The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 19

Author: J. Macgowanjukichi Inouye  | Date: A.D. 1394

The War Between China and Japan

A.D. 1394


It might almost be said of the situation in the Far East that the main question is whether Korea should be the Ireland of China or the Ireland of Japan, and this virtually was what led to the war in 1894 between those two Powers. The Japanese had adopted and familiarized themselves with the military equipment and processes of Europe so much more rapidly than the Chinese that they found it a comparatively easy task to obtain that for which they contended. In reading the account of the capture of Port Arthur that year from the Chinese, the reader will he struck by the contrast between that struggle and the one that occurred ten years later, when, with terrible losses, the Japanese at last wrested it from the Russians. Their persistent valor and willing sacrifice in the later struggle was largely inspired or augmented by their feeling of resentment at the fact that the great Powers had not permitted them to retain that important place when they took it from the Chinese. It seems to us of the Western world as if those two nations should be as much alike in their habits of life and modes of thought as England and the United States. But there is a longstanding enmity that reaches to the humblest inhabitants and is cherished from father to son. The Chinese pride themselves upon their greater antiquity and more extensive literature, as well as their larger territory, and look upon the Japanese as a race of dwarfs; while the Japanese in turn pride themselves upon their personal valor and military skill, and never allow themselves to forget that the Chinese are, in those respects at least, inferior to them. Peoples whom we have been accustomed to consider more enlightened and more moral than either have been known to cherish equally unwise jealousies and resentments, which have disappeared only with the fearful lessons of war. While we wonder and sorrow at what has been going on in Eastern Asia for a dozen years, it is not for us to condemn too harshly.


THE year 1894 proved a most unhappy one in the history of China, bringing not only disaster and disgrace to the Chinese arms, but grave peril to the dynasty that ruled it. In the spring of this year a rebellion broke out in Korea against the Government, caused by the utter corruption of the officials, who fleeced and misruled the people to an extent hardly paralleled in any other country in the world. These had reduced their system to an art, by which they levied blackmail upon every industry in which the people engaged. Through it commerce was restricted, because a part of the gains of almost every sale was demanded by these men, who had spies everywhere. Farmers could not look forward to a plenteous harvest with any pleasure, for they knew that any excess that they gathered beyond what was required for the wants of the family would be appropriated by the officials. The consequence was that the aim of everyone was to produce simply enough for the immediate wants of his home, so that it might not be invaded by these spoilers in search of plunder. The evil was felt particularly in the provinces of Chulla and Chung-chong, where the farmers were so systematically robbed of the fruits of their labors that hope seemed to have fled from their hearts.

The results of this iniquitous system were widespread poverty and discontent. The people seeing no hope of any redress from their rulers, or from the Chinese, who from their conservative instincts would certainly take the side of the Government in any appeal to them, founded a secret society called the Tong-hak, or National Party, whose aim was the redress of these crushing grievances and the adoption of reforms that were imperatively needed throughout the country. After long consultation among its leaders, it was decided, in the spring of this year, that the time had arrived when the society should take arms and demand from their rulers a mitigation of the oppressive laws that were rendering life intolerable to the working-classes. Thirty thousand men were soon in arms, and so successful were they that they defeated the royal troops, and capturing the chief city of Chung-chong, they prepared to march on Seoul, the capital, to demand, with arms in their hands, the necessary reforms.

In this extremity the King of Korea applied to China for troops to help him in the struggle with his rebellious subjects, and fifteen hundred men, in reply to this appeal, were despatched to the south of Korea to a district on the west coast, lying about a hundred miles from Chemulpo.1

With their arrival the rebellion collapsed, and the Chinese troops returned to their own country, with the exception of five hundred that marched to Seoul to act as a guard to the King in case any further disturbance should arise. This action of the Chinese Government evidently had not been well considered, nor had the complications likely to arise out of it been sufficiently anticipated. According to the treaty of May, 1885, it was agreed between China and Japan that the soldiers of both countries should be withdrawn from Korea, and that neither government should send its troops there in any circumstances without giving the other due notice of its intentions. The Chinese did indeed notify Japan on June 4th of its purpose, but the latter Power declared that the communication was not made as promptly as it might have been, and that therefore the spirit of the treaty had not been observed by China. Consequently it declared that, as Chinese troops were now encamped in Seoul, it was necessary `that Japanese soldiers also should be allowed to be marched there in order to protect the subjects of Japan in this crisis that had been created by the action of China. This being conceded, to the consternation of China, Japan despatched five thousand men under the command of General Oshima, fifteen hundred of whom marched into the capital, while the rest encamped at Chemulpo. That this force meant war was evident from the fact that two hundred fifty horses accompanied it, a considerable number of cannon, and all the necessary provisions and equipments for a three-months’ campaign. When the Japanese were asked the reason why this large force was assembled, they declared that it was simply for the protection of their people-an answer that deceived no one, for any danger that might have threatened them had passed away with the collapse of the rebellion.

The reasons that Japan decided at this time to try issues with the Chinese and determine forever whether they had the right to be dictators in Korean matters or not, concisely stated, were four: (1) The sense of injustice that had rankled in the minds of the whole nation since 1884. In that year, a riot having taken place in Seoul, the King applied to the Japanese Legation for troops to help him. The request was granted, when the Chinese soldiers marched on the palace, and a bloody encounter ensued, in which the Japanese were defeated. The Chinese, with their haughty contempt of the latter, treated them most barbarously, looted their legation and plundered the property of the Japanese subjects in the capital. When the people of Japan heard of this they were incensed beyond measure and cried loudly for war. The Mikado, however, decided for peace, a policy that led to the "Satsuma Rebellion." The nation had never forgotten the matter, and vengeance for the wrongs that had been inflicted was the supreme desire of every loyal man in the country. (2) The assassination of Kim Ok-kuin, a Korean statesman, who had been involved in the disturbance of 1884, and who had been compelled to fly from this country. This gentleman had resided, during the ten years of his exile, in Japan, and therefore was a well-known personage. He was decoyed to Shanghai (1894), where he was murdered by Korean emissaries, and as the Chinese authorities took no steps to punish them it was believed by Japan that this crime was committed with their sanction. The popular feeling in Japan was intensely excited when the news reached there, and vows were made that the murder should speedily be avenged. (3) The Japanese felt that they had been the means of opening Korea, and therefore had some right in the control of national matters. To stand aside and let China have full sway would be to undo the work she had already accomplished and hand over the Koreans to despotism and misrule. There were at this time two parties in Korea-the Conservatives and the Progressists. The larger portion of the people belonged to the former and were out-and-out opposed to Western ideas and reforms. (4) A very important reason for the action of the Japanese at this time was the political condition of their own country. The rapid transition of the latter from despotic to constitutional rule had excited the minds of the military classes against the Government, and these were waiting for a fitting opportunity to rise in rebellion against it. The Crown saw its way out of a very serious crisis by transferring all this restless military energy from Japan to Korea, where it could expend itself upon China.

The result of this action of Japan was to precipitate hostilities. Troops from both countries were hurried into Korea, and though war was not formally declared, it was manifest that in the minds of the Japanese, at least, a state of war existed. Their conduct in the case of the English steamer Kow-shing showed this plainly. This vessel had been chartered by Li Hung Chang to convey eleven hundred troops to Korea. On July 25th, as she was nearing her destination, she was met by the Japanese man-of-war Naniwa and ordered to stop. A Japanese officer went on board and told the captain that he must consider himself and all on board as prisoners of war. The Chinese general and soldiers threatened the captain and officers with instant death if they attempted to obey the Japanese, and their loaded guns and menacing words showed their determination to carry out their murderous threat. After a time the Naniwa signalled the English to leave the ship, an order that could not be obeyed, and after a short delay a torpedo was fired at her and a broadside of five guns, which sent her to the bottom, only two hundred of the soldiers being saved and two or three of the English crew. Four days after this the Chinese and Japanese troops met in hostile array near Yashan, and after three days of severe skirmishing the Chinese were compelled to retreat.

The aspect of affairs now became still more serious, for, both sides being confident of success, anything like an accommodation of their differences by consultation was entirely out of the question. Accordingly, on August ist war was formally declared between China and Japan, the former Power exasperating the latter by calling its people "the dwarfs" in the royal proclamation, a term that more than anything else aroused the determination of the Japanese not to stop the war until they had avenged themselves on their haughty and contemptuous enemy.

The first great battle of the war was fought at Ping-yang on September 15th, when the Chinese were defeated with the loss of more than six thousand men, large quantities of arms, and a great supply of provisions. The remnant of the Chinese army was so demoralized that it fled in isolated bands’ to the north, spreading terror and desolation wherever they went. The Chinese soldiers, when on the march and under the control of their officers, are usually a curse to the region through which they pass, but much more so when disorganized and without any commissariat and under no military discipline.

Two days after this decisive victory a naval battle was fought off the mouth of the Yalu River. The Chinese fleet consisted of eleven men-of-war and six torpedo-boats, while the Japanese had the same number of ships, but no torpedos. The battle began about ten o’clock in the morning and lasted six hours. The Japanese, who had the faster ships and better guns, displayed more science and good seamanship than the Chinese, though the latter showed considerable pluck in allowing themselves to be knocked about for so long a time. Four of the Chinese vessels were sunk, while another was destroyed by fire. The Japanese ships suffered severely from the fire of their enemy, but subsequently they were all repaired and found capable of joining their squadrons. The victory on this occasion was with the Japanese, and it would have been still more decisive had they had as many torpedos as the Chinese.

The result of these two engagements was to give the Japanese a decided advantage in their plans for the invasion of China; and the arrival of a second army corps of thirty thousand men, under the command of Count Oyama at Kinchow (October 24th), thirty-five miles to the north of Port Arthur, gave them so strong a force that they were enabled to advance confidently against the Chinese. Aware of the value of time, the victorious troops hastened from Ping-yang to the Yalu, the boundary line between Korea and Manchuria, and, crossing that without any serious opposition, they took possession (October 25th) of Chin-lien-cheng.

A dread of the Japanese arms seemed from this time to have seized upon the hearts of the Chinese troops, and although armies were brought up again and again to fight them, they never were able to stand their ground in any general engagement, but fled before there was any real necessity for their doing so. One can give no other valid excuse, excepting this, for the cowardly way in which they allowed the Japanese to enter Manchuria, the ancestral home of the reigning dynasty, almost without resistance. No sooner did the Japanese make preparations for the passage of the river than a panic seized upon the Chinese on the other side, and they fled in the wildest dismay, thus leaving the roads to Mukden and Peking absolutely open, and if the Japanese had advanced at once on either place they would have captured it without difficulty.

In all their movements the Japanese showed not only military skill, but also profound common-sense. Wherever they advanced they gained the good-will of the common people, who brought a plentiful supply of fresh provisions into their camp. Everything was paid for with the utmost punctiliousness, and the provost-marshals took care that no violence of injustice was exercised while the troops were on the march or in the camp. How different was the conduct of the Chinese soldiers! Murder, rapine, theft, and cruel treatment were the order of the day wherever they went, till at last the people longed for the appearance of the invaders to save them from the barbarity of their own defenders.

The Japanese, who had shown the greatest energy in their military movements, and who had been steadily making adequate preparations for the investment of Port Arthur, appeared before it on the morning of November 21st, and by two o’clock in the afternoon, with the loss of only about four hundred men, they captured this famous fortress, the forts on the coast being stormed the next day. The news was received everywhere with the most unbounded astonishment. Nature and art had done their very best to make Port Arthur impregnable, and at least a dozen forts, on lofty eminences, with great guns of the newest construction, and narrow defiles heavily mined, by which alone they could be approached, and thirteen thousand men, with abundance of everything required, should have rendered its capture impossible by assault. A thousand men could have held this fortress against the world for a long time, and yet in the course of a few hours the Japanese, who had obtained a plan of the mines, had marched over the road, where they should have been sent flying into the air, straight on toward the forts, up the steep banks, till they stood under the very muzzles of the cannon; then they went over the ramparts, to find that every man had fled, leaving some of the guns unfired in their mad haste to get away.


The Japanese army, which had been sent into Korea, won the great battle of Phyongyang (Ping-yang) on September 15, 1894. Its next task was to drive the Chinese army out of the peninsula into Manchuria. The naval battle of Haiyang, on the 17th of the same month, gave Japan command of the Yellow Sea. A second army, therefore, was called out for the invasion of the peninsula known as the Regent’s Sword, at the extremity of which lies l?ort Arthur. Until this great Chinese fortress was captured, the Chinese fleet could not be said to be rendered absolutely useless. The possession of this port would give Japan the command of the Gulf of Pechili and enable her to intercept the trade with the ports in that gulf.

This second army consisted of the first provincial division of the Twelfth Brigade. The former had its headquarters at Tokio, the two brigades which it comprises being garrisoned at Tokio and Sakura respectively. The Twelfth Brigade was garrisoned at Kokura, a town near Moji, in Kyusho. The commander of the first division was Lieutenant-General Yamaji ("The One-eyed Dragon," as he was called from his having lost his right eye in boyhood, and his intrepidity), the first and second brigades being commanded by Major-Generals Nishi and Nogi. The commander of the Twelfth Brigade was Major-General Hasegawa. Marshal Oyama, Minister of war, was appointed on September 26th Commander-in-Chief of this second army. The mobilization of the first division began on the 22d of the same month, and the whole division was quartered by the 27th at Hiroshima, the seat of the central headquarters, presided over by the Emperor in person.

Not until October 15th, however, were the transports ready for the conveyance of the first division. The combined brigade under Major-General Hasegawa had been already landed in Korea. From the 15th to the 20th, the transports left Ujina, the port of Hiroshima, in succession. On the 15th the Japanese Diet had been summoned to an extraordinary session, and the members of both houses accompanied Marshal Oyama to Ujina on his departure. The marshal embarked on the Nagato-maru, while Lieutenant-General Yamaji and his staff were on the Yokohamamaru. These two vessels, together with the Uagoya-maru, left Ujina the same day, and arrived off Bakan (or Shimonoseki) at 8.30 P.M. Next morning they left with the Fusan-maru, and on the ,9th arrived at Taidong River.

On the morning of the 23d the First Brigade, which was to be the advance-guard of the army, left Oeundong, and early next morning the transports arrived off the mouth of the River Hwayuan, on the Regent’s Sword. The transports went to the Hwayuan in perfect darkness. At dawn the Japanese cruiser Chiyoda, which with other warships had preceded the transports, sent a sub-company of marines, who landed at a village north of the mouth of the river and raised the Japanese flag. In due time the Second and Fifteenth regiments also debarked, together with the ambulance corps and a company of engineers. Two days later Marshal Oyama arrived off Shihtsuytse, at the mouth of the Hwayuan. The landing of horses occupied twelve days.

A battalion under Major Saito was despatched to Petsewo, nearly thirty miles, which was occupied without opposition. The first division, which joined the advance-guard on the 27th, reached Petsewo on the 29th.

On the 3d Lieutenant-General Yamaji left Petsewo at the head of the main body of the first division. On the 5th, at 7 A.M., the army set out from Hwang-heateen; and after it had marched about three miles reports of guns were heard, which increased as it advanced.

General Yamaji left a column to guard the highway, and turned with the main division into the Foochow road. After marching more than twenty-five miles through steep paths, he reached Kan-heatun, where the division bivouacked, while the Third Regiment was quartered at Sanshihli-putse. Major Saito’s column, which had been sent from Petsewo, reached Liu-heateen on the 4th. A cavalry corps sent to the Foochow road cut the telegraph line and caught a horseman, who was found to be the bearer of letters from Port Arthur to Foochow, one of which was an urgent appeal for reenforcements.

General Yamaji’s object in making a detour to Kan-heatun was to attack the enemy in the rear. He led two regiments, while General Nogi was to lead one with the artillery against the batteries, and one under Colonel Kono, together with Major Saito’s column, was to attack the enemy’s left from the Petsewo road.

Next day, the 6th, had been fixed for attacking Kinchow. At 4 A.M. the columns left their encampments, orders having been given over night to begin the attack at six o’clock. Major Saito led his column round the right side of the first battery, at Tahoshang, and brought it to the rear. Sublieutenant Ito, at the head of a company, scrambled up a precipice until he was within fifty metres, and then charged upon the battery. The enemy were taken by surprise, and, though they fought bravely, were soon routed, and the battery was captured. The sublieutenant then descended the steep between the two batteries and attacked the second. Here, too, the enemy fought obstinately. Lieutenant Awaya and his company charged the battery, which was soon captured. In the first battery were mounted three Krupp field-guns and one mountain-gun, while in the second were one field-gun and three mountain-guns.

Meanwhile General Yamaji had advanced along the Foochow road with the main body upon Kinchow. General Nogi and Colonel Kono also marched toward the same objective. When the main division arrived at Palichwang, the Second Regiment began the attack on the castle, which was stoutly defended. At half-past eight the artillery from the Kinchow road also opened fire from the south side of the road, followed by the artillery of the main division. For fifty minutes the enemy replied with the Krupp guns on the castle towers; but soon their firing flagged and they showed a disposition to retreat. General Yamaji then advanced at the head of the army for a general attack. The Third Regiment was sent with two artillery companies to the west of the castle to intercept the enemy in their flight to Port Arthur. When the storming column came upon the castle, they found the walls were thirty feet high and could not be climbed, while the enemy continued to fire from the parapet. Orders were given to the engineers to destroy the north gate, the doors of which were solid plates of iron. The gate was blown open, and the attacking column charged through. The east gate also was opened, and another column charged through it. The enemy fell into complete disorder, and opening the west gate, fled on the Port Arthur road. The castle fell at 10.30 A.M., and the main division occupied it.

At dawn on the 7th the Hoshang and Talan columns attacked the forts, both of which had been constructed after the latest European style. The Japanese army were prepared for a stubborn fight; but the garrison, it appears, on hearing of the fall of Kinchow, had deserted the forts, leaving behind a few men to hold them; and these too, on seeing the approach of the Japanese regiments, took to their heels. The Talan forts first fell without any resistance; and the three batteries of Hoshang were next as easily occupied. The Mount Chaohea and Laolung Island forts also were seized.

A plan of the torpedo-mines in the bay was found here, and with this the Japanese navy was able to destroy all the mines.

Meanwhile, as the 6th had been fixed for the attack on Kinchow, seventeen vessels of the navy left its base of operations at dawn on the same day and arrived at the entrance to Talienwan at 1.30 P.M. At nightfall the remaining squadrons went out to sea. Early next morning they returned to the bay, which the three vessels entered, while two went into the neighboring Kerr Bay. At 9 A.M. the main squadron and the first flying squadron entered the bay, and at 10.09 the Hashidate fired upon the forts; but on careful inspection the men on the central battery at Hoshang were seen to be in Japanese uniform, and the flag was soon afterward recognized as that of the Rising Sun.

On the 9th transports entered Talienwan, and a landing was effected at the pier below the western battery of Hoshang. Thus both the forts and the bay fell into the hands of the Japanese.

The strength of the garrison at Kinchow was about fifteen hundred, while the total number at Kinchow and Talienwan has been computed at more than six thousand six hundred.

On the 11th a brigade under General Nishi advanced to Sanshih-Lipu, about eleven miles from Kinchow; on the 13th, General Hasegawa’s combined brigade arrived at Kinchow, and early on the 17th began the march upon Port Arthur. The whole army advanced over the Nankwo Pass and arrived at Shih-Tsing, where the road divided into one running south and one continuing westward. The left column took the former road, while the right followed the latter, and reached Sanshih-Lipu. Next morning at six the column left town in a drizzling rain, and reached Tseenkochenpu, where the Second Regiment, under General Nishi, was awaiting it. Here he was placed in command of the Third Regiment of infantry, a company each of cavalry and artillery, and a battalion of engineers, which went forward as advance-guard. At noon on the 18th the column arrived at Tseen-toochingtse, and at 2.30 reached Yingchingtse, when a report came that the advance-guard had had a severe fight on the summit of Mount Shwangtai.

Major Akiyama, who was in command of the first cavalry battalion, advanced at 10 A.M. on this day at the head of a single company to the east of Toochingtse, when he encountered about three thousand of the enemy’s cavalry and infantry from Shwytsehying. The Japanese at once charged upon the Chinese, who, being reenforced, completely surrounded them. The Japanese, after severe fighting, succeeded in cutting their way through to Shwangtai-kow. The first battalion of the Third Regiment, under Major Marui, sent a company to their aid; but these were hard pressed by the enemy, and were compelled to retreat with the cavalry. The battalion came at 12.20 to the aid of its hard-pressed companies, but the enemy had planted four field-guns on an elevation two thousand metres distant and began firing. The battalion also was compelled to retreat. The artillery of the advance-guard next came to the field, but when the guns were unlimbered for the fight, the enemy had retired more than two miles. The Chinese infantry alone exceeded three thousand in the battle. The Japanese losses were Lieutenant Nakaman and eleven subofficers and men killed, and Captain Asakawa and thirty-two subofficers and men wounded. The Chinese losses were not ascertained. Lieutenant Nakaman was surrounded by the enemy, was fatally shot, and fell from his horse. His servant cut off his head and brought it back to the army, and it was buried with honors.

On the 19th the army staff reached Toochingtse, while the division arrived at Mehotun, and the combined brigade, after passing through Shwangtai-kow, entered Chenheatun. The scouting cavalry, by the skirmish at Toochingtse, had cleared the road for the main army. The latter advanced very cautiously in expectation of more skirmishes, but without further engagement reached Mehotun, about seven and a half miles northeast of Port Arthur.

Thus, on the 20th, the army had reached the environs of Port Arthur, but the siege guns had not arrived. As, moreover, the 21st had been fixed upon for the general attack, Marshal Oyama summoned the officers of the army to a rendezvous on the northwest of Liheatun, and discussed the plans of the following day’s operations. When the council of war was over, the officers returned to their respective camps; and presently Chinese flags of various colors were seen to move in the valleys between them and the enemy’s forts. Scouts reported that the enemy had made a sally. General Yamaji gave orders for instant preparations, and the army was soon ready. The Chinese approached a hill south of Shihtsuytse, occupied by a regiment under Colonel Iseji, and surrounded it on three sides. When they were within range, the Japanese fired their mountain guns and field-pieces, while the infantry also opened fire. The Chinese were taken by surprise and fled in confusion. They numbered upward of three thousand, and their losses exceeded one hundred, while only two Japanese privates were wounded.

The siege guns of the First Regiment of the heavy artillery in the mean time had only arrived at Liushootun, in Talienwan, on the 15th, and reached Toochingtse on the night of the 20th. At 2 A.M. on the 21st the army prepared for battle by torchlight and advanced to their respective positions. With difficulty the whole field artillery was ranged on a high hill northwest of Shwytseying, a company of engineers rendering great assistance. General Nishi took a circuituous road to the west and came out upon the left flank of the Etse forts. General Yamaji followed close with the reserve.

At dawn the artillery opened fire; and a regiment of infantry came out immediately under the most westerly of the forts. The enemy replied spiritedly, and the forts of Sungshoo and Hwang-kin assisted the Etse forts. The Japanese fire was more effective than the Chinese; and Major Marui with a battalion assailed the forts, and by a sudden charge carried them. At the same time the forts of Ngantse Hill and Wangtai also fell. During the attack on Talienwan, the Hoshang forts, Seuhea forts, and the Laolung and Hwangshan forts were captured. The Third Regiment then attacked the strongest of the Port Arthur land defences and carried them. These successes rendered the eventual surrender of the other defences a foregone conclusion.

Near Fong-heatun, a little village southwest of the Etse forts, General Nogi, with the First Regiment, encountered the Chinese fugitives from the west, upward of a thousand strong, whose flight was being covered by the guns of the Mantow Hill forts. In thirty minutes they were routed and pursued; and the Japanese squadron off the port also opened fire and cut off their retreat, and they took refuge at Laotee Hill on the extreme edge of the peninsula.

The Twenty-fourth Regiment was ordered to attack the Urlung forts simultaneously with the assault on the Sungshoo forts. On the evening of the 20th, the third battalion of the Twenty-fourth Regiment encamped on the farthest extremity of a mountain range running south of Toochingtse, with a battery of artillery, while the second battalion was at Changtsun, east of that battalion, and the first on a hill to the rear. They all advanced under cover of night. The artillery took possession of a hill south of its position of the previous evening. After the forts had been captured the regiment advanced, and the first battalion and artillery were at nine o’clock close to the third battalion, while the second found itself exposed to flank attacks from two forts on the left, and it was ordered to assault the forts east of Urlung. The assault began at 9.45. At first the regiment was concealed behind a hill; but at length it came upon an open field which exposed it to the fire of the forts. Still it advanced until it was too near for the guns, when the enemy’s small-arms began to play upon it. The whole regiment was now in a single column; and its distance to the Urlung forts was six hundred metres. The second battalion became the object of the enemy’s fire; and though the other two battalions were ready to storm Urlung, a company was first detached to reenforce the hard-beset battalion. The eastern forts were captured at 11.30. As the two battalions charged up Urlung Hill a mine was fired, but the explosion took place before they reached the spot and was consequently harmless. The enemy also fired the magazine before their flight. The Japanese battalions were in possession of Urlung Hill at 12.30, the fall of Sungshoo having demoralized the enemy.

In this battle the Twenty-fourth Regiment lost seven killed and eighty-one wounded, while one hundred sixty of the enemy opposed to the regiment were killed. This regiment had the hardest fight of all in the capture of Port Arthur.

The Sungshoo forts were taken without resistance, and the Japanese were then in complete possession of the land defences.

In the afternoon the assault on the coast defences was begun. The most important of these were the Hwangkin forts, whose great guns could be turned in every direction and reach not only the other forts, but the Japanese artillery as well. The Second Regiment was ordered to attack these forts. The regiment passed through the town of Port Arthur, routing the enemy there, charged up the hill into the forts, and took possession without much difficulty. The forts on the east of Hwangkin and those on the northwest coast fell into the hands of the Japanese without fighting.

Thus in a single day the great fortress of Port Arthur was captured.

The Chiyoda, of the Japanese squadron, was close to the entrance to Pigeon Bay, when Chinese troops were seen on the western shore, and two shells from her guns soon dispersed them. At 3.30 the Yeyeyama reported that all the eastern forts had fallen, and that the western forts would be captured that day. The latter continued to resist and fired upon the Japanese warships. Presently two torpedo-launches were seen to come out of the harbor; but the Kongo and Takao, with seven torpedo-boats, were sent against them. One of these launches was soon sunk, while the other ran aground and was destroyed.

But while the Japanese arms were being crowned with victory at Port Arthur, an unexpected danger had threatened Kinchow. On the 18th a subcompany of infantry and one of cavalry, sent to scout toward Poolanteen, came across a large body of the enemy at Chin-heagu. They were thus known to be advancing along the Foochow road, and earthworks were thrown up and other preparations made for defence.

On the morning of the 21st the Japanese were ready for action; and at 11.20 the Chinese were seen on a hill south of Shihsauli-taitse, on their way to Kinchow. The Japanese outposts fired upon them, when they divided into two columns, one of which went to the west of the Foochow road and the other to the east toward a hill. Although the Japanese troops were prepared for the attack, they were far outnumbered. The four companies of the first battalion were distributed on a hill north of Kinchow, with the coast to the left. Three companies of the second battalion were ranged from a hill northeast of Kinchow to the Foochow road; and the remaining company, the sixth battalion, was left to defend Kinchow. These two battalions had to defend the neck of the Kinchow peninsula, which exceeds four thousand metres at the narrowest.

A little past noon, as the enemy approached Kinchow, they were fired on and they stopped short. Then troops on the main road divided and advanced toward two hills, one on the north and the other on the northeast of Kinchow. They came in irregular masses. Their strength was not less than four thousand: while those who came to attack the Japanese right exceeded three thousand, besides three hundred horsemen. Before the latter had advanced they were attacked by outposts, and guns in the castle were directed upon them with great effect. Then a company sallied out from the castle and advanced upon the enemy.

As at 2.30 came a rumor of the fall of Port Arthur, the Japanese, regaining courage, made a fierce onslaught and dislodged the enemy. Their vantage-ground being once lost, the Chinese retreated. The column that was advancing against the Japanese left wing in the mean time came on leisurely. The Japanese waited, concealed, until their enemy was within four hundred metres, when volley after volley was fired at them. After a sharp firing, the enemy retreated and were hotly pursued. At four o’clock the fighting was over. The Japanese lost an officer and eight subofficers and men killed and forty-eight subofficers and men wounded. The Chinese loss is unknown, but on the 24th five hundred three bodies were found.

A strong force was sent from Port Arthur and attacked the Chinese near Kinchow. These Chinese were defeated with great slaughter.

The Japanese losses at the capture of Port Arthur were about two hundred seventy. A lieutenant was killed, a major mortally wounded, and six captains and two lieutenants were wounded. Only seventeen subofficers and men were killed in battle. The Chinese garrison at Port Arthur was estimated at fourteen thousand. According to the Japanese official report, about one thousand Chinese were killed and sixty-three were taken prisoners at Port Arthur on the 21st and 22d. The Chinese losses at Kinchow on the 21st numbered five hundred three killed, of whom seven were officers and thirty-two subofficers. More than two hundred eighty Chinese dead were buried near Kinchow. Three hundred prisoners were taken from the 22d to the 24th, of whom forty-one were wounded. The total number of prisoners and killed was two thousand one hundred forty-six. About two thousand were killed or wounded south of Port Arthur, and a large number were also killed on the coast near Kinchow. The total Chinese loss is therefore estimated at four thousand five hundred.

1Chemulpo is the port of Seoul, and distant from it about twenty-five miles.

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Chicago: J. Macgowanjukichi Inouye, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 19 in The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, ed. Rossiter Johnson (Harrogate, TN: The National Alunmi, 1926), Original Sources, accessed April 13, 2024,

MLA: Inouye, J. Macgowanjukichi. The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 19, in The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, edited by Rossiter Johnson, Harrogate, TN, The National Alunmi, 1926, Original Sources. 13 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: Inouye, JM, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol 19. cited in 1926, The Great Events by Famous Historians. Lincoln Memorial University Edition, ed. , The National Alunmi, Harrogate, TN. Original Sources, retrieved 13 April 2024, from