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.
Continuing The Sino-Japanese War,
our selection from A Concise History of the War between Japan and China by Jurichi Inouye published in 1895. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in 3.5 installments, each one 5 minutes long but first we conclude MacGowan’s excerpt.
Previously in The Sino-Japanese War.
Place: Korea and The Yellow Sea
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.
By Jurichi Inouye
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 Port 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 Tokyo, the two brigades which it comprises being garrisoned at Tokyo 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 Yokohama- maru. 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 19th 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 dispatched 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.
J. MacGowan begins here.
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