In 1863 the Royal Navy bombarded the town of Kagoshima in retribution for the "Namamugi Incident" of 1862 in which a British merchant was murdered by a local official. The following year a multinational force attacked forts at Shimonoseki after attacks by the Choshu clan on foreign ships passing through the Kanmon Straits, the gateway to the Inland Sea between the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The following extracts from the Times newspaper describe these events; they were also described by W.L. Clowes.
|Extracts from the Times newspaper
|Sa 27 December 1862
|The fortnight just elapsed, although, not furnishing many incidents of war, has been marked by events of some importance. After the Allies had returned to Shanghai from Kah-ding, that city was again threatened by the rebels. How far the Imperialist garrison, unassisted, will be able to hold their own, remains to be seen. Apart from all political considerations the loss of life from disease in the military and naval force employed on these expeditions is a serious matter. Before the Allies had quitted Kah-ding, cholera had shown itself fatally among the English, and the mortality has been very great since at Shanghai, Her Majesty's ship Euryalus alone having lost 20 officers and men. The setting in of the cold weather had, however, been of much benefit in abating sickness.
|Sa 10 January 1863
|The Secretary of State for War has received a despatch and its enclosures, addressed to him by Brigadier-General Staveley, C.B., commanding Her Majesty's troops in China, of which, the following are copies:-
"Head-quarters, near Kahding, Oct. 24,1862.
"Sir,- I have the honour to report, for your information, that the Chinese authorities having expressed their willingness to place a garrison in Kahding if the allied forces would recapture it for them, the place was taken by storm, after a bombardment of two hours, this morning, by the force under my immediate command as well as the British naval force under Captain Borlase, C.B., and the French troops, placed respectively at my disposal by Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope and Captain Faucon, commanding His Imperial Majesty's forces in China; also the so-called Ward's force, under the command of an American (Colonel Burgoviene), and Lieutenant Kingsley's, 67th Regiment, battalion of 500 Chinese, and six mortars worked by Chinese under lieutentant Cane, R A.
"The guns and mortals were got into position during the night, and opened fire so soon as the walls could be seen. At 8 o'clock, two practicable breaches having been made,the French and British each established their bridges, the British under the direction of Lieutenant Knevitt, R.N., and Lieutenant Lvster, R.E. The storming parties of the 31st and 67th Regiments, under the command of Captain Christian, 31st Regiment, then planted their ladders and entered the place without opposition, the enemy escaping by the opposite side of the city.
"The place had been considerably strengthened since our last visit by an outwork made to flank the walls, and protected by a sort of bomb-proof, which, however, was not proof against 8-inch mortar shells.
"I gave over the place to Colonel Burgoviene and his men, and, except the storming parties, none of Her Majesty's naval or military forces were allowed to enter it.
"The recapture of Kahding completes the radius of 30 miles round Shanghai, which it was decided should be cleared of the Tapeing rebels.
"I trust that the excellent conduct of the troops under very tempting circumstances, and the very arduous nature of the service, will be favourably considered.
"I wish to mention for favourable notice Captain C. Gordon, commanding Royal Engineers; Captain Mansergh, Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General; Captain Gammell, Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster-General; Dr. Rennie, 31st Regiment, senior medical officer; Assistant-Commissary-General Thompson, in charge of Commissariat; Lieutenant Jebb, 31st Regiment; and the Prince Witgenstein, of the 1st Prussian Lancer Guard Regiment, who acted as my Aides-de-Camp.
"I take this opportunity of recording the great assistance I have invariably received on the occasions of the various expeditions from Mr. Consul Medhurst, and Mr. C. Alabaster, of the Consular service.
"I also wish to mention the services performed by Commander Strode, of Her Majesty's ship Vulcan, who was employed during the whole of the operations against the Taepings, and whose name was inadvertently omitted in my recommendatory despatch; also of his first lieutenant Lieutenant Grant.
"Commander Strode had the working of the naval 32-pounders on all occasions when they were used, and was assisted by Lieutenant Grant.
"In transmitting a list of the casualties marked (B), I have much satisfaction in calling your attention to the senior medical officer's report (herewith forwarded) on the health of the field force.
"I have, &c.,
"The Right Hon. the Secretary of State for War, War-office, Pall-mall, London."
"Her Majesty's ship Impérieuse.- 1 petty officer and 1 seaman severely, and 1 seaman slightly wounded.
ADMIRALTY, JAN. 9.
A despatch, of which the following is a copy, has been received from Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope, K.C.B., the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Ships on the East India and China Station, relating to the recapture of Kah-ding, near Shanghai:-
"RECAPTURE OP KAHDING.
"Head-quarters, near Kahding, Oct. 24, 1862.
"My Lord,- You will be pleased to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the force noted underneath moved out of Shanghai on the 22d inst., under the command of Brigadier-General Staveley, Captain Faucon, and Colonel Borgoviene, of Ward's Chinese Corps; and that Kahding; was retaken this morning after a feeble resistance.
"I have, &c.,
"The Right Hon. Lord Clarence Paget, C.B., M.P., Secretary of the Admiralty."
|Th 19 February 1863
|Intelligence has just been received at Plymouth announcing that cholera has entirely left the screw steam frigate Euryalus, 35, Capt. J.S. Josling, flag of the Commander-in-Chief on the East India and China station, and that the crew are now in good health. She continued at Hongkong. About 30 invalids from the frigate are coming home in the screw steamship Sanspareil. 70, Capt. George L.S. Bower. It is reported at Plymouth that, in consequence of the state of his health, Rear-Admiral L. Kuper is about to leave his command.
|Ma 13 April 1863
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
HONGKONG, MARCH 1
The principal item of intelligence for the present mail is the destruction of the nearly completed British residency at Yeddo. Fire and gunpowder were the means employed, and the incendiaries beyond a doubt were the Government of the Tycoon. It is asserted that the site had been ceded by the Tycoon with great reluctance, and it is now certain that its cession was viewed by the Mikado with great displeasure. It appears that some Japanese officers of high rank lately had an interview with the British Minister at Yokohama on the subject of relinquishing the position; but little time was allowed for consideration, for before the required answer could be given the difficulty had been solved by the Japanese in their own peculiar fashion. This act confirms the reported haughty bearing of the Mikado's latest ambassador, and reveals the inability of the Tycoon to resist the reviving power of the central authority. He will start early this month on his visit to Miako, and much of the future of Japan will depend on its result. Unless fully able to cope with his enemies, the Tycoon runs every chance of meeting death; but his escort is very large, is armed with rifles, and includes a battery of artillery. It is believed that his Government would gladly see a British force employed in chastising the insolence of the anti-foreign Daimios, whom he is quite unable to curb, and whose hostility is very dangerous to his thrown. Rear-Admiral Kuper, in the flagship Euryalus, and with Her Majesty's ships Rattler and Racehorse in company, left this on the 25th ult. for Yeddo.
|Sa 24 October 1863
|By the last steamer from Japan, news was received of the departure of Admiral Kuper and Colonel Neale for Kajosima, on board the Euryalus, accompanied by the Pearl, Argus, Perseus, Coquette, Racehorse, and Havock. Among the demands which Colonel Neale was instructed to make on the Japanesa in consequence of Richardson's murder were, it will be remembered, the payment of 25,000 l. indemnity, by the Prince of Satsuma, and the execution of the murderers. Satsuma is reported to have offered the Mlikado to fulfil these two conditions, but to have been haughtily told that the matter was before the Council, and to have left in high dudgeon. Admiral Kuper's visit to Kajosima, a town in Satsuma's territory, situated in a bay at the south of Kinsin, is to exact their performance now from Satsuma himself; and it is generally believed that he will comply, subject to the Tycoon's approval. The latter has returned to his own capital at Jeddo, and it will be interesting to watch how his policy towards foreigners may have been influenced by intercourse with the Mikado, who seems more averse than ever to their presence in the country. In pursuance of his insane decision to expel all foreigners from Japan, he sent an order a few days ago to the Governor of Nagasaki to exterminate those residing at that settlement who refused to leave. The Governor, who fortunately is more enlightened than many of his fellow Daimios, immediately repaired on board the gunboat Leopard and laid his instructions before her commander, the senior naval officer on the station. The reply was, of course, to the effect that he would moat likely fail if he attempted to carry them out, and his Excellency had the wisdom to refer to Miako for further instructions before attempting to do so. The Mikado's last act of malice was almost puerile; he forbad any Daimio to purchase a steamer or other vessel from any foreign nation.
|We 21 October 1863
HOSTILITIES IN JAPAN.
FOREIGN-OFFICE, OCT. 20.
The following telegram, dated Cairo, Oct. 19, 3 40p.m., has been received from Her Majesty's Agent and Consul-General in Egypt:-
"JAPAN NEWS, BY THE MOOLTAN".
"SATURDAY, AUG. 15.
"All hope of negotiations being at an end, the fleet took up its position opposite Kagosima, and prepared for action.
"SUNDAY, AUG. 16.
"The fleet stood out, engaging the whole of the batteries. The city ia one mass of ruins - palace, factories, arsenal, &c.
|Th 29 October 1863
|Admiral Kuper and Colonel Neale have at length, vindicated themselves from the charge of inaction, which had been, freely cast against them, by most vigorous action in the case of Satsuma. At the time the last mail left the British fleet had just sailed from Yokohama for Satsuma's capital of Kagosima, situated in the bay of that name, at the south, of the island of Kiusiu, for the purpose of demanding from that Prince 25,000 l compensation for Richardson's murder, and the execution of his assassins. The fleet reached Kagosima on the 24th ult., and Colonel Neale at once intimated by letter to Satsuma the object of its visit. A vague and unsatisfactory reply alone was elicited; and a second more stringently worded despatch producing no more satisfactory result it was resolved to commence measures of coercion. Satsuma had lately bought three steamers, the Sir George Grey, Content, and England, which were lying, as it was thought, safe in a small inlet out of reach of the guns of the fleet. It was decided to cut these out, an operation which was quickly effected by the boats; they were lashed alongside of three gunboats, and a further delay ensued to enable the Japanese to choose their course of action. A volley fired from one of the heaviest batteries at the Euryalus flagship, soon showed that they had determined on hostilities, and Admiral Kuper at once ordered the three prizes to be cut adrift and burnt, and a general engagement ensued. The Japanese fought their guns admirably, and the cannonade, after six hours' continuance, was only put a stop to by night, without any apparent relaxation in their fire. The next morning, however, it was notably weaker, and in less than two hours had completely ceased. By this time the fortifications were almost destroyed, two-thirds of Kagosima were levelled with the ground, and a large arsenal and foundry had been reduced to ruins. With the exception of the Euryalus, which led the line and sustained the heaviest fire, the British fleet had escaped without serious injury. The flagship, however, had suffered severely. Her captain (Joslyn) and commander (Wilmot) were killed; Lieutenant Jephson was wounded, besides 30 of the crew put hors de combat. The Euryalus was hulled ten times, and her masts and rigging cut to pieces. The casualties among the remaining vessels were only 33. The vessels engaged were the Euryalus, Pearl, Argus, Perseus, Coquette, Havoc, and Racehorse. The first two only are frigates. Admiral Kuper had now done his worst. Without a land force he could do nothing further to compel Satsuma to accede to our demands; and as the latter evinced no desire to negotiate he left for Yokohama on the 17th to refit. The Rattler, which arrived in port on the 30th, brought news of his safe arrival; she was sent over for provisions and stores, and left again with all speed on the 1st inst.
Everything was quiet, both at Yokohama and Nagasaki, when, she started. It is difficult to say what must be our next step; a severe engagement has been fought with complete success, but the object of the expedition is as far from being attained as over. Apparently, it only remains to threaten Yeddo with a similar fate to Kagosima, and under terror of our guns to compel the Tycoon to exert his authority to induce Satsuma to comply with our demands. But the latter is reported to be as powerful as the Tycoon, and may rely securely on the support of the Mikado if he persist in his obstinacy. Without an army it appears likely that we shall be unable to bring matters to a satisfactory termination. Japan is an entirely self-supporting country; until the arrival of foreigners it had no trade and desired none; the destruction of all its ports by our fleet and the cessation of trade would, therefore, have no other effect than to cause the inhabitants to withdraw into the interior and revert to their old habits of reliance on the produce of the country for support. Individuals only would suffer by the destruction of property caused by the bombardments, but the nation would not be affected. Until a British Plenipotentiary has been escorted by an armed force to Miako, our relations with the Japanese are likely to be as unsatisfactory as were those with China before the signing or the Treaty of Pekin.The Cormorant, which arrived yesterday from Yokohama, has brought no later news, though somewhat fuller details of the action than had before readied us.
|Th 29 October 1863
HOSTILITIES IN JAPAN.
We take the following details of the recent hostilities in Japan from: the Japan Commercial News of the 26th of August:-
"BUNGO CHANNEL, Aug. 19.
"Tuesday, Aug. 11, 3 l5 p.m. - Entered the Bay of Kagosima, a most lovely bay, the entrance about seven to eight miles broad. Did not see any batteries. Anchored, at 8 50 p.m., in 17 fathoms about eight miles to the south of the town. Had a great difficulty in getting soundings. No bottom all the way up at 30 to 40 fathoms.
"Wednesday, Aug. 12, 7 a.m. - Weighed and steered for the town of Kagosima. The channel deep - 20 to 15 fathoms. Passed between the Island of Tori and the point to the southward of the town; passed a shoal on the starboard side, above the water, with a pole on it. 8 40 a.m. - Came to off the town in 21 fathoms. The town appears to be strongly fortified. The forts full of men, with Satsuma's flag flying. A long line of forts in front of the town, behind which there were several large junks and five Chinese junks.
"On our anchoring off the town a boat came off with two officers. The Minister sent in the demand, and gave them till 2 p.m. on the 13th to come to terms. About 3 p.m. on that day a boat came off with a Vice-Minister, he having a guard of 40 men. He would not come on board till his guard wore allowed to come also. After having been on board a short time, another boat came off, and then the Vice-Minister, or agent of Satsuma, said there was some mistake about the answer, and that he must go on shore again, and that he could give no information as to when he could give the answer. We immediately got under way, and moved out of range of the guns, and began to prepare for to-morrow morning. 8 p.m. - The same man came on board, and delivered a letter; but it was written in Japanese, and it would take time to interpret it, so Lieutenant-Colonel Neill told him he must send off in the morning, and then he should know if we considered it satisfactory or not.
"Friday,14th - A boat came out about 8 30 a.m. to receive the answer. I believe the answer was that we considered their letter very far from being satisfactory, and that we should have no further communication with them except under a flag of truce. At 10 a.m. the Admiral, accompanied by Parker, master of the Euryalus, embarked on board the gunboat Havoc, and proceeded up the bay to reconnoitre three screw steamers seen there on the 12th. The steamers were found still at anchor (a ship and two three-masted schooners). Went round the bay and found it deep, no bottom with 40 fathoms, except close to the shore, within 100 yards - 33 fathoms. The Admiral returned on board about 3 p.m. and made signal for the captains of the Argus, the Racehorse, the Coquette, the Pearl, and the Havoc. We understand they are to capture the steamers in-the morning. 7 30 p.m. - Got springs on the cable.
"Saturday, 15th, 4 20 a.m. - The vessels mentioned yesterday proceeded up the bay to capture the steamers 10 a.m. - The Coquette returned towing the Contest, the Argus the Sir George Grey, and the Racehorse the England. I think this has rather astonished the people on shore, for there were crowds looking on, and some of the batteries were manned during the forenoon. There were two prisoners made on board the Sir George Grey - one called Kasiwah, a doctor, who speaks and writes moderately good English, and who had been to Europe with the Japanese Embassy, and was now a captain in Satsuma's service; and the other, called Otani, who was First Captain or Admiral of Satsuma's steam fleet. Those gentlemen preferred to deliver themselves to the British Admiral rather than to venture on shore after having allowed their vessels to be captured without resistance. They were landed at Kanigawa, under cover of night, on the 24th inst. The wind has been increasing, and there is every appearance of a gale. Wind S.E. Noon.- Low water. The Spit battery fired a signal gun, and immediately all the batteries opened fire with shot and shell on the squadron, the shot flying very close over our heads, and a few shell bursting close along side. Batteries firing shell from mortars tried to spring ship, with broadside to the batteries, with port spring, but could not, the wind being so strong. The Admiral made the signal to Coquette, Racehorse, Argus, 'Burn prizes and join Admiral.' The steamers were soon in flames. It seemed a great pity to burn them, yet still the service required it The value of the steamers alone, without cargoes, was $ 300,000. 12 50 p.m. - Weighed and formed line of battle 210p.m. - Opened fire with pivot gun on No. 8 battery the shells bursting well. 2 20 p.m. - Opened fire on battery with starboard broadside, the shot and shell telling well particularly the quarter-deck Armstrongs. The enemy's shot and shell began to fly very thick about the ship, cutting a great many of the ropes. Men in top observed men leave battery, our fire having dismounted four guns. We now began to approach the large batteries owing to the wind blowing, so fresh and directly on shore all the smoke covered completely these forts, so that we could not tell how far off we were, but we supposed about 700 or 800 yards. 2 55 p.m. - Captain Josling and Commander Wilmot both killed on the bridge by one and the same shot. The Admiral and Mr. Parker, the master, were on the bridge along with the captain and the commander when the latter were killed, and narrowly escaped the fatal ball. The Admiral's coolness and collectedness on this trying occasion was very remarkable; but when all was over he paid a worthy tribute of feeling to the memory of the brave officers and men who had fallen around him on the spot. A 10-inch shell exploded at the muzzle of the No. 3 gun on main deck, killing seven men on the spot, and wounding Lieutenant Jephson and five men. A shell came through the starboard waist bulwark, and burst under the starboard launch, completely blowing her bottom in, but without hurting any one. A shot carried away starboard speaking tube on the bridge, and lodged in the brake of the poop, breaking all the cabin windows. The firing very hot; at this time we were under the fire of 37 guns from 10-inch to 18 pounders. 3 10 p.m. - Racehorse got on shore under No. 8 battery, she firing at it and keeping them away from the guns; the Argus and Coquette sent to her assistance. 3 30 p.m. -Ceased firing. 3 45 p.m. - Came to under Josling Point in 25 fathoms. 4 20 p.m. - Forts discontinued firing on the Argus. Racehorse and Coquette observed the town to be on fire. 7 p.m. - The Havoc set fire to five large Loochoo junks. 8 p.m. - Observed Satsuma's foundries to be on fire; blowing very hard, with rain; ship with two anchors down and steaming slowly against it. Midnight. - Town foundry and junks burning fiercely.
"Sunday, 16th, 4 a.m. - Town and foundry still burning; junks burnt to the water's edge and drifted on shore; saw that several had been dismounted in batteries Nos. 7 and 8. 11 a.m. - Committed to the deep the bodies of Captain Josling, Commander Wilmot, and the following men:- Wm. Yardley, A.B.; Jas. Smith, ordinary; Wm. Hagarty, A.B.; R. Lindsay, A.B.; John Warren, ordinary; John Hawkins, ordinary; Patrick Fleming, Royal Marines, all killed yesterday during the attack on Kagosima. Noon. Town and foundry still burning. 330p.m. - Weighed and proceeded in company with squadron; cleared for action. Engaged batteries on both sides, firing shell at Satsuma's house and town. 3 45 p.m. - Magazine in No. 11 battery and also that in Spit Battery blew up Batteries on Tori Island, and Spit Battery firing on squadron. 5 p.m. - Ceased firing; observed the town to be on fire to the south of Satsuma's house. 5 20 p.m. - Came to off the Seven Islands in 8 fathoms, about 68 miles to the south of the town. 9 30 p.m. - Departed this life Thomas Harding, B.I.C., from the effect of wounds received yesterday.
"Monday, 17th, 2 p.m. - Weighed squadron in company and steered for the entrance of the bay. Observed the town still burning, and at the distance of 12 or 14 miles could still see great volumes of smoke.
"Killed and wounded - Euryalus - 9 killed, 22 wounded (1 since dead), 2 mortally. Pearl - 7 wounded. Coquette -2 killed and 4 wounded, including Lieutenant. Racehorse - 3 wounded. Perseus - 1 killed and 9 wounded. Argus - 6 wounded. Total - 12 killed and 51 wounded, 1 since dead.
"Number of guns in position on the 15th. of August.-No. 1-Battery, *8 32 or 24 pounders, 2 mortars; No. 2-Battery, *3 18-pounders ; *7 or *8 field-pieces between Nos. 1 and 2; No. 3-Battery, 3 mortars; No. 4 - Not known; No. 5-Battery, *2 8-inch, *9 32 or 24 pounders, *3 field-pieces ; No. 6-Battery, 3 18-pounders ; No. 7 - *2 10-inch, *5 32 pounders, 2 field-pieces; No. 8- Battery, *1 10-inch, *5 32-pounders, *1 18-ponnder, *1 mortar; No. 9 - 4 18-inch pounders on field-carriages; No. 10 - *3 18-pounders on field carriages; No. 11 - *2 8-inch, *4 32-pounders; No. 12 - *3 (west face) 18-pounders, 12 (east face) 18 to 32-pounders. Total number of guns* seen and counted (marked with star) - Guns, 55; mortar, 1; field-pieces, 13; total, 69. Number not counted, information given by two Japanese officers (prisoners) - Mortars, 7; guns, 12; total, 19; grand total, 83 guns, mortars.
"(FROM OUR OCCASIONAL CORRESPONDENT.)
"Kagosima Bay, Aug. 16.
"The squadron which left Yokohama on the 6th inst., consisting of Her Britannic Majesty's ships Euryalus, flag-ship of Vice-Admiral Kuper, C.B.; Pearl, Coquette; Perseus, Racehorse, Argus, and gunboat Havoc, anchored off the town of Kagosima, the residence of Prince Satsuma, on the morning of the 12th inst. Shortly afterwards several officials come on board and had an interview with Her Britannic Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires. A letter containing the demands of Great Britain was sent by them. The particulars of the negotiations were of course kept secret by those entrusted with them. As they did not appear to molest us, boats from all ships were sent in different directions to survey the bay, and in the evening Captain Josling, with one or two other officers, discovered three Japanese steamers at anchor, some distance up the bay. On Thursday, the 13th, an official of high rank came on board, accompanied by a guard of 40 soldiers; his stay was a short one, and the result was evidently unsatisfactory, as the squadron immediately removed out of range of their guns - a very necessary precaution against treachery. On Friday nothing of importance occurred, except that the Admiral proceeded in the Havoc to view the Japanese steamers and reconnoitre the bay. These steamers were taken possession of at daylight on Saturday with a view to intimidate them, but it had quite a contrary effect, for precisely at 12 a.m. all their batteries on both sides of the bay opened fire on us. The Perseus and Pearl replied almost immediately, but some little delay occurred in getting the Euryalus under way, owing to the quantity of cable out and the wind being high with a heavy sea running. This, with the occasional heavy showers, was a serious disadvantage to us. The three prizes which were lashed alongside the Argus, Coquette, and Racehorse respectively, were immediately set on fire, those ships coming into action as soon as it was accomplished. At 2 p.m. the ships formed line to engage in succession, and were gallantly led on by the Admiral, than whom a more cool or collected officer does not exist in the service. He led the ships on nobly at 400 yards' range, and in this position remained about three-quarters of an hour, by which time the Japanese had deserted their guns; but while they remained at them their firing was rapid and made with excellent precision, as is evidenced by the damage they inflicted, especially on the Euryalus, which, being ahead, took the brunt of the fire, and consequently received most damage. At about 2 30, while the shot and shell were flying round like hail, one shell struck the Captain (Josling) and Commander Wilmot, killing both instantly; another burst on the main deck with fearful effect, killing and wounding the officer of the quarters and all the remainder of the guns' crew, except one man. Shortly after this, most of the batteries having ceased firing, all the ships hauled off except the Racehorse, which got ashore immediately under one of their batteries, which, fortunately for her, was deserted. The Argus and Coquette went to her assistance, and continued firing on the town and a battery to the left of it. The Racehorse floated about half-past 5. The Coquette and Havoc continued shelling the town until dark. The town took fire shortly after the engagement commenced, and, as a matter of course, burnt furiously. The Havoc also set fire to five immense junks moored off some factories. As they burnt they drifted on shore, setting fire to the factories also. Towards night the wind had increased to a gale, and at 10 o'clock, when the fire was at its height, its extent was over a mile in length. Its breadth, which must have been considerable, could not be correctly ascertained, owing to our being so far off. The destruction of property must have been tremendous.
"On Sunday morning the town and factories were still burning. The steamers and junks had burnt through and sunk, except one of the former, which was sunk by the Havoc. At 10 a.m. the weather began to clear, when the last offices for the unfortunate dead were performed. At half-past 2 p.m. the fleet weighed again, and proceeding under slow speed, commenced shelling the batteries and town as we passed them at long ranges; not more than 20 shots were fired by the former, all of which fell harmless. The town again took fire further to westward, and their fortifications must have bean greatly damaged - the practice from all the ships being excellent. At night we anchored off a small village some few miles distant from Kagosima.
|Sa 31 October 1863
|A despatch, of which the following is a copy, has been received from Vice-Admiral Kuper, C.B., the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's ships and vessels on the East India and China station:-
"Euryalus, Gulf of Yedo. Aug. 22.
"Sir,- I request you will acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that, having embarked Lieutenant-Colonel Neale, Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires, and such of the members of the Legation as he wished to accompany him, I sailed from Yokohama on the 6th inst. with the Euryalus, Pearl, Coquette, Argus, Perseus, Racehorse, and Havoc for Kagosima, the capital of the Daimio, Prince of Satsuma. As it was desirable to economize coals as much as possible, the greater part of the passage was made under sail, and the squadron did not, in consequence, arrive off Cape Chichakoff until the afternoon of the 11th inst.
"2. Having been unable to obtain any correct information respecting the Gulf or Bay of Kagosima, and having only secured as a pilot a Japanese boatman who had been once at that place in the steamer Fiery Cross, it was necessary to approach with great caution. As we advanced up the Gulf, however, it was found that our greatest difficulty was the extreme depth of the water, and as night overtook us when within six or seven miles of the town we had to feel our way for nearly two hours, seeking for an anchorage. This was at last found on the western shore near what are called the Seven Islands, but which proved to be nothing more than seven insignificant rocks close to the beach.
"3. I. weighed again at 7 o'clock on the morning of the 12th inst., sending the Coquette, Racehorse, and Havoc ahead to sound, and by 9 a.m. the squadron was anchored in line opposite to the town of Kagosima, in 20 fathoms' water, and within about 1,200 yards of the batteries which at intervals line the whole of the harbour front. The masters of the ships were directed to obtain as many soundings as possible, and succeeded in gaining considerable information.
"4. Several Japanese officials having come on board to inquire into the object of our visit, Lieutenant-Colonel Neale delivered to them the despatch addressed to the Prince of Satsuma embodying the demands made upon him by Her Majesty's Government (this despatch being identical with that of which a copy was forwarded for their Lordships' information in my letter of the 14th of April last, No. 115). Twenty-four hours was allowed for a reply, and the intervening time was made use of by us in obtaining as much local information as circumstances rendered possible; and towards the evening Captains Borlase and Josling, Commander Wilmot and Captain Brine, Royal Engineers, went further up the Gulf in boats, and discovered three steamers of the Prince of Satsuma anchored close to the shore, in a bay about seven or eight miles from our anchorage, but quite out of sight.
"5. During the 13th the Japanese officials came on board several times with various excuses for delay in sending a reply to the demands, as well as to endeavour to induce Colonel Neale and myself to go on shore to hold a conference; which, however, knowing the treacherous nature of these people, we, from prudential motives, thought fit to decline; offering, nevertheless, to hold the conference on board my flag-ship, or to move the Havoc close in shore for the purpose, which they declined. It was also observed that preparations were being made for hostilities. They had commenced at daylight to assemble large bodies of men in the batteries, and to point the whole of the guns (numbering from 70 to 80) upon the squadron; and five large junks belonging to the Prince, and employed in the trade with the Loo Chew Islands, were warped out of the inner harbour and anchored out of the line of fire between the batteries and the squadron. In consequence of these manifestations, so undoubtedly hostile in character, I considered it expedient to be on my guard against any act of treachery; and as it had been decided by Lieutenant-Colonel Neale and myself that hostilities should not be commenced by us unless we were obliged to take the initiative, and as from the depth of water and the direction of the wind and tide, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to keep the ships' broadsides on to the batteries, I directed steam to be got up and the squadron to be ready to weigh at a moment's notice.
"6. At about 3 p.m. we observed a number of boats coming out of the inner harbour, and, on approaching the squadron, they were found each to contain a few water melons and eggs and two or three fowls, intended probably to represent the supplies with which they had promised to furnish us. One of these boats pulled off to each ship of the squadron, but, instead of going alongside to sell the few supplies they contained, they merely pulled round the ships and returned to the shore, it being evident, from the presence in each boat of a large number of yaconius, or soldiers, that their object was simply to obtain by closer observation a knowledge of the strength of the various ships, and of their state of preparation for hostilities. This rendered it still more necessary to be on our guard.
"7. Shortly following this occurrence an official, said to be of high rank, and who stipulated for the admission to the ship of a guard of 40 men, came on board. I offered no objection to the guard accompanying the official, but had a guard of Marines to face them on the opposite side of the quarter-deck. This officer, who was the bearer of the reply to Lieutenant-Colonel Neale's despatch, appeared to be in a state of great nervous anxiety, and no sooner had he taken his seat in the cabin than another boat was observed pulling hastily off from the shore, and waving flags as signals to the preceding one. On coming alongside it was ascertained, as stated by the Japanese, that, as there was some mistake in the despatch, it was to be taken on shore again for alteration, and the official accordingly left the ship without delivering it. Feeling perfectly convinced that this was a mere ruse to detain the ships in their present position, which would enable the batteries during slack water to fire upon us with comparative impunity, I directed the squadron to weigh and to be prepared to return the fire of the batteries. But, finding they did not open fire upon us, which was probably owing to the change in our position having completely thrown them out in the direction and elevation of their guns, I endeavoured to find an anchorage above the town, in the channel between the island of Sakura and the main; but the water proved to be so deep (from 50 to 80 fathoms close to the shore) that, after a careful examination of the whole channel, I was obliged to return opposite to the town, and anchored in 21 fathoms, about 1,000 yards nearer to the Sakura side. After much trouble an anchorage was found for the small vessels in a bay on the island, but very close to the shore. The letter from the authorities at Kagosima was brought on board in the evening by the same officer as before, who attempted to explain his strange conduct in the afternoon by saying that it was a misunderstanding, and that the letter he then delivered to Colonel Neale was the same he had previously brought on board.
"8. In the forenoon of the 14th I proceeded in the Havock, partly for the purpose of satisfying myself as to the position of the three steamers mentioned above, and also to examine the large bay or lake at the head of the gulf above Sakura Sima; it proved to be everywhere as deep as any part we had yet sounded, there being generally 50 fathoms within 100 yards of the shore. A strong breeze from the eastward had already sprung up, and the rapid falling of the barometer indicating the probable approach of a typhoon or heavy gale, the topgallantmasts were sent on deck.
"9. I have now to report to their Lordships the further progress of the events following the receipt, on the evening of this day (14th inst.), of a despatch from Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires, and its enclosures, in which I was requested to enter upon such measures of coercion as I might deem expedient and best calculated to awaken the Prince of Satsuma to a sense of the serious nature of the determinations which had brought Her Majesty's squadron to the Bay of Kagosima.
"10. The Pearl, Coquette, Argus, Racehorse, and Havock were sent at daylight on the 15th, under the orders of Captain Borlase, to seize the three steamers already referred to, and which may be briefly described as follows:-
"11. The weather still looked threatening.
"12. At noon, during a squall, accompanied by much, rain, the whole of the batteries on the Kagosima side suddenly opened fire upon the Euryalus, the only ship within range; but, although many shot and shell passed over and close around her, no damage was done beyond cutting away a few ropes. Finding that the springs on the cable would not keep the ships' broadside on, and as it was impossible, with the comparatively small force at my command, to engage the batteries underweigh and at the same time to retain possession of the steamers, I signalled to the Coquette, Argus, and Racehorse to burn their prizes, and then to the whole squadron to weigh and form the line of battle according to seniority, the Havock being directed to secure the destruction of the three steamers.
"13. Previous to this the Perseus, having slipped her cable, was directed to fire on the north battery until the signal was made to form line-of-battle, which service was executed by Commander A.J. Kingston with great promptness.
"14. Although the weather was now very dirty, with every indication of a typhoon, I considered it advisable not to postpone until another day the return of the fire of the Japanese, to punish the Prince Satsuma for the outrage, and to vindicate the honour of the flag; and everything being now ready, I proceeded towards the batteries, opening fire under upon the northernmost one, with considerable effect, and passed at slow speed along the whole line, within point blank range. Owing probably to the unfavourable state of the weather, the ships astern, did not maintain their positions in as close order as I could have wished, and the Euryalus was consequently exposed to a very heavy and well-directed fire from several of the batteries at the same time, and suffered somewhat severely. About this time also, and while in the thickest of the action, I deeply regret to state that I was deprived at the same moment of the assistance of Captain Josling and Commander Wilmot, both of whom were killed by the same shot while standing by me on the bridge of the Euryalus, directing the fire of the quarters, and setting an example of coolness and gallantry which was emulated throughout the entire ship.
"15. In consequence of the dense smoke and occasional heavy showers it was difficult to ascertain the extent of the damage done to the earthwork batteries, but by the time the Euryalus got abreast of the last or southernmost battery I could observe the town to be on fire in several places, and the weather having now assumed a most threatening appearance I considered it advisable to discontinue the engagement, and to seek a secure anchorage for Her Majesty's ships. The Racehorse, owing to a momentary stoppage of her engines, unfortunately took the ground opposite the northern battery; but, by the prompt energy of the commanders of the Coquette, Argus, and Havock, which, vessels were despatched to her assistance, she was got off without damage. The steady fire kept up by Commander Charles R.F. Boxer prevented the Racehorse receiving any serious injury from the battery, which had already been much disabled by the fire of the other ships. The Havock was then ordered to set fire to five large junks belonging to the Prince of Satsuma, which Lieutenant George Poole accomplished in a most satisfactory manner; and these, as well as a very extensive arsenal and foundry, for the manufacture of guns, shot, and shell, together with large storehouses adjoining, were also completely destroyed.
"16. During the whole of the succeeding night it blew almost a hurricane, but all the vessels of the squadron rode it out without accident, with the exception of the Perseus, which vessel dragged her anchors off the bank into 60 fathoms water, and was compelled to slip her cable during the following forenoon, when the gale had somewhat moderated. The gale subsided gradually during the 16th, and as I had observed the Japanese at work, apparently erecting batteries on the hill above the anchorage, enveloped in trees and bushes, and which might have inflicted much damage upon the small vessels lying within pistol shot of the shore I became anxious for their safety, and determined to move the squadron out to the anchorage we had occupied on the night of our arrival in the Gulf, for the purpose of repairing damages, fishing spars, and refitting, previous to proceeding to sea.
"17. The squadron accordingly weighed at 3 p.m. of the 16th, and passing in line between the batteries of Kagosima and Sakura Sima, steamed through the channel, and anchored to the southward of the island, taking advantage of the occasion to shell the batteries on the Sakura side, which had not been previously engaged, and also the palace of the Prince in Kagosima. A feeble fire only was returned from the batteries which had not been closely engaged in the first attack, and this happily without effect upon Her Majesty's ships.
"18. The injury inflicted upon the possessions and property of the Prince of Satsuma, during the operations above described, may be briefly summed up as follows - viz., the disabling of many guns, explosion of magazines, and other serious damage to the principal batteries, the destruction by fire of the three steamers and five large junks before-mentioned, the whole of the town of Kagosima and palace of the Prince, together with the largo arsenal and gun factory and adjacent storehouses, added to which may be noticed the injury to many of the junks lying in the inner harbour, caused by explosion of shells which may have passed over the batteries. The conflagration thus created continued with unabated ardour up to the time of the departure of the squadron, 48 hours subsequently to the first attack.
"19. I have already reported to their Lordships in a separate despatch the severe loss the profession has sustained in the melancholy death of Captain John J.S. Josling and Commander Edward Wilmot, both of this ship, who fell while gallantly doing their duty in the face of a heavy and destructive fire. With much regret I have to add that the returns received from the various ships present a list of casualties unusually great, being no less than 13 killed and 50 wounded, the half of which occurred in my flagship alone. The particulars of these casualties will be found in an enclosure to this despatch.
"20. Having thus accomplished every act of retribution and punishment within the scope of the operations of a small naval force, and having received from Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires the expression of his satisfaction with the extent and complete result of those operations, and of which I trust Her Majesty's Government may also be pleased to approve, I left the Gulf of Kagosima, in company with the squadron, on the afternoon of the 17th inst., on my return to Yokohama.
"21. It no w becomes my duty to point out to their Lordships the zealous and efficient assistance I received during the above operations, carried out in a totally unknown port, and under circumstances of considerable difficulty, from stress of weather, &c., from the various officers present at Kagosima. I deemed it proper to convey to the squadron generally (as will be seen by the annexed copy of a memorandum issued on the 16th inst.) the sense I entertained of the gallantry and zeal displayed by all classes, and although the melancholy termination of the gallant career of Captain Josling and Commander Wilmot has enabled me to reward with immediate promotion a few of the officers engaged, I should be wanting in appreciation of the same high qualities displayed by others were I not to bring their names prominently to the notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, for their favourable consideration.
"22. The services of Captain John Borlase, C.B., of the Pearl, have been so frequently brought before their Lordships by my predecessor in this command that I feel it will be unnecessary for me to do more than to add my testimony to the valuable assistance I have invariably received from that officer, and particularly during the operations I have here had the honour of describing; Commander John H.L Alexander, of the Coquette (since promoted); Commander L.J. Moore, of the Argus; Commander A.J. Kingston, of the Perseus; and C.R.F. Boxer, of the Racehorse; were severally and collectively most active and energetic in their co-operation and in their efforts to carry out my wishes in every respect.
"Lieutenant George Poole, commanding the gunboat Havock, an officer of long standing and high character, rendered most useful and efficient assistance in zealously performing the various duties with which he was intrusted, and merited my warmest acknowledgments.
"23. The services of other officers under my command I would also desire to commend to their Lordships' favourable notice; hut those which have been brought more prominently to my knowledge are those of Mr. W.H. Parker, master of my flagship, who, with the assistance of the masters of the ships present, succeeded in making a rough survey of the Bay of Kasosima, without which the squadron would have been unable to take up the eligible position it subsequently occupied while attacking the batteries. The steady and confident manner in which Mr. Parker steered the Euryalus within point blank range deserved my highest commendations.
"24. I have also to thank Captain Frederick Brine, Royal Engineers, whose services were placed at my disposal by the Major-General commanding in China, for much useful information as to the strength and position of the batteries, &c.
"25. Their Lordships will observe the testimony borne by Mr. Morgan, surgeon, to the able assistance rendered him by Mr. Charles S. Godfrey, Acting-Surgeon to the Vulcan, who at the time of the engagement was on board this ship waiting a, passage to Shanghai.
"26. In order to make the nature of the operations described in this despatch the more intelligible to their Lordships, I have the honour to enclose a chart of the bay of Kagosima and position of the batteries, together with an approximate return of the guns they respectively contained at the time of the attack.
"I have, &c.,
"AUGUSTUS L. KUPER, Vice-Adrniral and Commander-in-Chief.
"To the Secretary of the Admiralty, London."
"Sir,- I have the honour to transmit for the information of the Commander-in-Chief a detailed statement of the casualties in the squadron engaged with the Forts at Kagosima, on the afternoon of the 15th inst.
"I would beg to bring to the notice of the Commander-in-Chief the able assistance rendered me by Sir. Charles E. Godfrey, Acting-Surgeon of Her Majesty's ship Vulcan, who was awaiting passage to that vessel, trusting the Commander-in-Chief will be pleased to bring the same before the favourable notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.
"Mr. Edward A. Birch, Acting-Assistant Surgeon, I would beg also to mention, who was untiring in his attention to the wounded.
"I have, &c.,
"LIST OF CASUALTIES IN THE SQUADRON EMPLOYED AGAINST THE PORTS AT KAGOSIMA ON THE 15TH OF AUGUST:-
"Her Majesty's ship Euryalus. - J.J.S. Josling, captain, age 37, killed; skull shot away. E. Wilmot, commander, age 30, killed; back part of skull shot away. Michael Hegarty, A.B., age 22, killed; compound fracture of skull and jaws. Patrick Fleming, private, R.M. Light Infantry, age 23, killed; fracture of base of skull. William Lindsey, A.B., age 21, killed ; fracture of base of skull. John Warren, ordinary, age 19, killed; compound fracture of skull. John Smith, A.B., age 22, killed; compound fracture of skull, and compound fracture of pelvis. William Yardeley, A.B., age 24, killed; compound fracture of skull; John Hawkins, ordinary, age 19, mortally (died the same evening); compound fracture of pelvis and upper third of femur. Thomas Harding, boy, first class, age 17, mortally (since dead); right side of chest torn away by shell, ribs fractured, lungs lacerated, also compound fracture of arm. Alfred Jephson, Lieutenant, age 22, slightly; contused wound from shell on right shoulder, face burnt by explosion, also various minor contusions. George W. Jones, Assistant-Paymaster, first class, age 26, slightly; contused splinter wound, right leg. James Kennett, ordinary, age 28, slightly; face and arms burnt by explosion of shell; John Pittman, ordinary, age 20, slightly; splinter scalp wound, face burnt by explosion of shell; Silvanus Abbott, A.B., age 22, slightly; splinter wound in back of both forearms, and contusion of inside of left thigh. John Skinner, ordinary, age 19, slightly; face scorched with powder. W. Mitchell, ordinary, aged 22, slightly; scalp wound (splinter). George Reader, leading seaman, age 23, slightly; contusion of right arm (splinter). Samuel Fox, A.B., age 22, slightly; contusion of both arms, contusion of right groin and leg. Henry Oram, ordinary, age 19, slightly; contused wound of left leg (splinter). Isaac Newberry, ordinary, age 19, slightly; wound of scalp and left foot by splinters. William Badcock, wardroom cook, aged 40, slightly; contusion of left side and arm (splinter). William Huggett, ordinary, age 19, slightly; contusion of right leg (splinter). W. Howden, private, Royal Marine Light Infantry, age 26, dangerously; right side of face shattered by shell, right half of lower jaw excised. Daniel Leary, private, Royal Marine Light Infantry, age21, severely; shell wound of right thigh; eyes, face, and arms scorched by explosion. William Sale, gunner, Royal Marine Artillery, age 27, slightly; contusion of chest from splinter. Eugene Neil, leading seaman, aged 24, slightly; contusion of left arm, fingers and face scorched by explosion of shell. John Stiff, A.B., aged 23, slightly; lacerated wound of left foot by splinter. George Bartlett, ordinary, age 19. slightly; face burnt by explosion. George Alexander, ordinary, age 19, slightly; contusion of right thigh (splinter). Thomas Mitchell. A.B., age 22, slightly; splinter wound of foot, face scorched by explosion of shell.
"Her Majesty's Ship Pearl.- Mr. Armstrong, carpenter 2d class, age 38, slightly; splinter wound of forehead and ankle. James Friend, quartermaster, age 44, dangerously; splinter wounds of face and left thigh. William Farrell, drummer, Royal Marine Light Infantry, age 18, severely; splinter wounds of buttocks, thighs, and feet. H. Mercer, A.B., age 26, slightly; splinter wounds of ankles. George Kimmins, ordinary, age 21, slightly; splinter wound of calf of leg. F. Dobson, blacksmith, age 32, slightly; splinter wound of finger. James Mitchell, boy, 2d class, age 16, slightly; siplinter wound of calf of leg.
"Her Majesty's Ship Coquette.- Thomas Finn, gunner, Royal Marine Artillery, age 27, killed; compound fracture of pelvis. Henry Gale, captain maintop, age 29, mortally (dead); compound fracture of upper third of right thigh. D.A. Denny, lieutenant, age 20, dangerously; gunshot wound of left knee. William Harris, gunner, Royal Marine Artillery, age 30; dangerously; gunshot wound of left leg. William Mumford, private, R.M., age 35, severely; contused wound of right thigh. William Vernon, boy, 1st class, age 17, slightly; contused wound of left side.
"Her Majesty's Ship Perseus.- George Head, boy, 3d class, age 16, mortally (dead); compound fracture of both legs. Francis J. Pitt, lieutenant, age 22, slightly; incised wound on left leg and contusion of right leg. Robert Gilpin, master, age 33, slightly; burn of right hand from effects of a shell. Henry Cook, acting chief engineer, age 40, slightly; incised wound of the third finger of right hand from splinter. John R. Aylen, midshipman, age 17, slightly; contusion and punctured wound under right scapula from splinter. Thomas Biggs, second captain foretop, age 29, slightly; lacerated wound of right arm. William Knight, cooper, age 25, slightly; incised wound of left arm from splinter. Charles Suitors, A..B., age27, slightly; lacerated wound of left ankle from splinter. William Gibson, ordinary, age 21, severely; lacerated and contused wound of both arms from splinter. Charles Gale, private R.M. Light Infantry, dangerously; compound fracture of right arm and wound of right thigh from splinter.
"Her Majesty's ship Argus.- William Barnes, captain afterguard, age 31, slightly; splinter wound of leg. John Fountain, AB., age 29, slightly; splinter wound of face. James Hemett, ordinary, age 20, slightly; splinter wound of leg. Thomas Lardner, private R.M. Light Infantry, age 27, slightly; splinter wound of leg. George Doyne, gunner's mate, ago 30, slightly; splinter wound of arm. William Cooper, captain forecastle, age 41, slightly; splinter wound of face.
"Her Majesty's ship Racehorse.- William Chilton A.B., age 28, dangerously; amputation of left arm. James Keenan, second captain foretop, age 23, slightly; laceration of thumb on right hand. James Purr, boy, 1st class, age 19, slightly; contusion of right arm.
"D. L. MORGAN, F.R.C.S., Surgeon.
"Euryalus, off Kagosima, Aug. 16.1863.
"The Commander-m-Chief desires the several captains and officers commanding Her Majesty's ships under-mentioned will convey to the officers and ships' companies of their respective ships the expression of his thanks for the assistance rendered by them during the engagement, yesterday, with the batteries at Kagosima.
"The Commander-in-Chief, while deeply regretting the serious losses the squadron has sustained in the recent action, particularly in his flag-ship, has observed with gratification the zeal and gallantry displayed by the officers and men, under circumstances unusually trying, which it will be his duty to represent for the favourable notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.
"(Signed) AUGUSTUS L. KUPER,
|Tu 17 November 1863
|No news of importance has been received from Japan since the departure of the last mail. Admiral Kuper is lying quietly at Yokohama with almost the entire fleet under his command, save the Rattler and Leopard, which are at Nagasaki, and the Ringdove and two or three gunboats at Shanghai or in the Yang-tze. The Ringdove, however, will rejoin him in a few days. The following promotions have been made in consequence of the deaths of Captain Josling and Commander Wilmot:- Commander Alexander to be Captain, vice Josling, killed; Lieutenant Roe to be Commander, and appointed to the Coquette, vice Alexander; Lieutenant Hunter to be Commander of the Euryalus, vice Wilmot, killed; Mr. Morris (sub-lieutenant) to be Lieutenant, vice Hunter; Mr. Wickham (sub-lieutenant) to be Lieutenant, vice Roe; Lieutenant Denaistoun (Coromandel) to be Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Kuper; Lieutenant Poole (Havoc) to command the Coromandel.
The Tycoon's steam yacht Emperor is lying at Nagasaki, and the Japanese are anxious to have it supposed that she was despatched from Yeddo to assist in, or, at any rate, countenance the attack on Kagosima by the British, but was delayed by bad winds and bad coals until the action was over. She arrived in time to see the destruction which had been wrought, and immediately returned to Nagasaki, whence she will shortly proceed to Yeddo. Colonel Neale is singularly reticent of whatever information he may possess, if he possess any, regarding the leaning of the Tycoon; consequently every opinion on the subject must be based on conjecture, aided by deduction from His Majesty's behaviour. A short time ago it was believed that he had returned from Miako thoroughly imbued with the anti-foreign prejudices of the Mikado; but whether the assertion that the yacht Emperor was sent to Kagosima to aid the English be believed or not, the fact that the Japanese officials at Nagasaki assert such to be the case argues a desire on their part to be at least thought friendly. Now, therefore, that Satsuma has deliberately declared his intention to act implicitly in accordance with the instructions of the Yeddo Government, it is difficult to see how the latter can avoid requesting him to accede to our demands. If they were willing to aid us by force, they can hardly refuse to do so by their authority, now that Satsuma has explicitly declared his determination to obey that authority. So tortuous, however, are the wiles of eastern diplomacy that it is not at all unlikely that, in that event, Satsuma might ignore the despatch of his Minister, and declare it was written in his absence, without his authority or knowledge. It will be seen also from this despatch, of which I subjoin a translation, that if the Tycoon does insist on Satsuma's compliance, he will expose himself to the accusation of having broken the time-honoured laws of Gongen Sama, according to which Kawakami Tayima insists that Shimadsu Saburo was justified in the course he adopted:-
"It is just, that a man who has killed another should be arrested and punished by death, as there is nothing more sacred than human life; and although we should like to secure them (the murderers), as we endeavoured to do since last year, it is impossible for us to do so, owing to the political differences at present existing between the Daimios of Japan, some o£ whom even hide and protect such people. Besides, the murderers are not one, but several persons, and therefore they find easier means of escape.
"The journey to Yeddo undertaken by Shimadsu Saburo was not with the object of committing murders, but to conciliate the two Courts of Jeddo and Kioto; and you will, therefore, easily believe that our master (Shimadsu) could not have ordered it (the murder). Great offenders against the laws of their country (Japan) who escape are liable to capital punishment. If, therefore, we can detect those in question, and after examination find them to be guilty they shall be punished, and we will then inform the commanders of your men-of-war at Nagasaki or at Yokohama, in order that they may come to witness their execution. You must, therefore, consent to the unavoidable delay which is necessary to carry out these measures. If we were to execute criminals condemned for other offences, and tell you that they were the offenders above referred to, you would not be able to recognize them; but this would be deceiving you, and not acting in accordance with the spirit of our ancestors.
"The Provincial Governments of Japan are subordinate to the Yeddo Government, and, as you are well aware, subservient to the orders received from it.
"We have heard something about a treaty having been negotiated in which a certain limit was assigned to foreigners to move about in, but we have not heard of any stipulation by which they are authorized to impede the passage of a road.
"Supposing this happened in your country, travelling with a large number of retainers as we do here, would you not chastise (push out of the way and beat) any one thug disregarding and breaking the existing laws of the country? If this were neglected Princes could no longer travel. We repeat that we agree with you that the taking of human life is a very grave matter. On the other hand, the insufficiency of the Yeddo Government, who govern and direct everything, is shown by their neglecting to insert in the treaty (with foreigners) the laws of the country (in respect to these matters) which have existed from ancient times. You will, therefore, be able to judge for yourself whether the Yeddo Government (for not inserting these laws) or my master (for carrying them out) is to be blamed.
"To decide upon this important matter a high official of the Yeddo Government and one of our Government ought to discuss it before you, and find out who is in the right.
"After the above question has thus been judged and settled, the money indemnity shall be arranged.
"We have not received from the Tycoon any orders or communications by steamer that your men-of-war were coming here. Such, statements are probably made with the object of representing us in a bad light. If it were not with this object you would certainly have them in writing from the Gorogio; and, if so, we request you to let us see them. In consequence of such misstatements, great misunderstandings are caused.
"All this surprises us much. Does it not surprise you?
"Our Government will act in everything according to the orders of the Yeddo Government.
"This is our open-hearted reply to the different subjects mentioned in your despatch.
"29th day of the 6th month of the 3d year of Bungkew (18th of August. 1863).
"KAWAKAMI TAYIMA, "Scisse (Minister)"It must be conceded that Oriental diplomatists are wonderfully plausible. On first perusal the whole despatch bears an air of frank and honourable straightforwardness, especially the paragraph which mentions how easy it would have been for him to dupe the English by the mock trial and execution of a few criminals who happened to be in confinement for other offences; but this argument loses much of its force if it be held that Shimadsu Saburo was a guilty party. Colonel Neale has not particularly specified him as one of those whom we desire to see tried and executed; but as the person by whose orders Richardson was assassinated he can hardly be allowed to escape, and Satsuma can hardly deny his ability to capture him.
|Ma 25 April 1864
|THE ARMSTRONG GUNS IN JAPAN.- An officer on board the Euryalus, writing from Yokohama on the 13th of February, gives the following opinion, regarding the value of the Armstrong guns:- "My opinion, and also that of the gunnery lieutenant, is that for long range they, are most successful. The 100-pounder as a pivot gun is superior to the 95 cwt. solid 8-inch gun; but as broadside guns between decks we do not like them; the smoke is too great. Rear choke carriages with such heavy guns are very slow in working and the decks dreadfully cut up. The common shell is one of its great efficiencies, the bursting charge is so great. At Kagosima one vent-piece of the pivot-gun broke and a piece went up to foreyard, but no one was hurt, and it was the fault of the captain of the gun not putting the tin cap in. If the gun is understood and worked property, it is very successful. The 40-pounder we found answer exceedingly well, for coming out of the place we planted common shell, with pillar fuze, wherever we wished, at a range of 3,800 yards. Three steel vent-pieces broke, but another placed them immediately and no harm was done. These guns work very easily, are very true, and the drill is very simple."
|Ma 30 May 1864
SHANGHAI, April 2.
The last mail from Japan, brought news of the re-establishment of a good understanding between the Tycoon and the Mikado. It is even said that the latter has conferred extra rank on his temporal representative. A council of Daimios has been appointed to express to the Government what they conceive to be the deliberate wish of the nation in regard to the foreigners. Among the number are Echizen-no-dami, who is well known as a friend, and Shimado-Saluro (of Richardson notoriety), who may be regarded as an enemy of foreigners. The council comprises six members, who have been selected, it is said, in order to represent each different phase of political opinion. The report of the destruction of one of Satsuma's steamers by the Prince of Chosen is confirmed. The batteries opened on her as soon as she anchored in Simonosaki-bay. Her commander caused the usual signals adopted to distinguish Japanese vessels to be raised; but finding this had no effect, weighed anchor and made for the opposite side of the bay. The steamer was destroyed, however, before getting out of range, and nine officers and 19 men perished.
|Fr 3 June 1864
|A private letter received by our Portsmouth Correspondent from Her Majesty's ship Euryalus, dated at Yokohama, Japan, April 1, says:-
"We have now, unfortunately, 42 cases of smallpox on board, but not of a very serious nature, generally speaking. There are very few now in the ship that left England in her; only six of the latter class remain in the wardroom. Parker, our master, was the last officer invalided. Everything is going on quietly here, but there is very little trade doing between the Japanese and Europeans."
|Tu 19 July 1864
|ITEMS FROM JAPAN.- The Overland China Mail says:- "We are in receipt of news from Japan to the 14th of May:- Internal dissentions still continue. The Emperor, aided by several of the most powerful Daimios of the Empire, is endeavouring still to bring Prince Choshiu to account. Prince Satsuma has command of the forces sent against the refractory Prince. Our informant writes that Prince Chosiu's place in the hands of English soldiers might be made another Gibraltar. Her Majesty's ships Conqueror and Pelorus were hourly expected to arrive at Yokohama, These two vessels, accompanied by two Dutch frigates, will at once proceed to effect the opening of the Inland Sea to navigation.
|Tu 2 August 1864
SHANGHAI, June 5.Later advices from Japan give some explanation, of the rumour to which I alluded in my last letter, that the Governor of Yokohama had threatened to withdraw his protection from foreigners. It is stated that a plot was discovered, organized by some hostile Daimios, for the murder of the foreign residents at Yokohama, and that the Governor, in giving notice of it to Sir Rutherford Alcock, said that it would be out of his power to afford them protection. The latter replied that it would soon be no longer required, as a body of troops were daily expected from Hongkong. He accordingly wrote down by the last mail to the colony to expedite the departure of the Conqueror, with large reinforcements of Marines, and to request that the 20th Regiment, now quartered at Kowloon, might also be sent over as soon as possible. When these troops arrive, it is generally understood that the fleet will proceed to open up the inland sea, which is at present effectually closed against traffic by the Prince of Chosen, who fires on every vessel that passes Simonosaki Bay. The threatening aspect of affairs induced Sir Rutherford Alcock to demand an audience with the Gorogio, which was granted most unwillingly, after warning him that he incurred danger of assassination by going to Yeddo. His Excellency, however, carried his point, went to the capital on the 16th ult. in the Coromandel, and returned the next day. M. de Bellecourt, who has for some time filled the post of French Minister at Yokohama, has left for Europe, his place being filled by M. Roches, who also paid an official visit to Yeddo a few days ago. The Government has, it is said, been applying gentle pressure to the Japanese employed as foreign teachers, to prevent them giving any information as to national affairs to their masters. The higher officials have their foreign papers regularly translated, and are said to have been much annoyed at finding information given therein which, they would have preferred should remain secret. Attributing the publicity to the indiscretion of foreign teachers, they have caused the latter to be registered, and threatened them with severe punishment if they are detected in breach of the secrecy that has been enjoined in future. The new tea season has opened in Japan at still higher rates than in China, and no business has been done in consequence of the exorbitant prices for which the native merchants stand out.
|Ma 15 August 1864
|We take the following summary of news from the China Mail of the 29th of June:-
... The matter at present pending is the opening of the Inland Sea, which has been closed for some time by the Prince of Nagato, who caused the shipping to be molested in passing through the Straits of Shimenoseki. The 20th Regiment is now on its way to Japan, and the Conqueror has already reached Yokohama with a battalion of marines. Nothing has transpired as to the course that Sir R. Alcock will adopt, further than that he is determined to reopen the Inland Sea to foreign vessels.
|Fr 16 September 1864
SHANGHAI, July 22.
... Japan is at present exciting great interest. The whole force which had been ordered to Yokohama with a view to opening up the inland sea has now assembled there, except a detachment of the 67th Regiment and half a battery of artillery, which left Shanghai for the same destination yesterday afternoon. All the available English, French, and Dutch vessels of war are assembled in the harbour, and the whole of Her Majesty's 20th Regiment is quartered on shore. Sir Rutherford Alcock is reported to have sent an ultimatum to the Yeddo Government requiring the immediate demolition of the batteries at Simonasaki, which have been erected by the Prince of Nagato, and the opening of the Inland Sea for purposes of commercial intercourse. The Government have 30 days to deliberate on the proposal, and it has been intimated to them that active operations will be at once undertaken unless they comply with our demands. In the event of hostile measures being found necessary, it is understood that the French ship Semiramis, the only one which our allies have in these waters, will remain, accompanied by two or three English vessels to protect Yokohama, and that the remainder of the English fleet, consisting of about 14 ships, will proceed, together with the four Dutch vessels now lying at Yokohama, to demolish the batteries. It is difficult to form any correct estimate of the strength of the Prince's preparations, as all information is now necessarily derived from native sources. It is generally believed that considerable additions have been made to the batteries engaged by the Wyoming and Medusa, and that hot work may be expected. It will be singular, however, if the fleet which is now assembled at Yokohama cannot overcome any resistance that may be offered.
|We 28 September 1864
SHANGHAI, Aug 4.
The only news of interest brought by the last steamer from Yokohama is to the effect that Her Majesty's ships Barossa and Cormorant have gone to cruise in the Inland Sea. It is believed that they have on board despatches to the Prince of Nagato, and carry as passengers two or three of that Daimio's high officers, who have just returned from a trip to Europe. Another attack has been committed upon a foreign vessel at a port in Nagato's territory called Fukugawa. The American steamer Monitor left Hakodadi for Nagasaki with a short supply of coals and water, expecting to be able to run down with a fair wind. Being disappointed, and her fuel nearly exhausted, she was obliged to seek assistance on the coast, and accordingly called at the harbour of Fukugawa. The officials who boarded her promised to report her requests to their superiors, and left on apparently friendly terms. During the night, however, without any warning, fire was opened on the Monitor from a small battery near the town, and before she could get under way a large body of men who had assembled on the beach fired a volley at her from gingals and muskets. Fortunately the ship was partially protected from the battery by an intervening point of land, which rendered it difficult for the Japanese to take accurate aim, and no one was hurt. As soon as he had got out of their range the captain opened fire in reply from two small rifled Parrott guns which he had on board, and, by his own statement, set the town on fire in two places with shell. If this be true, it can only be regretted that he did not confine his attention to the armed men and the battery that had fired at him, as it is improbable that the inhabitants took part in the attack or deserved punishment. Subsequently the Monitor called for supplies at the island of Tsusima, where she received most courteous promises of assistance, but nothing more material, and it was found necessary to send a party, who were not molested, on shore to cut firewood and collect water.
It is said that the Tycoon contemplates returning to Miako, where he feels more secure than at Yeddo, during the present disturbed aspect of affairs. No intelligence has been received regarding the progress of negotiations on the question of opening the Inland Sea; it is probable that the return of the Cormorant and Barossa will be awaited before anything is determined on.
VESSELS OF WAR.
At Hongkong.- The British gunboats Drake, Forester, Grasshopper, Haughty, Janus, Opossum, Snap, Watchful, and Woodcock; the Spanish ship Valiente. At Macao.- The Portuguese lorcha Amazona. At Canton.- The Spanish, steamers Narvaez and Patina. At Swatow.- The British gunboat Flamer. At Amoy.- The British gunboat Staunch. At Shanghai.- The British steamers Manilla, Osprey, and Perseus; the gunboats Hardy, Slaney, and Starling; the French steamers Dordogne and Kienchang. On the North.- The British gunboats Insolent and Weazel. At Formosa.- The British gunboat Bustard. At Japan.- The British steamers Argus, Barrossa, Conqueror, Coquette, Cormorant, Coromandel, Euryalus, Hesper, Leopard, Pelorus, Rattler, Racehorse, Scylla, Swallow, and Tartar; the gunboats Bouncer, Dove, Firm, Havock, and Kestrel; the French steamer Semiramis; the American frigate Jamestown; the Dutch steamers Djambi, Medusa, Amsterdam, and Metalen Kruis.
|Ma 3 October 1864
We take the following summary of news from the Japan Herald of the 26th of July:-
"On Thursday Her Britannic Majesty's ships Barrosa and Cormorant left here on a cruise to Choshiu - not, we have some reason to believe, as stated elsewhere, with the purpose of seeing whether they will be fired on, but to communicate certain despatches from the foreign representatives to Nangato. Two of Nangato's officers, who have just returned from Europe, were on board the Barrosa, and we believe some officials appointed by the Government. The captain of His Imperial Majesty's ship Semiramis, Mr. Euslie, and several other officials, also accompanied the envoy. His Netherlands Majesty's ship Djambi, it had been expected, would also leave with them, but at the last moment this arrangement was altered. Nothing further has transpired as to the probable movement of the fleets.
"A change in the Governorship of Yokohama is reported. The newly-appointed holder of that office is Ookaski, who was formerly one of the secretaries at the Custom-house.
"We have heard too that Matzdaira Yamato-no-Kami and Etakura Suwa-no-Kami, and many smaller officials, have been degraded from their office, it is said for their alleged mismanagement in the affair of notifying foreigners as to the resolution of the Government, concerning the closing of the port of Yokohama.
|Tu 18 October 1864
SHANGHAI, Aug 17.
... Matters appear to be approaching to a crisis in Japan. The Prince of Nagato has refused to open the Inland Sea, and has fired across the bows of the Cormorant when the latter made the experiment of passing his batteries. She and the Barossa accordingly returned at once to Yokohama, and it is believed that the fleet will sail for Simonosaki before the end of the month. Orders have been received by the commander of the Perseus, the senior naval officer at present in port, to charter vessels to convey 1,200 tons of coals to the Inland Sea for the use of the fleet, and to proceed himself thither to join it. A further detachment of Her Majesty's 67th are under orders for immediate embarkation, and two companies of the 2d Beloochees are to accompany them. By the time these reinforcements have arrived Sir Rutherford Alcock will have a fleet of 17 vessels of war and 1,500 troops, besides marines, at his disposal - amply sufficient, one would imagine, to effectually silence and destroy the far-famed batteries in which the Prince has evidently such implicit faith.
The report of the Barossa and Cormorant confirms the native report that he on his side had been preparing as actively for defence as we have been for attack. He has, of course, been perfectly well aware of the object of all the preparations that have been made, and has added considerably to the number and strength of his batteries. But they must be strong, indeed, if they can withstand the force which we can bring to bear against them. It is reported that an attempt has been made at Yeddo to poison the Tycoon, but that the assassin was betrayed beforehand, and compelled to swallow his own decoction - a practical mode of punishment which resulted in his immediate death. The rebellious Prince of Choseu (Nagato) is said to be threatening Miako itself, which is in such imminent danger that large forces had been sent from Yeddo in all haste to its relief. But this is only a native rumour, and is probably exaggerated.
|We 26 October 1864
SHANGHAI, Sept 4.
... It is probable that long before this letter reaches England the battle of Shimonosaki will have been fought and, it is to be hoped, won. The fleet was on the point of setting out for the inland sea when the English mail of the 11th of July reached Yokohama, together with the Japanese Ambassadors, who, it appeared, had made a treaty with the Emperor Napoleon guaranteeing the opening of the sea in three months, and it was thought, in consequence, that the desired end would be attained without the employment of force. But both the Gorogio and the Tycoon utterly repudiated the act of the Ambassadors, said that they had exceeded their powers, and that they could not guarantee the fulfilment of the provisions of the treaty. The Ambassadors, moreover, had received permission to perform the Aari-Kari. In consequence, it became necessary to resume the warlike preparations which had, for the moment, been abandoned; and on the day on which the last news that has reached us left Yokohama the Marines were under orders for immediate embarcation, and the expedition was to sail three days later, on the 29th of August. Two more French ships' of war have arrived at Yokohama, so that the expedition will consist of the following vessels:- Her Britannic Majesty's ships Conqueror (78), Euryalus (35), Barrosa (21), Tartar (20), Leopard (18), Coquette (4), Cormorant (4), and Bouncer (4); His Imperial Majesty's ships Semiramis, Duplexe, and Tancrède; His Netherlands Majesty's ships Medusa, Metalen Kruis, Djambi, and Amsterdam; and the merchant steamer Takiang, which has been chartered by the American Minister to carry the United States' flag into action, in order that they also may be represented. If this fleet prove insufficient to blow the Prince of Chosiu's batteries into small pieces, we may be justified in viewing a war with Japan with considerable apprehension in future. It is intended that the Marines shall land and destroy the batteries so soon as the fleet has silenced the guns. Fifteen hundred troops, consisting of Her Majesty's 20th and detachments from the 67th and 2d Belochee Regiments, and half a battery of artillery remain at Yokohama, together with Her Majesty's ship Pelorus, and one or two small vessels, and the United States' sloop of war Jamestown, to protect the settlement. Her Majesty's ship Perseus and Osprey have also left Shanghai, but whether to join the fleet or to go to Yokohama I am not aware.
|Tu 1 November 1864
BOMBAY, OCT. 14.
The French steamer brings news from Japan, announcing that the Allies had forced a passage through the Straits of Shimonosaki with trifling loss. The Japanese fought hard.
Another telegram, dated Shanghai, Sept. 21, which has arrived by the regular English mail, says:-
|Sa 5 November 1864
The following news has been received at the Admiralty:-
"ADMIRALTY, Nov. 4.
"By telegram from Paris we hear that the Straits of Simonosaki are open, the passage having been forced by 16 vessels of war, after three days fighting. All the batteries have been destroyed, and sixty 24 and 36 pounder bronze guns have been embarked. The loss of life has been small, considering the result, and no officers have been killed. The Japanese have asked for peace."
|Th 10 November 1864
JAPAN AND CHINA
SHANGHAI, Sept 17.
I take advantage of the opportune departure Of the French mail to give you the brief account which has reached me of an action fought at Simonosaki by the allied fleets on the 5th and 6th inst., which resulted in the complete destruction of Prince Nagato's batteries, and that Daimio's suing for peace. The fleet consisted of the following vessels:- The Euryalus, Conqueror, Tartar, Barossa, Perseus, Argus, Coquette, and Bouncer (English); Semiramis. Tancrède, and Dupleix (French); and Metalen-Cruz, Djambi, Medusa, and Amsterdam (Dutch). The merchant steamer Takiang, bearing the American flag, was also present. The Tartar, Dupleix, Barossa, Leopard, Metalen, and Djambi were the first vessels to open fire, and were immediately answered vigorously by the Japanese. In three-quarters of an hour the first battery was silenced, and shortly afterwards a storming party was landed which carried it in gallant style, and spiked the guns, although it was defended by 800 men. On the following day the whole squadron was engaged with the remaining batteries, but they were silenced one after another, until, in the afternoon, another storming party was landed, which succeeded in carrying several, after hard fighting. The Japanese used arrows, which caused very troublesome wounds, as the heads remained in the flesh after the shafts had been withdrawn. The Perseus got on shore, but was able to use her guns with effect notwithstanding. On the morning of the 7th the Tartar, the Metalen, the Djambi, and the Dupleix proceeded to open fire on the forts at Hakusima; but the enemy was satisfied, and at 8 a.m. a boat came off bearing a flag of truce, and having on board one of Nagato's subjects, who had recently returned from England. He expressed his regret at having fired on foreign vessels, but, it is said, asserted that he had been acting under orders from the Tycoon and Mikado.
He expressed his willingness to submit to any conditions, and pay any indemnity the allied Admirals chose to impose. Parties were landed from the fleet, who completely demolished the batteries, destroying 60 guns of large calibre and a number of smaller ones, and taking others more valuable on board the fleet. Thus the Inland Sea is now opened. The ships have suffered little or no injury, and comparatively few casualties have happened. The loss of the English, so far as I can learn, was 15 killed and 40 wounded - among the latter Captain Alexander, of the Euryalus, in the foot, which it is feared will have to be amputated; Lieutenant Edwards and Mr. Atkinson, of the same vessel, slightly; Lieutenant Brownlow, of the Tartar, badly, in the leg; and Mr. Wingfield, of the same vessel, badly. The casualties among the French and Dutch are very trifling. The news was brought by His Imperial Majesty's ship Tancrède, which has only just arrived. I shall be able to give you fuller particulars of this most successful action by the English mail, which leaves two days later.
Her Majesty's ship Coquette, bringing Admiral Kuper's despatches for the mail, arrived from Simonosaki last night. The fleet, at the time she left, was on the point of sailing for Yokohama, but was to call at Osaka en route, in order, I presume, to assert the right of entering, and to show the officials at a port so close to Miako that our success has been achieved without injury to the ships. I mentioned, when writing two days ago, that Chosiu had consented to submit to any conditions that might be imposed upon him. The following are the terms of the Convention which were at length agreed on:-
"1. Henceforward all ships of all countries passing through the Straits of Simonosaki shall be treated in a friendly manner. Ships shall be allowed to purchase coal, provisions, wood, and water, and every other necessary. As the harbour of Simonosaki is subject to violent winds and currents, people suffering from stress of weather shall be allowed to land without opposition.
"2. Not only shall new forts not be built, but no repairs shall be made to the old ones, nor shall guns be mounted thereon.
"3. Although the town of Simonosaki might have been partly burnt for having fired on foreign ships, it was left standing. A ransom shall be paid for this, and, in addition, the whole expenses of the expedition shall be defrayed by the Prince - the sum to be settled by the Foreign Minister at Yeddo.
"4. This agreement being merely for the cessation of hostilities upon this occasion, it has nothing to do with questions affecting Chosiu, which have to be settled between the Japanese Government and the Ministers .of foreign Powers."
It must be admitted that this agreement appears in every respect satisfactory, and no doubt can exist as to the complete sincerity of Chosiu's submission. The Inland Sea may be considered definitively opened, and the large traffic which passed through it before that Prince established a blockade at the Simonosaki Straits will doubtless now again begin to flow in its accustomed channel. Further accounts of the recent action only confirm the completeness of the success, while at the same time they show that the Japanese offered a determined resistance. The allied fleet reached Simonosaki on the afternoon of the 5th inst., and engaged the eastern batteries almost immediately. The heavier vessels of the squadron anchored in a commanding position, leaving Her Majesty's ships Tartar, Barossa, and Leopard, His Netherlands Majesty's ships Metalen and Djambi, and His Imperial Majesty's ship Dupleix to open fire. These vessels commenced firing at 4 p.m., at a signal from the Euryalus, and the Japanese at once replied. In three-quarters of an hour the nearest battery was silenced, and at 5 45 an explosion took place in the second, which had the effect of so reducing the fire that it was determined to storm it. Accordingly, at 6 45 p.m. a storming party was landed from the Perseus and Medusa, which succeeded in carrying the battery, and spiked most of the guns. This battery is said to have mounted about 30 guns, and to have been manned by 800 men, and its early capture was highly important, as from its strength it was able to cause great annoyance to the squadron. Negotiations were now opened by the Prince of Kokura, whose territories lie along the southern coast of the Straits. Had this Daimio made common cause with Chosiu, and thus placed the fleet between two fires, the difficulty of the operations would have been considerably greater. But he remained inactive, only sending a friendly deputation to beg that we would leave the chastisement of Chosiu to his own countrymen, who were themselves concerting measures to bring him to his senses. This statement, however, savoured too much of the usual temporizing policy of the Japanese to have any effect, and he was informed that it was too late, we had waited long enough, and intended now to open the sea ourselves. In the meantime the Perseus, Argus, Coquette, Bouncer, Medusa, and Tancrède played on the remaining batteries till dark, the ships which had been engaged in the first bombardment passing higher up the Straits. The Japanese forts opened fire on these at daylight the following morning, when the Amstrongs of the Barrosa were worked with great effect. At 5 50 a.m., the enemy's guns had been silenced, but shortly afterwards they again commenced firing, and a body of marines was collected on board the Argus, preparatory to landing. A body of small-arm men from the French and Dutch ships was also held in readiness, and the whole were landed about 8 a.m. Within two hours the batteries which had been engaged were in possession of the allies. The Perseus went on shore while protecting the landing parties, and was not got of until the next day; but she was able to use her guns with effect notwithstanding, the Barrosa taking up a position to protect her. In the evening a storming party of marines and small-arms men from the Euryalus and Conqueror landed, under command of Captain Alexander, and carried a masked battery, after some hard fighting, in which we experienced considerable loss. At daylight the squadron, which had been engaged on the previous day, steamed up to engage the forts at Haku-Sima, but had hardly opened fire when Nagato sent off an official to the flagship to treat for terms, and in a short time a signal for truce was run up to the Euryalus's mast-head. I mentioned the names of the officers who had been wounded, when writing by the French mail. Our total loss, so far as I can learn, was about 15 killed and 50 wounded, out of which the casualties on board the Euryalus alone were 20. Captain Alexander will go home by the next mail invalided, and will be succeeded in command of the flagship by Captain Dowell, of the Barrosa. Captain Boys, of the Pelorus, goes to the Barrosa, and Commander Kingston, of the Perseus, to the Pelorus; Lieutenant Cumine taking command of the Perseus. The total loss throughout the squadron was about 90 killed and wounded.
When writing two days ago I briefly alluded to the prevailing belief that, in acting as he has done, Chosiu has had the support and encouragement of the Tycoon; but it is difficult to believe that this can be the case, when contrasting the statement with late news received from Yokohama, to the effect that a body of troops belonging to this prince has assaulted the Imperial city of Kioto. It is always difficult to determine the precise amount of credit which should be attached to native reports, and probably the statement in the Japan Herald derived from that source - to the effect that, after two severe actions with the Mikado's troops, Chosiu's men carried and burnt the city, and compelled His Majesty to seek safety in flight - may be set down as an exaggeration. But it is clear that there has been severe fighting between the two forces, and that the former gained some advantage. It appears that one of Chosiu's ministers advanced to the neighbourhood of Kioto with about 5,000 men, set on fire the western part of the city, and endeavoured to penetrate to the Mikado's Palace, but was opposed by the guards, and after a severe action, in which artillery played a prominent part, was repulsed with loss. Native accounts say that subsequently, reinforcements having come up on both sides, the battle was renewed, that further portions of the city were set on fire by Chosiu's shell, and that the Mikado had taken refuge in a temple distant from Kioto some 14 miles. However much credence may be placed in the details, it seems at least certain that the troops of Chosiu and the Mikado are in open conflict, and it follows either that the belief of Chosiu's complicity with the Government in his recent conduct at Simonosaki was unfounded, or that he is privately in league with the Tycoon, as distinct from the Mikado. Sir Rutherford Alcock's despatches, which will no doubt be made public, may possibly throw some light on this complicated question. It appears that he must have some ground for supposing the Tycoon unfavourably disposed towards us, as it is said that unless satisfactory arrangements can be made at Yokohama the fleet is to proceed to Yedo. It has further been stated that the Prince of Fizen, in whose territory is the port of Nagasaki, has concluded a close alliance with Chosiu. Whether or not this be true, it is likely that the latter's signal overthrow at Simonosaki will deter his ally from commencing any offensive operations against foreigners, if he had previously contemplated them. On the other hand, it appears that the powerful Prince of Satsuma has espoused the cause of his sovereign, as a body of his troops met and repulsed a detachment which was marching to reinforce Chosiu's army at Kioto.
|Sa 12 November 1864
|THE LATE ACTION IN JAPAN.- Our correspondent at Plymouth has been favoured with the following details of the late action in Japan:- "The screw steamship Barrosa, 21, Captain William M'Dowell, at 2 30 p.m on the 5th of September weighed anchor with the squadron, consisting of the Tartar, Duplex, Metalen-Kruz (ahead), Djambi, and Leopard (astern), and proceeded under steam to a point opposite the batteries. At 2 25 the beat to quarters for action was given. At 3 25 the vessel anchored with the ships above-mentioned, in a semicircle, in about 8 fathoms water. At 4 firing commenced from the port side, the Euryalus having fired the first gun as a signal. The Japanese batteries at Maitamura returned fire immediately. At 4 30 firing commenced on the starboard aide. At 4 45 the nearest battery was silenced. During the action five or six shells burst close to the quarter-deck. The hull of the ship was struck several times, and the mainmast was also struck with a large piece of shell. Several ropes were also shot away. At 5 35 the action was discontinued as per signal from the Euryalus. At 5 50 an explosion took place on shore, setting fire to some part of the battery. At 6 45 the Perseus landed men and spiked the guns of the battery, and the Medusa also landed men for the same purpose. The Perseus and Medusa with the Tancrede, Coquette, Bouncer, and Argus then formed the inshore squadron and weighed anchor. The Barrosa did so soon afterwards. On the 6th of September, at 5 20 a.m., the forts opened fire on the Tartar, and the fire was returned with Armstrong guns whenever they could be employed. The Tartar, the Duplex, and the Metalen-Kruz also engaged the forts. At 5 50 the Barrosa ceased firing for the time, the forts being being silenced. At 6 30 the Argus sent her paddlebox boat to the Barrosa with marines in her. At 9 30 the marines of the English squadron, together with small-arm men of the Conqueror, Euryalus, and French and Dutch ships, landed under cover of the fire of the ships on the beach near the battery to take possession of the forts. At 9 50 a.m. the allied colours were seen, planted on the battery. At 10 40 the Perseus grounded while in shore covering the landing party. The Barrosa shifted her position several times during the day. At 5 30 p.m. she took up position inshore to protect the Perseus, occasionally firing guns at the batteries. She sent a party of men to assist the Perseus and a rocket-boat to fire on the hills, &c. About six marines and small-arm men stormed and carried the fortified barracks. At 9 p.m. the marines returned; one of them, George Fountain, being slightly wounded in the arm. On the morning of the 7th of September a working party was sent on shore to bring off the guns from the battery. The cutter was away, firing rockets. Guns and rockets were also occasionally fired from the ship on the hills. At 1 15 p.m. an explosion took place in the battery. At 5 30, the Tartar, the Duplex, the Djambi, and the Metalen-Kruz moved up the Straits towards the other batteries. At 11 15 p.m. the Argus towed the Perseus off, and the Semiramis fired on the town up the Straits in the afternoon. On the morning of the 8th of September the Tartar directed her fire on the forts at Hiku-Sima; the battery, however, did not return it. The working party employed were busy getting guns off the battery. The Barrosa hoisted in three guns. At 11 a.m. a boat was observed pulling, with a flag of truce, and at 1 40 p.m. the Euryalus hoisted a flag of truce, and soon afterwards made a signal to the other ships to do so. The Tancrede was firing on the hill to the east of the town up the Straits. On the 9th of September the Perseus, Medusa, Amsterdam, and Bouncer took up their position off Kusi-saki, and landed a body of men, to bring off guns. Several armed Japanese were observed on the road to Simonosaki and on that leading to Cheefoo. At 5 p.m. the Barrosa shifted her position nearer in shore. The Medusa and Amsterdam also anchored close to her.