-m-by very much want to drink, so I make water--red
water.”

With that he struck his wrist mimically showing that he had slit
one of his veins to slake his thirst.

But the great act of Nurimiya’s life came on the 25th of August,
when he made the ninth assault he had participated in during the
seven days--and the first successful one. Each Japanese infantryman
carries in his breast a linen flag--a cheap affair that you might
pick up in a department store for a few pennies--a red sun on a
white field. The first man into an opposing trench or redoubt waves
this flag above his head. It is a signal to his own artillery,
showing them where they must not fire, and also acquaints the
commanding officer, viewing the action from some eminence in the
rear, with the situation. Nurimiya was the first man to wave his
little flag over the Eternal Dragon. The Eternal Dragon was the
only fort which the Japanese held in that permanent Russian line
through the three months of August, September and October, and it
was the object essential to the engineers in outlining their vast
siege operations across the plain. Thus it was the San Francisco
watchmaker who planted the flag of the Rising Sun on the key fort
at Port Arthur.

General Nogi chose Nurimiya and his fourteen comrades for body
servants and relieved them for the rest of the campaign from active
duty on the firing line.

This is how I found him at the General’s house. I asked if he
wanted to go back to America. He replied:

“War all finish I go. Nogi-San need me I stay.”

Then with great eagerness he told me how he wanted to get back into
the fight and for the first time in all our acquaintance his eyes
lost their dreaminess and the clasp of his hand became taut with
energy.

I did not tell him how I that morning had learned from the General
himself that never again should Nurimiya be subjected to the
supreme test.

“Is it not pleasant here at headquarters, with the band, and the
foreigners, and the nice cooking, and the easy work?” I asked.

He was not interested in what I said. He waved an indefinite arm
toward the front and replied:

“By-m-by they make plenty die off there. Then I go back.”

He had not yet learned that he was the General’s Pet.



Chapter Twelve

COURTING DEATH UNDER THE FORTS


Willow tree village, Headquarters Third Imperial Army, Manchuria,
four miles from Port Arthur, Oct. 5th:

It was in August that the Japanese took the Eternal Dragon,
advanced their outposts beyond its walls, threw up trenches, and
settled down this inch nearer the coveted goal. In this fearful
fight a certain part of the field was taken and retaken seven
times, and finally, for strategic reasons, though the fort which
was the bone of contention rested with the victors, a piece of dead
ground beyond, over which these repeated charges had occurred,
lay partly within the Russian lines and partly within our own.
Dead bodies mingled with wounded--Russians jowl by cheek with
Japanese--lay over it so thick that a man might have walked from
one trench to another without touching the earth. The wounded could
not be succored, the dead could not be buried except when they
lay behind the opposing trenches. Between, no living thing could
exist. The lines were but three hundred yards apart--a distance at
which even a poor marksman could shoot fatally, and through all the
twenty-four hours the two trenches were lined by sharpshooters a
rod apart and on the constant lookout.

The weather was perfect. By day the sun shone; by night the moon,
assisted by searchlights and star shells, kept the plain of death
as light as day. The light showed the loopholes of the trenches so
well that they could not be used, for the moment a shadow appeared
behind one a marksman from the other side would put a bullet
through it. The men sighted the hyposcope--an instrument first
used extensively at this siege--which is a telescope arranged with
mirrors at a reflex angle, so the scope goes over a wall while
the eye sees in perfect safety twelve inches below. At occasional
places, carefully shadowed, they kept chinks covered by stones,
which, when the sun sank to the proper angle, or at dawn, could be
uncovered to make a peephole large enough for a man’s eye.

Now for a month, under a torrid sun, unmarred by a day of rain
or scarce a fleck of cloud, hundreds of dead have lain rotting
in that compact space. A flag of truce to bury them was out of
the question. The Japanese had far the worst of it, as their
lines, drawn in a lunette, partly surrounded the charnel house
below which they lay, steeped in its noisome drains. Moreover,
in hastily throwing up their trenches the night of the battle,
corpses, loosely covered; had been used to improvise the walls,
so bodies and stones together formed a shelter which in life the
men thus commandeered could not have made. Well the Russians knew
of the disease the sun was breeding, and refused a truce, for the
dead played well into their hands. Stench could be a weapon more
effective than bullets or strategy. So, day after day they held the
Japanese there, as a dog’s nose is rubbed in his own mess.

Watch on sentry posts was cut from four hours to two, and at the
worst portion of the line to one hour. The pickets swathed their
thin brown faces in towels and the commissary supplied smelling
salts. An officer who served on that picket line twelve days told
me that the sun alone was enough to defeat an ordinary man in four
hours. Added to that the slightest zephyr bore a fetid breath more
foul than the lowest of a city’s sewers.

During the first day groans could be heard occasionally from the
contested ground. Wounded--no one could guess how many--lay there
dying. To have attempted succor would have been suicide. The
pickets did all they could. They threw rations of biscuits beyond
the trenches, scattering them along the ground, blindly, of course,
but carefully as a farmer strews a field. A company divided itself;
one part sacrificed its water bottles, slinging across their
shoulders beer bottles, instead of the handy and handsome aluminum
ones furnished by the army. Then the aluminum bottles, that would
stand the shock of striking, which might shatter a beer bottle,
were tossed over to the starving, thirsty wretches.

The second morning there came some desultory groans from the
farther side. The groans suddenly ceased. Successive rifle pops
told that the Russian sharpshooters had picked off the wounded.
Picket duty in the trenches became more deadly. The army had
settled, with quiet determination, into a siege. One night, as the
moon rose over another division of the army, two thousand yards
to the west, there appeared above the trenches a cap. A bullet
pierced it instantly, but it was only a feint cap on the end of a
stick. The picket nearest saw it was a Japanese cap, and called his
challenge, “Who goes there?”

“Tomodachi!” (a friend) came the response.

“Show your arm.”

A small grimed hand on an emaciated forearm was thrust above the
parapet. The picket grasped it and pulled sharply. With a groan of
agony and relief a bundle of rags, dirt and clotted blood tumbled
into the trench. The picket forgot his duty as he knelt over his
comrade, for, ground in filth and caked as it was with dried blood,
he could not mistake the universal brown khaki, and under an arm
was slung a bit of cotton-incased wood--a Shinto emblem, for this
time, at least, triumphant. The wounded soldier fainted.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, 1905 by Collier’s Weekly_

HOW THEY GOT IN

Eighteen miles of these trenches were dug through the plain before
the Russian forts.]

In a field hospital this afternoon I was privileged and honored
in looking upon and talking with this hero. He is a distinguished
soldier of the famous Ninth Regiment, the Black Watch of Japan,
which lost all but ten per cent. of its forces in that illustrious
assault under the Chinese wall. So marvelous is the recovery of the
wounded that the soldier smiled as he lay, speaking occasionally
a few words in response to my interpreted questions. His head
and legs were swathed in bandages and he was sipping saké--a
present from his Emperor. How these soldiers love their Emperor!
Well they may, for a week ago there sailed into Dalny harbor
a transport laden with presents from His Majesty to his sick
soldiers. All the privates got saké, all the officers brandy. In
addition, every private received a present of three yen in cash,
the non-commissioned officers from three to ten yen, and the
commissioned officers from ten to sixty yen each.

Here is the soldier’s remarkable account:

“I was one of the few who reached the Chinese wall that terrible
August afternoon. There were but a few of us left, scarce half a
company out of a regiment, when the Captain in command ordered
us to scale the wall. I had but reached for the stones when my
legs went from under me--melted away. A shell fragment had smashed
them as a bamboo pole is smashed under a hammer. The pain was
little, but it gradually spread over my body. I became numb, then
unconscious, and though shells were busy all about me, lay for
hours with no further hurt. I came to, under the stars.”

The soldier told little of what he felt and saw, but it can
be imagined; the vast plain, silent but alive with hostile
trenches; the gloomy fortress above, bristling with cannon, but
silent; the concealed batteries--his own--miles beyond, from
which an occasional boom and whiz startled the gaunt and shivery
searchlights in their fantastic pencilings; then his sense of
comrades lost, of dear ones perhaps dead within sound of his voice,
with memories of home and better days; then desolation at defeat,
the foe victorious, pride alone resolute, triumphant to the last.

He could hear sounds of pick and spade scratching the chilly earth,
clamping into the shale. Only a few rods away the reinforcements
were hastily throwing up earth-works to hold the hard-won ground.
He saw indistinct forms groping in the dusk, pulling about other
forms, inanimate ones, and hastily covering them with earth. The
dead were being used to more quickly fill in the embankments. In a
few days those carcasses--rotting--would charge usurious toll for
all the improvised help they were this fatal night.

The soldier tried to crawl toward his comrades, but he could move
only a few inches at a time, so intense was the agony in his legs,
for the cool of night and renewed circulation had brought back his
senses in full keenness.

Soon dawn came and with it hell. The battle was on again, this
time in other parts of the field, but the shells and bullets so
often passed over him that he came to think of himself as a dead
man and lived on only because nature exerted her just law. Like an
opossum he feigned death. Within his sight were more than a hundred
dead and twice as many wounded. Groans welled up like bubbles from
a pot. Arms tossed feverishly. Backs writhed in despair. Then
biscuits began falling from his own trenches; one fortunately fell
near him. He also managed to get a tossed-over water bottle. To
reach it he was obliged to crawl a few feet and as his hand touched
it he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and the blood trickled. A
bullet had pinked him. Instinctively he fell as if dead.

It was then that there occurred the thing which has inflamed
the army as tow is inflamed on bonfire nights. The whole vast
amphitheater was quiet. It was sundown. Nature was in her most
gorgeous raiment. Both armies were at supper and an involuntary
truce seemed to still the hills and valleys so lately fire-ringed.
In the midst of this peace and beauty a desultory firing rang from
the Russian trenches nearest the bloody angle in which lay the
soldier with his comrades--dead and worse than dead. The bullets
were directed, not into the opposing trenches, but into the wounded
in the bloody angle.

“Stand to your guns, men!” came from the Japanese trenches, and the
men sprang as though to resist a sortie.

But there was no sortie. The Russians were killing the wounded,
that the bodies might rot and drive their comrades from below.

The moving ceased, the groans ceased, the sun went down, the stars
and searchlights came. Impelled by the first law of nature the
soldier dragged on, wearily, as he supposed, toward his friends.
But the ground was level and he must have gone laterally. Toward
dawn he tumbled into a deserted trench and found a sort of
sheltered dugout. It was a covered passage to the Russian fort
and untenable now by either side. In it were two Japanese so
desperately wounded they could not move and could barely speak. He
shared his last drop of water with them.

As they were drinking a figure slouched along the trench and
blocked the doorway. It wore a black-visored cap, shiny with
celluloid--a Russian cap. Searching the gloom the Russian found
the three wounded soldiers. Then he poked his rifle in and fired
three bullets--one at the brain of each. Two died instantly. The
third--the soldier who had already survived as by a miracle--passed
into what he thought was the rigor of death. All grew black before
his eyes. Never from that moment to this--seventeen days later--has
he seen even a glimmer, nor will he ever see again. The bullet
passed across his eyes as he lay side down and shattered the optic
nerve.

The Russian thought his work complete. Leaving his rifle outside he
passed into the dugout and emptied the pockets of the two dead men
and the third, whom he believed to be dead. Then sneaking back up
the passage, the Russian regained his own lines.

For five days the soldier lay in the dugout, unable to move,
unable to see, numb from long suffering. Almost crazed by thirst
and hunger, he at length severed the arteries of one of his fallen
comrades, newly dead, and lived on. He found worms crawling in the
wounds of his legs. He tore up the shirt of a corpse and bound them.

Then began as memorable a journey as man ever made, as heroic a
combat for life as pioneer or warrior ever underwent. He started
to crawl to the Japanese lines. Blinded, paralyzed, his legs
shattered, one arm useless, half dead with fatigue, his tongue
swollen with thirst, and starving, he made his piteous way a few
yards each night.

Directions were useless. Seeing nothing he could not tell whether
firing came from friend or foe. He only knew that his way
was down. So down he crawled. Bullets and shells passing over
him became so common he lost all sense of them. By a terrible
mistake--an error that cost twelve days of agony, for otherwise he
might have traveled the few essential yards in a night--he missed
the captured fort which marked the apex of the wedge driven into
the Russian lines. And so his fearful, sublime crawl was for a
thousand yards along the front of his own lines, into which at any
time, had he turned straight along the face of the hill, he might
have come and found sound legs and new, clear eyes. But down was
his direction and down he went--a thousand yards in twelve nights.
He found a few new dead with biscuit in their pockets and blood in
their veins--this saved him.

So history repeats itself. Ten years ago--to the month--the
Japanese lay without Port Arthur as they do to-day. Instead of
Russians, Chinese were inside. But as the Japanese advanced along
the western wall they suddenly at a bend in the way came upon ten
bodies--no more--of their own comrades, stripped and mutilated, the
heads grinning from pikes above. The Chinese had visited their
own vengeance on successful enemies. But the act lost them Port
Arthur. The Japanese became an army of fanatics, a tribe of solemn,
righteous men, inflamed with the zeal of retribution, blazing with
revenge, as did once that ancient civilization founded on the
prophetic watchword, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The
next day Port Arthur fell. Those ten bodies cost the Chinese a
province, a fortune and an island kingdom.

How will the Russians pay? I asked this of a certain
Lieutenant-General, who told me some of the details I have just
related. He raised his arm and pointed beyond the bombproof in
which we sat to where the western harbor, with its magnificent
Russian stone dwellings rising beyond could be plainly seen.

“We have a proverb in our country,” said he, “like this, ‘Once won,
well won; twice won, never lost.’”



Chapter Thirteen

FROM KITTEN TO TIGER


Headquarters, Third Imperial Army, Before Port Arthur, Sept.
30th:--We went yesterday to the foremost firing line, where all the
venom of war is concentrated in a score of yards among a dozen men.
There we saw how the besiegers of Port Arthur are besieging it, how
they live, what manner of men they are, and some of the facts of
modern warfare which those who want to know about the humanity of
science had better not read. Before we went an officer led us to a
bombproof on the Japanese side of the great valley across which we
were to go to gain the captured fort.

“Look!” said he, turning over his hyposcope, “the way is about a
mile and a half. The real danger is in the fort itself, but if
you are very careful to crawl with your heads low you are safe.
If you decide to go you must relieve our authorities from all
responsibility for your lives.”

Across the valley a puff of white spat out a tongue of flame; a
shell crashed into the escarpment below us. From across the valley
came the intermittent puffing of outposts. A mis-shot bullet lapped
up a patch of dust twenty paces to our right.

“Well, gentlemen, will you go? It’s a quiet morning. We had better
start soon if at all, for the sun is in their eyes now; soon it
will be against us and then they can pick us off like flies.”

Villiers was with me. “What do you say?” he asked. “It’s time to
measure risks. Think what you’ll get out of it. A correspondent
dead is of no use to his paper, and people remember him as a fool
who got shot in some reckless venture. Remember, you’re going into
bullet fire for the first time. You’ve had shell fire only, up to
now, and shell fire is to bullets what a bluebottle fly is to a
tiger mosquito. Forbes used to have a supreme contempt for shell
fire and a supreme respect for bullets. A shell buzzes and blows--a
bullet flits in quietly, spits through an artery, the heart, the
head--and it’s all over. Their rifles fire point blank at 200 yards
and up where you want to go the lines are but forty yards apart.
They can pick off a ten-cent piece at that distance. Remember, if
your head shows so much as an inch above that parapet, you’re only
good to sniff at when the wind blows from you, for these people
have no extra stretcher for your useless carcass.” Villiers can say
these things. Somewhere in his London studio is his order of St.
George which the Czar gave him for audacity at Plevna. Also some
seven other governments have decorated him for fit war behavior, so
he is an expert on battlefields.

“But,” said I, “think of what there is up there: the bloody angle,
scene of the death of 3,000 men, heaps of unburied slain, trenches
made of corpses, sentries firing, the living sleeping, eating,
working among their dead comrades, the enemy on three sides, with
this single line of supply and retreat down which only four men can
march abreast. This captured fort is to the siege of Port Arthur
what Nanshan is to the campaign--its decisive battle. It is the
wedge Japan is driving into the heart of Russia and we’ll be on its
tip. When the nations hear the truth about this fort--the assault
that captured it, the odds against which it was fortified and held
for six weeks--it will be the marvel of the age. Think! Would you
miss standing on the apex of the world?”

“I was a youngster myself once and I’m not old now,” replied
Villiers. “They fake these things in London almost as well as I
can do them in the field, so why risk my bones? But I’m as good
as a Japanese officer or an American reporter. Up to now we’ve
been chaperoned scribblers; here we become war correspondents. It
smells of the old days: Forbes, Cameron, Pierce, McGahan, Jackson,
Burleigh--and that crowd of gay devils. Lead on.” Perhaps you will
be more interested in Villiers to know that he is supposed to be
the original of Kipling’s character, Dick the Artist, in “The Light
that Failed.”

So we went into the chipmunk’s burrow, up through the cornfields,
frowned on by a hundred thousand guns, menaced by two armies,
until we nestled in the ragged hole Japan has torn in Russia’s
impregnable last stand. Laterally down the line of our advance, but
high over our heads, shells often rammed their harsh bewilderment
and we could hear them strike, sometimes rods, sometimes miles
away. How like a live thing a shell snarls--as some wild beast, in
ferocious glee thrusting the cruel fangs in earth and rock, rending
livid flesh with its savage claws, and its fetid breath with poison
powder scorching the autumn wind! ’Most always it fizzes and funks
in shameful waste. Bullets are the nasty things; a who-whit, a dry
spat, a thin hole drilled in a frightful way, as snakes sling their
venom in sly and easy scorn. When we got halfway up, and into the
angle, so that Russian trenches were on three sides, a number sped
about us. Hardly a minute but one passed over our heads.

The situation looks well in print. Yet we were in little danger.
Our wits kept--we were safe. For this let us profoundly thank the
engineer who built that siege parallel--a cunning masterful Yankee
of the East, whose name as a military engineer must be handed
down to future generations of technical students. He had taken
advantage of every rise in the ground and of every depression. Of
corn stubble he made a drapery, of hillocks a screen, of ravines an
ambuscade, until Nature so aided him that she and not the Japanese
infantry was the assaulting force against those heights beyond.

We walked twenty meters apart, for, should we by any chance lift
our heads together and be sighted in a party, the Russians could
drop a bit of shrapnel over us. Otherwise we might be off for a
morning stroll down a country lane. We crouched as we walked, for
the trench was built for Japanese, who average a few inches less in
height than a foreigner. The distance as the crow flies was little
over half a mile; we went nearly a mile and a half. At one side
ran a telephone wire, staked down at intervals with broken, rusty
rifles. At every angle a sentry saluted, stepping forth grimly
from a dugout. Halfway up we passed a stretcher bearing a body,
the face covered with coarse matting, sewn roughly--a corpse of
the night before. Farther on came a soldier with his arm in a wet,
crimson sling. Half an hour before, feeling secure after days in
the ominous place, he had passed into a ravine he thought safe,
but out of the path chosen by the clever engineer. He was in the
Russian fire zone and presently a shell fragment smashed his arm.
From a dozen to fifteen are lost that way every day.

Across the valley we halt at the foot of a hill and then turn
into the fort. Chloride of lime is sprinkled here over the human
effluvia that nowhere else can be deposited, but a bone sticks
out of the trench wall. I look closely. It is a human femur. From
it projects a heavy coil of rubber-insulated cable. The officer
explains that this formed the electric communications with the
barbed wire entanglements through which we are passing, and that
on the day of the fight it was charged so that when the Japanese
pioneers tried to cut the wire with pincers they were prostrated
with the shock and had to wait for glove-handled tools. Beside it
is a long strip of bamboo, torn and shattered. This was carried to
the attack by two soldiers who with it tossed into the fort a short
strip of bamboo stuffed with gun cotton. This, exploding, tore a
hole through which the men could charge. It was a more effective
bombardment than the shells. As we turned the corner we came upon
the men and at last we saw the besiegers of Port Arthur, where they
were living, 200 yards from the Russian trenches, in the famous
redoubt where enough men have been killed to cover the place four
deep with corpses.

The officer took up a pick lying in the trench. “Look!” said he,
“the point was sharp as a grindstone could make it to begin with,
but in some places, you know, the rock is hard and--” he would
apologize. He was very sorry we should find the picks in such bad
condition. He was always apologizing. He apologized for the length
of the way, the heat of the sun, the annoyance of the shells. But
the boys in khaki smiled on. Word passed as to who we were and they
greeted us dumbly, spread out their pitiful small blankets, pulled
from obscure coats and corners their precious sweetmeats, advanced
the cigarettes that mean more than beef to a soldier, offered us
their still more precious tea. All over them was written their joy
in being recognized, in having someone share their hardships.

Death on the battlefield is the height of this soldier’s ambition.
But not uncleanliness on the battlefield, and all the time we
sat there I was aware of a pervasive, sickening odor, something
strange, something frightfully offensive.

“What can it be?” I said as it bore in upon me and I felt suddenly
nauseated.

“Well, in the hurry of building these trenches, in the night,
under fire, a few dead bodies--only a few--were rolled into the
escarpment. We very much regretted it----.” The officer apologized
profusely, but they had been under fire ever since and the trenches
could not be torn down. So they stood--human walls. “But I can
assure you there is no smell now. The first week, in the hot
sun--Ah! then I should not have liked to bring you here.” As I
leaned against the wall something crushed, like the snap of a
pencil, under my back. I leaped, in alarm, to my feet. As I turned
around a blue coat, which I had pushed back in my fatigue, fell
over the skeleton of a hand, and at my feet dropped the joint of a
forefinger. Villiers pulled me to my knees.

“Look over there,” he said and pointed beyond the trench. I saw
fresh earth heaped up. “It is the brow of the Russian works,” he
said, “but look in between--that pit of uniforms.” A mound of
soiled, tattered clothes, higher than a man could stand, and longer
than a company street, lay before us, not fifty feet away. At the
base, facing me, detached from the rest, a hideous skull leered.
“Unburied dead,” Villiers said, “hugging the ground, sent back into
the earth from whence they came.”

Then the officer apologized. Yes, there was no chance to bury the
dead. Under constant fire for six weeks, between hostile lines,
they slowly rotted away until only bones and rags remained--Russian
and Japanese inextricably together on the scene of the last
desperate Russian stand, where was concentrated all the machine gun
fire of both sides.

Wounded and dying had been mixed with dead. No succor was possible.
A general must count his men as fighting units and he could not
afford to pay a dozen good lives for one injured. We turned to
go--stomach and heart sick, but the boys in khaki smiled. They
were used to it. Just then the postman passed. He had a handful of
cards, scrawled over with loving messages.

As we saw how complete the service was--mail delivered under the
shadow of guns, and as a man goes on to the firing line to offer
up his life--we suddenly came to the telephone which made us think
how near we were to all we held dear. That line was connected with
headquarters, headquarters with Tokyo, Tokyo with New York and
London. I suddenly saw myself ringing up the editor to catch an
edition.

“Hello! just arrived at the Eternal Dragon. Quiet this morning.
Russian sortie last night. Repulsed. One Japanese, eighteen
Russians lost--three wounded between the lines calling for
water----”

“Hold on, what’s that?”

“Wait a minute till I stop this infernal racket.” Down with the
receiver. To the Colonel: “Can’t you stop that battery a minute?
I’m at the ’phone.”

“All right, editor. Wounded man says--Hold on a minute. It’s that
blasted volley firing. All right. I was saying, a wounded--Hell,
here comes a shell!”

We turned another corner and came upon the commander of the
regiment--a lieutenant-colonel, stern-faced, with that eternal
smile, a countenance nationally characteristic. He welcomed us to
his shelter between two walls--which the Russians had built and
which our shells destroyed. His staff--a captain and a major--sat
crosslegged on one side. We sat on a red-blanketed bench on the
other. Crosslegged, on his red blanket, he was no better fitted
than his men. At his side on a nail hung his sword and cap. Behind
him suspended from two wires was the regimental flag, in a plush
case. It is 30 years old, has been in 18 battles, and is all but
gone from bullet fire. To the regiment it is a sacred emblem. This
is the illustrious Seventh Regiment which captured the Eternal
Dragon, after losing all but ten per cent. of its number and
which now, after a month with the reserves when its ranks were
replenished, is back for a week on sentry duty. So intense is the
service there, one week in four is all a single regiment can stand.
We were served with tea in daintily lacquered cups and then the
lieutenant-colonel passed saké and tea, asking permission to drink
our health.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, 1905, by Collier’s Weekly_

THE LAST WORD

An officer giving final instructions to his men before the Grand
Assault of September 21. This photograph was taken in the front
parallel, 300 yards from the Cock’s Comb Fort.]

“Where is the Colonel?” I asked the officer. Then he apologized
again. He was sorry he couldn’t oblige me, but unfortunately the
Colonel had been killed about twenty yards from where I then
sat. His body had been cremated within three paces of my present
seat. Just beyond the tent I could see his grave, should I look.
I leaned out and in a niche of the wall saw a plain white stick
ideographed in black. At the base was a bottle of flowers and a
Chinese pumpkin. It contained the ration a soldier calls “iron,”
and some sweetmeats beside a can of water. Then we knew what some
living soldier had done. The ghost might come wandering back in the
night and be hungry. It should not suffer. We went on to more tea
with the new live Colonel and some sweetmeats which we utilized
differently than the ghost had evidently utilized his. “How was he
killed?” I asked. Then we heard the story of the capture of the
Eternal Dragon.

“It was a hot August afternoon,” said the officer, our interpreter,
“and the general of this division, a very determined man, resolved
that the time had come to pierce the Russian center. So he chose
the Seventh Regiment for the honor. It is the regiment to which
the young Captain, wounded, and rescued by the Russian prisoner,
of whom you were talking this morning, belonged. The Colonel made
his plan of attack to have his command advance in three battalions,
one on each flank and one in the front, the flanks to be the real
attack, the front to be a feint. He, himself, commanded the feint,
and, as usual, stayed in the rear. He sent his pioneer corps ahead
to cut the barbed wire entanglements. They came back with the
report of electric charge. They went forward again with insulated
pincers and the regiment followed. All the way to the base of the
hill, where we now are, they were almost unmolested, when they had
expected to meet a fierce shell fire. This made them confident.
But the Russian general, as we afterward learned, had ordered his
men to reserve their fire till we got within close range, and then
to give it to us with machine guns. So the two side battalions got
safely well up to the slope, only to meet a terrible rain of steel
from the top. The aim was so sure and the firing so heavy that
nearly two-thirds of the command was mowed down at once. And the
surprise we found was in their construction of the fort. Where we
supposed our shells had opened gaps in it, we found it intact and
our assaulting party unable to gain foothold, for the Russians had
placed boiler plates under two feet of earth and the shells had had
little or no effect on it.

“When the Colonel learned all this he got mad, and instantly
ordered the third Battalion to assault the front in force. He
led the charge. A few of the men got in and fought hand to hand
with the Russians. By that time another regiment had arrived with
reinforcements, charged through the breach and overwhelmed the
Russians, driving them out of the place. Though we are dominated
by six of their batteries and have been assaulted by them eighteen
times in attempts to recapture, we have ever since held it.
The Colonel’s body was found under a heap of slain. In it were
twenty-four bullet holes. His sword was broken at the hilt. His cap
was missing and we searched for it a long time without success,
until one day our lookout spied it between the lines. Certain death
seemed the price for a man to try to get it, but as soon as the
Colonel’s servant, a soldier, learned where it was, he volunteered
and succeeded one dark night in regaining it, so the cremation
could take place properly. If you wish now, follow the Captain into
the fort and you will see the foremost trenches. Keep your heads
low.”

Then we saw the kitten become a tiger. We passed from the
hospitable soldier, with his sweetheart’s letters, his welcoming
smile, his innocent and friendly telephone, his harmless tea and
cakes, to the firing line, to death, and to worse than death.

It was hands and knees into the fort and the front trenches. This
is the tip of the bloody angle, with the enemy on three sides.
Bullets passed over us continually. Shells were bursting far
away. Twice we passed half ruined chambers built of timber below
ground--Russian food and ammunition shelter. It was high noon. At
length we lay, panting, under a pile of sapling poplars; above us
were sand bags six deep.

“We are perfectly safe here,” said the officer, and we looked out.

“Except from ricochet bullets,” added Villiers. “The zone of fire
of those chaps yonder is away from us and as long as they exchange
we’re all right. Shells can’t reach us, even shrapnel would be
nullified by this covering, but when those bullets strike a stone
no one can tell how they will come. They can shoot around a corner
from a flat stone as easily as in the open through a loop-hole.”

I heard nothing. Standing up, secure, my eyes came upon him
suddenly--the soldier of the Emperor, the boy who does the
trick--at work. He was crouched under the parapet in front, rifle
to cheek, its steel nose through a loophole, his finger on the
trigger. The tensity of his muscles and his eyes glancing down
that barrel in deadly aim made me think of nothing but a great cat
pausing for a spring. One leg was drawn up, his cap was pulled down
viciously over his eyes, the sun beat upon him and he lay, venomous
with pent-up passion, cut in silhouette against the trenches, a
shade darker than the shale. A minute before he had offered me tea
and a cigarette; now he was dealing out hot lead. Yet, who could
suspect danger, with all so still and clear! But life most intense
and death the most terrible and swift dwelt all about us. Through
chinks in the wall a row of sand bags on a mound of earth could be
seen. They marked the Russian trenches behind which the enemy lay
as silent and deadly as the boys on our side. Not a minute passed
without its bullet. Forty meters was the distance, the officer
said, the closest place in the whole ten-mile front of the two
armies. By day, when the Russians stay quiet, sentries stand three
yards apart, by night, shoulder to shoulder. They are changed every
thirty minutes so intense is the strain. A regiment can stay in the
fort only seven days because the Russians are above and on three
sides, and they must keep them out, while they stew in their own
juice and their comrades rot beyond the wall. When a sortie is made
neither side asks for quarter nor expects it. The Russians know
that unless they regain their trenches they will not live, for to
be wounded and fall in the bloody angle means slow death where
no aid can come; to meet the Japanese line means instant death.
The Japanese know their chances, if wounded, are the same, and if
they reach the Russian lines they accept only two things--victory
or death. So it is that here through long weeks the siege has
concentrated its bitterest essence, living has come to be a burden
and death a joy.

Then came the thud of a bullet. It was a different thud from any
we had had up to that time, and though I had never before heard a
bullet strike flesh, I could not mistake the sound. It goes into
the earth wholesome and angry, but into flesh ripping and sick with
a splash like a hoof beat of mud in the face.

I turned to look. I saw the nearest sentry sinking to his knees.
His rifle had dropped and was leaning against the wall, butt down.
He sank together all in a heap and his head hung limp, his chin
against his breast.

“Poor chap,” said Villiers, “he was looking at us and got in
front of the loop hole. I suppose we are so great a novelty in
his strained existence that he could not resist the temptation to
neglect his duty for a minute.”

We crawled back and out silently and quickly, bade a hurried
good-by to the Colonel, hastened past the smiling, oblivious
men--they are used to it--and over a mile and a half of chipmunk
burrow. The General was waiting tiffin for us in his tent. There
was a jar containing strawberry jam like grandmother used to
make. With a flash it brought back all the comforts of home. An
empty shell in the center of the table held some field daisies
and wild chrysanthemums. All the fragrance of the fields and the
beauties of nature came with them. At my mess plate lay an American
newspaper, just delivered by this incomprehensible field post. With
it civilization, its myriad passions and joys, floated in. As the
cigars were passed I opened the paper. I found an interview with
Dr. Nicholas Senn, of Chicago, in which he said:

“All the talk of inhumanity which some correspondents are sending
out from the Orient is foolish. Statements of soldiers being
wounded in the mouth and reports of all similar acts of atrocity
can be set down as being without foundation. Russia has the best
Red Cross Society in the world and the Russians are an extremely
humane people. Likewise, this war is going to be a humane war. As
for the Japanese, the worst that can be said of them is that they
are a proud people.” I read this aloud. It was translated and the
officers, Lieutenant-General Oshima and his staff, listened. None
of them replied. Finally Villiers said:

“The question is not: Are the Japanese or the Russians a humane
people, or not a humane people? It is: Are individual men, under
conditions the most terrible the imagination can devise, Christians
or savages? Both Japanese and Russians socially are delightful
people. I’ve lived with the armies of both nations and their
soldiers are delightful and humane. But that is not the question.

“Now, is it possible for soldiers living as we saw them to-day--in
their own filth, unable to succor the wounded, preyed on by
stenches from the dead, until battle in which they neither ask nor
give quarter is a welcome relief--can the word ‘humane’ be uttered
in speaking of lives such as theirs? Or can it be uttered of the
Russians--driven into a trap, half-starved, night and day in the
trenches, confronted by overwhelming numbers, with certainty of
no relief, yet defending a lost hope with lives easier lost than
lived? Would you be ‘humane’ under such conditions? I am sure I
would not.

“No. The truth about war cannot be told. It is too horrible. The
public will not listen. A white bandage about the forehead with
a strawberry mark on the center is the picture they want of the
wounded. They won’t let you tell the truth and show bowels ripped
out, brains spilled, eyes gouged away, faces blanched with horror.
The only painter fellow who ever told the truth about war was
Verestchagin, poor chap, drowned over there in the harbor. He in
paint and Zola in words told the truth and they were howled down
and ostracized all their lives, simply because the theorists, like
this surgeon, fed up with themselves, nursed in the belief that
science is all powerful, will always assure the public that modern
war is humane.

“Scientific warfare! Let me tell you the facts about science.
Archibald Forbes predicted twenty years ago that the time would
come when armies would no longer be able to take their wounded
from the field of battle. That day has come. We are living in it.
Wounded have existed--how, God alone knows--on that field out
there, without help, for twelve days, while shell and bullets
rained above them, and if a comrade had dared to come to their
assistance his would have been a useless suicide. The searchlight,
the enginery of scientific trenches, machine guns, rifles point
blank at 200 yards with a range of 2,000--these things have helped
to make warfare more terrible now than ever before in history.

“Red Cross societies and scientific text-books--they sound well and
look pretty, but as for ‘humane warfare’--was there ever put into
words a mightier sarcasm!”

This was translated. The officers--Lieutenant-General Oshima and
three of his staff--listened, gravely. No one said anything.
Finally, we walked home silently as the sun went down.



Chapter Fourteen

SCIENTIFIC FANATICS


Noon found me well up toward the firing line, assured by the
staff that it would be the day of days. To get there I passed a
mile and more of batteries--the Osacca guns vomiting balls of
fire, puff-balls of smoke and fat, heavy balls of steel; the
howitzers--coyotes of artillery--spitting from peaks, snapping,
louder than the monsters growl below; the naval six-inch turret
firers, rakishly sunk in valleys, their greyhound noses dappled
with mud, baying out reverberations at which even the sulking sun
might have shuddered; the field four-point-sevens, bag-redoubted,
conventional as pictures, flinging forth the business barks of
house dogs; then, finally, the hand one-pounders, hauled well up
the parallels, their bodies angled half-wise and as forlorn amid
such colossal music as a penny whistle before a symphony orchestra.
To be in it, to pass through it, to feel this whiz and boom people
the air above with demon gossip, to sniff from ravines the gusts
seeped with cordite and with phosphorus, while in the far-stretched
vistas bluecoat files wind through the fierce, vain taunts hurled
in among them--ah, this is the atmosphere--the grand, the fearful,
the unspeakably sublime atmosphere of war.

Cloudy! Yes, but what day could smile in the face of such a row
as this? The grand bombardment has been on for five days. We call
it the “grand” bombardment, to distinguish it from that other
trifling bombardment of a few hundred field guns that was on for
nearly three months. Now the big coast defense mortars from Osacca,
hurling shells the size of donkeys, are ripping the lining from the
doomed fortress. We cry for rest, but there is no rest. Night and
day the fearful din keeps up. The paper windows of the Manchurian
house where we live, two miles away, have been blown out twice by
concussions. The mountains tremble. If you get within a hundred
yards of the guns, you must wear cotton batting in your ears and
walk tiptoe to save ear-drums. This for a ten-mile front, with
infantry and regular artillery hammering the spaces out, was enough
to discourage the sun. Sun, however, is an incident. War waits for
no weather.

Halfway in among the batteries I paused for guidance. There were
certain lines between our batteries and the Russian batteries which
were called “lines of fire,” and these lines were good places to
avoid. Soon two soldiers, each with a rice bag on his back, came
along, and I picked up their trail. There was a narrow valley which
led to the Ninth Division, whose firing line was to be the center
of the attack and for which I was bound. Along the center of this
valley seemed to me the right way, but the soldiers headed straight
across it, business-like, stolid, as if they knew where to go, and
I followed. We were fair in the midst of it then. In ravines on
both sides the Osacca mortars were hid. From behind and directly
over our heads a naval battery was firing, and in front of us
there were four or five batteries of field artillery, opening the
engagement. There was never a moment without two or three shells
in the air directly over our heads. So long as they were friendly
shells--imagine a shell being friendly!--no one seemed to mind.
(That “seemed” is a good word to describe my state.) But directly
they came viciously from across the valley--look out! Presently one
did come that way. I knew it was coming. How? I felt it. So the
ground in front found my stomach and my nose sniffed the gravel.
It could not have passed very far above our heads--this shell--for
when it exploded behind the dust showered over us, and I thanked
myself for lying down, else a fragment might have rapped me so I
would have cared nothing for dust or dirt of stale encampments. Of
course, the soldiers must have lain down, too--they surely must
have known the danger. I looked up to laugh with them, but they
were trudging on stolidly, as if they were carrying a pound of meat
home from the butcher’s. When the dust came they blinked--that was
all. I was so ashamed I hardly dared show myself; yet I needed my
legs to get on out of the line of fire, and there are times one
forgets his pride. I ran; but no need to be ashamed; they had not
seen me fall, had neither quickened nor lessened pace, had turned
not so much as an eyelash to left or right. They had orders to
take that rice to the battery, and to the battery they were going.
So I paused--amazement surviving fear--and looked at them, cogs
of the machine, secret of an army’s strength, of its indomitable
bravery. As well expect the shafts of an engine to cry quits when
the trucks spring a hot box!

At length I found myself where the pewit of bullets beat a
quickstep for the inferno aloft. It was on the crest in front of
the farthest field artillery, at the rear of the parallels in which
the infantry lay, huddled masses of blue dabbed above with glints
of bayonet steel, waiting for the assault. Occasionally the sun
came out and sent a heliograph message from those bayonets to me,
and then, like myself, sought cover again. The four forts slated
for attack by the two divisions in my view lay directly in front,
about a mile and a half by parallels and approaches, but, as my
vision went, eight hundred yards for the nearest, fifteen hundred
for the farthest. From the rear that assorted pack of war-dogs
flung suspense and agony, surprise and death, over my head. Beyond,
the forts, hung like a corona of barbarous gems on the brow of the
mountain range, gushed forth pain and disgust.

The Pine Tree fort (Shodzuzan) on the extreme right was afire, had
been for two hours, and the smoke from it, blown by a northwest
wind, lifted raggedly square across the field. Through the slight
haze each explosion opposite could be seen, as it tore out, now
a chunk of a mountain and now a crater from a parapet. About
half-past twelve the star bomb chamber of the south battery, the
one nearest, was struck, and for ten minutes an explosion of day
fireworks held the line. On the north battery two guns hung across
the parapet, their backs broken, useless. On the two smaller forts
between, the P and M redoubts, men could be seen feverishly working
at a rear intrenchment. Evidently they were preparing to retire
from the front line, where they already scented danger. But they as
evidently showed determination to fight to the last ditch--which
they did. All four of these forts, spread fanwise halfway down this
mountain slope, formed the group called the Cock’s Comb (Keikan,
Japanese; Keekwan, Chinese), and above them on the skyline the
comb could be plainly seen, lacking only the dab of red, later
to be given its approaches, to give it the cock color. It was on
the Cock’s Comb that half of the great losses in August occurred.
Some ten thousand Japanese had already been mowed down there, for
every slope was prepared for enfilading by two batteries, the moats
were deep, the fortifications of masonry and the glacis sheer
and slippery. Yet the Cock’s Comb once taken, the Russians must
yield, for it was to the siege of Port Arthur what Nanshan was to
the campaign--the decisive position. Once driven from there, the
enemy’s back would be broken. The fall of the Cock’s Comb and the
Two Dragons, on December 31st, forced Stoessel’s surrender.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, 1905, by Collier’s Weekly_

PREPARING FOR DEATH

A superstition holds that the Japanese soldier who dies dirty finds
no place among the Shinto Shades; so before going into action every
soldier changes his linen, as this one is doing, preceding the
battle of October 29.]

At one o’clock the bombardment seemed to have reached a climax
of intensity. The parapets of the four forts were alive with
bursting shrapnel. A hundred a minute were exploding on each (at
fifteen gold dollars apiece). The air above them was black with the
glycerine gases of the mortar shells, and the wind blowing toward
the sea held huge quantities of dust. Timber splinters were in the
air and rocks were flying. Not a fort replied, and from the
entire eight-and-one-half-mile front of the Russian line there were
few answers. Once about every ten minutes a wheezy battery off on
the Liaotishan Peninsula sent a shell promiscuously into our vast
field, apparently to show that the defense was yet at least gasping
for breath.

In the front parallels the infantry seemed on the move. There was
a shifting of rifles, and in three of them, from end to end, a man
could be seen running. The night before I had been up there to find
all of the soldiers changing their linen and sponging themselves
off as best they could with old towels and soiled handkerchiefs.
They were purifying themselves for death. A superstition as old
as Japan says that a man who dies dirty finds no place among the
Shinto shades. Now they were waiting calmly, each with an overcoat
and spade across his back. Why the spade? Will it be necessary
to hastily intrench for the night far up the slope? Each had an
“iron” ration in his pocket, and a pint of cold tea in his flask.
Two hundred rounds of ammunition in his three leather pouches go
to help the bayoneted rifle that he slings by its strap, its butt
dragging as he goes up the hill. What a job it is, this, of living
in a pocket handkerchief, on compressed air, giving and receiving
death, for three cents a day!

At one-fifteen our fire changes. The four forts are left to their
silence and devastation, and the fat balls travel westward to the
Pine Tree and the Two Dragons. For a moment the slopes stand out,
ghastly with smoke, pitted like strawberries, each pit a shell hole
deep enough to give a man shelter.

Before anyone knows it the assault is on. The four get it at once.
From the bottom of each, out of the approach sapped there in the
night, a handful of men is fed, as corn might drop, grain by grain,
ground from a hopper. They get a few rods up when another handful
is fed, then another, until the whole face of the hill is swarming
with tiny figures, their blue turned in the distance to black, the
space between each at no place less than two yards, at none more
than two rods. Not in battalion phalanx, as the picture books show,
shells dismembering, arms thrown aloft, faces wild with battle’s
glory, terror, agony, but steadily, sanely seeking every cover,
deploying with skirmish formation, they go on and up, into the jaws
of death, into the mouth of hell. Not a life is thrown away, not a
precious head wasted.

Not fifty yards up the Russian lookout scouts them, and then we
see we are not facing a beaten foe, but a waiting one. Until that
moment no sound came from the enemy. No shells chucked away at
hidden batteries, no rifle ammunition plumped into the sandbags of
parallels, no shrapnel sent hit-or-miss over the fields searching
for an unseen foe--not any of that stupid, wild game for them.
They have let the preparation go on, all the fuss and fury, the
bombardment, the sapping, and now we see what they are up to. It is
all hit with them, no miss, they have no ammunition to waste. Their
backs are to the wall. Their defense is determined, great. Deadly
purpose is in that silence.

The sun is out for a moment, the smoke has lifted. Through my
glass I see it all as perfectly as though on a chessboard; the
sprawling blue ants creeping up, rifle-butts dragging, the line
officers ahead, the field behind. Far in advance of the squad on
the P fort a young lieutenant is running, carried out of himself
in passion, foolish in zeal, waving his sword. Almost fifty yards
behind him, his nearest file-sergeant lumbers stolidly on, as
stolidly as my two companions of the morning lumbered with their
bags of rice. At that moment they meet what they changed their
linen for the night before. From all the Russian batteries, from
silent nooks, from huge, open emplacements, from mountain recesses,
from the entire line of parapets, it comes--the Russian reply. So
here is the why of that previous ghostly silence. Every shot must
tell. Bursts directly above send vitreous blue shoots of smoke
as of strata sidewise, then curl voluminously upward, the edges
unfolding to the breeze; the deadly shrapnel downward shooting bits
of lead and steel. Enfilading from all crests, over the shoulders
of the slopes, come shells, plowing the ground, hurling stones and
fragments. From above rattle the Nordenfeldts and Maxims, spraying
bullets into the advancing ants as kerosene is sometimes sprayed
from a hose nozzle on the tribe of real pests.

It was to be expected. Not a man lives. The fire ceases. They
all lie prone--some hid in the shell holes, some lost in the
gullies, some face down bare on the open sand. Most of them lie
lengthwise, their heads upward, shot apparently as they stumbled
forward. On the second slope in one place the legs and trunk of
a man are sprawled, armless, headless. An entire shell must have
met him halfway. Occasionally the figures are huddled, piteously
deprived of action, sending upward the silent, unanswerable appeal
that death makes. But most of them have that curious upward slant,
bodies rigid, as of determined men hugging the ground. Were they
bulleted straight? Anyway, it is a glorious death--this of the
infantry soldier storming Port Arthur, lifted on the crest of the
world’s fiercest passion, puffed into vapor as the crest of a
storm-tossed wave! Painless, too. A touch and all is over. But can
they all be dead, all of those figures slanted curiously upward?
There must have been remarkable sharpshooters above to pick every
man off, for shells are notoriously extravagant of bravado and
bluff.

Ten minutes pass--fifteen--twenty--and only the giant shells
wheezing through the sky to distant, unseen marks remind one that
here is indeed a battlefield.

Then suddenly those figures with the curious upward slant come to
life. Another handful of war corn is fed from the human hopper
below. The young officer waves his sword. The line-sergeant
stolidly climbs. The deploying lines curl their microbe grip more
firmly into the slope. There was a hitch in the machine. Now it
moves, slow, inexorable.

The piteously huddled figures remain. The comrades go on, with
never a look down, never a look behind, half-stooped, rifle-butts
dragging, laboring with the terrific climb. Ten paces from the
fresh start, and that hail of bursting steel meets them again. They
struggle on, perhaps a hundred feet, perhaps a hundred and fifty,
then commence dropping one by one, by the dozen, fifteen at a time,
two by two. They rest again. Again the time drags. Again the fresh
start, with more piteously huddled figures. So it goes, the hopper
below supplying every loss.

At length the young officer pauses. Just for a moment he lingers
and then digs his boots into the crater that one of those friendly
shells tore out for him an hour before. Without waiting for his
men, fifty yards beyond the nearest, he leaps to the parapet, reels
for an instant on the skyline, then plunges out of sight. I never
see him again. What must have been his fate inside there, alone,
before his men came up? Was he shot down as he entered? Did he keep
the Russians at bay till his supports came up? Dear, foolish boy,
did you think that, single-handed, with that bit of toy steel, you
could take Port Arthur?

It seems ages and ages before the line-sergeant and his deploying
figures leap to the skyline, reel for an instant, and disappear.
The grist from the hopper below hastens and the rifle-butts spring
from ground to shoulders. It was the first man who was needed. Now
that the charm is broken, they no longer skulk, but run eagerly to
the crater and tumble in. The hopper has fed well-eared corn into
the mill, and it has come out ground meal. The grits lie scattered
all along the slope. Some move. The most lie still, their battle
with cold nights in exposed trenches finished, sentry duty done.
And in many a thatched cot among the rice paddies across the sea
the old hataman will tell to his gray wife how their boy helped
take Port Arthur, and both will make a little journey to the sacred
mountain to assure the fathers they are thankful to have bred brave
stock.

At a quarter-past one the young lieutenant started on his mad
errand, supported by the same mechanism. At a quarter-past two
the flag of the Rising Sun floated from both north corners of the
P fort. At a quarter-past three the stretcher-bearers are on the
slope searching among the huddled figures. They move swiftly along,
turning a figure over, giving it a quick look and dropping it with
business precision; to another, dropping it; to another, pausing,
out with the lint, perhaps the hypodermic needle, perhaps a sip
from the tea flask, the arms of one bearer hastily passing under
the arms of the figure of the other under the knees, dropping it
on the stretcher, passing in and out among the shell holes, down
the hill, while back on the slope the carrion figures lie with the
slant of the setting sun struggling through the clouds to flash
over the bayonets beside them!

Meanwhile, over the rest of the vast field, of which the P fort
was but a fragment, the assault had been continuing. The Russian
fire had not abated. As soon as they saw the P fort was gone they
turned their shells into the redoubt itself, and cut up our forces
where they were seeking cover in the very places their own shells
had previously destroyed. But the slopes of the other three forts
were kept just as hot as in the beginning. The moment the thin line
advanced, that moment the hail commenced, and it ceased only when
the line ceased; nor did it entirely cease then, for shrapnel was
dropped above the forms, those huddled and those lying curiously
straight.

Suddenly, on the farther slope, where near a battalion of men had
crawled almost two-thirds of the way up the glacis, a panic seemed
to have seized them. The whole crowd ran down and to the right.
They disappeared over the scruff of the hill, toward their own
trenches, brushed off as a handful of flies might be blown away
from a heel of bread. The cowards! to run like that when their
comrades are valiantly struggling up the nearer heights!

But no. It is not a panic. Halfway to their trenches they all drop
into the ground. Shell holes and gullies swallow them up. As they
disappear the scruff of the hill from which they ran is blown into
the air, the flame shooting from the center of the rocks and dirt,
and the white smoke rising above. A mine has gone off there.

The pioneer ahead found the contact signal--clever fellow--ran back
to the advance officer, who led his men in their retreat. So it was
not a panic, but a well-ordered movement. Soon the advance goes on,
up the nearer angle of the slope, the men deploying carefully as
before, the hell shooting down from above, the hopper feeding from
below. So I learn to criticise nothing on a field of battle. Who
but the commanding officer can ever disclose motives? Not a word of
authentic news leaks from this place. Once the citadel is down, say
the generals, let criticism rage. Port Arthur will have been taken.
Meanwhile, let us have silence, concentration, determination!

Then, under the middle parapet, I find a squad of men hanging,
having survived the ordeal below. With no leader so headstrong as
the young officer, they halt for supports to go in and capture the
fort, for they are but twenty, or at most thirty. No supports come.
The shrapnel plays over them, the bullets rain through.

Into the crater torn on the parapet of the fort opposite by one of
our Osacca shells, and which with an enfilading fire can command
the squad, there marches a company of Russian soldiers, four
abreast. The hole accommodates four at a time, and they stand as if
on parade, an officer to the left rear, his sword drawn, giving the
word of command. Still farther in behind is another officer, pistol
in hand, holding the men to their work. They order arms, prepare,
aim, fire, wheel to the left, defile, the next squad takes their
places, and again comes this drill in manual of arms. A splendid
sight; men in the crux of action as if on parade; an object lesson
for discipline to the whole Russian army. The Japanese need no
such object lesson. Each man is an individual, though he is part
of the machine; he has a brain to think, eyes to see, legs and
arms to act. Just below the firing squad, within twenty yards, a
company of our boys has crawled up and is lying face down waiting
for the word to make the final charge. Hid by the angle of the
parapet, neither squad nor company sees the other, and the Russians
above fire directly over the heads of the Japanese below into the
assaulting party on the opposite slope, distant some four or five
hundred yards. When the last four have emptied their rifles, the
crater becomes again black with emptiness. Evening is falling. The
assaulting party creeps on up.

Under the parapet of the north battery, where the forsaken squad
was left, I now see the why of the inaction. The twenty or thirty,
in half an hour, have thrown up a shallow trench. So this is the
meaning of the spade that each man carries at such cost, up those
terrific heights. They are fixing themselves for the night. Under
cover of darkness the supports will come up, and before dawn
the way from valley to parapet will be entirely protected with
trenches, so that a whole regiment can be poured up for the final
assault without losing a man. As the price of it on the slope there
lie thousands of huddled figures.



Chapter Fifteen

JAPAN’S GRAND OLD MAN--AN INTERLUDE


The Itos are the Smiths of Japan. There is one President of the
Privy Council, one the chief naval authority and head of the naval
board. There are two generals named Ito and statistics alone know
how many private soldiers are thus made still more common. The
Asahi to-day told of an Ito hanged for a triple murder. In the
adjoining column account was made of another Ito decorated by the
Portuguese government. The reason, not stated, was that the king
of that decrepit monarchy, wishing to assimilate some stray rays
of good fortune from this rising sun, chose three men in Japan on
whom to bestow his ribbons of mark. These were the Emperor, the
Emperor’s son and an old man by the universal name of Ito.

A strange circumstance permitted me to ride for an hour one morning
in a railway coach with this other Ito--the only Ito. Ambitious
of that smartness which can save where any simpleton can spend I
procured a second-class ticket from Yokohama to Tokyo, a run that
covers some twenty-eight miles in twice as many minutes. The ticket
cost fifty-three sen, and as the rate of exchange for American
gold here now is 213 you will see that the ride cost less than a
quarter. I could have gone first class for seventy-four sen, or ten
more American cents--hardly worth the saving. Still, it is more
interesting second class. Only foreigners, and Japanese who ape
foreigners, ride first class.

Japanese railway coaches are of three classes. It is not necessary
to experience the third to know it. A look is enough. Red, like the
emperor’s, they are the antithesis of imperial. Only in an imperial
land, dyed in the ancient belief that certain men are by birth
superior to other men, could these third-class coaches exist. They
are for the common people. Small as the dummy cars of an intramural
railway they are boxed off in sections similar to continental
compartments. These are loaded with as many of the riffraff as the
station guards can crowd in. Hard seats and plain company with
transportation at the mere cost of hauling is the rule there. The
fare is thirty sen (fifteen cents). The government, which owns the
railway, conducts its business on the theory employed by Japanese
merchants--sell to the poor at cost and let the rich pay the
profits.

The difference between the first and second class is twofold. One
is the color--white for the first class, blue for the second. The
accommodation is just the same--leather and plush upholstering of
seats plenty large enough, with washstand, toilet and drinking
water handy and clean midway of the car. The chief difference is
sociologic, tinged with political, economic and moral degrees.
First class is for the nobility, second for the bourgeoisie. Though
the first-class carriage is lawfully open to anyone possessing
seventy-four sen, no second-class Jap ever dares aspire to it.
So secure are the officials in the _morale_ of the people that
tickets are never examined. You show your pasteboard at the gate
as you enter the platform at the beginning of the journey, again
as you leave the platform at the end, but not on the train. A
third-class fare could easily ride in a first-class coach. No one
but a foreigner would ever think of this. I tried it one day and
succeeded, getting seventy-four sen worth of nobility for thirty
sen. It is an axiom that all foreigners are noble; hence all
foreigners should travel first class. Some day Japan will really be
civilized.

This morning the first-class coach was filled with London tiles
and Paris frocks, all silked and diamonded. It was the day of the
imperial garden party and all foreigners of note in Yokohama were
on their way to the palace in Tokyo. There was a crush of German,
French and English. I detected one pair Castilian in suavity of
accent. All were agog with gossipy gayety. The men, sleek on
Oriental dining as fresh pork packers, plumped seats unusually
commodious quite full of broadclothed avoirdupois. The women were
agush with scents, mowed from the four quarters. Feminine with
suggested lingerie, they left the men to the papers, for the London
mail was just in, and toasted some stale diplomatic scandal whose
drift I vainly strove to get. Between silk tiles and be-birded
bonnets there was not a vacant seat left in the first-class coach.

I found a seat in the rear of the second-class coach, which was
but half filled. The occupants were Japanese, evidently business
and professional men of note, perhaps fifteen all told. Except
for the complexions, the upward slant of the eyes and the uniform
small stature they might have passed for the occupants of the nine
o’clock car downtown any American morning. The dress was the same,
the average of intelligence the same. Before I began my paper I
studied each face. The Japanese countenance is inscrutable. From
coolie to Mikado exists the same placid, patient, nearly always
alert expression of canny indifference. Before such uniformity,
such hidden power, purpose and weird beginning toothed in the husk
of time the most expert western physiognomist is baffled. The
geography alone of these humanists of hardy strife can be sketched.
Of their history, legends, poesy, knowledge and aspiration little
may be said at the outward glance.

In the far corner sat a man whose personality attracted with an
unmistakable potency. Sensitive to what psychologists call the
aura, I instinctively felt that he was a person of distinction,
a distinction genuine in that it must be inherent, for nothing
obvious indicated his difference from the other Japanese. He wore
a frock coat which had seen use and a beaver hat, apparently of
English make, as it had a Piccadilly smugness found nowhere else.
None of his countrymen in the car wore cuffs like his, which were
links. The others were old-fashioned in plain roundness. His tie
was ample and of heavy silk, four-in-hand with a certain regality
of flourish. His shoes were wide, short, homely, well-furnished.
Only two items of his apparel were unlike those of anyone else. One
was the pendant from his watchchain, a superb head of polished onyx
on which I could make out the square and compass of the Masonic
regalia. The other was a button the size of an American copper cent
which he wore in his left lapel. It looked like the button of the
Legion of Honor. Later I learned that it was the insignia of the
first-class order of the Rising Sun. Only twenty-two men in the
world have the right to wear that. I also noticed that his left leg
was slightly bent. He appeared to be bow-legged.

The unknown held a newspaper in front of his face. When the train
had been two minutes out of Yokohama he put the paper down and
looked out upon the landscape. Then I recognized the Marquis Ito,
who was born a poor boy of ordinary family in an imperial land, and
who is now known before the world as the father of the New Japan.

Some historian has written that the Nineteenth Century produced
four constructive statesmen of the first rank; two--Bismarck and
Cavour--in the west, and two--Li Hung Chang and Ito--in the east.
Another puts him down as the greatest of the four because he is the
most humble.

Of Ito’s place in history it is not the purpose here to speak. This
is but the record of a chance hour when I saw him this morning
take a second-class carriage to Tokyo that he might escape the
crowd of foreigners whom he doubtless felt would annoy him with
attention, when he wishes to be undisturbed. He has one sure mark
of the prophets, that of being unhonored in his own country. The
people say that he is proud, which is their interpretation of his
aloofness, and that he does things unbecoming a gentleman. By this
they mean his fondness for geisha, which he makes no attempt to
conceal, despising public opinion and thus calling upon his head
that which he despises. He is the antithesis of Disraeli, of whom
Gladstone could say that he was the only public man in England,
unmarried, who could live his maturity without being mixed up with
a petticoat. Ito makes no secret of his feminine promiscuity.

The Marquis can well afford to ignore public opinion. With what
monarch of what age would he trade places? He has no position, no
titles and no responsibilities. Yet he is the most powerful person
in Japan. He is simply referred to as the chief of the “genro,” or
elder statesmen. What a benign reference! He is general utility
man for the government, and with that self-effacement which marks
the Japanese of whatever station he accepts his duties with as
unswerving a fidelity as the meanest gunner at his post.

When the Emperor wanted a delicate mission to Korea executed he
sent Ito with absolute diplomatic power. Ito went, conducted the
business with entire success and returned home quietly. He has
political enemies, of course, but these in the great hour of need
stand aside and recognize his voice for what it is, the guiding
genius of the nation. Emperor, ministers and generals come to him
for final advice. He is not bothered with the routine of an office
or the social duties of a position. He lives as obscurely as I saw
him this morning in the second-class coach, yet on such significant
occasions as that presentation by the Portuguese King he is the one
man selected.

Ito is now sixty-two years old. In this magnificent prime of a
great life he is at one of the ideal positions of all time--the
real dictator of the glorious future of a coming people. What a
contrast to petty jealousies and inefficient systems of western
races, who have so ill disposed of men of similar stamp! At the
same age Bismarck was hurling his thunders of wounded pride from
Friedrichsruhe at the young William. Cavour, momentarily anxious,
was tottering in an insecure seat; Grant, honored by the nations,
had to submit to the humiliation of a defeat at the hands of his
own party; Gladstone, hoary in public service, wavered between the
fires of an outraged public and an obtuse monarch; Cleveland and
Harrison, whose service may be said to compare with that of the
Japanese, at the very moment when their experience, their age and
their disinterestedness would be of most service to the state, are
relegated, like broken horses, to quiet pastures. Ito alone holds
his rightful power--unchecked, supreme at the helm of state where
alone the joy of the soul of such a man can find a vent.

His appearance! Of the cryptogram of that typical Oriental
countenance only stray ideographs can be learned. Like them all it
is inscrutable. The skin, old and yellow with the impenetrable age
and the hoary toughness of parchment, lay in sleek, well-grained
folds across a dome of brow. The eyes gazed out with reserve,
incisive, mild from a flat setting. The iris--as what Japanese is
not?--was brown-black, the white yellow with the musty haleness of
yellow marble. The look was simple and quiet. Yes. It was profound.
Yet it was alert.

I realized that I was looking on that which was older than the
saber-toothed tiger or the mausoleums of time, as old as the
riddle of the Sphinx. I was gazing upon the oldest thing in the
world--the spirit of progress.

When the train reached the last station, Shinegawa, eight minutes
from Shimbashi, which is to Tokyo what the Grand Central station
is to New York, there were but two vacant seats left in the car,
one beside the Marquis, one next myself. Two Japanese entered.
The first was well dressed, foreign style, and, without looking,
plumped into the seat near the Marquis. I was, apparently, the only
one in the car who had recognized the great man.

The second newcomer was one of those queer specimens of the hiatus
from old to new which may be seen in the streets of the large
cities. He wore the wooden Japanese geta and a half-caste kimono,
but on his head was a dinky derby hat so low in the crown that
the ticket he had stuck in the band was as tall as the hat. He
halted in the door, abashed. Plainly he had taken the wrong coach.
He should have gone third class. He was in a land where caste is
everything and he felt out of his element. His limp attitude told
his embarrassment and even his inscrutable face showed his pain.
But the train had started and he could not get out.

Marquis Ito touched the man on the arm and pointed out the seat
at the farther end of the car. The poor fellow was only more
embarrassed. He looked like a street tramp who might have stepped
into a Fifth Avenue prayer meeting. At one shrewd glance the
Marquis Ito saw the situation. He rose from his seat, offered it to
the stranger with a simple gesture and himself walked the length of
the car to the vacant place.

       *       *       *       *       *

Know a nation’s great men and you know the nation, says the spirit
of biography. Marquis Ito is to Japan what Count Tolstoi is to
Russia, with this difference: Ito is in power, Tolstoi all but
exiled. You may say that one is a statesman, the other a writer,
and that hence they are not comparable. Yet, each stands before the
world as the most significant intellectual figure among his people.

There are other differences between the two. Ito is silent, Tolstoi
has a clarion voice; Ito is omnipotent, Tolstoi powerless; Ito
has no ostensible followers, Tolstoi counts his by the tens of
thousands. Again you will say this is the difference not between
men, but between statesman and prophet. Granted. But a curious
fact lessens the force of that truth. Ito and Tolstoi are working
for the same ends. Both seek the enfranchisement of men. The true
difference between them is this: Ito sinks his personality in the
cause he champions, satisfying Tolstoi’s own definition of the
great man as being one too great to tell of his own goodness, while
Tolstoi stalks his stalwart way to the limelight and focuses upon
himself the attention of an age.

Hundreds have written of Marquis Ito, and the only reason for
writing of him again is that he may thus be seen in some new
light. He is not the only interesting man in Japan, nor the only
great one, but he is certainly a dominating figure which fills
the horizon with a mighty presence. He is not popular. The papers
make only formal announcements of his movements. He passes to and
from his country residence and the Imperial Palace without escort
or demonstrations. He has no official position, Katsura being the
prime minister, except the titular one of President of the Privy
Council, which carries with it neither stated duties nor salary. He
may be easily approached and is seen by all who have the desire. He
is as free from pose as it is possible for man to be. He doesn’t
chop trees like Gladstone or pet great danes like Bismarck or walk
in melancholy solitude like Disraeli. As a picturesque personality
he is disappointing. He is more like Ben Harrison leaving the
White House to practice law in Indianapolis; or, imagine Abraham
Lincoln surviving the war and settled quietly in a side street in
Washington and you will have Marquis Ito as he is to-day. Only add
to that the absolute confidence of an all-powerful emperor and the
support of all politicians, even those of life-long enmity.

Yet, in spite of seclusion, in spite of a simplicity possible only
to men of the very first rank, Ito charms and holds attention. One
finds traces of him, hears accounts of him, feels his pervading
influence everywhere. When I told of riding in the second-class
coach with him from Yokohama to Tokyo the day of the imperial
garden party, I did not tell of the talk I had with him after he
had given up his seat to the abashed countryman and had taken
one next to mine. After a minute and when I saw that he was not
occupied I had the temerity to say:

“Your Excellency, I am an American, and as I see you are unoccupied
would be glad if you might say a few words that I could repeat to
my countrymen.” The never-to-be-forgotten way in which he turned
to me replying, “Certainly,” was at once benign and shrewd. There
was something of the fatherly old priest about him. Yet through
his naïve simplicity there shone a canny alertness such as critics
say the French landscapist, Corot, preserved in all his idealist
vagaries.

The way in which the old statesman interviewed me was masterly, yet
as gracious and lovable as any of the compelling things produced by
any of the artists of these forty million. I had before then been
sent on newspaper embassies to famous interviewers of the west. Of
these J. Pierpont Morgan is of the roughest squeeze, ripping the
marrow from a scribe with one smash of his lion paw. Elihu Root
glances through one like a rapier, gashing incisive questions into
the very pith of the attempt. But you leave such knights of power
and purpose dismayed and disheartened. You have been baffled and
beaten, the door slammed in your face; you have been caught up by
a strong wind and flung blindly to the ground. You need not cry.
It is only the wing of destiny clipping a wee mortal as it hurls
skyward in its flight.

Not so with Ito. He is all gauzy silk over his shimmering steel. I
left him satisfied, enthusiastic about his priceless simplicity,
jubilant over his grave dexterity, worshipful at his fatherly
equality. Surely, he was a great man worthy of the name.

What had he told me? Nothing.

What had I told him? Everything.

Do not laugh, thinking mine the joy of one self-pleased at his own
prattle. No. It was sheer delight in the knowing of one who towers
above the greatest without conscious effort, and who reaches to the
lowest without condescension. When I shook hands with him I felt
that I had known him all my life. When I saw him into his carriage
ten minutes later I felt that I should call him brother through all
the lives that Buddha promises.

How did he do it? By flattery? How vain! By subtlety? How futile!
There were a few details of person to note--a slim flex of the
wrist as it dangled majestically across his lap, the weatherly gray
old look of battles fought and conquered and of tempests braved
and won; then always that inscrutable squint of the brown-black
eyes with their yellow whites. For the rest you must seek it in
that alchemy which the world, in spite of poets and prophets
innumerable, seems still to overlook.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the last quarter century the Marquis Ito has made the same
change in his attitude toward the Japanese house of peers that
Gladstone made in his lifetime on the slavery question. In the
beginning he believed--or at least contended--that it should hold
but one allegiance--toward the Emperor. Now he believes that it
should owe a duty to the people, as well. Count Ogura, leader of
the opposing political party, has had the honor of bringing him
around. Ogura from the first has been a stanch democrat. Ito has
been neither imperialist nor democrat; he has been both. Like every
successful constructive statesman he has been an opportunist,
taking things as they existed and improving them as he could. And
he has had as phenomenal a success as any man that ever lived. His
attitude on the peers question alone will illustrate the manner of
his policy. In the beginning he feared to make too great a breach
from the old ways, not sure that either people or peers would stand
it. Slowly he released the old beliefs, educating his countrymen,
by other innovations, to the new. Now when he finds that neither
peers nor populace will stampede at so complete a revolution he
forsakes that consistency which is the weakness of little minds.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again to-day I came across Marquis Ito--his mark. In this Japanese
room made of a roof on pegs, with walls of paper shutters, and
its floor ten blanketed mats, there are three decorations. They
belong to a hotel of the second class. First is a spray of lordly
wistaria, leaning slender and dainty from a majolica vase. Next
is a bronze statue of a Chinese prophet, sword-habited and
tiara-coiffured. The third faces me, leaning above the sliding
paper doors. It is a motto in Chinese characters, two yards long
and a yard wide. At the left end is a signature and below the
signature two seals, one an ochrish yellow, the other vermilion.
For days that motto has stared at me its baffling puzzle. Were it
the conventional lettering of any language but that of the East
I would not be so much concerned. But in the dreamy half light
of evening or in filmy moonbeams these ideographs dance; they
cry aloud; they gesticulate; they demand utterance. Each stroke
is masterly; each separate character a picture--more a poem! I
am haunted by their blazing signals. Are they of appeal, or of
warning, or of blessing? I try to study them out and fancy I
can make a tortoise of the first. The last is a straight dash,
the exclaimer of a prodigious font of type, clasped by two
crossbeams. Perhaps this ideograph shows a man embraced by welcome
arms--appropriate for a bedroom. At last my curiosity bubbles over
and I drag Kato in to translate.

“It is very difficult to explain the meaning,” he says. “It is
simple to a Japanese, but impossible to a foreigner. The first
character is a tortoise, which to us is the symbol of wisdom
and eternity. The next means to pray. The last shows pilgrims
climbing the sacred mountain, Fujiyama. That straight dash with the
cross-beams is the crater with clouds floating about it.”

“The motto thus means, ‘Pray that you may be as a tortoise on the
sacred mountain.’”

“Yes. It means to wish eternal wisdom and happiness to the dweller
in this room.”

“And the signature?”

Kato looks again. “Hiburimo Ito,” he spells. “The Marquis Ito.”

“The Marquis Ito,” I cry.

“There is only one,” says he.

“The motto was given by him to the master of this house. See! the
yellow and red seals are his. He did the work himself. This is the
mark of his brush.”

“Is he a friend of the master?”

“No. But the master has a friend who came from the same province,
Tosa, in the south. It is called the Statesman Province, for Ogura
and Komura also came from there, while Satsuma in the west, from
which Yamagata, Oyama and Hirose came, is called the Warrior’s
Province. This friend went to school with the Marquis Ito when they
were both poor and now that the Marquis is rich and powerful his
friend asked him for some motto of good fortune. And he was given
this. It is a custom.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The Marquis Ito says but little. Of whatever subjects he speaks he
illumines, and he never hesitates to break into a conversation if
it interests him. Some time ago he rivaled that unknown New Yorker
who achieved fame for a single toast of nine words:

“The new woman, once our superior, now our equal.”

It was at a reception and the Marquis interrupted a discussion of
the difference between American and Japanese women to say to an
American: “When I marry I take on a head servant; when you marry
you become one.”

It was only last week at a banquet that Mrs. Wood, wife of the
United States Military Attaché at the legation here, was asking
Baron Komura, Minister of Foreign Affairs, if it was true that the
Japanese government had made an appropriation to buy back the
heirlooms which needy Japanese of good family had sold abroad.

“No,” said Komura, “we are too poor. What is gone is gone. It
may be that some private parties are buying them up, but not the
government. I have heard that even some of the temple relics, their
most prized bronzes and lacquers, have gone. The people forsake the
old gods, the priest gets poor, the curio man comes with gold and
away go the musty monuments of centuries.”

At this moment, with an almost sinister frown the Marquis Ito
interrupted. “What’s that?” he called. The conversation was
repeated. The inscrutable eyes closed, then he opened them with a
squint and said to Mrs. Wood:

“America can have all the relics Japan has--her bronzes, gilts,
ivories, lacquers, silks, her temples, everything but the land and
the people--for gold. We want American gold.”

“Couldn’t America buy Japan?” asked Mrs. Wood, playfully.

The old man mused a while. Finally he said:

“I have no doubt that America has the enterprise to build a ship
large enough to float our island to the Golden Gate and anchor it
there, but if you do that I bid America beware that we do not annex
her!”



Chapter Sixteen

THE COST OF TAKING PORT ARTHUR


Port Arthur stood formidable and haughty on the night of February
8th, when Togo first saluted it with his turret six-inchers. That
salute of the shell was lengthy and costly. For ten months it kept
up from nearly seven hundred guns, approximately two hundred and
forty in the navy and three hundred and fifty in the army. Each gun
fired its weight in metal twenty times over. About two thousand
tons of bursting shell went into that proud and mighty citadel,
cordoned with its cunningly hung and ingeniously intrenched forts.
Each firing cost an average of twenty-four gold dollars. Thus
the moneyed treasure hurled against the fortress exceeded thirty
millions. And men--but of the human later.

What bait lured and what force repelled that money and blood? To
comprehend we must review briefly Port Arthur, its fortification,
and its siege. Nature there was the greatest ally the Russians
ever had. Topographically, Port Arthur was fitted with a defense
that taught tricks to the most skillful engineers. Two ranges of
hills, almost concentric, surrounded the harbor. The crests of
these were broken by a series of successive conical elevations.
Here was a suggestion that the mightiest engineer--an Archimedes
or a Michelangelo--would have seized. The Italians who helped the
Russians in laying out their defenses, taking these concentric
ranges for the primary grand scheme, ran completely about the
city two concentric lines of fortifications. Massive masonry
forts were built on the shoulders of the high summits, and were
connected by continuous defensive works. Hugging the city close,
distant from one thousand yards to a mile and a half, lay the
inner line of permanent defense, whose backbone was an old Chinese
wall, broadened, deepened, and loopholed. Beyond, and filling the
interstices between these forts, were semi-permanent works. The
forts were so related to each other that they gave mutual support.
Each one was dominated by fire from neighboring heights, and it
often happened that the Japanese seized positions, which, though
untenable for the Russians, they were unable to hold themselves.
The slopes of the hills were steep. Also, they were smooth and free
from cover. To rush the works charges had to be made over a broad
glacis, swept by the shrapnel, machine gun, and rifle fire of the
defenders. Should the assault survive the scientific deathtraps
of this danger zone, the valiant few were confronted by massive
masonry parapets, through which they could not force an entrance.

This wonderful network of fortifications, strong by nature, strong
by virtue of the skill and care with which it had been built, was
distinguished from all previous defensive works by the fact that
here for the first time were used all those terrible agencies of
war which science in the last century has rendered available. There
were steel shields to protect skirmishers, machine guns, smokeless
powder, artillery of high velocity and great range, high explosive
shells, the magazine rifle, the telescopic sight, giving marvelous
accuracy of fire; the range-finder, giving instantaneously the
exact distance of the enemy; the searchlight, the telegraph and
the telephone, starlight bombs, barbed-wire entanglements, and a
dozen other diabolic inventions, the sum of which, allied to this
stupendous fortification of nature by man, enabled the military
authorities of the world to pronounce upon Port Arthur that
superlative word, impregnable.

Reducing the scale of this fortress, we might see in miniature
its intricate construction if we looked upon the hair-clippers
of a barber. The forts were the teeth, the murderous scientific
apparatus the death blades of this monstrous clipper. For five
months they shaved clean everything that approached them.

At the beginning of the operations, in the War Office at Tokyo, the
plan of campaign against Port Arthur was laid out as all Japanese
campaigns are laid out--by the General Staff. With a passion for
detail and a mania for precision, the fortress was plotted and the
operations against it mathematically separated into stages. Now
that Port Arthur calls on history for an answer, the exact nature
of this plan, and how rigidly it was adhered to, may be for the
first time disclosed.

There were to be four stages in the reduction of the fortress.
The work was divided into stages, because the Japanese are so
practical that they must plainly see on paper what they project.
They live by system. They have reduced accomplishment to a problem
of economics. They believe that the most successful man is he who
makes the closest analysis. It was fore-ordained that they would be
successful, for they analyzed Port Arthur.

[Illustration]

The first of the four stages laid out comprehended the capture
of the Chinese wall, which is the main line of permanent Russian
land defense on the east, and its protection of twelve forts;
three permanent, four semi-permanent, and three redoubts. The
second stage comprehended the taking of Etzeshan and Anzushan (the
Table and Chair forts), which are considered the keys to the west
defenses, with the lunettes, batteries, and redoubts which formed
their out and in works. The third stage comprehended the capture of
the town of Port Arthur, and the great sea forts located on the
Tiger’s Tail and Golden Hill. The fourth and final stage, in which
it was expected that the desperation of defense would mount to the
height of a fierce guerrilla warfare, comprehended the taking of
the tip of the peninsula, called Liaotishan.

The first stage was the most vital military move, for once
accomplished it meant the crumbling of the Russian line, though the
defense might linger after that for months.

The second stage was politically the great essential, for not until
it was well accomplished could the world be told that Port Arthur
had fallen. Through this Chair fort the town was taken ten years
ago, but now it rises so formidably that the Japanese have not even
dared to attack it. It looks like the crater of an extinct volcano,
bulwarked with loose sand at a seventy-five degree angle, so that
on assault men sink to their knees and lie inert under merciless
fire. “203” was but a semi-permanent outwork of this Chair fort,
which dominated it.

Such was the project. Execution needed only Stoessel and his
defenders to make the plan of the Tokyo War Office precise. They
failed on the defense of the last three stages, so that when the
Japanese accomplished the first stage, Port Arthur fell. Nogi’s
original intention was to pierce the Russian right center through
the line of forts from Keekwanshan and Ehrlungshan, while he
demonstrated on the left, where lie “203” and Etzeshan. He pursued
this plan to the end and was consistent through a bitter, costly
half-year. He planned to enter Port Arthur, through Keekwanshan
and Ehrlungshan, on August 21st. He entered Port Arthur through
Keekwanshan and Ehrlungshan, January 2d--four months and a half
late--but he got there, as he originally planned.

It was predicted that if the Russian line could be broken at any
one point, the fortress would fall. No one but the mathematical
heads in the War Office took stock in the idea of the four grand
stages. But Nogi and his generals held to the plan by foreseeing
beyond the actual defense, by checkmating it at every point that
might possibly have bearing upon these various stages, and as a
chess player surveys every possibility of defeat, counting on
consummate ability in the opponent. Then they finally got what
they were after, even before they expected it.

Had Nogi met what his foresight led him to expect--a consistently
determined defense--his capture of Ehrlungshan and Keekwanshan in
the last days of December would have left him only with one-quarter
of his work finished. But as a general giving full credit to his
adversary, he could not count on the Russian failure in the two
vital respects which spelled the final surrender. These two vital
things were ammunition and _morale_. If the Russians had had plenty
of ammunition and had been pervaded, rank and file, with Stoessel
spirit, they would have fought on while they held Anzushan and
Etzeshan, and all of that great chain of forts from Golden Hill
through to Liaotishan.

The siege of Port Arthur presents many phases--military, political,
ethnical, scientific, spectacular, and dramatic--in short, all the
great vital phases of human life. About the siege of Sebastopol the
libraries hold thirty volumes--about Plevna twenty. Port Arthur
surpasses both. Politically, vaster interests were at stake. In
a military sense the operations were more extensive; so we cannot
hope to cover the ground delved into by hundreds of writers about
former sieges.

We can but pick the grand salient features that seared themselves
into the memory of the few who lived through it. Of these the chief
is the proof that human tenacity and valor are as great to-day as
at any time in the world’s history. The great guns at Port Arthur
were marvelous. They impressed one with that power seen in a jungle
of elephants, yet they were sensitive and delicate as a little
girl. The battling under searchlights was as grand a spectacle
as the imagination can devise. The ingenuity and precision of
the movements outlined by generals bred in all the duplicity and
culture of the schools, and reared through every vicissitude of
camp and march, were astounding. The ingenious, quiet deviltry of
the engineer puzzled the brain. But all would have been useless
without the private soldier. The boy in khaki--he did the trick.

And after all the story of Port Arthur has been thrashed out, its
questions settled, that soldier of Nippon, with a calm, plain
face, stamped with the soil, rises supreme, saluting his equally
glorified yokel brother from the Trans-Baikal.

Shells make a lot of noise and led the hotel correspondents many
miles away to see blood on the face of the moon, but at Port Arthur
their damage was out of all proportion to their cost. Only one out
of four hundred of the Russian shells was effective in the Japanese
camp. It is not likely that more than twice that ratio--namely, one
out of two hundred--would cover the proper statistics of Japanese
effectiveness. Of course, the Japanese had the great advantage of a
plain target.

Bullets did the harm. There were about forty million discharged
during the five months of the siege, and forty million bits of
steel flying with cutting velocity are bound to hit some hearts in
Japan and other hearts in Russia. The weight of the total number
of men killed at Port Arthur on both sides, if compared with the
weight of the steel sent from the large and small guns of both
armies, will show that the death of every soldier cost his weight
in metal.

But the deaths were not frightful. It was life that was frightful.
In the contested redoubt of the Eternal Dragon, where the Japanese
drove the tip of their wedge into the Russian right center in
mid-August, and which they held against numberless sorties for
three months, the Japanese soldiers lived in conditions that would
be impossible to men of any other race. The enemy was within forty
yards of them on three sides. Their way back to their base of
supplies was across half a mile of valley, every yard of which
was swept by the enemy’s fire. Few prisoners were taken on either
side. Through the four chief months of the siege only seventy-one
Russians were captured, and the number of Japanese found alive in
Port Arthur at the time of its surrender was less than one hundred.

There are a few instances on record of mutual devotion between the
enemies, which is vastly heightened by the other frightful record
of mutual unswerving hatred. One day a Russian sergeant appeared
in front of a Japanese trench, bearing over his shoulder a wounded
Japanese lieutenant, whom he had picked up with a shattered leg
under the parapet of one of his own forts. This sergeant had been
on the point of thrusting his bayonet through the brain of the
Japanese lieutenant, when the other man moved, moaned, opened his
eyes, and from his pocket took a bit of biscuit, offering it to the
other. The Russian dropped his bayonet, bound the shattered leg,
hoisted the Japanese to his shoulders, and walked by moonlight that
night to the opposing trenches.



Chapter Seventeen

A CONTEMPORARY EPIC


That Port Arthur would fall on the 21st of August was believed by
every man in the Japanese army; the island nation was sure of it;
the world thought it certain. And the Japanese did try. They lacked
neither the bravery, nor the numbers, nor the skill. They failed
because Nature stood in their way. Nature built the mountains,
and without the mountains the Russians could not have defended
Port Arthur as they did. The forts were so arranged that each was
commanded by two or three others, and some by ten or twelve. One
taken, the others immediately concentrated fire there and made
it untenable. One thing only could be done--take all the forts
simultaneously. Since there were seventeen permanent, forty-two
semi-permanent, and eighteen improvised fortifications, two miles
of fortified Chinese wall, and a triple line of trenches eight and
a half miles long, defended by a stubborn foe, this was impossible.

“Impossible?” That is an English word. The Japanese do not
understand it. “You are expected to do the impossible things,” read
the first imperial order their troops received. They have done
impossible things. So have the Russians done impossible things.
The ordeal has raised the story of the siege of Port Arthur into
an epic. Without the perspective of Troy, it has some of Troy’s
grandeur. The glory, to us, is that we have touched shoulders with
an age that has produced men as willing as any ever have been to
fight nobly and die heroically.

[Illustration: HOME

The Shack occupied for three months (800 yards from the firing
line) by General Oshima, Commander of the Ninth Division.]

[Illustration: PLUNDER

Adjutant Hori, Secretary to General Oshima shown standing amid a
quantity of plunder from one of the captured Forts.]

Skill and bravery had their value, of course, but to take Port
Arthur a man was needed--a man like Grant, who could fight it out
on one line all summer and all winter. This man was Nogi; with a
face parchment-crinkled, brown like chocolate, with beard gray,
shaded back to brown where it met the skin, so that he seemed a
monotone in sepia, with eyes small and wide apart, perfect teeth,
tiny, regular nose, and a beautiful dome of a head flaring out from
the temples in tender and eloquent curves. He stands five feet ten,
unusually tall for a Japanese, showing the loose power of a master
in his joints and in that mighty jowl shaded by the gray-brown
beard. He has had to weather fierce storms of public indignation
in Japan for two reasons--because he did not take Port Arthur as
scheduled; and because he sacrificed so many lives. Turn over
the pages of our history and read the story of Grant’s campaign
from the Wilderness, through Cold Harbor and Spottsylvania, to
Petersburg and Richmond, and you will read the story of Nogi’s
campaign against Port Arthur. In northern Virginia the mighty
battle-ax cut down the keen Damascene sword. On the Liaotung Thor’s
hammer smashed the straying fasces of an overripe empire. The North
cried out that the man who felt himself an agent of Destiny in
conquering northern Virginia was a butcher; just so Japan cried
“butcher” against the iron man who reduced Port Arthur.

In 1894 Nogi saw the Chinese besieged and Port Arthur taken by a
feint. He saw the big Japanese demonstration then made against
the front while the bulk of the army slipped along the coast to
the west and south, enveloping the enemy’s left wing and driving
the silly Chinese into a net where they were caught fast under
the great forts, which speedily fell. Again, apparently, the
same strategy was about to be repeated. But instead of making
the real attack in the rear of the Russian left flank, Nogi made
only a demonstration there, where “203” is on the west, and drove
his straight, hard blow into the eastern line of permanent land
defense. To pierce the Russian right center, enfilade its left
flank, and stand Port Arthur on end--this was the plan. Gloriously
it was attempted, gloriously it failed. Regiment after regiment
went in, regiment after regiment went down. Corpses lay eight deep
in the creek which ran red to the sea.

This grand assault--the first--began August 19th. For seven days
and nights without cessation the battle raged, in the vain endeavor
to pierce that right center. It is said that the Japanese are all
heroes--that none are cowards. Some are also sensible. There was
the Eighth Regiment, which, when ordered in to the assault where
the regiment before it had been swept down, sent back through its
commanding officer the word that the way was impossible. This word
was so new to the Brigade-General that he ordered the regiment
to the rear for fatigue duty, the worst punishment that can come
to Japanese soldiers in an army where there are no guard-houses.
Another regiment, the immortal Ninth, was ordered to cross the
field to the foot of the slope on which lay, dead and dying, many
of the men of the regiment which had gone before. The Colonel,
Takagagi, surveying the task set for his regiment, sent back a
report that it was not feasible. The Brigade-General Ichinobe
replied hotly that one regiment was enough to take one battery.
Takagagi stepped out of the ravine, in which he had been seeking
shelter, at the head of his command. Before, he had been marching,
as colonels usually do, in the rear, while his line officers led
the advance. Now, he leaped forward up the slope, out in front of
his men. A dozen paces from the ravine he fell with four bullets
through his breast. The Lieutenant-Colonel took up the lead and
was shot a few yards farther on. The majors were wiped out. Every
captain but one went down. The last Captain, Nashimoto, in charge
of D Company, found himself, at length, under the Chinese Wall
with seventeen men. Looking down upon the shell-swept plain,
protected for the moment from the sharpshooters above, with that
handful of heroes, a mile and a half in advance of the main body of
the Japanese army, he grew giddy with the success of his attempt.
Of a sudden he concluded that he could take Port Arthur with his
seventeen men. He started in to do it. There was only the wall
ahead--the wall and a few machine-guns--beyond, the city itself--a
five minutes’ run would have brought him to the citadel. He scaled
the wall and fell across it--his back bullet-broken. Eight of his
men got over, scaling the height beyond, called Wangtai or the
Watch Tower, a place to which the Russian generals formerly rode
on horseback to survey the battlefield. On this slope, for three
months, in full sight of both armies, the eight lay rotting. The
Russians referred to them as “The Japanese Garrison.”

This was the high tide of the advance made in August. Nogi paid a
frightful price to learn his terrible lesson--that he could not so
quickly wipe out a foe thus allied with Nature. The lesson cost him
twenty-five thousand men. After the first ghastly assault he sat
down with his army and went sensibly and slowly at the enormous
task. Instead of storming Port Arthur with his army, he and Kodama
saw that he must dig into it. Realizing that Nogi was sure to pass
into the fortress through the earth where he had failed to enter
above ground, Kodama might well have chuckled as he said that he
held the besieged city in the hollow of his hand.

Yet both Kodama and Nogi thoroughly realized what they had to
face. The permanent forts of the Russians were built on the
advantageous shoulders that projected two-thirds of the way down
the slopes. The mountains, fortunately for the Russians, were so
situated that, though irregular in detail, yet their line formed
a complete semicircle enveloping the city. Making use of these
natural advantages, they were able to build a grand fortress with
seventeen locks, for every one of which they held the key. The
Japanese might spring one of the locks, but the fortress could
be instantly closed with any or all of the other sixteen. Each
depression between the main shoulders of the mountains was used for
the emplacement of a battery. Batteries and forts were connected
with barbed-wire entrenchments, and the glaces were made sheer and
slippery. Some were formed of concrete, some were built crater-like
of a sliding sand, so that a man advancing found himself slipping
to the knees and quagmired. Around the great forts moats of
unknown depth and width were built. In these moats caponieres were
placed to enfilade daring assaulters. Some of the barbed wire was
electrically charged, so that men attempting to cut it with nippers
were electrocuted. Down the forward slopes of the mountains mines
were sunk in the earth; some were exploded by contact with an
electric button on the surface, others by direct contact from some
tripping man as he passed over the spot. Around two of the forts
torpedoes taken from the ships were buried, and their finlike stems
were turned into contact flanges projecting from the earth. All
these defenses were connected with a network of covered ways; in
two places deep tunnels ran from fort to fort, and from all of the
principal forts back to the Chinese Wall was a deep tunnel. Behind
the wall lay machine guns, the most deadly weapons in modern
warfare, sprinkling bullets as a hose sprinkles water.

The very names of these forts characterized the forms of the
granite of which they were built and out of which they rose. The
Eternal Dragon, the Two Dragons, the Chair, the Table, the Lion’s
Mane, and that flippant old rooster, who is the grimmest and
sauciest of them all, the Cock’s Comb, stood out defiant in Chinese
hoariness.

To get across the plain, up the slopes, and into those forts by
digging trenches and tunnels was the problem, and the Japanese were
able to solve it. In those two months one hundred men at a time did
the job, for only that number could work at once in the tunnels.
Often shells found them out; rifle-fire harassed them every hour.
The loss was many companies, but they never lacked the one hundred
to do the work, always by night, always silently; crawling through
the night, pick and shovel in hand, came that antlike hundred, the
individuals constantly varying, as figures in a kaleidoscope where
death is at the handle, but never quitting its terrible task.

In darkness a company begins its labor in unison. Guided by clever
engineers, the picks advance through the blackness; the shovelers
smartly after. The Russian searchlight swings menacingly to play
upon the little group. A shell hurtles in. A dozen men fall,
some never to rise again. Up with the first aid, down with the
stretchers, to the rear with the victims. Advance another squad--on
goes the hundred. So for two months--and then through the finished
trenches the rest of the army walked impudently in the broad sun,
laughing at those useless bullets singing so saucily overhead.

The plain lay overripe with harvests, but not a living thing was
on its surface. The autumn sun hung indolent and golden. Blackened
villages were deserted. Among the chain of forts, bristling with
cannon, there lay one with its nearest side completely honeycombed.
All the other forts were silent and bare on their near sides.
That honeycomb was made by the gridironing of Japanese trenches.
Between it and the line of mountains, parallel to the Russians on
the north, the ground was ridged with mounds of fresh earth, as if
some gigantic mole had zigzagged across the plain. From neither
army was there the slightest evidence of life, except that between
the two lay that telltale fresh earth, as though a huge animal had
been busy in the night. Yet, behind the northern parallel range,
the distance of a rifle-shot from the Russians in Port Arthur,
ominously silent, monstrously at work in preparation, was the
Japanese army--siege-mortars cocking their twenty tons of steel on
solid masonry as a Mauser pistol cocks on a man’s fist; monster
naval guns, rakish devils, buried in the earth, with frightful
noses menacing the blue; howitzers perched on peaks; lines of
transport laden with rice and biscuit; hospitals brilliant as the
sunlight and quiet as its stillness; regiments of men receiving
instructions--how to escape beri-beri, how to keep nightdews from
the rifle-barrels, how to bind a fractured leg, how to scupper an
adversary in a hand-to-hand fight--but on the field of battle,
on the opposite sides of which the opposing hosts were held like
hounds in leash, there was nothing human--only silence, beauty,
sublimity.

From September 19th to the 25th occurred what is known as the
second assault, although it might more properly be described as a
reconnaissance in force. As an assault it failed. Then on the last
day in October the war-demon awoke again to his full ferocity.
Where the twenty-five thousand had been lost in August, a division
could now be poured right up to the parapets of the Russian forts
without losing a man. Coast-defense guns had been brought from
Japan to battle against the Russia coast-defense guns, which
had been turned landward. The Japanese had hauled their guns by
hand, eight hundred men to a gun, through mud, up the mountains,
in the dark, under fire, and had placed them in silence on solid
concrete foundations. But after they had crossed the valley the
Japanese still had a frightful obstacle to face. There was but one
way to get to the forts--up the slopes. Every inch of these was
commanded by guns trained carefully through three months of actual
use against a real foe and through four previous years against an
imaginary one. The Russians lay confident and calm above their
terrible fortress. They did not have to bluster with bombardments.
They knew their strength. They merely waited until the Japanese
advance reached a certain spot on the slopes. It was not a question
of aiming the guns, as it is where troops are constantly fighting
over fresh ground. All that was necessary was to pull the triggers.
There was about the proceeding little of the sport of war. The
order to advance was as certainly fatal as the hangman’s signal in
an execution-chamber, and when the Japanese did advance the few who
survived the murderous fire found behind those superb entrenchments
men just as brave, just as cunning, just as strong as they
themselves. If it is ever asked which is the braver, Japanese or
Russian, no answer can be given. No one nation distinguished itself
at Port Arthur. The glory belongs to both.

It was in the third grand assault, when the final operations
commenced, that General Ichinobe, the commanding officer who
had ordered the sacrifice of Takagagi and his immortal Ninth
Regiment and who had summarily sent the sulking regiment to the
rear, became the Japanese Marshal Ney. Two battalions under his
command succeeded in entering the P redoubt, an outwork of the
great Cock’s Comb fortification. Ichinobe left his battalions
after midnight, secure in the conviction that his work had been
successful. Toward three o’clock in the morning he was roused by
an orderly, who reported that the men had been driven from the P
redoubt. Ichinobe was then half a mile as the crow flies, nearly
one and a half miles as the trenches lay across the valley, from
the slope of the redoubt. Leaping from his couch, he called about
him his staff-officers, issued hurried orders to the reserves, and,
at the head of his immediate followers, ran through the zigzag
trenches. Reaching the foremost line, now under the fire of Russian
machine-guns, he found his men not demolished, but surprised,
outnumbered, and being driven sullenly back. Drawing his saber,
Ichinobe thrust the ranks aside, passed through, and charged up the
slope, leading his heroes for the second time into the contested
fort. With his own hand he killed three Russians. When dawn came
his brigade occupied the P redoubt. His immediate commander,
General Oshima, had an account of the exploit telegraphed to the
Emperor at Tokyo. That afternoon an Imperial order reached the
army, christening the fort “Ichinobe.”

In the assault of August 19th to 26th, the few men who reached the
parapets had received in their faces storms of what the Chinese
call “stinkpots”; that is, balls of fresh dung. This assault
wholly failed. The dead were left to rot, and the wounded were
shot as they lay, the stench of the corpses being used as a weapon
of offense against the Japanese, who were trying to maintain
the advantage they had gained at the foot of the slope. The
demonstration of September 19th, which also failed, was met with
hand-grenades of guncotton. In the third assault on October 29th,
halfway up the Cock’s Comb, the advance stumbled over a mine, and
the entire lower shoulder of the mountain was blown into the air,
taking with it some twenty-five men, heads awry, legs and arms
twisted, trunks shattered. Nevertheless, new volunteers advanced
through the crater thus formed, up the glacis of the redoubt, until
they reached a new and dangerous obstruction. This was a moat so
cunningly concealed under the very edge of the parapets that an
observer below could gain no hint of its existence even with
the most powerful field-glasses. The ditch was so deep that once
in, a man could not get out even by climbing over another man’s
shoulders. To fall in was certain death, for in every turn of the
concealed moat was a masonry projection called by the cunning men
who devise such traps, a caponiere. These caponieres were built
of stone and covered with earth. They were tiny forts, concealing
and protecting four or five Russian riflemen and a machine-gun.
Consequently, under perfect protection and with their foe in
limited area, trapped like woodchucks in a hole, unable to escape,
the Russians merely had to deal out whistling steel at their
leisure. The Japanese did not falter. The first men who leaped into
that moat knew that they were leaping to certain death, but they
knew, too, that the men in the caponieres could be overwhelmed by
the force of the numbers to come after. The two caponieres were
captured at once.

Under the parapets of this fort, dominated by all the artillery
of the two armies, occurred some of the grimmest fighting that
history records. It was at midnight of the second day of final
occupation. The black mountains lay behind, the black forts in
front, the blacker plain below. A Japanese lieutenant, Oda, asked
for a volunteer _Keissheitai_, or certain-death party. Thirty
_Keissheitai_ men came forward. Oda put himself at their head and
ventured along the bed of the moat toward the rearmost caponiere,
with the idea of capturing it. The fort is very long--about one and
a half times the length of an ocean liner--so he found room and
time for adventure. There was no moon, and the moat was too close
to the Russians for them to depress their searchlights sufficiently
to illuminate it. In the blackness, halfway down the moat, Oda
and his men met a Russian lieutenant prowling with a squad of men
behind him, bent on the recapture of the two caponieres which the
Japanese had seized. They had it out, not with bullets, but bayonet
to bayonet, fist to fist, and even teeth and nails. Oda and the
Russian, in locked embrace, reeled back and forth, falling, rising,
scratching, first one on top and then the other, each losing sight
and control of his men, all of whom were engaged in individual
combats just as savage.

The two leaders, grappling for an opportunity that each sought,
bumping against the walls of the narrow moat, reached, without
knowing it, an embrasure which led to the rear of the fort and into
the gorge. Tripping over this, not knowing where they were going,
the two plunged headlong down the slope. Above frowned two Russian
batteries. Beyond rose the great red-capped sky line of the Cock’s
Comb. A hundred yards, scratched by the stones, smashed by the
shale, they slipped and writhed, until they struck a tiny plateau
halfway down the mountain. Here the two, clinched, stopped as might
a dislodged stone toppling from its socket. In the struggle Oda had
been able to get his right arm free, which he reached over across
his enemy’s back, grasping the hilt of his straight, samurai sword.
Pulling it halfway out of the scabbard, which was tightly lashed to
his waist, he sawed and pulled until the slender, tapering steel
had gashed through the Russian’s clothing, full to his backbone.

Late the following night, after the sun had gone, Oda crawled into
his own trenches at the base of the mountain. His men had been
repulsed by a second party of Russians who had made a sortie to
relieve the first. But, still the Japanese held the two caponieres
in front and the Russians the two in the rear. Oda got no medals
nor applause. Two days later a breast-wound which sent him to a
hospital in Japan saved his life, for had he stayed he would have
certainly gotten himself killed.

The Japanese during the first two nights hastily dug out approaches
and had a partially covered way from the base of the mountain to
the moat. This gave them their vital hold on the north battery of
the Cock’s Comb. So resolute were the Russians in holding every
inch of ground that it was a full month and a half after that
before the Japanese could take the complete fortification. And when
the complete fortification was taken it availed but little, for it
was but one of three great batteries which formed the series known
as East Keekwan, which was itself but a portion of the eastern line
of permanent defenses.

To see how the rest of the great Northeast Keekwan (Cock’s Comb)
Battery was taken is to see how Port Arthur was taken, for all
the forts were reduced in the same way. 203-Meter Hill, the Two
Dragons, the Eternal Dragon, Quail Hill, Wangtai, and the Pine Tree
fell as did the Cock’s Comb. The only difference lay in incident.

It must be remembered that the fight was never over with the taking
of the outer parapet. Inside the forts, beyond the parapets, well
protected by moats and caponieres, was a sheltering earthwork
called the contrascarp, crossing which, storming parties met a
close and unerring fire from men concealed beyond, in ways formed
of timber balks and sandbags, and called traverses. Below these
traverses were galleries where the garrison lived; and below the
galleries were the bombproofs protecting the ammunition. Under the
traverses, covering the galleries and bombproofs, was heavy masonry
from two to three feet thick.

To undertake the capture of the whole chain of fortifications by
such sacrifices as those which gained a single one of the Keekwan
forts might have entailed the extermination of the whole besieging
army and of all the reinforcements which could have been sent to
its support. But with one fortress in the chain in Japanese hands
there was another way--sapping.

Through November the Japanese engineers were busy digging
underground from the advantageous hold they had on the north
battery. They started straight down through the solid rock. Only
a few men could work at a time, and these could dig only while
the trench protecting them, which was a few yards in advance,
was held by their comrades, vigorously firing, to keep down the
Russian garrison, now not more than a hundred feet away. Moreover,
sometimes when the Japanese sappers were half concealed in the
earth, sometimes when they were wholly underground, companies of
desperate Russians would suddenly break forth on them, spurred by
Stoessel’s promise of the Cross of St. George and a money prize to
whoever should break up any Japanese work. Thus at night, hounded
by shells, sleuthed by searchlights, and harassed by heroes from
across the way, the hole was dug. Forty feet down it had to go
to get below the level of the galleries and bombproofs, then
another twenty feet forward to find a spot under the vitals of the
fortification.

Stupendous as the task was, the tunnels were finished at last,
and on December 18th a quarter of a ton of dynamite was placed
in two such mines, and the galleries and bombproofs of the north
battery were blown into the air, with the demolished bodies of some
forty-five men of the garrison.

And even this was only the beginning of the end. Already the
Japanese had accomplished a herculean task. They had sweated,
endured, writhed in agony, died, and they had taken only one
battery. Ahead of them still rose, tier on tier, forts and
batteries, moats and walls, until the soul grew sick to think
that Port Arthur must be bought with sacrifice so vast. But the
Japanese did not turn back, did not weep, showed no despair. They
came to work, to meals, as cheerfully as ever they had done in the
rice paddies. And this, notwithstanding that winter was on them,
that the keen, equinoctial gales blew in from both seas, that the
thermometer fell to zero and below. They were surrounded by charnel
houses of their own making, and protected only by miserable, hasty
dugouts shielded from cold and wind by a few broken boughs, light
shelter-tents, and hastily packed earth. Death was preferred to
a wound, for the wounded had small hope of succor; yet life was
cherished and fostered.

Meanwhile the Russians were busy. They devised a new scheme of
defense. Kerosene was taken through a subterranean gallery of the
Two Dragons into a moat and there poured on piles of straw. Then
they waited.

At the fifth grand assault, when the north battery of the East
Cock’s Comb was taken, the Two Dragons were simultaneously
attacked. A company of Japanese headed for the moat. The kerosene
and straw were set on fire and the men who leaped into the moat,
expecting to find caponieres as they had found them in the Cock’s
Comb, were caught by flame. Many perished miserably. Some valiantly
fought the flames, but few survived. These few--that is, the few
who do the work in warfare--the few who accomplish that for which
the thousands die--made possible the Japanese advance. Through,
over, and beyond these few, the Japanese finally entered Port
Arthur.

Science is well, up to a certain point. Then it becomes useless
and cruel. The genius of the engineer helps the soldier across
the valley and to the parapet, but there leaves him in an agony
of suspense, over electric mines, under dynamite batteries,
crisscrossed by machine guns. If the nerves of this marvelous
soldier survive the ordeal, and if his body escapes the flying
chunks of steel, he is reserved for the extremity of modern
torture--hand-to-hand fighting in scientific warfare. At a moderate
distance he tosses balls of guncotton; he closes with stones and
stinkpots; he parleys with the bayonet, and finishes with teeth and
fists.

[Illustration: IN ACTION

Loading a 4.7 gun of the ordinary field artillery during the
assault of September 20.]

By chance, one morning in September, as the dawn came in, there
was revealed in a captured bombproof one little instance of the
hideousness of the conflict. The arm of a Japanese boy in khaki
hung limply across the back of a huge blond fellow in baggy
trousers. From the hand of the boy had fallen a pistol, which had
caught in the blouse of the big one; it had not fallen too soon,
for just below the muzzle the blouse was matted thick with the
life stream that had welled out in response to the death call.
The big teeth were clinched deep and tight into the little
jugular. On the boy’s slant-eyed face, good-natured, yet stamped
with the strange pathos of a people close to the soil, was written
a mute appeal for mercy. To that appeal there was no answer. The
boy’s dead face stared into the unresponsive block timber of the
bombproof.

In the bloody angle of the Eternal Dragon, the most fiercely
contested zone at Port Arthur, you might have seen these boys
any day of those three frightful midsummer months, when the slim
wedge was being driven inch by inch into the Russian right center.
Everything was covered with the white powder of dried mud. All was
wrecked. The path lay through a series of shell holes, connected
rudely with pick and spade. Up to that point the ground had been
neatly cut, but here it became rough and crude. No inch of dirt
had been unnecessarily touched, because the enemy lay within forty
yards on three sides. The _débris_ of battle was all about--torn
Russian caps, conical and heavy, mingled with the light brown of
Japanese uniforms, cartridge pouches half filled, shattered rifles,
demolished sabres, a gun carriage smashed till the wheel spokes
splintered the breech, rocks pounded by bullets as by a hammer,
and, over the wall, seen as you stole by the chinks, khaki bags,
loose over rotting bones.

All through the night when this bloody angle was first taken and
after it had been protected with trenches from recapture, Oshima,
the general commanding the division, sat in his tent without sleep.
He was shaken by sobs, for he had been compelled to order that the
entrenchments be made of the bodies of the dead and wounded. Only
rock was there and to hold the place a quick shelter was essential.
The half-dead men whose bodies were used by comrades to stop the
steel hail smiled in approval at the work; they knew it was done
for the best, but Oshima could not sleep; he wept bitterly all
night.

Along that bloody angle and through all the eight-mile front for
many months lay on duty the soldier of the Emperor, the boy who
won the victory. He crouched under the parapet, rifle to cheek,
its steel nose through a loophole, his finger on the trigger. The
tensity of his muscles and his eyes glancing down the barrel in
deadly aim, made him look like a great cat pausing for a spring.
One leg was drawn up and his cap was pulled viciously over his
eyes. The sun beat upon him as he lay, venomous with pent-up
passion, cut in silhouette against the trench, a shade darker than
the shale. A minute before he had offered tea and cigarettes; now
he dealt out hot lead. He might be a university student, or a
merchant, or a professional man. Wherever he came from he was the
pride of his neighborhood. Physically he was superb--perfect eyes
and teeth, digestion hardy and fit as clockwork; this must have
been so or he would not have been allowed to enlist. Moreover, he
was a veteran of four months’ severe campaigning, seven pitched
battles, and two months’ hard siege. Here he stood, far out on the
firing line, clashed between two civilizations, hurled into the
pallor of conflict, tossed by the greed of nations. Yes. Down there
in the ditches lived the real besieger of Port Arthur. Not science,
nor generalship, nor race bravery reduced Port Arthur; it was done
by men who could live and die with the simple heroism of cavemen
and vikings.



Chapter Eighteen

THE NEW SIEGE WARFARE


One morning in August General Nogi stood before his battalion
commanders at Port Arthur with a pick in his hand. Its nose and
heel had been worn away until the shank of rusted iron resembled
an earth-dappled cucumber. Fondling it, the General said: “Take
a lesson from this Russian pick. Your men must dig. They are too
eager to ask, ‘Why intrench to-night when we are going forward in
the morning?’”

Nogi here went to the heart of his problem. It had cost him
25,000 men to learn that the military engineer must precede siege
assaults, as his brother, the civil engineer, precedes rapid
transit in New York. The lesson, taught by Julius Cæsar to the
legions in Gaul nineteen hundred years ago, Nogi and his heroes
re-learned before Port Arthur in 1904. The advance in that cycle
of time has been not in digging, but in ways of digging. The
Japanese had to cross a valley a mile wide and six miles long,
dominated at all points by every degree of hostile fire. This did
not appall them. They accepted the problem, grappled with it, and
mastered it.

They honeycombed the valley, in the classic manner, with eighteen
miles of trenches and tunnels. The chief element in the problem
was to hide these from an enemy with lookouts above the plain.
“Till Birnam wood do come to Dunsinane,” the prophecy that sounded
Macbeth’s doom, had already been heeded by the Russians before
Kuroki’s northern operations. Here the witch, whispering in
Stoessel’s ear, might have warned him of his end when “maize-stalk
fields shall climb the Dragon’s front”; for it was under the
protection of maize-stalks, twisting through a shell-swept plain,
that the sappers crept on their slow but inevitable advance.

The Japanese attaché in South Africa had seen the Boer commandos,
under fire, suddenly vanish in waving stalks of corn, projected,
screen-like, across a telltale front. It was a savage trick,
learned by the Boers from the Kaffirs; and though school-bred
British minds sneered at a ruse apparently so childish, yet many
times their game was lost through such maneuvers. The Boers used
their maize in wholesale fashion, covering their front with deep
layers of whole sheaves. The Japanese improved on this. Students
of nature, disciples of nature, they gave no gross imitations. In
late autumn, over a field battle-tossed for three months, trampled
by two armies, and sickled by the husbandman Death, they advanced,
resurrecting the corn-fields as they went, till the Russian eye
beyond could not guess the point where maize standing by chance
left off and maize erected by besiegers began. Each angle of
advance was concealed by these brown, withered sheaves.

But maize was only the screen, and could not hide the thousands
of tons of earth which had to be taken from the plain. To throw
the earth beside the trenches, thus bringing into Russian sight
a furrow like that of a gigantic plow, would have revealed
the Japanese position as clearly as a blue pencil could have
diagrammed it on white paper.

To hide the earth of this digging was the appalling task. It was
done gloriously. The advance sappers threw their first trickle of
mole-like progress backward between their legs from the furious
indent of their tiny spades. Helpers behind immediately deepened
and widened the rivulet of shelter thus begun. The infantrymen,
closing in at daybreak throughout the hot sun, perfected it, but
the reserves accomplished the new thing. As fast as the earth was
displaced they carried it with gabions and bamboo stretchers back
through the zigzag lines behind the mountain range which concealed
their own heavy guns. Here, parallel with the Russian defense,
mile after mile of fresh-smelling mounds slipped up through the
cautious, industrious months following that frightful August.
Passing across the valley through these tunnels, deep enough to
shelter regiments, three months after the Aceldama of midsummer,
one could, in safety, be frowned on by hostile batteries, distant
three hundred yards, or look into the plain gridironed with cunning
trenches, and, like the foe above, see no evidence of life. The
maize-stalks hid the trench turnings, and though the plain was
alive with its thousands of armed men, even the practiced eye that
had just been among them could not tell where they lay. Where had
the output of that enormous digging gone? As well ask the chipmunk
where he puts the dirt from his hole. It was a new experience for
the Russians to fight a foe who could wiggle through the earth as
easily as he could cross it, and, underneath, escape the death that
he met on top.

Both sides had sailors on land. The Japanese emplaced the navy
six-inch guns in the bottom of a valley. The army field guns were
perched along the peaks in front, from which they could bark down
like noisy house-dogs. But the savage bite came from the big guns,
a quarter of a mile behind, the location of which was mistaken by
the Russians as identical with that of the blustering field-pieces
on the ridge. The sailors did not trust alone to the improbability
of their hiding-place. They cut out earth the size of a ship’s
hull, mended the broken crust with timber balks, and thrust the
noses of the six-inchers out of two square openings that might
have been turret-holes. Thus, entirely protected, though within
easy range of the enemy, they escaped serious injury. This was the
most effective Japanese battery; it has become famous for tenacity.

For the first time coast-defense guns battled with each other.
The Russians turned most of theirs landward. The Japanese learned
that field artillery was useless against either the fleet or the
permanent forts. Such knowledge prompted the assignment of a
naval brigade to the initial bombardment, which, with the first
grand assault, failed. Then they immediately turned to home for
heavier ordnance. Mortars for coast-defense along the Straits of
Shimonoseki and on the Bay of Yezo were all but completed in the
military shops at Osacca. Twenty-six of them were immediately sent
by transport to Dalny, and thence by rail over the tip of the
mended Trans-Siberian to the last station outside the zone of the
Russian fire.

The shipment of these great guns, the mortar-barrel of one
weighing eight tons, up to that point where cranes, steamships,
and locomotives of the finest type were available, was a gigantic
undertaking. Arrived at the shattered station in the night--for
day work was impossible--the task was only begun. From there the
guns were hauled by hand, for horses or Manchu oxen could not be
used where silence and concerted intelligence were essential. Eight
hundred men were detailed to each gun, which was mounted on skids
such as lumbermen use in the North Woods. Four abreast, with hemp
thongs across their shoulders, and all attached to a long cable as
thick as a man’s leg, the men labored on through the mud, after
dark, with the Russian shells flinging out searching challenge over
their heads, occasionally a quart of shrapnel bullets spurting
promiscuously into their ranks. Of the positions to which the
guns were thus taken the nearest were a thousand yards and the
farthest three and a half miles away. Once they were there, no
emplacement of shale or earth, such as sufficed for field artillery
and for naval guns, would do. So under each gun was laid eight
feet of concrete, firm and deep; and when it had hardened the gun
was emplaced. All this was done under fire, in the night, the
men being spat upon frequently by the glare of the searchlight,
pelted sometimes by wind and rain, and, toward the end of autumn,
seared by the winds howling in from two seas. It was prodigious
toil, obscure heroism unbelievable. But it was successful, for
it was this coast-defense artillery that sank the Russian fleet.
None other could have done it. The monster labor of placing these
guns on the bleak Manchurian hills, from which they have contested
with the finest defenses in the world, is one of the thrilling
engineering feats of modern times.

For the first time in history armies battled under searchlights.
There had before been fights at sea, and at Kimberley a few
skirmishes under searchlights; but in front of Port Arthur they
have lighted up decisive engagements, extensive maneuvers, and vast
losses. Science has intensified war. It has limited numerical loss,
but it has increased individual suffering; and, as in modern city
life, it strains brain and nerves to the breaking-point.

In August, for seven days and seven nights without cessation, a
great battle was fought--the first grand assault, which failed
and failed and failed until Nogi learned his lesson. Maneuvers as
intricate and almost as extensive as those in the north at Liaoyang
were conducted alternately under sun, moon, and searchlight.
The crux of this action rested on one of Stoessel’s searchlight
tricks, played on the night of the seventh blow of Nogi’s hammer,
desperately driving a wedge into the fortress. All the afternoon
the Japanese artillery had been fiercely bombarding the ridges
of the Cock’s Comb, the Eternal Dragon, and the Two Dragons. One
by one the Russian batteries ceased firing. It seemed that they
were silenced. Night fell, with prospects fair for assault. A
rising storm increased the Japanese hope, for in wind and rain
the searchlights would be nullified. Then, as night and rain came
down together, the searchlights struggling with both, the Japanese
shrapnel opened up against the lights. They had tried before,
unsuccessfully, to reach the dynamos hidden in the hills. This time
the attempt apparently succeeded. The man behind the light waited
until a Japanese shell burst in the line of vision between him and
his foes, and then turned off the switch, giving the Japanese the
impression that the light had been shattered. In this manner, one
after another, three of the searchlights playing over the center
of the field were “shattered.” With lights and guns apparently out
of the contest, and favored by the storm and the night, Japanese
expectation rose higher.

After midnight the most desperate of the eleven assaults conducted
through the seven days was made against the Cock’s Comb and the
Eternal Dragon. Halfway up the slope of the Cock’s Comb the three
“shattered” lights, converging at one point, threw the advance out
in silhouette against the red earth and the white shale. At the
same moment the “shattered” batteries opened up, every gun alive.
Simultaneously a regiment of Siberian sharpshooters sortied from
the Two Dragons, caught the flanks in their onslaught, and all but
annihilated the two regiments in front. Reinforced, bringing to the
task that dour pluck that has given the Anglo-Saxon his hold on
his big corner of earth, a quality the possession of which by the
Japanese was once questioned, the reserves hammered the Siberians
into their trenches; and though the assault against the Cock’s Comb
failed, shortly after dawn the Eternal Dragon fell. This was the
tip of the wedge, driven at fearful cost into the Russian right
center, and was the objective needed by the engineers to outline
across the valley the vast mining operations of those three months.

Between the hostile lines, held all summer and autumn with
desperate determination, lay a zone on which the dead were not
buried or the wounded succored. To send Red Cross men into this
field was to lose two fighting units for every one saved, and no
general would be guilty of such folly. The intensity of scientific
conditions, the forces of which are the searchlight and the star
bomb, the military engineer and the hyposcope, thus brought the
fulfillment of Archibald Forbes’s prophecy, made twenty years ago.
The time has come, as he said it would, when the wounded cannot be
rescued from a battlefield.

Kimberley saw the dawn of the fireworks branch of warfare. It was
left for Port Arthur to bring into permanent use this _feu de joie_
of holiday nights, a delight in peace, in war a spy. Rockets,
such as we use on the Fourth of July, bursting above the plain,
threw phosphorus over the advancing sappers and lighted up acres as
though by candelabra of stars. The Russians used three batteries of
such star bombs, and their dazzle added spectacle to horror. Some
Japanese officers contended that they caused no annoyance, but my
observation of the results was that they gave annoyance, but were
not a decisive factor. By lying low, advancing troops could always
escape being seen when the light came their way.

It was to be expected that a people like the Japanese, inventive,
versatile, and industrious, would develop extraordinary resources
when confronted with such a problem as Port Arthur, the reducing
of which has caused them great agony and cost vast treasure.
Archimedes would have rejoiced to know Colonel Imazawa. Major
Yamaoka of General Nogi’s staff once said: “The world makes too
much fuss over the unreasoning bravery of the private soldier. It
pays too little attention to the obscure effort of the engineer,
who risks as much, but with full realization of what it means.”
Yamaoka was speaking of Imazawa. The two are friends.

Imazawa’s most effective device was the wooden grenade gun, an
invention to save assaulters from death by their own explosives. He
found that a soldier carrying hand-grenades of guncotton up a slope
under fire, if properly hit, became a more frightful menace to his
comrades than an opposing mine. So he made a wooden barrel three
feet long, erected it at an angle of forty-five degrees on a wooden
upright, and by a catch-spring tossed the balls of guncotton from
it several hundred yards into the Russian parapet.

After the taking of Hatchimakiyama (the Turban Fort), Imazawa found
his men for the first time on a height above the Russian trenches.
Then he invented the dynamite wheel. This is a steel cylinder
containing five hundredweight of dynamite, with a projecting shield
for soldiers who roll it forward under fire until it reaches the
declivity down which it is hurled. The opposing trench precipitates
the explosion.

Imazawa also improved the saphead shield, used by besiegers since
the Middle Ages. Formerly it was a heavy log of wood, protected by
armor-plate, behind which pioneer soldiers advanced their trenches
when close to the enemy and under outpost fire. A solid log was too
heavy for the Japanese purposes, so Imazawa contrived a framework
of kiri-wood, both light and tough, over which he built a steel
shield such as Maxim put on his machine-gun. The shield stuck out
in advance of the framework like a cow-catcher on a locomotive. It
was rolled out of the saphead one or two feet toward the enemy.
Behind it two sappers, on their bellies, dug out from under their
legs the beginning of a wide, safe trench in which, two days later,
a regiment could find shelter. Nervous work this, with bullets
raining overhead like hail on a tin roof; but Imazawa made it
practicable.

Before he finally hit on his grenade gun, Imazawa employed a
bamboo grenade lift, his first device to let assaulters hurl their
explosives into redoubts without danger to themselves. These were
twenty-foot lengths of heavy bamboo, to the ends of which balls of
guncotton were tied. Two soldiers carried one of these lifts up a
slope, projected the grenade over a trench or a parapet, and let
the furious Russians smash it and themselves into destruction.

The last thing Imazawa did was a mistake--not his, but still a
mistake. In preparing for the third grand assault on October 29th,
after the sapheads had been worked to within a hundred yards of the
parapet on the Two Dragons redoubt, it was found that a dry moat
separated the Japanese from their prey. The width and depth of this
moat were difficult to determine. In the most fiercely contested
zone, and on a plateau so situated that it could not be accurately
seen from any of the heights possessed by the Japanese, its exact
nature remained a mystery. Scouting was difficult, for it was
commanded not only by the batteries of the Two Dragons, but also by
the batteries of the greatest forts at Port Arthur--the Chair, the
Table, the Cock’s Comb, and Golden Hill. To reach it a scout would
have to cross several hundred yards of red earth, bare to every
sight, and commanded by sharpshooters. Of those who went in for
information about that mysterious dry moat, for a week none came
back. Finally one scout, more cautious than the rest, returned and
reported to Imazawa, “Ten meters.” Thirty-nine feet is big width
for a moat, and no one could wonder that, sneaking along there in
the dark, with momentary fear of searchlights and sharpshooters,
the scout, finding a hole wider than his imagination, thought the
distance great if it was ten meters. So Imazawa made his bamboo
ladders fourteen meters long. On the day of the assault, everything
having progressed favorably up to that point, the bombardment and
the flank work against forts on each side being successful, the
advance went in with Imazawa’s fourteen-meter ladders. Under fierce
fire nearly half of the men dropped from the ranks, and only enough
were left to handle three ladders, the glacis of the redoubt being
littered with four others whose bearers had been slain. The hardy
scaling party at last placed their ladders securely on one edge
of the moat and dropped them across, expecting the next moment to
dash across them to victory, leaving the reserves crouched in the
trenches, waiting for the word to follow. Judge of their dismay
when the ladders fell from the perpendicular to horizontal, from
the horizontal to the perpendicular again! They failed to touch
the other side, failed to touch bottom, and disappeared. The moat
was fourteen meters wide. The dismayed assaulters hastened back to
Imazawa. That night a party advanced and dropped a thousand bags,
at one point, into this terrible moat. These sand bags disappeared,
and not a ripple of their indent could be seen. This sunken road of
Ohaine baffled the army and was the chief reason that Port Arthur
did not fall on the Emperor’s birthday. Had they passed it, the
Two Dragons redoubt would have fallen and the town could have been
entered.

Those who charge the Japanese with suicidal folly should remember
that when confronted with this crack in the earth they did not
emulate emotional Frenchmen at Waterloo. They sat down and gave
Imazawa a chance to study. They did not die in a climax of frenzy.
Their sacrifice is for a grand and patriotic idea. Sensational
despatches about losses spread the belief that they die like flies.
The truth is, they never waste a life.

[Illustration:

  _Copyright, 1905, by Collier’s Weekly_

THE OSACCA BABE

Loading the 11-inch Coast Defense Mortar during the general
bombardment of October 29. Two miles from Port Arthur.]

The use of many successful inventions showed the Japanese equal to
all the progress of the age. The hyposcope enabled them to observe
what went on in the town, and from 203-Meter Hill revealed the
fleet. This is a telescope cut in half, the front elevated two feet
above the rear by a further length of scope, and the line of vision
between made straight past the angles by two mirrors. It gives a
lookout within a few hundreds yards of the enemy’s line a chance to
explore calmly at his leisure.

Bombproofs for the generals were cut in the solid rock a thousand
yards in advance of the artillery and overtopping the firing-line.
Thus commanding officers could get the traditional bird’s-eye view
of the battlefield. Instead of sitting at headquarters, miles in
the rear, as the generals in the North were compelled to do, and
directing the action from an office desk, as a train-despatcher
regulates his system, the divisional, brigade, and regimental
commanders with their own eyes could observe all that was going on.
The commander-in-chief had a fine lookout in the rear center of
his army, two and a half miles from the town of Port Arthur. From
there his eye glanced over as grand a battlefield as the world has
yet produced, for within an area of ten square miles was brought
every possibility of modern warfare. Even cavalry maneuvered. While
his optic vision was extraordinary, his mental horizon was vast
and comprehensive. Telephones centering to a switchboard in the
next bombproof connected him with every battery and every regiment
under his command. He was in instant touch with the most outlying
operations, and, almost with the ease and certainty of Napoleon at
Austerlitz could march and countermarch, enfilade and assault.

Telephone and post office follow the flag. In the advance of the
Japanese army down the peninsula, telephone linesmen bearing
on their shoulders coils of thin copper wire, not much larger
and of no more weight than a pack-thread, followed through the
kaoliang-fields on each side of the commander. The moment he
stopped, a table was produced, a receiver was snapped on the wire,
and a telegrapher stood ready. More remarkable was the advance of
the telephone into the contested redoubt of the Eternal Dragon,
where a station was placed and operated for four months, with the
Russians holding trenches only forty meters distant and on three
sides. At this station, along the front of which twenty men a day
were slain by sharpshooters, mail was delivered every time that a
transport arrived, which was almost daily. Men on the firing-line
received postal cards from their sweethearts and mothers an hour
before death.

Telephone and post office followed the flag; the Red Cross preceded
it. The medical corps came, not in the wake of the army, but close
on the heels of the pioneers. Before even the infantrymen entered a
Chinese village it was explored, the water of its wells analyzed,
its houses tested for bacteria, and the lines of encampment
laid down. This unusual sanitation is looked upon by surgical
authorities as perhaps the chief cause of Japanese success.

But one could find another cause of Japanese success, if the
analytical probe is to be used and the mystic impulse which gives
men resolution for supreme sacrifice ignored. This great cause may
be called originality. The record of superficial observers of her
recent advance is that Japan to-day selfishly and slavishly reaps
the values wrung from time and chance through many centuries by
other nations. If this be true, she is original enough to survive
the ordeal of imitation. Had a single person shown the qualities
displayed at Port Arthur he would be charged with having the
audacity of genius. This audacity did not hesitate to make use
of anything, new or old, possible or impossible, conventional or
unconventional, which might win success from desperate conditions.

Let me give an instance: the problem that faced Japan’s soldiers
when they had dared to capture a minor position in the fortress’s
line of defense. Audacity won it, originality held it. The
trench-line of this bloody angle of the Eternal Dragon lay down
the slope and thus beneath the opposing Russian trench-line. The
maxims of assault declared it untenable unless the contiguous
positions to which it was subsidiary could be immediately taken;
wise generalship seemed to dictate that it be abandoned. To hold it
would be hardly worth the cost. Napoleon thus laid down in general
treatise and Von Moltke specifically so dictated; but not Nogi.
Give him an inch and he keeps it. Besides, he needed this inch for
his engineers.

In the bloody angle the ordinary sand-bag redoubt would not do.
There was no opportunity to erect the permanent masonry or even the
semi-permanent timber redoubt. The men must have some protection
that would let their heads be sheltered a foot or more below the
top of the trench, and yet give them loopholes for firing. Any
conventional trench built from experience or laid down in the
text-books was impracticable. A French, a German, an English, a
Russian soldier would have thrown up his hands because his father
and his grandfather knew no medicine for such a hurt. The American,
had he been far enough away from red tape, might have improvised.
The Japanese did not hesitate. Around the bloody angle he raised
a trench modeled on the medieval bulwarks of his samurai fathers.
It was built with ingenious quickness due to his twentieth-century
training. He erected a front of rock, like the turret of a
castle, and through the deep embrasures of this turret fired his
machine-guns, while the ragged skyline overtopped and kept him
safe. On the spot he married old with new. He was following the
destiny of his race--to tie the ages together.



Epilogue

THE DOWNFALL


D’Adda--the Marquis D’Adda of Rome--had studied history well,
and he declared that the end would come at “ze psychologique
mo-ment--in ze wind, ze rain, when ze high spirit go low.”

D’Adda was wrong. Port Arthur did not fall--it capitulated. It was
not stormed and won. It was worn out. The military critics of the
world were right. Port Arthur is impregnable, and well may some
other power some day learn this, when it is defended by Japanese
soldiery, properly provisioned, properly officered, and properly
supplied with ammunition. It was because the Japanese were ever
vigilant and never lost an opportunity to push their victorious
arms onward that they entered the city as soon as they did.

The end came unexpectedly with the new year. There was nothing
dramatic about it--nothing spectacular, and he who wanted
excitement would have required excess imagination to find in the
event the dramatic climax of a great war. When Port Arthur was
taken ten years before, it collapsed in a day, and the unspeakable
carnage before and after furnished one of the lurid chapters of
history. Chinese were massacred, the town was plundered, and the
world rang with outrage. When Plevna fell, thirty years before,
the Turkish prisoners marched through the snow, across the Volga,
dropping thousands of starved, scurvy-ridden, frozen comrades by
the ebbing mile stones. When Metz went down a vast army came to
the victor, and hemisphere-resounding was the scandal. Nothing
of the sort distinguished the surrender of Port Arthur on the
morning of January 2d, 1905. A stalwart, grim-visaged soldier in
Turkoman cap rode on a white charger out of the town to a little
village on the plain, saluted his victorious adversary, and
presented him the beautiful white horse. The adversary, Nogi, with
exquisite courtesy, refused the gift. On being pressed by Stoessel,
in the Turkoman cap, he accepted it on behalf of his army.
Complimented upon his achievement he replied: “I see no reason
for exaltation--the cost has been too great.” The next day this
courteous soldier, Nogi, the soul of chivalry, a prince of leaders,
marched in at the head of his worn but marvelous followers. The
Russians marched out, some to honorable parole, and some to tender
care among their enemies. There was no massacre, no spectacle, no
great dramatic incident. War had become a business. It was thus
that these two great men--Nogi and Stoessel--wrote “finis” at the
close of the first chapter of this interesting new volume, called
“Civilized Warfare.”

It is less than fifty years since Sebastopol fell, and not forty
since Lee abandoned the trenches at Petersburg. Yet the weapons
used at these memorable sieges are now as obsolete as the catapult
and the crossbow. And yet Port Arthur was won as were Tyre, and
Carthage, and Constantinople. Men will charge on machine guns as
readily as on crossbows. Apparently no defensive works or engines
can stop first-class soldiers. Nothing so well describes the last
few days of the great siege as this letter which came to me in New
York a month after Stoessel started on his way to St. Petersburg.
It was written by a man whose whole knowledge of English came from
his own countrymen. His position is that of Adjutant of the Ninth
Division of the Third Imperial Japanese Army; his service that of
private secretary to Lieutenant-General Oshima, who commands the
division.

The letter is transcribed, spelling and all, as it was written:

  “NEAR PORT ARTHUR,

  “_Jan._ 3d, 1905.

  “_Dear Sir_:

  “At last Port Arthur strongly defended and well known in the
  world came to the end quite late yesterday. Let me tell you
  a little about it. After you left here we took front part of
  Niryuzan as far as to the ditch which was 14 meters wide and
  deep. We made two roads into the ditch destroying two caponires
  and reaching the other side of the ditch, we dug four holes under
  the Russian bom-proof--the holes were about 14 meters deep. Then
  we filled them up with gun cotton to blow it up. On the 28th of
  last month we blew that up using 2.700 kirogram of gun cotton,
  at the same time our soldiers made an asolt, and took hold of it.
  By that explosion many Russians, large stones, and sand went up
  high into air. It was just like a volcano. The Russians increased
  and threw out many hand granates and very hard fighting went on.
  But about 5:30 of that evening the whole fort was occupied by our
  men, after six hours of continual fighting. After that we opened
  the road to push out beyond Niryuzan. On the 31st the first
  division captured Shojuzan greatly helped by our men in Niryuzan.
  Before the dawn of the 1st of this month this division took hold
  of all Russian line from H. peak to Banryuzan new fort, except
  Bodai. By a severe attack of the 35th regiment at 4:20 of that
  afternoon, Bodai was taken by us. Though we had a good battle
  on the happy new years day, yet the rest of the army did not
  have any. Early next morning General Stoessel sent in an officer
  and had the letter of surrend sent to General Nogi. On the 2nd
  negociation took place and the battlefield began to be entirely
  calm, by and by no sound of a rifle. I felt something.

  “I really wished you could stay here till this time to walk in
  together to Port Arthur. I got slightly wounded after you left
  and lost hearing of one ear. Wishing to see you at Mukden and
  with best regards,

  “Yours faithfully,

  “LIEUT. K. HORI,

  “9th Division.”


THE END.



  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained. For example,
  bomb-proof, bombproof; machine gun, machine-gun; firing-line,
  firing line; hyposcope; tensity; deviltry; diapason.

  Pg 12, ‘defense motar’ replaced by ‘defense mortar’.
  Pg 17, ‘SEIGE, AND CAPTURE’ replaced by ‘SIEGE, AND CAPTURE’.
  Pg 23, ‘subterreanean mines’ replaced by ‘subterranean mines’.
  Pg 46 (caption), ‘leaving Dalney’ replaced by ‘leaving Dalny’.
  Pg 61, ‘parchment-krinkled’ replaced by ‘parchment-crinkled’.
  Pg 68, ‘the fragant air’ replaced by ‘the fragrant air’.
  Pg 70, ‘His silk tile’ replaced by ‘His silk tie’.
  Pg 74, ‘primeval ectasy’ replaced by ‘primeval ecstasy’.
  Pg 136 ‘rice paddie’ replaced by ‘rice paddy’.
  Pg 160, ‘reduce the catidel’ replaced by ‘reduce the citadel’.
  Pg 203, ‘commssioned officers’ replaced by ‘commissioned officers’.
  Pg 221, ‘To the Colenel’ replaced by ‘To the Colonel’.
  Pg 230, ‘wild crysanthemums’ replaced by ‘wild chrysanthemums’.
  Pg 240 (caption), ‘the Jananese soldier’ replaced by ‘the Japanese
          soldier’.
  Pg 240 (caption), ‘preceeding the battle’ replaced by ‘preceding the
          battle’.
  Pg 303, ‘chistening the fort’ replaced by ‘christening the fort’.
  Pg 319, ‘have diagramed it’ replaced by ‘have diagrammed it’.
  Pg 325, ‘guns apparenly’ replaced by ‘guns apparently’.





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