For the imperfections of the present volume I can only plead that I hope it may prove to be a first edition, and that further studies and the publication of more detailed information may enable me at some future time to complete, or at least to elaborate, the biography of a great man in whom the whole world is interested.
The modest and retiring life which Admiral Togo has hitherto lived has made it difficult for the biographer to collect many picturesque incidents relating to his early years. But modesty is one of the greatest of virtues, and that he has always exhibited this virtue in so conspicuous a manner seems to be one of the elements which make the greatness of his character.
Tokyo. August, 1905.
THE LIFE OF ADMIRAL TOGO
If we were writing an account of the naval history of Great Britain, we should probably choose as our starting-point the history of the Spanish Armada and its signal overthrow in the sixteenth century.
This choice of a starting point would not imply that there is to be found no sea-fighting in English records of an earlier date. An island- kingdom like England must always have been both vulnerable and defensible along her coastlines and harbors, and Englishmen have all through their history been fighters on the sea. But the Spanish Armada first demonstrated to Englishmen the prime importance of a standing fleet as a permanent wall of defense, and the creation of the British Navy was the logical outcome of the defense hastily organized against the fleets of Spain, in spite of the fact that the civil troubles, which, in England, followed so soon after the destruction of the Armada, interposed some years between the recognition of the need and the creation of the Navy.
Japan, a sea-girt land, had a warning of possible danger, from an invasion by sea many years before England received hers, and though the civil troubles which supervened in Japan were of far longer duration than those in England, and though Japan had to wait in consequence much longer than did England, before she became a naval Power, yet the logical birthday of the Japanese Navy was so very much like the birthday of the British naval Power that I cannot help commencing my book with it.
The British Navy was practically born when the Lord High Admiral of Queen Elizabeth was commanded to equip a fleet as best he could to repel the threatened invasion of the Spaniards. The Japanese Navy may also be said to have been born when Hojo Tokimune the Regent, in 1275, took his measures for repelling the Mongolian invasion.
Kublai Khan, the great Mongolian leader of the Middle Ages, had succeeded in overthrowing the Sung Dynasty in China and making himself master of the whole of the Celestial Empire. He had further reduced to submission the entire peninsula of Korea, and having reached the extreme limits of the Asiatic mainland, began to cast covetous eyes towards the beautiful and happily situated islands which form a defensive barrier for the eastern shores of that Continent.
Koppitsuretsu (to give him his Japanese name, Kublai Khan being the name by which Europeans know him better through the writings of the famous Venetian, Marco Polo), — Koppitsuretsu doubtless thought that Japan would be an easy prey for his armies. There was every reason to make him think so.
Never was a country more extraordinarily governed, or misgoverned, than Japan in the thirteenth century. A series of long intrigues within the court brought about a succession of abdications, forced or voluntary, which frequently left the occupant of the throne a mere shadow of Imperial dignity. The actual functions of the executive were in the hands of a Shogun, who was supposed to act in all things as the Emperor's representative; but similar intrigues in the entourage of the Shogun reduced this high functionary to a mere " puppet" in the hands of his retainers, one of whom, residing at Kamakura, acted as his representative, with the title of " Regent." Western readers will scarce believe me when I say that, in the Hoj5 family, a custom arose of having nominal " regents" as well, but they will not be astonished to be told that, under this extraordinary system of carrying on affairs of state, the whole country was in anarchy and confusion, and every one did practically what was good in his eyes. The Buddhist priests reaped a temporary harvest of wealth and influence from the system, which was one of their own creating, but even in the ranks of the priesthood voices were raised against the misgovernment of the times, and the life of Nichiren, the most picturesque of Buddhist reformers, is full of the troubles which his vigorous protests brought upon him.
Under these circumstances, we cannot wonder that Kublai Khan, elated with his conquests in Korea and China, should have fallen into the error of under-estimating the pride and strength of the Japanese people. He wrote a letter couched in insolent terms, to the reigning Emperor (Go-Uda Tenno 1257—1287), demanding submission and tribute from the Empire of Japan, but his insolence overshot the mark, . The Regent of the time, Hojo Tokimune, though quite a young man, was proud and high spirited, and had no hesitation as to the course to be adopted. He sent the Korean envoys of the Mongolian conqueror back to China with scornful words, which he showed to be deliberately chosen by repeating them to a second embassy sent in the following year.
Kublai Khan was too great a potentate, and had been too openly defied, to sit down tamely under the insults of the Japanese. He collected an army in Korea which he embarked on board a fleet of 450 Korean war junks, seized the islands of Iki and Tsushima, which have played so great a role in the present war against Russia, and landed on the coasts of Kyushu, where he was, however, repulsed by the Japanese, after desperate fighting. This was in 1275 : three years later Kublai Khan sent another ambassador, and yet another, to Japan, urging the Island Empire to submit and send him tribute; but Tokimune beheaded them both.
The result was that Kublai Khan, deeply insulted, vowed a tremendous vengeance against the insolent islanders, and prepared armies and fleets far greater than those he had sent before. It was a critical moment for Japan. The people were moved with a mixture of anger and apprehension; Nichiren preached and wrote, exhorting, reproving, and urging much-needed social reforms; the Emperor went in state to the Temples at Ise to pray to his ancestress, Amaterasu, goddess of the sun, for help against the enemies of the country; Tokimune talked little but collected an army and went forth to battle. The Mongols had landed and were encamped near Takashima, where Tokimune attacked them, and, after desperate fighting, drove them back to their ships. Then came an interposition of the Divine Providence which has so frequently manifested itself in the affairs of Japan. Scarcely had the Mongol troops found refuge on board their ships when a terrible storm arose and destroyed their whole fleet. (A.D. 1281).
Many readers have seen the obvious parallel between the Mongol Invasion of Japan and the Spanish Armada. Many have also seen the obvious similarity between the Mongolian Invasion and the Russian Expedition from the Baltic. This is not the case to discuss these similarities. What I wish to say here is that as the Spanish Armada had its logical outcome in the creation of a standing Navy, so the logical outcome of the Mongol Invasion was the Navy of Japan to-day.
In each country, a threatened invasion demonstrated the absolute importance of a Navy as a first line of defense. In England, where the internal troubles were fortunately of short duration, little more than fifty years elapsed before the fleets of the Commonwealth were busy defending the interests of England against the navies of France and the Dutch Republic. In Japan where the evils of state and society were far more deep- seated, and where the civil dissensions, followed
by the iron repression of all activity by the Tokugawas, lasted for well-nigh six hundred years, the logical outcome of that lesson was correspondingly long in being realized.
But assuredly the lesson was given in Japan as well as in England. If Providence interposed in the two cases to work signal deliverance, it was not to encourage either nation to a blind trust in Providence in the future. God helps those that help themselves, and the obvious lesson which both nations were meant to learn, and have learned, is that island-empires need floating-walls to protect them.
For the practical realization of the Japanese Navy we must jump over a period of six hundred years from the Mongol Invasion to the middle of the nineteenth century when the day was rapidly coming for Japan to come out of her seclusion to play a part in the world worthy of her dignity and providential mission. We call it her providential mission, because if the hand of Providence was clearly to be seen in the wonderful deliverance from the Mongols, the thoughtful student may also see the traces of the same hand in the seclusion from the world which followed the establishment of the Tokugawas, (a seclusion the maintenance of which was little less than marvelous) and the timely emergence of the nation, as of a people born in a day, to bring a new element of life and vigor into a civilization which was beginning to suffer from senility and decay.
The nineteenth century made it impossible to maintain any longer the seclusion of Japan. The trade of Europe was expanding, the civilization of America had emerged on the Pacific coast, Australia had been discovered, steam was revolutionizing navigation. From all sides ships came past the coasts of Japan, some desirous of traffic, some for water and help, some to restore castaway Japanese fisherman. Intercourse became unavoidable, and many of the patriotic Japanese feared that intercourse would mean the loss of national independence.
Amongst those who felt much anxiety on this subject was Prince Shimazu, lord of Satsuma, one of the most powerful of Japanese Princes, and one whose territories, situated in the extreme South and West of Japan proper, gave him much cause for anxiety on this subject. Satsuma was by no means the only Baron who felt anxiety on this point. The lords of Mito and Tosa, nay, even the Shogunal Cabinet itself were much exercised about it, and at last in the year 1847, after much deliberation and debate, a resolution was come to by the Shogunate, not only to undertake the work of Naval Organization itself, but to allow the great territorial nobles, who ruled as kings within their own dominions, to raise squadrons for the defense of the seaboard of Japan. The Prince of Satsuma was one of the first of the Daimy5s to avail himself of this permission. The Satsuma fleet was soon one of the most powerful of the local fleets. We shall find the Prince petitioning the Central Government in 1853 for permission to build not merely small vessels for coast-defense, but large ships capable of keeping the sea and pursuing a retreating enemy. We shall find him later on sending up to the North a Fleet capable of engaging the Shogunal Navy under Enomoto, which was making its last stand at Hakodate. We shall also see the Satsuma Fleet emerging victorious from these engagements and so becoming, in the new era which dawned upon Japan after the war o the Restoration, the nucleus of the present Imperial Navy of Japan Admiral Togo's first sea-service was in the Satsuma Navy t his subsequent career has been with the Imperial Navy from its very commencement This history of his life is there fore very much a history of the Imperial Navy of Japan, with which he has been so long and so constantly identified. But, before writing it, it will
be well to devote one more preliminary chapter to the consideration of the Satsuma Daimyate which has furnished so many of the best men to the services of the Japanese Empire.
Madam Tetsuko Togo
The ancient Daimyate of Satsuma, ruled over by princes of the Shimazu family, occupied the southern portion of the Island of Kyushu, i.e. the whole of the provinces of Satsuma and Osumi, together with portions of Hyuga, and several islands off the coast. The Lord of Satsuma was also in a sense a suzerain of the Loochoo Archipelago, for the ruler of those islands acknowledged a double dependence, and sent tribute not only to China but also to Satsuma.
The Satsuma Daimyos had always been very powerful, and their overlordship had extended itself on various occasions over the greater part of the island of Kyushu. They had also been for long years practically independent of the Central Government in the days before the Tokugawa regime, and when, after the pacification which followed the battle of Sekigahara, Shimazu was obliged to bow his head before Iycyasu, he had done it with a bad grace and a reluctant heart. The Satsuma people had always resented the Tokugawa supremacy, and, living as they did in a very remote corner of the Empire, had always contrived to have a tolerably free hand in the management of their own affairs.
The Satsuma samurai were always noted for their poverty. Their numbers were far greater, proportionately to other daimyates, in Satsuma than elsewhere, and the provision of rice, which it was the custom for all daimyos to give for the support of their retainers, was constantly, in Satsuma, insufficient for the support of the whole body of samurai. The samurai ot this province, therefore, came in time to be distinguished from those of other provinces by their industry and thrift. They were obliged to work as farmers to eke out their allowances, they were obliged also to exercise the most rigid economy in the management of their households. They became, therefore, a sturdy race not unlike the English yeomen of the middle ages, frugal, active, and independent, and whilst the samurai of other, more wealthy, daimyate were all succumbing more or less to the enervating influences 01 ease and freedom from pecuniary cares, the Satsuma men, like the Spartans in Greece, stood out conspicuously among their compatriots for simplicity, hardihood and practical common sense.
The country round Kagoshima, the capital of Satsuma, is admirable training ground for soldiers, and the Satsuma samurai were constantly, even in times of peace, kept at work with military maneuvers and exercises of various kinds. Hence the Satsuma armies had always been vigorous and hard to beat, though the same might be said of the local armies maintained by many of the Japanese princes. East or West, North or South, the Japanese has always shown himself to be an excellent fighter.
But Satsuma, owing to its geographical position and political circumstances, had one advantage over all other daimyates. It had a long and dangerous seacoast, a deep, protected, bay whose calm waters afforded excellent opportunities for nautical training, and its Prince was one of the overlords of Loochoo, a position which necessitated maritime journeys such as fell to the lot of the subjects of no other daimyate.
Thus, even in the Tokugawa days, when all commerce by sea was forbidden, the Satsuma people were a sea-faring folk.
The spirit which animated the Satsuma samurai may be seen from the following account which is given of the training of the young Kagoshima retainers.
Every village in the province had its own Gochu or village association of young men, and every young samurai was enrolled a member as soon as he reached the age of 14 or 15. The object of the Gochu was to encourage bravery, and the power of endurance, and its members were constantly being tested by their seniors and associates with a view to ascertaining their qualifications in this respect.
If a young man, on being tested, showed signs of fear," he received a warning from the senior members. If, on his next trial, he did better, he was forgiven and nothing more was said. If he " funked" again, however, then woe betide him. He was cut off from the society of young men, and no sentence of excommunication could possibly be worse than such exclusion.
Every member of a Gochu had to study for eight hours a day, four morning hours being devoted to "books," and four in the afternoon to practical exercises. On the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th 21st, and 26th of every month they practiced writing, the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th were given to the reading of books on military subjects, the remaining days were in like manner devoted to subjects likely to be of practical use in the training of a warrior caste. They had not many subjects and no useless ones, the few they had were thoroughly practical, and thoroughly well learned. Any neglect or violation of the rules of study was at once punished by the Gochu. We can see the traces of this custom still in the way in which members of the old samurai caste will throw themselves into the study of some special branch of practical science.
The Gochu had certain festivals of their own, not religious but patriotic, for patriotism with them took the place of religion. The Revenge of the Soga Brothers, and the tragic death of the Forty Seven Ronins, two of the most famous vendetta stories of mediaeval Japan, were celebrated with simple but appropriate ceremonies, the one on May 18, and the other on December 14. On these occasions the accounts of these heroes of olden times, and their deeds were represented in song and mime, and their youthful hearts were moved to compassion or admiration as the different scenes of the tragedies fell on their ears. Thus we can imagine a gathering of Jewish lads to have been moved by the narrated prowess of Jephthali, Gideon, or David, or a class of Athenians roused to anger or melted to tears over the Iliad or the Odyssey. It is the story of men of one's own blood that appeals most strongly to the human heart.
It has been noted that the Shimazus needed no strongly fortified castle to keep their retainers in subjection. Contented and loyal subjects are the best possible bulwarks of a throne, and such were the retainers who surrounded the Lords of Satsuma.
We can understand now the moral atmosphere in which our hero was born and educated. Simple living, stern discipline, high thinking, if withal, somewhat narrow. In the moral and political regeneration of Japan, Satsuma (allied to Choshu and one or two other daimyates) played the part which Prussia did in Germany, or Sardinia in Italy. The Shdgunate, like Austria in the one case, or Pio Nono in the other, clung loyally but blindly to a lost cause trying in vain to bolster up a political system which had outlived its day and become a hindrance to the healthy growth of the nation. The motives were of the highest order, the patriotism of the defenders of these lost causes was in every case most admirable, but the causes were lost from the beginning, and their defenders were overwhelmed in the fall of the ramparts behind which they stood. Like Prussia, the men of Satsuma saw beforehand the crash that was inevitably coming, and took their measures to champion the true political creed on which alone Japan's greatness could be based. The overthrow of the Shogunate and the restoration of the executive power to its proper possessor were both measures of inevitable necessity, and if from their timely advocacy of these measures the men of Satsuma and Choshu "sucked to themselves no small advantage," still the advantages to Japan as a whole have been still greater, and no fair-minded critic will be disposed to grudge them their position of honour in the councils and enterprises of the nation. Palmam qui meruit ferat.
Togo Heihachiro was born in Kajiya-machi, the Samurai quarter of Kagoshima, on the 22nd of December, 1847.
His family was descended from the ancient family of the Taira, which played so great a part in the Middle Ages of Japan. The last and, indeed, the only sage of the Taira family, Taira no Shigemori, had an only daughter, who, on the ruin of her house, being pursued by her enemy, the head of the rival Minamoto family, found an asylum in the territories of the Prince of Satsuma. Here she remained, educating her children, who, growing up, entered the service of the Satsuma Daimyo and were granted the surname of Togo. It is said that this remote ancestress of the Togo house had, for reasons probably connected with the circumstances of her escape from the Minamoto, an aversion to riding on a white horse, and this tradition is said still to remain of force in the Togo family. In the garden attached to the old family homestead in Kagoshima, now unfortunately destroyed by fire, there stood during Togo's boyhood a small shrine sacred to the memory of the first ancestress of the family.
. The future Admiral's father, Togo Kichizaemon, had a great reputation for probity and justice. He held the responsible office of Kori Bugyo or District Magistrate—an office not unlike the honorable post of Justice of the Peace which is the pride of many a country gentleman in England,—and discharged his difficult duties so well, that, at the request of his fellow-townsmen, he continued to hold it for thirteen consecutive years, though the usual period of tenure is only for three. His character was very much like that of his illustrious son—simple, straight-forward, somewhat taciturn, but kind and sincere. He was not a diplomat, but there was something statesmanlike about his straight-forward simplicity.
His mother, Masuko, is said to have been a fine-looking refined lady, the very type of woman that Kaibara Ekiken, the author of the celebrated Onnadaigaku ("Great Learning for Women"), would have delighted to describe. She was frugal and orderly, an excellent house-keeper, and moreover, a splendid disciplinarian. She trained her children as' a Spartan mother would have done, and was a convinced believer in the old saying about the devil and the idle hands. She constantly kept her children busy with their studies and military exercises, and allowed them very little leisure in which to get into mischief. She had four sons, of whom Heihachiro was the third. The Admiral's three brothers all took part in the rebellion of the elder Saigo, and perished at the battle of Shiroyama. Fortunately for Heihachiro he was studying in England at the time, and out of reach of temptation.
In due course of time, Heihachiro, like the other lads of Kagoshima, entered a G5chu. The Gochu into which it was his good fortune to enter was one with an exceedingly good record. The elder Saigo, the flower of Japanese chivalry, had once been in its ranks: and one of T5gd's boy companions and contemporaries was Kuroki, destined like himself to win distinction in war with the Russians. One of Saig5's younger brothers was Togo's teacher of Chinese, and read the Confucian Analects with him. It was Togo's habit to rise early, before sunrise, and to stand at his teacher's gate till six o'clock, when he was permitted to enter and receive a lesson of two hours' duration. From eight o'clock till noon he was busy reviewing the lessons he had learned with his teacher, and the afternoon was spent, sometimes in study and sometimes in fencing and wrestling with Kuroki and other companions by the riverside.
As a boy, he was always noted for his quiet peaceable disposition. He very seldom concerned himself in the quarrels which took place between the different Gochu in the city, and rarely had any quarrels of his own on hand. Yet he always contrived to hold his own amongst his comrades, who deferred to him as boys do to one in whom they see a capacity for leadership, even though he takes no step to assert himself, or to lord it over his comrades.
In 1863, at the age of seventeen, Togo entered the Satsuma Navy, as a cadet. It has been said that the real cause of the establishment of that Navy was fear of Russia, whose aggressions were even then known and dreaded by Japanese Statesmen. We have also heard it maintained that when, shortly after the Imperial Restoration, the elder Saigo was led astray into rebellious paths, his moving reason was not a dissatisfaction at the comparatively small amount of recognition given to Satsuma in the Imperial Councils, but a desire to see a more resolute policy against Russia adopted by Japan, together with a resolution to get the power into his own hands, so as the better to prosecute a line of policy which he felt to be of vital importance to his country.
Be that as it may, the first foreign enemy to be encountered by Japanese armies was not Russia, but England. The discontent with which patriotic Japanese saw the sacred soil of their country defiled by foreign feet, together with the growing lawlessness of the times, made it impossible for the authorities, national or consular, to avoid all disturbances between Japanese and foreigners. Outrages against the barbarians were of frequent occurrence: attacks were made upon the British Legation in Yedo, ships passing through the Straits of Shimonoseki were fired on by the fortresses of the Prince of Choshu, and one incident in particular occurred, which brought Satsuma, individually, into trouble with the English authorities. A troop of Satsuma retainers who were accompanying the uncle of their Prince on his way to Yedo, on the 14th of September 1862, attacked a party of foreigners riding peaceably along the high road near Kanagawa, and murdered one of them, an Englishman named Richardson. The British authorities promptly demanded satisfaction from the Shogunate, but, whilst getting an indemnity from the Yedo Government, were referred for full satisfaction to the Prince of Satsuma, as the feudal lord of the men who had made the attack, and as being, therefore, a responsible party in the affair. Satsuma, while deeply regretting the incident at Namamugi (the hamlet at which the attack was made), and willing to pay a money indemnity for the thoughtless act of his turbulent retainers, absolutely refused to hand over the perpetrators of the crime to the English, as they desired. Some delay occurred over the negotiations, but at last, in August 1863, an English Squadron arrived in the Bay of Kagoshima, and, failing to get its demands satisfied, proceeded to bombard the town. The engagement took place on the 15th August 1863. The Kagoshima authorities were much surprised by a visit which they hardly expected. They were still more taken aback, when the English summoned three vessels belonging to the Satsuma Navy, which they found at anchor in a remote corner of the bay, to shift their anchorage, and take up a new position in the midst of the British Squadron, an order which the Japanese vessels obeyed without apparently knowing what it meant. This action the Japanese claim to have been a treacherous one on the part of the British ; but the British, on their part, thought they had just cause for complaint, when, at the stroke of noon, without any previous warning, the Kagoshima forts opened fire on their unwelcome visitors. A fierce cannonading then ensued, which did much damage without leading to any very tangible results. The weather was boisterous and stormy so that the British could not have landed a party of men even if they had had the force requisite for the operation. They burned the three Satsuma vessels and reduced a large portion of the town to ashes, but without silencing the forts. On the other hand, they suffered severely themselves : one of their ships went ashore and only got off with the loss of her anchor, which was afterwards restored by the Japanese; and there were many losses both of officers and men. The next morning they sailed out of the bay, to avoid a threatening typhoon, leaving behind them an indecisive record. They had reduced the city to ashes and destroyed a part of the fleet of Satsuma; but the forts were never silenced, and they sailed away without having got their demands. The indemnity was paid in September 1863, but the Satsuma authorities never surrendered the persons of Richardson's murderers.
The bombardment of Kagoshima was Togo Heihachiro's baptism of fire, and Japanese writers tell us, with great pride, how the future Admiral, stripped to the skin, was working at the guns in one of the batteries on that eventful day.
It is worthy of note that on this day the Japanese fired the first shot, without waiting for any formal declaration of hostilities. We remember as we write down the fact that it was Togo as Captain of the Naniwa, who sunk the Kaosheng in the war with China, and Togo who, as Admiral, ordered the discharge of the first torpedo against the Russian vessels at Port Arthur. In neither case had hostilities been declared when the first shot was fired. Can it have been Togo who applied the fuse to the first gun fired at Kagoshima ?
The Satsuma Navy covered itself with glory in this action. It had held its own in a fair fight with a British Squadron, and had lost nothing except the three steamers which had been taken by surprise, and placed as it were hors de combat before the action commenced. But the bombardment had the effect of arousing the whole nation to the need of naval armaments. The Shogunate, Satsuma, Choshu, and perhaps one or two more daimyates had hitherto been the only ones that paid any attention to coast defense, but now the whole nation was roused to action. Even the Emperor[*] bestirred himself and bade his subjects sweep the Kurofune (black ships) off the sea." Many small navies made their appearance in different provinces, but none could compete with the Navy of Satsuma which had been in action with foreigners, and, had passed safely through the ordeal. The Choshu ships did not come out so well in their conflict with the foreign vessels at Shimonoseki. But then Choshu s glory has always been great in the army.
[*] I have seen a poem by Komei Tenno, the father of the present Emperor, which runs somewhat like this :
" Perish my body in the cold clear depth Of some dark well, but let no foreign foot Pollute that water with its presence here."
The next few years were uneventful years in the history of the Satsuma Navy: years of preparation for great events generally are. Nothing much is known of our hero during this period, except that he continued to serve with diligence in his profession, and that he gained a reputation as an excellent officer, silent and unobtrusive, but quick in decision and decisive in action. It was evident that the Revolution which was to put the Mikado in his proper position, and place the men of the South on the top of those of the North, was coming on at a rapid pace, and Togo must often have heard, and perhaps sung, the verses in which San-yo Rai describes the Satsuma Bushi.
1. Short are our skirts — down to the knees: and short our sleeves—just to the elbow.
2. At our hips are our swords that can cut through iron:
3. If horse touch them or man touch them, they will kill him at once.
4. The youth of eighteen enters the Society of the strong Youths:
5. If a visitor comes from the North, with what shall we entertain him?
6. Bullets and powder shall be the tables and dishes;
7. And if, perchance, the visitor should not relish them,
8. The sword over his head shall give a closing dish.[*]
[*] Koromo wa kan ni itari, sode wan ni itaru : Yokan no shusui tetsu tatsubeshi; Hito furureba, hito wo kiri, uma furureba uma wo kiru. Juhachi majiwari wo musubu, kenji no sha: Hokkaku yoku kitaraba, nani wo motte ka mukuin ? Dangwan shoyaku kore zenshu : Kaku moshi shoku-en sezumba, Yoshi hot5 wo motte kare ga kobe ni kuwaen.
We next find Togo at Kyoto in the year 1867. Satsuma and Choshu men had made good their claim to be the protectors of the Imperial person, and driving out from Kyoto the rival Tokugawa clans, and the men of Hikone and Aizu, had occupied that city in force. The Shogunate Government, general known as the Bakufu, had been abolished, and an Imperial Government at Kyoto proclaimed in its stead.
The Tokugawa party were thoroughly discontented. Riots broke out in Yedo which the Shogunal police were unable to quell. The Satsuma-yashiki at Mita was burnt to the ground, and the Satsuma adherents in the stronghold of the Tokugawas escaped with difficulty to Shinagawa, where they were taken on board a small vessel, the Kuslid Maru. One of the Shogunate warships, the Kwaiten Maru, commanded by Enomoto Kamajiro, went in pursuit, and after a desperate fight, in which the crew of the Kosho plugged the shot-holes in the hull with their own clothes, succeeded in doing her so much damage that the Satsuma men were
obliged to abandon her, and only managed to join their own men at Kyoto with great difficulty.
When the Shogun heard of the troubles in Yedo and the burning of the Satsuma-yashiki, he at once petitioned the Emperor for permission to chastise the men of Satsuma, and then, without waiting for a permission which he had very little chance of getting, marched from Osaka, where he was staying in the Great Castle of the Tokugawas, with all his forces for Kyoto. But the men of the " Four Loyal Clans," Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Higo, marched out to meet him, a battle was fought at Fushimi (28 January 1868), and the Shogun, defeated and a fugitive, appeared at Hyogo, where he was taken on board an American man of-war, which afterwards transferred him to the Kaiyo Maru, one of his own vessels. This ship, of which Enomoto was made Captain, conveyed the Shogun to Yedo.
When the Kaiyd Maru had been coming down from Shinagawa to Osaka and Hyogo, to look after the interests of the Shogun, she had met two Satsuma transports carrying troops from Kagoshima for garrison duty in Kyoto, and had fired on them as they left that port. This was before the battle of Fushimi. The transports at once returned to port and gave information. A protest
followed, but the Shogunal authorities justified the action of the Kaiyo Maru in firing on the transports. Satsuma and Yedo were practically at war, they said, and there had already been some fighting off Shinagawa.
The Satsuma men were obliged, therefore, to take measures of self-defence. They had no ships of war with them, but the Kasuga Maru was lying off Kobe, out of commission, it is true, but still available for convoy service, if she could be fitted out.
This was done with all speed: the ship was hastily prepared for sea, and manned from the troops brought up by the transports. The Satsuma garrison in Kyoto was able to furnish the officers. Akatsuka Genroku was appointed Captain, Ito Sukemaro (the elder brother of the Admiral) vice-captain, and Togo Heihachiro one of the junior lieutenants.
As soon as the ship was fitted out she was brought round to Osaka. The Shogun's ship was not to be seen, so the transports started on their journey to Kagoshima, with the Kasuga Maru to convoy them. Presently, off the coast of Awa, the Kaiyo Maru was seen coming through the clearing mist, close to them: and the Kasuga Maru, in spite of her imperfect equipment and scratch crew, at once engaged her. The fight lasted for some time, without any very serious loss on either side, then, suddenly, the Kaiyd Maru sheered off and returned to port, and the Kasuga Maru hastened on to look after her transports, which had now reached a place of comparative safety.
This engagement took place on the 3d day of the 1st month (old style) of the year 1868. Togo distinguished himself by his activity in helping to get the crew together and the ship ready for action, as also by his coolness under fire. His superiors saw him to be a steady man on whom they might rely,—and these are the men who succeed in making a name for themselves. The action was not a very great one, but it gave the Satsuma men an opportunity of proving their metal, and in the action Togo did his duty.
The Civil War had now broken out, and the Tokugawa party found one of its staunchest supporters in Enomoto, whom we have already seen as Captain of the Kaiyo, but who will now appear as the Admiral in command of the Shogunal Fleets.
The victory at Fushimi was only the first of a series of successful actions, which- gradually brought the whole island under the rule of the Emperor and his forces, and during the summer of 1868, the Shogun was ordered to deliver to the Emperor the Castle of Yedo, and all his forces military and naval. To this order the Shogun complied as far as he could, but his retainers were far more active in his support than he was himself, and Admiral Enomoto, on receiving the order to surrender his ships, quietly sailed out of Shinagawa Bay, with 11 ships, at early dawn on Aug. 22 1868, and took himself north to Hakodate, where some of the northern daimyos were still under arms for the lost cause of the Shogunate.
A landing was made at Hakodate, the loyalist daimyo of Matsumae was defeated at Esashi, a temporary Government was established, and measures taken for a prolonged resistance. Enomoto's fleet was a factor of prime importance. He had eleven ships in all: his opponent had only four or five; and, with Hakodate as his base of operations, he might be a terrible thorn in the side of the newly restored Imperial Government.
The Imperial Government at once took action to crush the Hakodate scheme. A force of 6500 troops was hastily dispatched north, together with a squadron under the command of Akatsuka, whom we have already seen as Captain of the Kasuga Maru. Togo was still serving on board the Kasuga, which was now in better trim than it had been for the hastily planned engagement off the coast of Awa, and the Loyalist Fleet was strengthened by the addition of a new iron-clad war vessel, the Stonewall Jackson, recently purchased from the American Government by the Shogun's Government, and waiting in Yokohama to be delivered. Since giving the order, the Shogun's Government had collapsed, and there being apparently no other person authorized to take delivery, the American Minister at last consented to have it transferred to the Imperial Government.
The Squadron, thus strengthened, left Shinagawa on March the 9th, and on the 24th March was at Kuwagasaki, a point not far from Hakodate. Here a fight took place, on April 29. The Shogunal Flagship, Kwaiten, with two other vessels, attempted a surprise attack on the Loyalists which was nearly successful. Most of the Loyalist Captains were ashore at the time when the attack was made, but the fog caused the Shogunal vessels to part company, and the Kwaiten alone arrived at the place of destination. Here she found the Stonewall Jackson, now known as the Musashiy lying at anchor, and expecting nothing less than an attack from the Shogun's forces. The Musashi, was an iron-clad, but that consideration did not prevent the Kwaiten from proceeding to the attack, and she maneuvered so skillfully that presently the two ships were lying alongside of one another, and the rebels, leaping on board the Musashi, tried to capture her by assault. The attempt failed, however, and the Kwaiten had considerable difficulty in extricating herself from the dangerous position into which her daring had placed her.
Meanwhile her two consorts, the Banryu and Takao, which had lost her in the fog, seeing that the attack had failed, did their best to return to Hakodate. In this the Banryu succeeded, but the Takao, pursued by the Kasuga (Togo's ship) ran aground near Omotomura and was fired by her own crew.
The engagement at Kumagasaki did much to restore the balance between the two fleets. The Imperialists had, it is true, lost over 100 men while the Rebel loss was only 17 killed and 34 wounded; but they had lost one of their best ships, the Takao, and as the Kwaiyof which we have already seen in action off Awa, had been lost during a gale, the Shogunal Fleet was now not much stronger than the Loyalist, and had no vessel that could withstand the iron-clad Musashi.
The remnants of Enomoto's Fleet were soon after this completely disposed of. In May 1869 the Imperialist ships were engaged in the task of covering the landing of troops on the shores of Yezo near Esashi, and the rebels, after vainly attempting to defend that town, were at last driven back into Hakodate, which was invested. During these operations, the Shogun's people lost all their smaller ships, so that, by the end of the month, they were reduced to three ships, Kwaiten, Banryu and Chiyoda, all three of which had been more or less damaged in action. On the 14th June, the Chiyoda struck on a rock and was abandoned by her crew. The next morning, she floated off without assistance, and came floating on the tide towards the Imperialist Squadron. The Imperialists, with the memories of Kuwagasaki fresh in their memories commenced firing on her, and it was some time before they discovered that they had been wasting their powder on a deserted vessel.
There remained now only the Kwaiten and the Banryu. In a general attack on Hakodate made on June 20th, these two vessels performed prodigies of valor against tremendous odds. A shot from the Banryu fired the powder-magazine of the Clioyo and destroyed her, and her crew fought valiantly until she at last received her coup de grace in a shell from the Kasuga which smashed her engines and disabled her. The Banryu was now sunk by her own crew, and the Kwaiten,
seeing further resistance to be hopeless, followed her example.
Thus was quenched the last spark of resistance to the Imperial forces in Japan. Enomoto surrendered on the 27th of June and the pacification of the country was complete. It is true that we shall again find rebels in arms against the constituted authorities, but Saigo's rebellion was a different thing altogether. He was not fighting, as was Enomoto, for the maintenance of a political system which had been established for many years.
We can feel and admire the loyalty which prompted these men to hold fast to the Shogunate from which their families had in the past, received so many proofs of kindness and consideration. This feeling was shared by the Imperialist party itself and the generosity with which the Emperor treated the faithful adherents of the lost cause has done much to heal the wounds of the civil strife.
And what are we to say of Togo's share in these events?
We see in him the patient painstaking officer, diligent in the performance of his duty, absolutely devoid of all thoughts of self, and happy in the triumph of his Master's cause.
We can say no more than that. His ship, the Kasuga, did good service in the pursuit of the Takao, and the attack on the Banryu. His own personal interest in the fight is shown by his involuntary exclamation (" the coward ") .when he saw the Teibo retreating from her position to avoid the explosion of the Choyo during the battle at Hakodate. He was for a long time chaffed by his messmates for having "scolded a man-of-war".
There are no picturesque incidents in this part of Togo's life: nothing to strike the imagination of the reader, such as we find in the Life of Nelson. His was the life of the quiet conscientious officer, a life not without its effect on those amongst whom it was lived. Togo had already attracted the attention of his superiors and this is proved by his being presently selected as a promising officer, whom it would be well to send to England for further training.
When the Hakodate fleet under Enomoto had been destroyed the Loyalist troops returned in triumph to Yokohama, and what had now become the capital city of Toky5, and it was at Yokohama that the Kasuga was paid off.
Togo's employment was now for a while at an end. The Satsuma Navy had ceased to exist with the restoration of the Imperial Power, which brought all military and naval forces under the control of the newly-formed central government, and the Imperial Navy had not yet been founded.
Still his heart remained in the naval profession, and the experiences of the Hakodate campaign having been quite long enough to let him know the imperfections of Japanese seamanship, his own included, he made application through the leading men of his clan to be sent to England for purposes of study. He had many rivals to fear, for there was then a desire in every young samurai to visit foreign countries and learn something that might be of use to his country and himself, and the responsible officers were over-run with applicants wishing to be sent abroad. His first applications were unsuccessful, but when his fellow-clansman Okubo, was Minister for Home Affairs, Togo made application once more, and after some delay- found that he had been chosen.
We can well imagine the anxiety with which he awaited the verdict of the authorities. The Japanese say that one evening a band of Satsuma young men and others, whom the generosity of their ex-lords was keeping in Tokyo as students, unable any longer to restrain their eager curiosity, went to a fortune-teller to learn their future destiny. The fortune-teller, anxious to please, prophesied smooth things, and told the first three or four that they were going to be greatly distinguished, so that everything went off pleasantly until No. 5, a student named Matsuyama, presented himself, much the worse for liquor. Matsuyama was not pleased with the fortune he received, and a noisy altercation ensued during which the others, who had not yet been examined, picked up the fees they had already paid, and walked out in disgust. Thus Togo was prevented from hearing about his future victories in the seas around Japan.
However, the permission came at last, and Togo, who had been utilizing the precious moments in learning English at Yokohama, from missionaries and from the soldiers belonging to the Legation guard, received his marching orders in March 1871.
He and his companions must have presented a strange appearance as they left Yokohama for Europe. There were no tailors, then, for Japanese who wished to be dressed as foreigners, and the future Nelson of Japan started in a second-hand costume which must effectually have obliterated all signs of a destined greatness. He must during his voyage have been continually treated with a good- natured contempt due entirely to his clothes, and yet surely no one ever deserved less to be treated with disdain than did he.
Togo was a fine specimen of the Bushido in which he had been trained. We have seen already, in our account of the Gochu or Associations of young men in Satsuma, how the youthful samurai of that province were taught to endure pain and to look fear in the face without flinching. But he learned other virtues as well. The short sword in his girdle was a perpetual reminder to him that death was at all times preferable to dishonor, that the remedy for disgrace was in his own hands. The proverb bushi ni nigon nashi, ("the bushi has no second word") reminded him of the cardinal virtue of truthfulness, consistency, faithfulness to promise. Fair play and loyalty were ingrained in the bushi's character, and the civil war which had just come to an end was an admirable specimen of those chivalrous qualities in action. Each side had treated the upholders of the other side with the utmost respect and consideration. The Satsuma retainer, loyally supporting his feudal lord, was quite ready to accord all honor to the Tokugawa samurai, who was only doing his duty by his lawful master. ~ Both parties were united in their reverence for the Sovereign, and their only thought was how to deliver him from the mistaken council of the men that formed his entourage. The Sovereign, on his part, recognized the good feelings . that animated both parties of his subjects, and when the fortune of war decided that the victory should belong to the Satsuma men, the vanquished were treated with the utmost generosity. The living were pardoned, and admitted to the Imperial presence and councils, the dead were honored with those posthumous rewards of rank and position which mean so much in the Japanese world : even Saig5, who died in arms against his Sovereign, was pardoned posthumously, and restored to his former dignities. The one exception to this universal clemency has been the unfortunate Ii Kamon no Kami, the Shogunal Prime Minister, and he, undeservedly as I believe, lies under the reproach of not having " played the game" in his dealings with his Imperial Master.
Togo's chivalrous spirit was to be shown years after in the first attack upon Port Arthur. Ancient etiquette required that the knight 'should notify his own name and titles to his enemy before commencing a combat with him, and it was absolutely the correct thing for Togo to do when, a few hours before his attack, he sent a wireless message to Admiral Makaroff, advising him to surrender.
How Togo must have rejoiced when he got to know, as he must have done during his time in England, a few of the old-time English gentlemen whose ideals of life and honor were perhaps the nearest approach in modern times to the spirit of the Japanese bushi. In the year 1871, Thackeray had not been very long dead—not more than ten years or so:—Col. Newcome and Major Pendennis were types still recognized as being in existence, and Kinglake's "Crimea", with its justification of a noble though much-abused English samurai, was still making its vigorous appeal to the English sense of justice. Togo must have been just ripe to appreciate the good side of English life and character.
In London, he met several of his compatriots, Satsuma and Choshu clansmen, such as Kawase, Kawakita, and others who were studying like himself. Kikuchi Dairoku, now a Baron, and for some time a Minister of Education, was then either in London, or in Cambridge, and a few others from other parts of Japan were there to form a body round which all the Japanese students in England might from time to time rally. Togo did not want for companions in London, but circumstances eventually led him to Plymouth, to the training-ship " Worcester," which seemed to offer him the greatest facilities for obtaining a practical mastery of the details of his profession. The reports sent home about him were so good that in 1872 the Government decided to grant him the rank and treatment of a 2nd Lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, which had been reconstructed since his departure for England, and when his course of training on board the Worcester was finished, in 1876, he was ordered to remain in England to watch the construction of the new Japanese ship Hiyei, which was finished in January 1878, and reached Japan in the following May.
The Strand magazine for April 1905 contains an article on Admiral Togo " as a youth" in England, written by the Rev. A.S. Capel M.A. to whose care Togo was for some time committed. The writer of this book knew Mr. Capel very well by sight in Cambridge and must have been in residence as an undergraduate of Peterhouse just about the same time, ,though he never saw Togo, nor even heard of his existence.
Mr. Capel tells us that Togo was put under his care for a few months in Cambridge during the interval between his arrival in England and his joining the Worcester training ship.
He knew very little English, and his progress, partly from illness, and partly perhaps from a natural incapacity for mere language study, was very slow. In mathematics however he made much progress, and soon learned enough English to discuss the problems of that science.
Mr. Capel next speaks of his excellent manners, and tells us how it became his practice' to recommend to his other pupils the study of Eastern manners as being so much better than the Western manners which Togo and his brother-Japanese had come to England to learn.
His natural modesty is shown indirectly. When Togo was a student in Mr. Capel's house he was already the hero of two or three naval fights, and what would have delighted the children of the house more than an account of the stirring incidents of the bombardment of Kagoshima? Yet, fond though he was of gossiping with children, he seems to have resisted all temptation to boasting, and Mr. Capel writes as though he did not know that Togo had already gone through a couple of campaigns.
Togo's kindness to animals and fondness for children are early traits which are still to be found in the grown man, only with more scope for their exercise, and we are also told of the wonderful power of enduring physical pain which he showed under the operations made necessary by a long and troublesome affection of his eye. It was this affection which caused Mr. Capel to have the lad removed from Cambridge to Portsmouth, and thence to Plymouth where he joined the Worcester for special nautical training, and yet from the very beginning he had stated his intention of becoming a " sailor on dry land ", by which he was supposed to mean a shore appointment at the Japanese Admiralty.
Mr. Capel incidentally also mentions the young man's fondness for attending Church, the singing of the psalms and hymns having a fascination for him, and the use of the English Prayer-book enabling him to follow with a certain amount of intelligence the worship that was going on. I remember to have read some months ago in a New York paper (I am almost sure that it was the Freeman s Journal) a statement that the Admiral had, during his stay in England, been baptized a Roman Catholic. I have never been able to verify the statement, and I do not think that it is true. The editor of that sheet published this statement when the " yellow peril " folly was at its height, and it was evidently a great comfort to him to think that, if the navies of Christian Russia were doomed to fall before the pagan Japanese, at least the hand that directed the blow was that of a Catholic Christian. It was not much of a comfort, and the little there was in it rested, I fear, on no solid basis of fact. And yet no one can have read the dispatches in which he announced his victories to his Sovereign without being impressed with their deeply religious tone. All wise men, says Lord Beaconsfield, in one of his novels, are religious: all wise men belong to the same religion, but they never say what their religion is.
Whilst Togo was thus laying the foundation of his future greatness in England, great events were happening in Japan. The elder Saigo, the beau- ideal of a Japanese samurai, and the darling of the Satsuma clan, had put himself at the head of a rebellion, which, though nominally directed against the counselors who surrounded the Sovereign, and not against the Sovereign himself, would nevertheless, had it been successful, have ended in the undoing of the whole work of the restoration.
It was due mainly to the Satsuma men that the Emperor had got back to his own. They, with their colleagues of Choshu, Hizen, and Tosa, had overthrown the Shogunate and restored the personal rule of the Sovereign. The statesmen who directed that movement saw that the personal rule of the Sovereign was incompatible with the existence of the quasi-independent princedoms which, during the Feudal times, had covered the whole land. Japan, they insisted, must be unified, and in order that the unification might be accomplished, the minor principalities must go, and a strong central government be established. The great barons, to their endless honor, consented to be “mediatized” and to become the nobility of an united Empire instead of the ruling Princes of a divided land.
But further measures were necessary. If Japan was to become a great nation in the modern sense of the term, it was necessary that she should have a strong army, resting not on the loyalty of the military clans but on the patriotic service of the whole people, and it was also of the utmost importance that she should have a period of peace during which to effect the necessary changes.
It was proposed therefore to abolish the special privileges of the samurai class by adopting universal conscription, and to take conciliatory measures in the matter of certain difficulties which had occurred in Korea.
We, looking back, with the experience of forty years behind us, now know how wise these measures were. Conscription has made samurai of the whole nation, and the present year has seen the sons of farmers and merchants rivaling the deeds of the ancient bushi. The breathing space that Japan needed for her reconstruction has been used to the full, and no fear of foreign aggression disturbs the nation.
But in 1875 or 1876 these results were not so evident. Men of a less penetrating gaze only saw that the samurai class, the backbone of the nation's military power, was being threatened with extinction, at the very moment, too, when foreign Powers were knocking more loudly than ever at the gates of Japan. It was not unnatural that the Japanese samurai, especially those of Satsuma, whose merits had been so great in the troubles which Japan had just passed through, should lift a cry of alarm. Neither was it altogether strange that the rumor of a plot against Saigo's life should send the military students of Kagoshima to arms and at last force Saigo himself to put himself at their head. It was a most regrettable occurrence, but a natural one, and one which the Japanese have done well to condone. Certainly no act could have demonstrated more clearly the magnanimous generosity of the Ruler than that which restored Saigo posthumously to his former honours and allowed his monument to speak to his fellow- countrymen of a life which, if at times a mistaken one, was always noble.
Had Togo been in Japan, he would in all probability have 'gone out' with Saigo. Saigo was a Kagoshima man, a former member of the same gochu to which Togo afterwards belonged. As an older man, and of leading influence in the councils both of the clan and the nation, he had many opportunities of helping his younger clansmen. His influence had frequently been exercised on behalf of members of the Togo family, and when the Kagoshima men rose and placed Saigo at their head in their rebellion, Togo's three brothers all thought it their duty to support him. The three brothers lost their lives in the rebellion: Lieutenant Togo, living peaceably in England, was saved from the necessity of making a difficult decision, and was thus spared to render invaluable service to his country in the hour of her need.
Admiral Togo’s family and his relatives in the garden of the Admiral’s house
Lieutenant Togo returned to Japan on board the Hiei, on May 2, 1878, and on the 3d of July following was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant (chu-i). On the 18th of August, he was transferred to the Fuso, and on the 18th December received another step, being promoted a full Lieutenant (tai-i). The rapidity of his promotion may be taken as some indication of the esteem in which he was held by his superiors.
In May 1879, just one year after his return to Japan, he was moved back to the Hiyei, and in 'December of the same year received the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. In 1880 (January) ht went to the Jingei as Vice-Captain, and received the j unior 6th grade of Court rank, and in December 1881 became Vice-Captain of the Amagi.
Whilst on board the Amagi, he had occasion to see a little service in Korea. On July 25, 1882, he was at Bakwan (Shimonoseki) with his ship when a disturbance broke out at Seoul which summoned him to Korea. A disturbance had broken out in the Korean Capital, and a mob invading the Royal Palace had threatened the life of the Queen. That unfortunate lady (she was murdered some years later) had taken refuge in the Japanese Legation, but the mob had pursued her with violence, and, in the attack on the Legation which ensued, seven Japanese were killed. Mr. (now Baron) Hanabusa, who was at that time Minister, at length managed, with some of his subordinates, to escape on board a foreign ship at Chemulpo, which took him to Nagasaki, where he was able to inform his government of what had occurred.
The Amagi was at once ordered to Korea, and a landing party, of whom Togo was one, marched up to the capital, and, with the good offices of the foreign Powers, succeeded in convincing the Korean King of the wrong he had done in permitting a foreign Legation to be attacked.
The Amagi then returned to Bakwan, and Togo, whose services were recognized by a present from the Government, remained with her until the 24th of February 1883, when he was ordered to come up to Tokyo on board the Nisshin. Arriving at the Capital, he found that he had been appointed Commander of the Teibo, a ship which he did not long retain, as, in May 1884, he was sent back
to the Amagi, as commander, and ordered to cruise along the Chinese and Korean coasts to observe the operations of the Franco-Chinese war which was then in progress. It was recognized that he, especially, was the man to whom such an opportunity would be profitable. At the conclusion of that war, he returned to Tokyo, when he made a special report in person to His Majesty, and was honored by a banquet. The significance of this is very clear. The quiet, patient, and yet determined officer was making his way up in the ranks of his service.
From June 1885 to May 1886, he had shore billets, partly at the Shipping Bureau of the Naval Department in Tokyo (Shusenkyoku) and partly at the Onohama Dockyard. He was then placed as commander on board the Yamato, but transferred in November to the Asama, a post which held for some time concurrently with the Superintendency of the Yokosuka Arsenal [Heiki Bu Cho). In July 1887 he was at Yokosuka as President of the Court Martial which tried the case of the stranding of the Kongo. In 1889 we find him appointed to the Hiyei, promoted full captain, and advanced in Court rank. In 1890 he was for a short time Chief of Staff at the Kure Naval Station. In 1891 he was appointed to the Naniwa, the armored cruiser, which was destined to bring his name" for the first time before the world outside the naval circles of Japan. In this ship he cruised around the coasts of China and Korea (1892), visited the Hawaiian archipelago to care for Japanese interests (1893), and cruised off Hokkaido and Vladivostok (1894). In that year he had a break for two months on shore as Director of the Kure Naval Station, but in June he was back again on the Naniwa, and in Chinese waters, waiting for his opportunities of service in the imminent war with China.
None but a Japanese, or one of those favored foreigners who have been privileged to see the Japanese Navy from within for a long course of years, can form an idea of the strenuous character of the period which we have been considering in this chapter.
Togo's life, with its continuous changes, and its rapid succession of duties and responsibilities was no more strenuous than that of any of the hundreds of able and ambitious officers who were at this time engaged in the creation of the Japanese Navy as a first-class fighting force.
The material they had to work with was in truth of the very best, nevertheless, the task was a Herculean one. The authorities had to turn them hardy and daring fisher population of the sea-board of Japan into an effective force of blue-jackets, capable of understanding and handling the complex machinery of a modern battle-ship, and worthy of a place side by side with the jack-tars of Britain, America or Germany. In order to do this, a body of able officers was absolutely needed, and though the samurai were ready at hand with traditions of military valour, the samurai themselves needed to be shown how much more than mere valour was necessary for the evolution of a naval officer. The samurai, especially in the days of confusion and laxity which preceded the fall of the Shogunate, had fallen into lawless ways and needed to feel the force of a strict discipline. Instructors could be procured, but education was not so easy. There was a temptation to political activity in days when young Japan was looking forward with feverish anxiety to the gift of constitutional government, which was to give to every intelligent student a chance of political distinction, and it was rather hard for the samurai, whose influence had been so great during the birth-throes of the Restoration, to turn a deaf ear to the allurements of party politics. There was also another danger. Intercourse with foreign nations had revealed to the Japanese the immense wealth of England and America, and the gospel of materialism had come in, along with other gospels, to break down the old ideals of mediaeval Japan. It was absolutely necessary to keep the Japanese naval officers free from the materialistic notions of the West, and to make them feel so inspired with the dignity of their noble profession that they should value the comparative poverty which their uniform implied above the more tangible comforts of wealth and ease. There was yet another task. Satsuma men had been the creators of the Navy, and their influence has always been very great in the force. But men of other clans were now chosen to fight side by side with these intrepid and hot-headed men from the South. It wanted an infinity of tact, patience, perseverance and good sense to eradicate the clan feeling from the force, to merge all local interests in the higher interests of the Empire, and to make all, officers and men alike, feel that none of them would be left out in the cold, but that, provided a man were a good officer, it did not much matter where he hailed from. The success which attended these efforts was largely due to the patient, self-denying efforts, of that band of devoted officers whom Togd so well represents, and when we think of the glories of the Japanese .Navy in the twentieth century we must not forget the patient labors of the latter part of the nineteenth.
Japan is, and perhaps always will be, a comparatively poor country, and her poverty hindered her naval expansion for years. It costs much money to buy and equip vessels of war, and Japanese Parliaments in the early days were not always eager to vote supplies for a fleet, the utility of which was not then as clear to the man in the street as it is now. The authorities were consequently obliged to go slowly in the work of organization. It was doubtless irritating to have to do so, but it was good that it was so. The smaller ships were as much as the inexperienced crews of those early days were competent to manage effectively, and by reason of this very tardiness of development the Japanese Navy was probably saved from many of the disasters which other navies have met with even in days of peace. When Togo was appointed Captain of the Naniwa, that vessel was one of the finest ships of the Japanese Navy. Launched at Elswick in 1885 and completed the following year, she is 300 ft in length, with 36 ft of beam, and a draught of 18.5 ft. Her displacement is 3700 tons, her indicated horsepower, 7235. , Her deck armour is 3 in. for gun positions. She carries 2 ten-inch and 6 six-inch guns, steams 18.72 knots with a coal capacity of 800 tons, and has a complement of 350 men. If we compare these dimensions with those of the monster battleships which now fly the Flag of the Empire, they are as nothing. But in 1893 they meant a great deal.
Korea had for a long series of years afforded a bone for contention between China and Japan. The friendly overtures, made by the Imperial Government to Korea in 1868, had been rejected by the Government of that country, which inclined strongly towards the stagnant decay of the Celestial Empire, from whose rulers it received constant encouragement, a Japanese man-of-war was even fired upon by the Koreans in the early days of Meiji, and we have already had occasion to refer to the attack made by the anti-reform and anti- foreign parties in the Korean Capital on the Japanese Legation at Seoul, and Mr. Hanabusa's narrow escape from imminent peril.
Two years later another peril threatened the peace. The Korean reformers under Kim-Ok- Kyun formed a conspiracy to murder their political rivals of the conservative, or Chinese, party during a banquet, to get possession of the Person of the King and, to establish a progressive Government. In this attempt they seem to have confidently, though without official authority, reckoned on Japanese support; for Japan, they thought, would naturally be well disposed towards any attempt at progress or enlightenment; thus, when their plot had been, in part at least, successfully carried out, they appealed to the Japanese Legation Guard to protect the Royal Palace and Person. This brought the Japanese into collision with the Chinese troops, who were called in to aid by the anti-reform party, and, a regular fight ensuing, the Japanese and reformers were driven out of the Royal Palace, the Japanese Legation was again attacked and burnt, and the Legation staff and escort obliged to take refuge at Chemulpo.
The Diplomacy of the foreign Powers now intervened to save the situation. Korea apologized to Japan, and agreed to pay an indemnity for the destruction of the Japanese Legation, and both Japan and China promised by the Treaty of Tientsin, in April 1885, to withdraw their troops from Seoul. A second portion of the same treaty provided that if at any future time the interests of one party required, or seemed to require, the presence of its troops in Seoul, the other party should be notified of the fact, and be entitled to send an equal force for the protection of its own interests.
The Treaty of Tientsin worked fairly well for several years. The Governments of the three countries were outwardly at peace, and the surface of affairs was smooth; but there was much unofficial intriguing going on, and it was just as impossible for the Korean Reform party not to look to Japan for sympathy as it was for the Conservatives to refrain from covert appeals to Chinese fellow-feeling. The methods resorted to by both parties were reprehensible at times, but we must remember that misgovernment always leads to deeds of violence, and the misgovernment in Korea had been long a bye-word and reproach.
The Korean reformer Kim-Ok-Kyun had been obliged to leave his country after the events of 1884. He spent the years of his exile mostly in Japan, in retirement and semi-concealment; but in March 1894 he was at Shanghai, staying in a boarding-house under an assumed name, and was there assassinated by a Korean named Hung. The Chinese authorities arrested Hung, but, instead of punishing him themselves, sent him along with the body of his victim to Seoul. At Seoul, however, he received no punishment: he was on the contrary loaded with honors by the Korean King, whilst Kim-Ok-Kyun's body was quartered and exposed to view in public places in the city.
Everything looked as though the murder of Kim-Ok-Kyun had been done by the order of the Korean Government with the approbation of China, and the indignation of the Japanese, who looked upon Kim-Ok-Kyun as being under their protection, knew no bounds.
The Conservatives in Korea now felt themselves in a position to take more decided steps of a reactionary nature, and for this purpose allowed the Tonghaks in the south of the peninsula a somewhat free hand. The Tonghaks, originally a religious organization, had developed strong political tendencies of an anti-foreign nature. In the spring of 1894, they rose in arms and proclaimed a policy of expulsion which was directed mainly against the Japanese, as being practically the only foreign nationality largely represented in the Peninsula.
The Korean Government, professing not to find itself in a position to quell this insurrection, applied to China for help. On the 7th of June 1894, the Chinese Minister in Tokyo informed the Japanese Government, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Tientsin, that China intended sending troops to Korea " for the sake of helping a tributary state" in the hour of need. Japan refused to recognize the definition of Korea's tributary status, and prepared to provide for her own interests. Negotiations were at once commenced, with a view to providing a smooth way out of the difficulties: the Japanese Government came forward with reasonable propositions, which, if adopted, might have brought prosperity and contentment to the much-distracted Hermit Kingdom, and at the same time made it clear that she would not offer advice without being prepared to back it with something more substantial. By the end of June, there were in and around Seoul some six or seven thousand Japanese troops whose presence effectively caused a collapse of the Tonghak rebellion. The Chinese had a squadron in Korean waters, as had also the Japanese, and a force at Asan; but the force remained stationary and inactive, and its commander contented himself with exhortations to the Tonghaks to return to obedience, and pompous proclamations about the solicitude of China for the welfare of a tributary state.
On previous occasions, diplomacy had always found a way out of the oft.-recurring difficulties between Japan and her neighbors, and this time also efforts at mediation were not lacking. But Japan was determined not to be trifled with. Korea was a buffer state between herself and a Power which her statesmen had long had reason to dread. Korea, well governed, might be a real protection : Korea, governed according to Chinese notions corrupted to suit Korean tastes, could only fall into, hostile hands. The hour had come for Japan to. secure for good her ascendancy in Korea, by showing how weak a reed China was to lean upon — diplomatic attempts failed, and Japan sent her ultimatum on July 19th 1894.
On the 23d of July, Admiral Ito, acting under orders from the General Quarters, left Sasebo with the main portion of his Fleet, the Flying Squadron under Rear-Admiral Tsuboi, consisting of the Yoshino, Akitsushima, and Naniwa, being sent ahead to reconnoitre. These vessels, early on the 25th, fell in with the small Chinese cruiser Tsi-yuen, and the gun-boat Kuang-yi, with which they had a fight, the end of which was that the gun-boat was run ashore in a sinking condition whilst the Tsi- yuen, escaped only by pretending to surrender, and making off later whilst the attention of the Japanese was engaged elsewhere. The Japanese had been drawn off in pursuit of the Chinese despatch-boat Tsao-kiang, (which was captured without resistance), and the British steamer Kaosheng, under charter to the Chinese Government as a transport, which was sunk by the Naniwa, for refusing to obey orders.
Togo's action in sinking the Kaosheng, was severely criticized the whole world over as a piece of high-handed violence. It is therefore advisable to reproduce here the guarded and moderate statement of the occurrence given by the Japanese Imperial General Staff in their History of the War with China. It will show how correct was Togo's interpretation of his duties under very difficult and trying circumstances, and it is a pleasure to think that, when all the circumstances of the case came to be known, his conduct met with the general approval.
[About 10.30 a.m. the Naniwa steamed up to a transport which had been compelled to anchor at Shopaioul Island, and sent Zengoro Hitomi, Lieutenant of Marine, with Nenjitsu Waraya, 3rd class Engineer, to examine her. This officer made enquiries of her Captain, Thomas Ryder Galdsworthy, and examined the ship's books and papers, from which he learned that the ship was named the Kao-sheng, that she flew the British flag, was owned by the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company, and had been chartered for this trip by the Chinese Government. She had taken on board troops, arms, and ammunition at Taku and was conveying them across to Asan. The Lieutenant thereupon ordered the Kao-sheng to follow the Naniwa, which the Captain after some hesitation consented to do. Lieut. Hitomi then returned to his ship.
The Naniwa next signaled to the Kao-sheng to weigh anchor, but her Captain signaled in reply that he wished to confer upon some important matters, and asked for a boat to be sent, whereupon Lieutenant Hitomi again went on board the transport. During the first interview the master of the Kao-sheng had admitted to that officer that he was not in a position to disobey the orders of the Naniwa, and that he was quite willing to carry out the Naniwa’s orders, but that the Chinese officers on board refused to allow him to do so. He had then asked them to be allowed to land with his own crew, but the Chinese had threatened that, if he attempted to leave the ship or to carry out the orders of the Naniwa, they would kill every European on board. They had also put soldiers armed to watch over the master and mates, and to prevent the engineers from entering the engine room, and when the boat was on its way the second time from the Naniwa they tried to prevent the captain from communicating with it. When Lieutenant Hitomi came on board again, the Captain told him that the Chinese officers would not allow him to obey the orders of the Naniwa, and that they asked to return to Taku on the ground that they had not received notice before starting of the declaration of war. Lieutenant Hitomi felt that this was a very serious matter, as the ship was full of arms and war-material, and returned to his ship to report it.
It was the hearty desire of the Captain of the Naniwa to save the Kao-sheng and the lives of the Chinese troops on board, and several communications passed to and fro between the ships, but the Chinese soldiery only became more violent in their behaviour to the Captain, and at last the Naniwa signaled to the Kao-sheng's crew to leave her at once. This the Chinese general would not permit, and so they asked the Naniwa to send a boat to fetch them away. This request could not be granted, for matters were now very critical, and it was quite uncertain what course the Chinese troops might take it into their heads to adopt, so the captain of the Naniwa signaled to the Kao sheng’s crew to come in their own boat, a course which the Chinese again refused to allow them to follow.
The Captain of the Naniwa now recognized that the Captain was helpless against the menaces of his Chinese passengers, so he ordered the crew to leave the ship, hoisted a red flag at the masthead, and whistled several times as a sign of imminent danger: whereupon the captain and crew of the Kao-sheng jumped overboard one after the other.
The Naniwa now launched a torpedo, which missed, but followed it up with a shell, which made a hole in the boiler and raised a great cloud of steam and smoke. At this everyone that could swim jumped overboard to swim to land, while those who could not swim remained on board, firing sometimes at the Naniwa and sometimes at the crew who were swimming towards the Japanese ship. This happened at 1:10 p.m, five minutes later the Kao-sheng began to sink by the stern, and at 1.46 p.m. it sunk in deep water, 2 nautical miles to the south of Shopaioul Island. When she had sunk, the Nanhvds boats managed to rescue the captain and first mate (both English) and a pilot (a Manila man); but the crew were either drowned or shot by Ihe Chinese troops. Most of the Chinese were drowned, only some 160 or 170 men succeeding in reaching Shopaioul Island, where there were afterwards rescued by the German man-of-war lltis, and taken to Chefoo on August I. Among their number was a German officer, von Hannecken, who had been for many years in the Chinese Service.]
The following account of the sinking of the Kaoshing (an alternative form of spelling Kao- sheng), taken from Prof. Takahashi's " International Law during the China-Japan War " may serve to set before the reader the legal aspect of Togo's action in sinking the ship.
"It was about 6 a.m. on the 25th July 1894, that the first division of the Japanese Squadron saw two Chinese men-of-war near the island of Phung-do (or Round Island) in Korean waters.
At 7.5 the fleets approached each other within 3000 meters and began to open fire. It was thus the curtain rose on the first scene of the grand drama of war in the Far East. The encounter raged fiercely for about an hour and a half. One of the Chinese ships, being severely damaged, went ashore, while the other fled to Chelung Bay, to find her way back to China. While the Japanese fleet was chasing the enemy two other steamers had appeared in the offing. They were now near, and it was soon seen that one of them was the Tsao-kiang, the Chinese gunboat, and the other was the Kowshing which had left Taku on the 23d., and just now arrived on the scene to play the most regrettable part in the matter.
At 8.30 a.m. the Japanese fleet saw the Kowshing passing on the starboard in the distance. At 9.15, the Naniwa, one of the Japanese fleet, drew near the British ship, signaled her to stop and fired two blank cartridges. Next she ordered her to anchor by the signal L.P. Prize officers were soon sent to her, and it was discovered that she carried nothing but enemy's troops. Thereupon the Naniwa ordered the Kowshing to follow her, and this the captain of the transport consented to do. Soon after this the captain again signaled the Naniwa, requesting that a boat should be sent. When that request was complied with, the captain stated that although he was personally willing to obey the orders of the Naniwa, the Chinese officers on board would not allow him to do so, demanding that he should steer in the direction of Taku whence they had come. He therefore begged permission to take this course. Meanwhile the Chinese soldiers on board the Kowshing were clamoring violently and angrily threatening the captain and officers with their rifles. In this way, the Chinese soldiers prevented the Kowshing from following the Japanese ship, over-ruling the will of the captain. So the Naniwa signaled the British captain to leave his ship. He replied again by signal, requesting that a boat should be sent, but the answer was that the captain and his officers should proceed at once to the Naniwa in their own boats. The captain signaled in reply that he was not allowed to come. By this time the tumult among the Chinese soldiers had assumed serious dimensions. Under these circumstances, there was no help for it but to hoist the red flag at the foremast of the Naniwa, in token that firing was about to commence, while signals were once more made urging the captain to leave the Kowshing with all speed. No less than four hours had been spent in fruitless signals and negotiations, as it was the desire of the Japanese to make the Chinese surrender without bloodshed, and then guide the Kowshing to a place of safety. The Chinese however were unable to understand the generosity of the Japanese, and menaced their commander refusing point blank to obey the instructions of the Naniwa. There was nothing for it but to sink the Kowshing, and so in another moment a shell was fired at her with fatal precision. The ship began at once to settle down, and soon disappeared beneath the waves."
In his official report Togo makes one statement which does not appear in the above-quoted passage from Prof. Takahashi's book. "It seemed to me," he said, that she (the Kowshing) was awaiting the arrival of the Chinese fleet," so that it was indeed "dangerous to hesitate any longer."
Professors Westlake and Holland, both authorities on International Law, at once came forward to defend the action of the Naniwa. They grounded their defense on the following considerations :
I. That the ship, though British owned and flying the British flag, was actually engaged in belligerent operations as a transport in the service of China.
2. That the practice of commencing war without formal declaration is one which has found its way for centuries past into the practice of nations: that China was a belligerent, and the Kowshing, as a hired vessel in their service, must take the risks of belligerency.
3. That the Japanese were clearly within their rights in preventing the Kowshing with Chinese troops on board from reaching her destination in Korea, that they had done their best to take her uninjured to Japan, and that the refusal of the Chinese commanding officer to allow the Captain of the Kowshing to obey the orders of the Naniwa was a sufficient justification for Captain Togo's action.
It may perhaps be noted here that the Master of the Kowshing, Captain Galsworthy, had been trained with Togo on board the " Worcester."
In dealing with the Kaosheng, Togo had his first opportunity of putting into practice the lessons of naval warfare which he had learned in England. Fortiter in re, he had allowed no considerations of mercy to interfere with what lie saw to be his plain duty to his country under the trying circumstances. Suaviter in modo. he had exerted himself, though vainly, to save the survivors from the catastrophe, and many of the foreign sailors on board these ships expressed themselves grateful for the treatment he gave them. The European and Chinese prisoners from the Kaosheng, and Tsao Kiang, were sent to Nagasaki, where they were well treated, the European prisoners being shortly set at liberty.
But for a time there was great excitement, especially in England, and Togo was afraid that his Government might not be able to support him in face of the storm of hostile criticism. Throughout it all, Togo preserved his outward coolness of demeanour, but in his heart there was much anxiety. " If," said he, " my action should prove fatal to the Imperial Policy, and bring my country into difficulties, I will at once commit harakiri." Such was the resolution which he came to in the stillness of a quiet hour of meditation on the Naniwa Bridge. It was fortunate for his country that no such drastic measures were necessary for the preservation of his honor.
Togo continued on Naniwa until the conclusion of the war with China. In the battle of the Yalu which broke the' naval strength of China, the Naniwa was the fourth vessel in Admiral Ito's line, being the last vessel in the van line, and followed at a little distance by the six ships of the main Squadron. The other ships in the van were the Yoshino, Takachiho and Akitsushimay the main Squadron consisted of the Matsushima, Chiyoda, Itsukushima, Hashidate, Hiyei and Fuso, with the gun-boat Akagi and the converted liner Saikyo-maru in the rear of the Fleet and outside the line of battle. Eight of these were protected cruisers of the newest type, all of high speed, with steel-belt protection, and most of them provided with quickfiring guns.
The Chinese Fleet consisted of the following vessels. On the rights the Yang-wei, Chao-Yuen, Ching-Yuen; in the centre, the Lai-Yuen, Chen- Yuen, Ting-Yuen, and King-Yuen; on the left, the Chi-Yuen, Kwang-Chia, and Tsi-Yuen. Out of the line stood the Ping-Yuen and Kwang-Ping, four torpedo-boats, and two small gun-boats. The Chinese were superior in weight, the Chen-Yuen and Ting-Yuen being battle-ships of 7,430 tons each, whilst the largest of the Japanese ships was not more than 4,277 tons; but they had no quickfiring guns and the dishonesty of responsible officials had provided them with very defective ammunition and, in particular, with many shells which would not explode.
It was Ito's plan to lead his vessels round the right wing of the Chinese Fleet, and then, turning back, to pass through the enemy's line and engage their ships one by one. His maneuver was absolutely successful. When it was accomplished all that were left in action of the Chinese ships, were the two battle-ships Chin-Yuen and Ting- Yuen, their armored portions unscathed but their unmoored parts riddled with Japanese shot, the Lai-Yuen which was on fire, the Ching-Yuen, and the Ping-Yuen. Of the other boats, the Hwang- ping and the torpedo boats had taken refuge in the mouth of the Yalu, the King-Yuen and Chi-Yuen had been sunk, the Tsi-Yuen was steaming for Port Arthur, and the Kwang-chia had run ashore. Before sunset the two battle ships were still unsubdued, and were answering though slowly to the fire from the Japanese ships. Admiral Ito had no torpedo-boats, and no means of resisting a night attack from the torpedo-boats of the Chinese. His ammunition was also beginning to run low, so that he deemed it to be the wisest course to call off his ships and allow the crippled Chinese Squadron to gain the friendly shelter of Port Arthur.
The Naniwa went through the thick of the fight. The Chinese fought with great determination, and though the Japanese lost no vessel, yet four of their ships, the Matsushima, Hiyei, Akagi and Saikyo-maru, were so badly injured that they had to be withdrawn from action. The Naniwa immediately preceded the Matsushima, and yet, strange to say, she escaped with no injuries to herself, and only one man wounded, as did also the Chiyoda, which followed next after the Matsushima and had no casualties at all. The Japanese attributed the good fortune of the Naniwa to the skill with which her captain maneuvered her, for she certainly never sought to avoid danger, and her firing on her opponents was accurate and deadly.
The battle of the Yalu ended the naval resistance of the Chinese, who never again ventured to meet the Japanese Squadrons in open action. Port Arthur fell, and in process of time Weihaiwei also surrendered to the Japanese forces, the capitulation of that fortress involving the surrender of all the undestroyed remnants of the Chinese Navy. In all these operations the Naniwa bore its part, and though the operations against the Chinese ships in Weihaiwei were mainly conducted by torpedo-boats, yet the four cruisers Matsushima (repaired soon after the Yalu), Yoshino, Takachiho and Naniwa had a constant service to render in engaging the forts which the Chinese had erected at the entrance to the harbor, as also the Chinese battleships and cruisers, which would from time to time come out under the sheltering fire of the guns on the forts, and seek to create a diversion by engaging the Japanese ships.
Weihaiwei surrendered on February 12th. 1895, and the tragic suicide of its brave defender, Vice- Admiral Ting, followed in a few hours. Togo's prudent and careful management of his vessel had brought the Naniwa to the close of the naval operations with her fighting capacity unimpaired, and his prudence now met with its reward. Just before, or just after the fall of Weihaiwei he was appointed to the command of the Standing Squadron and sent to the Pescadores and Formosa, to assist in the occupation of those Islands. A brigade of 4500 men left Sasebo on the 15th. March, on the 23d, the Yoshino and Naniwa had made a reconnaissance of the island, and by the 26th the whole archipelago was in Japanese hands. On the 30th an armistice was concluded, which practically ended the operations of the war.
Besides his well-merited promotion as Rear- Admiral, Togo received many marks of his Sovereign's gratitude. A grant of 500 yen per annum was given him, and the 4th Class Order of Merit with the Lesser Cordon of the Rising Sun; he had also more solid proofs of the esteem in which he was held in his appointment as member of the Admiralty Board, as Chairman of the Board of Naval Works (Kaigun Gijutsu Kwaigi), and as a member of the Decorations' and Promotion Committee. It was evident that his country meant to make a full use of his powers.
The retrocession of the Liautung Peninsula will be in every one's memory. When Japan, by force of arms, had conquered China by land and sea, the treaty of peace between the two countries provided that the Liautung Peninsula, with its fortress of Port Arthur, should be ceded to Japan as part of the spoils of war.
To this provision Russia objected, and not unnaturally; for it was a death-blow to hopes which many of her statesmen cherished though without yet avowing them. On the plea that the integrity of China must be respected, Russia, aided by France and Germany, protested against the cession of the Peninsula, and Japan, which at that moment possessed no battleships except the two battered vessels she had just taken at Weihaiwei, was not in a position to say them nay. No friend stood by at that moment to see justice done. America was occupied in the settling of her newly annexed territories and had but slight interests in those remote regions: England, with the best intentions in the world, had her hands tied with the coming war in South Africa, and could do nothing to aid a country whose future importance among the nations was only just beginning to be recognized. Japan was therefore obliged to yield, with a sense of injustice at her heart, which became intensely acute when, as a sequel to the protest, Russia and Germany proceeded to dismember China themselves by the virtual annexation, under a flimsy veil of leases, of the Liautung Peninsula and Kiauchow.
From that moment it became the ardent desire of every Japanese patriot (and who more patriotic than the officers of the Imperial Navy?) to have revenge for the affront which had been offered to the nation, and to recover Port Arthur for the Flag of the Rising Sun. Japan found herself, by the unjust action of the Powers, deprived of all the fruits of her victory. Had she been allowed to retain the Peninsula, she would have checked Russian advances in Manchuria and saved the world the spectacle of a long and bloody war. As it was, she had to stand by, a passive spectator, whilst her insidious foe advanced by rapid and regular steps towards the attainment of an ambition which meant her own ruin. More than that, her plans for the regeneration of Korea were entirely frustrated. The world may see in Formosa what Japan can do by way of organizing and improving in districts where she has an absolutely free hand. Formosa is a prosperous province of the Empire, and the world hears nothing of Japanese high-handedness or rapacity there. Had she a had free hand she would have done for Korea what she has done for Formosa. But after the retrocession of the Liautung her hands were tied. The Korean Government, shamelessly corrupt, had no love for her, and thwarted every measure she took. China and Russia, but more especially the latter, were every ready to back up Korea in her resistance to Japan, and more than one of the foreign Powers was willing to stand behind Russia. Japan was left -practically powerless in Korea, with not even enough power effectively to control her own turbulent citizens in the Peninsula, and with the whole tide of intrigue, which runs so strongly in Seoul, setting in against her. Her agents may not always have acted with consummate discretion in these trying circumstances, her irresponsible subjects were often times disagreeably over-bearing in their demeanour, and one instance at least, the most regrettable assassination of the Korean Queen, gave a sharp point to the sneers of hostile criticism about Japanese methods, but it is good Buddhist doctrine that there is no effect without a cause, and if the murder of the Korean Queen is looked upon as the effect, the cause, or at least one cause, must be sought in the uncalled for interference of the Powers, which robbed Japan not only of the Liautung Peninsula, but of all prestige and effective influence in the affairs of the Hermit Kingdom.
The effect of the intervention of the Powers was to determine the Japanese to make their country a first-class naval and military Power, capable of holding her own against any of the Powers, whose jealousy might stand in the way of her legitimate advancement and progress in the future. Japanese statesmen had long foreseen that a war with Russia must come: they now saw that the hour had come to prepare for that struggle.
Togo's work during the next few years was in preparation for that struggle, and we can now see that during the whole period between the war with China and the war with Russia, he must have the soul of the preparations. And, just because he was the soul, his work lay beneath the surface.
In the years that elapsed between the conclusion of the war with China and the commencement of the Boxer Trouble, the Admiral was for the most part on shore, engaged in Admiralty work, re-organizing the Naval Academy (of which he was for a short time the President) for the higher training of the best spirits of the Navy, and bearing his part in the great developments of the later nineties.
How great the development was may be seen from the Statistics of the Navy. At the commencement of the war with China the Japanese Fleet numbered 28 warships and 24 torpedo-boats, with a grand total tonnage of 59, 106 tons. At the end of the war, what with captures and purchases, the tonnage had increased to 91,161 tons, but the Fleets as then organized contained no single unit of really first-class importance. When the war with Russia broke out she had 7 battle-ships, all first-class, except the Chinyen, with a united tonnage which by itself exceeded the gross tonnage of the whole fleet at the end of the war with China, 6 armored cruisers with a tonnage of over 9000 tons each, 18 protected cruisers, 10 small cruisers, 1 torpedo- vessel, 19 torpedo-boat-destroyers, 58 1st class and 27 2nd class torpedo-boats, besides two powerful armored cruisers on their way to the country. All these ships were manned with skilful and well- trained crews, whilst, for the necessary accommodation of this suddenly expanded organization, naval stations, dockyards, barracks, training-schools, hospitals, and stores had to be accumulated or provided. The men who were engaged in the directing of this immense undertaking spent laborious days of drudgery and patient attention to detail, and if the biographer finds but little to record during these years devoid of incident, he can but point to these immense results, and ask, where was the room for picturesque incidents in the busy life which all this work implies?
One fact, recorded by the native historian, points to the thoroughness with which he did his work of inspection. He insisted that whenever a gun was tested, the trial should be made with real shell, and not with any merely equivalent substitute. It was a costly method of experimenting, but it made for efficiency, and it was efficiency that he was aiming at.
Gazetted Vice-Admiral in 1898, he was sent to Tientsin on the Kasagi to observe the situation of affairs, which was becoming threatening. At Tientsin he played the part of a quiet observer, vigilant but unobtrusive, and he reaped " the harvest of the quiet eye " which such observers rarely fail to garner. The Boxer outbreak, which took the western Powers wholly by' surprise, found him fully prepared. When he saw the outbreak to be unavoidable, he suddenly left his ship and hastened to Tokyo to give warning. Thus Japan was well prepared for the struggle, and, from the bombardment of the Taku Forts to the rescue of the Legations at Pekin, kept well to the fore of the other Powers.
The writer of this memoir well remembers the affectionate interest with which the news from Togo at Tientsin was awaited by the officers then studying at the Naval Academy in Tokyo, who were all eagerly hoping for a chance of service in the event of disturbances in China. He will never forget one afternoon lesson which he gave to a class of Paymaster officers who, but a few minutes before entering the class-room, had heard that Togo had returned and that the tumults in China had begun. The discipline of the school required that the lesson should be given, and it was given. But the results were not great. What interest could a class take in Gerunds and Participles when they knew that in less than 24 hours they might be on their way to Tientsin as part of the relieving force? A small band of paymaster-cadets were all that remained for me to teach during the rest of that term.
At this point I should like to say few words about one of the officers who took part in the Boxer Campaign, and who later met his death in one of the early attempts on Port Arthur. The late Lieut-Commander Shiraishi was not at the time a student of the Academy, but was serving under Captain Hattori at Tientsin. It was he who succeeded in outstripping the officers of the other nationalities in the combined attack upon the Taku Forts, and who procured for the Japanese Flag the honor of being the first to fly from the captured batteries. A man of tremendous physical strength and most impetuous temperament, he accidentally killed a sentry, whom he found asleep at his post with a vigorous box on the ears, and for this was court-martialed and dismissed from the service. In consideration, however, of his distinguished services at Tientsin, he was subsequently pardoned by the Emperor, and after the Boxer Troubles were over entered the Academy for higher studies. I knew him as a gentle, thoughtful, man, with a strange melancholy tenderness, which -I know now to have been the after-glow of penitence for the impetuosity which had caused the death of a fellow-soldier, as well as of grateful recognition for the clemency which had restored him to his former rank and position ; and, when I read of his death before Port Arthur, I knew that he had died the death which above all he would have desired. I am glad to have this opportunity of paying even this slight tribute to the memory of a brave and honorable sailor.
The relief of Pekin was a military operation with which Togo had nothing to do. But in his capacity of quiet observer he saw a great deal of Russian methods, and when he returned to Japan it was to put the Navy into as effective a condition as might be for the approaching struggle.
The work which now fell to his lot was the organization of the new Naval Station at Maizuru, a post which effectually screened him from the public gaze. Hitherto, Japan had possessed three Naval Stations, one at Yokosuka, near the entrance to the Bay of Yokohama, another at Kure, on the Inland "Sea, not far from the great garrison-town of Hiroshima, and a third at Sasebo in the Island of Kyushu, a few hours distant from Nagasaki. To these were added the torpedo-station at Omiya near Aomori, intended to serve, for the protection of the Tsugaru Straits, between the main island and Hokkaido, and the port of Takeshiki in Tsushima, an island half-way between the main island of Japan and Korea. For operations in North China and Manchuria the Naval Station at Sasebo was most conveniently situated, and it is from Sasebo that most of the naval operations of the present war have originated; but it was evident that in the event of a war with Russia a naval port would be required facing the great port of Vladivostok, which ought most certainly to have played a large part in a naval war between the two countries. The port of Maizuru, with a splendid bay capable of holding a large fleet with ease, was selected for this purpose, and Togo was chosen for the duty of preparing this new base of operations. The war broke out before the railway which is to bring Maizuru into connection with the outer world could be completed, and this fact militated to some extent against the utility of Maizuru during the present war; but it must also be remembered that the very isolation of the new port served to make it a suitable place for carrying out many schemes for which secrecy was absolutely essential. It was difficult for the general run of irresponsible war correspondents to pry into the affairs of a Naval Station which was only accessible by a long journey by jinrikisha.
Togo's sojourn at Maizuru, whilst no less busy than the other portions of his active life, was perhaps the most peaceful period of his whole career.
He was busy in the organization of the new post, and in what he loved more than' anything, the study of naval tactics. His subordinates have told us in Japanese books and magazines of the extreme quietness of his methods. " The Admiral," said one of them, " does nothing, so far we can see, but lift his hand in salute twice a day, once when he enters the Port Admiralty in the morning, and once when he leaves it in the afternoon." The words speak volumes for his powers of organization. The whole machine moved so smoothly that the hand of its director seemed to be absent. And yet it was always there in case of need.
His wife and family, the former a daughter of Viscount Kaieda, who had been married to Togo in her eighteenth year, soon after the completion of his studies in England, were with him for some time in Maizuru, though before the commencement of the present war they had removed to their present residence in Tokyo, where the two sons are studying at the Peers' Shcool and the daughter at the School for Peeresses. The family life seems to have always been of the happiest (a fact which may possibly seem strange to the Western reader when he is told that husband and wife had never seen each other until they met for the marriage ceremony), and the family seem to have exercised great judgment in the selection of a wife for their rising officer. Madame Togo is spoken of as a capable, frugal, woman, excellent in house-keeping, not above putting her own hand to the work of the household and a wise mother in the education of her children, and the Admiral has requited her affection for him by- entrusting to her sole judgment all the details of the household life. He himself has, at all times, been utterly indifferent to the petty details of housekeeping or the arrangement and decorations of his rooms, and when artists have come to tempt him with the pictures which, to some Japanese, are objects of so great interest, he has always been contented to refer them to his wife.
A keen sportsman, his greatest joy during the Maizuru days was to slip out on Saturday afternoons ln the oldest and shabbiest of clothes and to spend the week's end rest in a tramp over the hills, with his gun and the beloved dogs with whom he has frequently been known to share his last sushi or ball of rice. A great part of his enjoyment on such days has come from his keen love of nature. He has been known to go along a lane in which sparrows were feeding on grains of scattered rice, and to make a detour rather than disturb the birds at their feast: and on one occasion, when a country friend brought him a stuffed deer, he turned round and scolded him for shooting a doe with young; for his keen eye enabled him at a glance to tell that the animal had been with young at the time of death.
In his garden he is always interested. He will work in it himself, and nothing gives him greater pleasure than the acquisition of a rare or valuable plant.
Temperate and abstemious in his habits, he has never been intoxicated, though he makes it his practice to drink sake with his evening meal. Frugal and careful, he never wastes a sen on himself, and yet he is both fond of company and generous. More than once, when he has been invited to a feast at a restaurant by his subordinates, he has contrived to slip out unawares and to settle the whole account before his hosts were aware of how he had defeated their good intentions.
Strict himself in the performance of his duties, he has always expected the same strictness from those beneath him. He will never affix his seal to any report which he has not first verified himself, and the truthfulness of his reports to the Emperor during the present war has been as conspicuous as their modesty. When the first draft report of the initial attack upon Port Arthur was submitted to him, it ended with the statement that Admiral Makaroff had perished with his ship. " Strike that sentence out," he said; " we know that the ship has gone down, but we did not see Makaroff die. He may possibly have escaped, and I should be covered with shame if I had reported the death of the enemy's Admiral when he was alive."
In his reports of his victories he has always striven to keep himself in the back-ground, and to speak in generous terms of those who have worked with him, and more than once he has apologized to his staff for the words of praise which have come, to him from His Majesty, as though by accepting them he were defrauding his officers and men of their due.
The partizan-feeling of the Satsuma clansman has been successfully sunk in the higher patriotism of the Imperial Service. Keenly alive to the qualifications of those with whom he has been brought into contact, he has always used great discrimination in the selection of good material, and to be chosen by Togo for any particular work is in itself a commendation.
He is affable and courteous to all, especially those beneath him, and he has been known willfully to shut his eyes to a breach of discipline committed through ignorance, so as to give the offender an opportunity to do better.
Such is the man as depicted for us by his fellow-countryman. Japan is happy in possessing him. We feel sure that the Admiral would wish us to add, "Yes, but Japan has many more as good."
We have now reached a point at which Togo's history becomes the history of his country.
To the thoughtless on-looker, who only scanned the surface of things, the idea of Japan venturing single-handed upon a struggle with the gigantic Empire of Russia was preposterous. It seemed that the upstart Empire of the Far East was running upon a certain destruction. The leaders of Japanese thought did not take this view, and the result has shown that they took a juster estimate of the facts of the case.
" Those who looked below the surface have discovered," says a writer at the beginning of the war, " that in the hidden recesses of the Japanese heart there lay a strong virility of character, a strength of will, and clearness of aim, combined with a readiness to sacrifice self to the attainment of great national purposes, which made any future, however great, a possibility, and there have never been wanting prophets who have predicted that Japan would, by leaps and bounds, raise herself to a high place among the nations. To such persons the thought of a conflict between Japan and Russia did not seem to be absurdly impossible."
" In the spirit of religious patriotism," continues the same writer, "the whole nation is as one man. The military authorities can count with certainty on the bravery and devotion of the armies on the field of battle, while the central Government can lay aside all care as to any disaffection or disloyalty at home. The nation is as a unit, and here the Japanese Government has a great advantage over the Russian. Japan has within her borders no discontented Poles and Finns, no Nihilists, no Anarchists, no Siberian Exiles. What is more, Japan has never been, like Russia, a menace to surrounding nations. She can devote the whole of her energy and strength to the war in which she is now engaged."*
[*] Russo-Japanese War (Kinkodo, Tokyo.) No. I. p. 65.
Intelligence, efficiency, perfection of administrative detail, sobriety, official honesty, all these points were in Japan's favor, to say nothing of the geographical advantages which accrued to her from proximity to the scene of battle,—and against all these advantage, the mere bulk and numbers of /the Russian forces never had a chance of success.
It is true Japan entered the contest single handed, and also that, in the beginning, she had but little favor from the great Powers of the West, which feared lest her success should involve a collapse of the status quo which European diplomacy finds it so difficult to maintain at home. But she had two good friends, for whose benevolent neutrality she will never cease to be grateful. The two great Anglo-Saxon Powers (if the American cousins of Great Britain will allow themselves to be called Anglo-Saxons) had learned to recognize the bond of common feeling which links them to the Island Empire which claims to be the Britain of the Far East. The British occupation of Weihaiwei had marked England's disapproval of the highhanded proceedings of the three powers of Continental Europe in demanding the retrocession of the Liautung Peninsula, the fraternity in arms which resulted from the common expedition for the relief of the Legations in Pekin had cemented the friendship, and the Treaty of Alliance between England and Japan, soon we trust to be renewed under more favorable conditions, had proclaimed to all whom it might concern that England's heart was entirely with Japan. ^ The sympathy of the United States had been expressed in a less formal manner, but was, perhaps for that very reason, all the more spontaneous. It has constantly shown itself, throughout the whole course of the warlike operations, in works of practical sympathy, and its crowning evidence has been the solicitude exhibited by the Great President of that Great Republic for the restoration of an honorable peace. Japan knew that she had these two Powers standing behind her to see fair play, and fair play was all that she demanded.
Perhaps I may be forgiven for suggesting that there was another thought, felt though not formally expressed, which gave strength to the Japanese nation. An attempt was made at the commencement of the war to exalt it in the eyes of Europe (perhaps " degrade " would be the better term) to the dignity (or indignity) of a religious war, and men talked freely about " a yellow peril " which was supposed to be threatening the common Christendom of Europe and America. The men who used that phrase must have done it with a quasi-consciousness that all was not just as it should be with the Christianity of so-called Christendom, that rulers both in Church and State had for a long course of years been turning a deaf ear to the " warning voices" which must have reached them time and again during the last seventy years or more, and that at length a Power higher than man's was making arrangements for the purging of His own Kingdom. Europe has no reason to fear the irruption of a horde of yellow barbarians. The barbarians by all accounts are on the other side of the Ural ; still the rise of Japan is indeed a " peril " to obscurantism, superstition, and corruption, and what Europe wants is not a crusade a yellow race but a return to vital religion. Europe, faithful to the teaching of the Jew whom she professes to revere as her Savior, will have no need to fear a " yellow " peril.
I have ventured to digress on this point because the thought of a higher Power, working for Japan, occurs more than once in Admiral Togo's dispatches relative to his naval successes, and because it seems right that Japan in the hour of victory should hear the friendly warning which the attendant whispered to the Roman General in the hour of his Triumph " Remember that thou art mortal." God has shown great favor to the land of my adopted home. The favors of heaven always imply corresponding responsibilities.
When the Admiral was informed of his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the United Squadron, he was living at Maizuru alone, his family being in Tokyo for the better education of the children. He immediately proceeded to the Capital, where he stayed two or three days for necessary arrangements and started directly for Sasebo to take up his command. He was suffering from a bad cold, and from his old complaint of rheumatism, which he carries about with him as a memento of the blockade of Weihaiwei in the war with China, and his family urged him to stay a little longer to recruit before leaving for his command, but he refused to extend his stay. " I always get well at sea," he said as he bade his family farewell. A relative visited him on board the flagship (Mikasa) in Sasebo, and asked him if he had any message to send home. " Nothing in particular," was his answer; " tell them that I am well and happy, and that they are not to distract me by sending letters." The Admiral had absolute confidence in his family, and now he wanted to give the whole of his mind to the discharge of his duty. There is something Roman about this attitude of mind. It reminds one of Regulus and Carthage.
The Japanese ultimatum was communicated to the Russian Foreign Minister at 4. p.m. on February 6., 1904. On the same day the United Squadron left Sasebo, picking up reinforcements of stray ships on the way, and reaching Mokpho in the S W. of Korea on the following day. Mokpho was made the first " flying base " of the Japanese Fleet. Togo had before him a double problem. He had, to use Admiral Bridge's words, " to meet a hostile fleet, and to pass a great army across the sea." In order to do this he was under the necessity of imposing inactivity on the Russian Fleet until there had been time enough for the Japanese Army to be placed on the continent in such a position as to threaten Port Arthur which was the base upon which it principally relied. In doing this work it was necessary for him to take the utmost care of his ships, which could not be replaced. He had under his charge the whole Navy of Japan, and new ships could not be purchased during the duration of hostilities. Against him was arrayed a part of the Russian Navy, and re-enforcements might at any time give a tremendous superiority to his opponents.
It was hailed as a good omen by the Fleet that, shortly before reaching Mokpho, they made their first capture a Russian merchantman, named the Russia; and the seamen shouted to one another with glee, " Russia is taken," " Russia has been captured."
From Mokpho, Togo dispatched, on the 7th, a squadron under Rear Admiral Uryu to cover the landing of Japanese troops at Chemulpo, an operation which was successfully accomplished. Admiral Uryu found a couple of Russian vessels of war at Chemulpo, the cruiser Varyag and the gunboat Koreetz, which were both sunk after a short action, as was also the transport Sungari, which was then lying at anchor in the harbor. The news of this engagement was the first to reach Tokyo. It took place on February 9th about noon.
In the mean time, the main Squadron had proceeded towards Port Arthur, some 400 miles from the temporary base at Mokpho. Before reaching Port Arthur on the 8th, the destroyers separated from the battleships and cruisers, and prepared for a night-attack on the Russian vessels which they found lying at anchor outside the harbor, under the guns of the great forts, and expecting nothing less than an attack from the enemy. This first attack by the Japanese torpedo-boats on the night of the 8th was not a complete success ; for none of the Russian vessels was captured or sunk; but the battleships Retvizan and Cesarevitch were badly injured, as was also the cruiser Pallada, though none of them so badly as to be permanently disabled. They all took part again in engagements against the Japanese.
On the morning of Feb. 9, Togo learned from a neutral steamer the results of the torpedo action, which were greater than he had anticipated, and this news decided him to make a general attack, without delay, on the Russian ships with the whole of his Fleet. It was about 9 a.m. that this decision was reached: about 11 a.m. the Russians were sighted coming out of the harbor; there was just time for a hasty lunch in the Admiral's cabin, and a toast for Emperor and Country, and about 11.20. a.m. the action began, at a long range of about 8000 yards, between the Japanese ships on one side and the Russian ships and forts on the other. The action was kept the whole time at this great distance, the long range giving a distinct advantage to the superior markmanship of the Japanese, whilst it kept the precious battleships of Togo's Squadron as much as possible out of the reach of danger. The Japanese losses were inconsiderable, some of the vessels, the Asahi, Yashima, and Azuma, escaped without a scratch : most of the others were hit, but none in any vital part, and none, it is believed, by shells fired from the ships, the only Russian guns really formidable at this range being the ones on the land-forts near the entrance to the harbour. The total number of Japanese casualties was 72.
The Russian losses were more serious. Admiral Alexieff reported to his Government that the Poltava, Diana, Askoldy and Novik were damaged below the water-line, that the Cesarevitch, Pallada, and Petropaulovsk, were all temporarily hors de combat, and that the Retvisan had run aground.
The Russian fleet, badly damaged, was forced after about four hours fighting to withdraw into the harbor. Had Togo been willing to expose his ships by engaging the enemy at closer quarters, it is possible that he might, there and then, have destroyed instead of crippling the Russian Fleet; but it was only a possibility, and he could not afford to run any risk of losing his ships. The guns on the land-forts were dangerously powerful, and had his fleet been crippled then, the command of the sea would have passed to the Russians, and the war might have had another issue. He did what was very hard both for himself and his men, he turned back in the hour of apparent triumph, and thereby " entitled himself to the lasting gratitude of his country men." The ships were saved for the final conflict with the Baltic Squadron.
Togo's next operation was the attempt to block the entrance to Port Arthur by means of steamers sunk in the channel in such a way as to prevent the egress of the Russian vessels. This operation, oft-times repeated, displayed to the full
the astonishing coolness and courage of the officers and men of the Japanese Navy. It was in one of these attempts that the brave Shiraishi, whom we have already mentioned, met his death. It was in another that Hirose, the idol of the Navy, lost his life. The memory of the gallant deeds of Japanese seamen in the stirring events of the blocking campaign will long remain with the nation; for, indeed, it' is doubtful whether the world has ever seen greater heroism than that displayed on those dark cold nights of February and March: and where all were so brave, it seems almost invidious to single out one or two names for special distinction.
The blocking operations were not a complete success, for the harbor was never permanently closed, and the Russians, especially during the short period when they were commanded by the gallant but unfortunate Makaroff, made frequent sorties and reconnaissances, which showed that, in spite of the sunken ships, they could still come in and out. Other devices had to be resorted to, mines were freely planted all over the sea surrounding the harbor, and the big guns of the battleships kept up a continuous bombardment of the town, which must have done much to shatter the nerves of its brave defenders.
Military and Naval critics have found much to praise in Togo's conduct of this part of the campaign against Port Arthur. They have noticed the skill with which he changed his " flying base," first to Mokpho, then to Chinnampo, and lastly to the island of Hai-Yun-tao in the Elliot group, each move bringing the base nearer to the scene of operations, and diminishing the distance to be traversed by ships in need of a replenishment of coal-bunkers.
Another point that has been favorably noticed is the care which Admiral Togo took of his destroyers. " For the first seven or eight weeks of the war, and perhaps for a much longer period," writes Sir Cyprian Bridge, "the whole Japanese force of destroyers was kept at or near the scene of operations, not one having to be sent to a dockyard for refit, and this though they were constantly steaming and frequently exposed to the enemy's fire." In the China war Togo, as Captain, brought the Naniwa safely out of a long campaign* with her efficiency absolutely unimpaired. In the present war, the same care for his materials was seen in the splendid handling of his destroyers during the first days of the war. v. It is true that dark days were coming for him, which we will speak of in another chapter. For the present let it suffice that we have spoken of those early successes, which meant so much for the morale of the forces under his command.
Admiral Togo and General Nogi together with their Staff Officers during the Siege of Port Arthur.
The attempts to block the entrance to the harbor of Port Arthur having, in spite of the heroic bravery of the Japanese, failed to effect their object, the Russians constantly succeeding in finding a way out through the obstructions. The Japanese, on April II and 12, sent in the Koryo Maru to lay sub-marine mines around the entrance to the harbor, an operation in which they were imitated, if not actually anticipated, by the Russians who sowed their mines all round the Peninsula with a liberal hand. Many of these Russian mines were planted far away from Russian territorial waters, right in the very highway of neutral commerce, others got loose from their moving and drifted helplessly out to sea, to prey upon the innocent craft of other and friendly nations.
The mines were the direct cause of dark days, both to besieged and besiegers.
On the 12th of April, the gallant Vice-Admiral Makaroff, an officer who had the respect of the whole Japanese Navy as well as of his own, put to sea with a squadron of seven vessels, the Petropavlovsk (carrying his flag), Diana, Askold, Novik. Pobieda, Poltava and Bayan. The Russians passed in safety over the space that had been sown with Japanese mines the day before: the Japanese sentinel cruisers began to retire, thinking themselves to be outmatched, but the wireless telegraph soon brought help from the main Squadron, which was lying some fifteen miles to the east of the sentinel ships, and the Russians, unwilling to risk an engagement with so large a force, turned back to the shelter of the Port. At a distance of from one and a half to two miles from the entrance to the harbor, the Petropavlovsk struck on a mine, which exploded, and a few second later the Pobeda, coming into contact with another mine, was severely injured amidships, and was with difficulty brought into the harbor.
To the Russians the loss of the Petropaidovsk was irreparable. With her went down the gallant Admiral Makaroff, the good genius of their navy, the painter Verestchagin, who was on board as a guest, and nearly the whole of her complement of officers and men. The Grand Duke Cyril was one of the few survivors.
But the Japanese Fleet was also visited by misfortune. The Vladivostok Squadrons contrived to elude the vigilance of the Japanese vessels, and made distressing raids upon Japanese commerce and transport service. The loss of the Kinshu Maru, on the 25th of April, was indeed relieved by the splendid heroism of the troops on board who preferred death to disgrace, and committed suicide rather than fall into the hands of the Russians: and when shortly afterwards (on June 17,1904) the Sado Maru, Hitachi Maru and Idzumi Maru, with troops and, munitions of war were sunk by the same cruisers, a wave of sorrow and indignation swept over the country.
But these disasters were as nothing when compared with the losses among the vessels of war.
On May the 12th, Torpedo-boat No. 48 was destroyed by a mine which she was trying to explode. On the 14th, the gunboat Miyako met with the same fate from a similar cause. On the 15th, an unfortunate collision between two cruisers, the Kasuga and Yoshino, caused the entire loss of the latter. The Yoshino sank in a few minutes, only ninety of her whole complement being saved. On the same day the battleship Hatsuse struck two mines. The first caused comparatively slight injuries: the second exploded directly under her magazine, and the double explosion was so violent that she sunk in a few minutes, only 300 of her complement of 795 being saved. It was afterwards ascertained that the mine which sunk her had been purposely laid for her by the Russian special service ship Amur. The Hatsuse was 15 miles from shore, right in the ordinary track of neutral commerce at the time when she was sunk.
When the news came to Tokyo of the loss of these two great ships, one immediately after the other, it caused a great sinking of hearts. There were some wise men who shook their heads and said something about other losses. But the Naval authorities held their peace, and the newspapers said nothing. It was several weeks after that we heard from London that the battleship Yashima had also been lost, on the same day as the Hatsuse and Yoshino, and it was not until after the final battle of the Japan Sea that the Government at length published the news that such had indeed been the case. It seems marvelous to think that the loss of a large battleship should have been kept dark for so many months.
The Yashima struck on a mine almost immediately after the loss of the Hatsuse, but the wound not being so immediately serious, an attempt was made to save her. She was taken some sixty miles towards he nearest base before the rush of water made it impossible to save her from sinking, and as the long interval of six hours elapsed between the striking of the mine and the final loss of the ships, there was plenty of time for saving the whole of her crew. It was decided that, as there had been no loss of life, the public at home should be saved from the discouragement which would have come from a full knowledge of the disasters, and accordingly Admiral Togo's telegram which announced the loss of the Hatsuse and Yoshino was eloquently silent about the Yashima. The battleship Shikishima which was cruising near the entrance to the harbour narrowly escaped sharing the fate of her sisters, the Yashima and Hatsuse. She was saved by the presence of mind of Captain Sakamoto of the Yashima. On the 18th of May, the Navy sustained another loss in the sinking of the gunboat Oshima, by collision with a sister ship, whilst cruising in Liautung Bay to support the operations of the Army.
This tremendous series of disasters seems to have had no effect on the iron will of brave " Father" Togo, as his officers delight to call him. Very few words escaped from his lips on the subject and he went quietly and calmly about his duties, thereby affording to his subordinates the best possible example of fortitude under misfortune.
The remaining ships had to do double duty now, and an officer who was afterwards transferred from the sunken Yashima to the Shikishima has told the writer that for over one hundred days his new vessel never once let drop her anchors. She kept constantly on duty, coaling and provisioning at sea, the crew being kept in constant health and spirits by the exciting nature of the duties in which she was engaged. Hers was no isolated case, all the ships were kept equally active, and the morale of the men was excellent.
Tokyo never knew until long afterwards the magnitude of the disasters, and the object of the Admiral was to keep his enemies equally in the dark. It is true that the Russian had declared that they saw the Yashima strike a mine and retire, but, for all they knew, she had been taken safely to the base for repairs, and so the enemy remained uncertain. Had the Russians known the straits to which the Japanese Navy was at this time reduced, they would have sent forward reinforcements with more confidence, and have struck a blow which would have saved the Fortress and the Eastern Fleet from a humiliating capitulation and destruction.
It is said (I will not vouch for the truth of the story) that the wily old Admiral caused several harmless steamers to be fitted with funnels and imitation upper works which at a distance bore somewhat of a resemblance to the ships which he had lost, and that these dummy vessels, anchored in the distant offing, served to make the Russians believe that the Yoshino and other ships were still afloat. I do not vouch for the truth of the story; no one in authority has ever told me that it was so, on the other hand no one has ever denied it, and the story has often been told me by the ' man in the street.
In the mean time, the Japanese land forces were encircling Port Arthur from the rear, and the Russian ships in the harbor were becoming extremely uncomfortable.
From the middle of June, sorties of ships both from Port Arthur and from Vladivostok were of frequent occurrence. Thus, on June 23, Rear Admiral Vithoft, with six battleships, four large cruisers, and one small one, the Novik, and ten torpedo-craft, put out to sea, apparently with the object of escaping from Port Arthur; but was met by Togo with his whole fleet, and after some cannonading and torpedo-work compelled to withdraw into the harbor. The Japanese believed at the time that the Peresviet had been sunk, and the Diana injured, but the belief was not confirmed. The Sevastopol, however, struck on a mine which blew a hole in her starboard side below the water-line, and though she was brought back into harbor, it took six weeks to repair her even partially.
About the same time, and possibly acting in concert with their brethren in Port Arthur, the Vladivostok- Squadron again emerged, passed through the Tsugaru Straits into the Pacific, cruised about the east coast of Japan from July 23 to 29, captured some German and English ships, the Knight Commander among the rest, and returned to Vladivostok on July 1st. Their object evidently was to draw a part of Togo's fleet away from Port Arthur, and so to give their imprisoned brethren a chance: but if this was their object it failed signally. Togo never removed a single ship. Kamimura went after them, and caught a glimpse of them off the coast of Korea; but they slipped away from him in the night and reached Vladivostok in safety.
On August the 10th, a simultaneous sortie was made from both the Russian bases, which, taken in conjunction with the other sorties which had already been made, seems to show that the object of the Russian ships in Port Arthur was all along to escape to Vladivostok. They seemed to have despaired of gaining any success at that port from the moment that Makaroff went down with the Petropavlovsk.
At dawn on the ioth of August, the Port Arthur ships emerged for a last desperate try for Vladivostok. There were six battleships, Cesarevich, Retvisan, Poltava, Sevastopol, Peresviet, and Pobieda, five cruisers, Askold, Diana, Pallada, Novik and Bayan and eight destroyers. The Japanese sighted them about 11 a.m., but no notice was taken of the move, as it was the Admiral's plan to draw the Russians as far as possible away from the harbor, so that it might be impossible for them to retire under the protection of the big forts. Soon after emerging the Bayan struck on a mine and was obliged to return to the harbor. At 12.40 the Russians were 30 miles from Port Arthur, and Togo ran up his signal for action, whereupon the enemy changed his formation and advanced in single column line, first the battleships with the Retvisan leading, then the cruisers, and lastly the destroyers. At 1. p.m. the Squadrons were within range of one another, and a firing began which lasted for about 2-1/2 hours without any decisive results. At 3.30 both sides drew off, and there was an hour's interval, at the end of which the Japanese advanced to cut off the Russians from their line of retreat. This caused the Russians to open fire, to which the Japanese replied vigorously, and a hot engagement ensued, the Russians fighting desperately with the double object of breaking through the Japanese lines of ships, and at the same time of keeping open for themselves a passage for return.
In this part of the engagement, the Russians concentrated the whole of their energies on the Mikasa which carried the flag of the Japanese Commander-in-Chief, and the projectiles fell thick and fast around that vessel. It was remarked of Togo that he and his staff remained in a conspicuous place on the bridge, throughout the cannonade, directing the operations of the whole action, and that, in spite of the dangers to which all were exposed, the Admiral came out without a scratch. The Mikasa had 4 officers killed, 6 seriously wounded, 4 slightly wounded (among these H.I.H. Lieut-Commander Prince Fushimi, Junior).
At 5.30 a shot struck the Russian Flagship Cesarevitch, which literally blew to pieces Admiral Vithoft, the Commander-in-Chief. Admiral Massevitch was also wounded, indeed every officer on the ship, except one, was either wounded or killed. An attempt was therefore made to take the Cesarevitch out of the line and this necessitated the breaking up of the Russian line of battle. Shortly afterwards, the Japanese ceased firing, and the Russians, completely broken scattered in all directions", pursued by the Japanese wherever possible.
Many of the Russian ships succeeded in getting back to harbor—the Pobieda, Pallada, Poltava, Peresviety Retvisan, Sevastopol, and others: of those that escaped, only one, the Novik, made an honest attempt to reach Vladivostok. She was pursued by the Tsushima and Chitose, and eventually ran ashore and, was wrecked on the coast of Sakhalin, near Korsakoff. She had the proud distinction of having been by far the best handled of all the Russian ships. Of the other ships, the cruiser Askold, with the destroyer Grosovoi, reached Shanghai, the Cesarevitch, with three destroyers, took refuge in the German port of Kiauchau, the Diana found safety at Saigon. These vessels were all disarmed by the Chinese, German, or French authorities, and were thus placed out of action for the duration of the campaign. The destroyer Rieshitelni was pursued to Chefoo by the Asashiof where she was captured and towed out of harbor. She had outstayed her 24 hours in the neutral port, and the Russians had had the insolence to throw overboard the Japanese officer who came to remonstrate.
On the same day on which this noteworthy action was being fought at Port Arthur, the Vladivostok squadron put to sea to cooperate with the Port Arthur Squadron. Kamimura, with the four armored cruisers Izumo, Azuma, Tohiwa, and Iwate, fell in with them on the 14th in the neighborhood of the island of Tsushima. As usual, the Russians turned back on being discovered, and made for home ; but on this occasion they had gone too far south to pursue these tactics successfully. It was a case of the devil take the hindermost and the hindermost in this case being the cruiser Rurik, whose speed was not so great as that of her sisters, the Rossia and Gromoboi, she fell a victim to the Japanese guns, being left to the tender mercies of the Takachiho and Naniwa which came up at this juncture. The Rurik was sunk early the next morning, the majority of the crew being saved by the Japanese: the Rossia and Gromoboi succeeded in reaching Vladivostok in spite of all Kamimura's efforts. They were badly damaged, no doubt, though the precise amount of injury is not known. It is certain, however, that they took no more part in the operations of the naval campaign.
This ended the first part of the naval war. The ships of the Port Arthur Squadron were either lying crippled in the harbor, waiting to be sunk by the guns from the Japanese batteries, or disarmed and out of the combat in hospitable neutral ports. One of the Vladivostok ships had been sunk, the others were helpless in their harbor. Togo's anxieties were considerably lightened, but his labors were as heavy as ever. He had to maintain an effective blockade of the coast, to prevent supplies of contraband of war from reaching the ports of Vladivostok and Port Arthur. He had also to see that his ships were properly refitted and put in order for the momentous battle which shall be described in our next chapters.
The reinforcement of the Russian Fleet sent out from the Baltic, and known as the Baltic Squadron, set out from Libau on October 15, 1904, other detachments, sent out later as they were "got ready, joining the main Squadron en route. It was under the supreme command of Admiral Rhodjestvensky, and consisted of 7 Battleships, 2 Armored Cruisers, 5 Protected Cruisers, 1 Dispatch Vessel, 9 Destroyers, 6 Auxiliary Cruisers, 1 Repair Ship, 5 Ships of the Volunteer Fleet, 7 Transports, and a Hospital Ship.
It had an extraordinary voyage. Shortly after emerging into the North Sea, a most unfortunate error of judgment caused the ships of the squadron to mistake a peaceful British trawler for a Japanese Destroyer lying in wait for a surprise attack, and, in the confusion which ensued, the British trawler was fired on by the Russians and several innocent lives lost. It required a large amount of tact and forbearance to avoid a war with England, where the public indignation was intense; but the good sense of King Edward saved the world from this additional calamity, and the honor was thus reserved for Japan of annihilating, single-handed, the Russian naval Power. A Conference was summoned at Paris to discuss the questions arising out of the Dogger-bank affair, and the Russians, after a short stay at Vigo in the north of Spain, pursued their journey unmolested. A portion of the Squadron passed through the Mediterranean and Red Sea, whilst the rest took the longer route round the Cape. In the middle of March 1905 the Fleet had rendezvous at Madagascar where it enjoyed the somewhat reluctant hospitality of the French authorities and underwent the harassing experience of a mutiny among its crews.
In the meantime, Port Arthur had fallen on Jaunary 3. 1905, and the Russian Pacific Fleet, shut up within its harbor, had ceased to exist. This relieved the anxiety of the Japanese authorities, and Admiral Togo was enabled to devote the whole of his energies to the preparations necessary for the reception of the Russian re-enforcements.
The fall of Port Arthur roused the Russian naval authorities to a fresh effort, and another Squadron under Admiral Nebogatoff was dispatched with all haste. This fleet, which consisted of one 2nd Class Battleship, 3 Battleships of the 3d Class, 1 First-Class Cruiser, 3 Destroyers, 3 Transports, I Tank Vessel, I Repair Ship, and 1 Hospital Ship, was at Suda Bay in Crete on March 20th, and about a month later joined the First Baltic Squadron, which had in the meanwhile left the French hospitality of Madagascar to make use of the same hospitality, grudgingly rendered, on the coast of French Indo-China. The Combined Squadron was a truly imposing force, and had it only contrived to reach the Far East before the fall of the Great Fortress and the destruction of the Russian ships therein, might have changed the whole aspect of the war. " Delays are dangerous and never has the truth of this proverb been more strikingly illustrated than in the history of the Great Russian Armada.
Japanese Diplomacy was very busy during these months, protesting against the abuse of neutrality by the French, an abuse which arose from the fact that the laws of France are different from those of other countries as to the duties of a neutral nation, and not, we may well believe, from any intentional hostility to Japan ; though France, as the ally of Russia, had the same sympathy for one of the combatants that Great Britain had for the other. There was also in the Japanese public mind, a not unnatural feeling of great anxiety, as the hostile Fleet drew nearer to the limits ""of the Empire; but, whatever fears there may have been, they were admirably suppressed, and a casual observer would scarcely have noticed them.
T5g5 himself gave no sign. A few days after the fall of Port Arthur he came up to Tokyo to make a personal report to his Sovereign, and to consult with the Admiralty about future plans for meeting the enemy, and then he disappeared completely from the public observation, only to emerge as suddenly on the morning of the great battle in the Japan Sea.
His conduct during his visit to the Capital was thoroughly characteristic of the man. He was accompanied on this occasion by Admiral Kamimura. Kamimura had, for a short time during the war, been the recipient of much hostile but undeserved criticism from his fellow countrymen. The extremely difficult task had been assigned to him of watching the harbor of Vladivostok, whilst the rest of the fleet was busy at Port Arthur. The Russians had a Squadron in that port, not large, but still more .powerful than the handful of ships at Kamimura's disposal, and the Harbor of Vladivostok, with its double entrance and the foggy seas that surround it, has always been a difficult port to blockade effectually. ^ The Vladivostok ships made one or two successful sorties, generally with insignificant results, but the sinking of several transport-ships, the Hitachi, Sado, and Kinshu, all within a short period of time, had caused the feeling to get abroad that the Admiral had not exercised a sufficient vigilance in the discharge of his duties. Subsequent information brought out the fact that the disaster was owing to causes quite beyond Admiral Kamimura's control, and is subsequent brilliant action of the I2th August, which resulted in the sinking of the Rurik and the disabling of the other Vladivostok Cruisers, had completely restored his credit; but, for a time, feeling had been very bitter in the capital, a large portion of the troops on board the Hitachi having been Tokyo men. Togo was apparently determined that his colleague should have a full need of the popular demonstrations. He could not well escape the drive from the Station to the Admiralty, through the vociferating crowds; but when a band of school boys unharnessed the horses from the carriage that was waiting for him to come out of the Department, intending to drag him in triumph to the Palace, they found that the great man had slipped out quietly by a side door, and was walking home through by-streets with his daughter's hand in his.
A few days of triumph, counsel, and the enjoyment of home, and again Togo disappeared from the eye of the world, to make his final preparations, and to wait calmly and patiently for the dilatory advance of the Russians. It speaks volumes for the admirable discipline of the whole Japanese nation, that for four months not a breath of whisper was heard touching the whereabouts of the Japanese Fleet, though there must have been thousands in the secret. The subjoined letter, published in the Times of July 2nd 1905, tells us about all that can be known of those long days of anxious but confident waiting. It was written by an officer in command of a first-class torpedo-boat to a friend in London. Even to-day, the general public only knows about Togo's hiding-place that it was somewhere south-east of Masampho, north of Sasebo and west of Moji.
" Dear O,—A thousand apologies for my lengthy silence. We have been and are still busy, busy preparing a royal reception for the guests from the Baltic.
"When we of the Suiraidan (Torpedo-Corps) meet ashore, we discuss and often wonder if after all the Russians will come, or will they fail us. Do they know that we are ready? To north-west lies the harbor of Masampho, to south that of Sasebo, while Moji is on our east, and here we are waiting, waiting and waiting for the enemy. Will he never come?
" If you do not hear from me when a meeting has taken place, take this as my farewell. I do not expect to see you again in this life, except perhaps in your dreams. When my boat goes down, I shall go too and a Russian ship with us.
" It takes her weight in shells to sink a torpedo- boat—it's marvellous how they, the shells, do not hit.
" I have seen, not one, but many torpedo actions, and I know. With six compartments in the boat, we ought to be able to close in within 20 yards of the target before she is sunk. If we hit, we shall go down with the Russians; if we are hit, the Russians shall come with us, for the last man alive will steer the spare torpedo in the water. What is life but a dream of a summer's night ? Can one choose more glorious an exit than to die fighting for one's own country and for the Emperor who is a ruler and leader to the nation's heart? Does not many a worthy man end his life's chapter obscure for want of opportunity? Then let us uphold the honor and the duty of being Japanese. By going down with them we shall, in a measure, pay the debt we owe for the slaughter of those poor innocent peasants. They too are fighting for their country, so shall Bushi honour Bushi. There are more torpedo-boats and torpedo-boat destroyers than the number of ships in the whole fleet of Admiral Rhojdestvensky, and if each of them destroys or disables one of the enemy's vessels, it ought to do.
" Father Togo, now grey-haired, walks quietly to and fro on the bridge of the Mikasa, and keeps silence, so all will go well. Do you remember the story when he went up to Tokyo, for the first time since the commencement of this war ? Some public school boys were determined to unharness the horses off his carriage, at the instigation of the Asaki, I believe, and themselves draw it up to the gate of the Imperial Palace. Well, Father Togo got wind of this, and so he sent his chief- of-staff in the carriage, while he was seen, but not recognized, to be quietly walking towards Niju- bashi, with his little daughter's hand in his. Will he play another trick upon the poor unsuspecting Russians when they come ?
" I bid you again farewell. Work, work, and work, for the coming Japan depends on you young fellows.
I remain your ever humble brother,
At last the critical day arrived. Togo had staked all his hopes on the Russians choosing the Straits of Tsushima on their way to Vladivostok, instead of going round into the Pacific and through the narrow straits of Tsugaru between the Main Island and Yezo, or of Soya, between the islands of Yezo and Sakhalin, and an adverse fate, working against the Russians, had determined them to make the choice that Togo desired.
Thick fogs had covered the seas for several days, and so near were the Russians, to making a successful run through the Straits and reaching Vladivostok in safety, that had they been but a few hours earlier Togo would have failed to descry them, in spite of the warnings received from the scouting vessels. As it was, the fog cleared providentially for the Japanese, and on the morning of May 27, the Admiralty in Tokyo received the following telegram from the scene of action:
"Having received the report that the enemy's warships have been sighted, the Combined Fleet will immediately set out to attack and annihilate them. The weather is fine and clear, but the sea is high."
To this the Admiralty replied at once:
"We wish the Combined Fleet a grand success."
On May the 30th, another short telegram was received in Tokyo :—
" The main force of the First and Second Squadrons of the enemy has been almost annihilated. Please be at ease."
A series of most thrilling events lay between those two telegrams. We will follow, as far as possible, Admiral Togo's own account of what took place.
His detailed official report published on the fourteenth of June, begins as follows :—
" By the grace of Heaven and the help of God,[*] our Combined Squadron succeeded in nearly annihilating the Second and Third Squadrons of the enemy in the battle that took place in the Sea of Japan on the 27th and 28th of May."
[*] The Japanese language makes no distinction between the singular and plural of a noun, and I believe it to have been the Admiral's intention in this place to use the word " God " in the singular, as denoting that Great Power, indefinable, and indescribable, which every thoughtful man acknowledges. It is the further belief of the Japanese that the Spirits of the dead patriots remain as something more than interested spectators, actively aiding in the promotion of the country's welfare, and that this is especially the case with the Spirits of the Imperial Ancestors who " stand by" with ever-ready assistance in the needs of the beloved land. It will be seen that the Admiral recognizes this belief in the concluding words of his report. The victory is there stated to be due to the “illustrious virtues of the Emperor." His Majesty enjoys " the unseen protection," for himself and his subjects, " of the spirits of our Imperial Ancestors," and these again have power with God, whose grace and help is also to be acknowledged.
(a) THE SITUATION AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE BATTLE.
" On the appearance of the enemy's fleet in the South Seas, our fleet, in obedience to orders from the superior authorities,, determined upon a plan of attacking the enemy in our own territorial waters, and we therefore concentrated our force in the Korean Straits and quietly awaited the approach of the enemy.
After a temporary sojourn on the coasts of Annam (it was there that the two Russian fleets effected their junction), the enemy slowly approached us from the south, and I consequently posted a cordon of scouting vessels along the southern limits of our sphere for some days previous to the estimated arrival of the enemy in our territorial waters. The various fighting sections of the Fleet, each at its own base, stood prepared for action and ready to emerge at a moment's notice."
At 5 a.m. on the 27th May a wireless telegram from the Shinano Maru, scouting in southern waters, announced the appearance of the Russians at a point significantly marked 203 on the Japanese naval charts, and also informed the Commander-in-Chief that their ships were apparently heading for the Eastern Channel of the Korean Straits. It is almost needless to explain that the island of Tsushima, lying half way between Japan and Korea, divides the Strait into two Channels, and that the Eastern Channel is the one nearer to Japan. The whole Fleet was at once filled with bustle, excitement, and joy, — a joy which was only made the greater when, two hours later, the scouting ship Izumi reported that the Russians were 25 miles N.W. of Ukushima, and steering in a N.E. direction.
Between 10 and 11, Vice-Admiral Kataoka's cruisers got into actual touch with, the enemy, between the islands of Iki and Tsushima, as did also the Detachments under Rear-Admiral Togo and Vice Admiral Dewa, and in this way, in spite of the thickness of the fog, the Commander-in- Chief was kept constantly informed as to both the whereabouts and the strength of the enemy's fleet. A Japanese officer, present at the battle, has spoken in the highest terms of the services rendered in the early part of the battle fc>y the cruisers under Admiral Kataoka's command. They were none of them powerful vessels, but they made a bold dash for the enemy whom they succeeded in deceiving into a belief that only a part of the Japanese Fleet was opposing them, and by this ruse succeeded in luring them on to the trap which the Commander- in-Chief had laid for them. It is better to give him this title in this and the following chapters, so as to prevent any confusion arising between him and Rear-Admiral Togo, who also took a leading part in the battle.
By means of the intelligence thus received, the Commander-in-Chief was able to discover all he needed to know about his adversaries. At a council of war, held in Admiral Rohdjestvensky's cabin, it had been decided, apparently by the votes of the younger men against the elder, to " emulate the deeds of Nelson " and seek the Japanese Squadron in the Tsushima Straits where, it was most likely to be. This resolution was arrived at whilst the ships were in the China Sea, some time after leaving the Sea of Annam. The signal announcing this decision had been received with enthusiasm by the whole fleet. On the 18th of May, the Russian Admiral has given another signal: "the destiny of Russia will be decided within a week. Be ready to sacrifice yourselves for the fatherland"; and on the 19th they had passed the Balintang Channel north of Luzon, and were heading due north in the direction of Tsushima.
The Commander-in-Chief further learned that practically the whole of the Baltic fleet was on its way through the Tsushima Straits, that the Russians were disposed in double-column formation, with their main strength at the head of the column, and their special service ships in the rear (a formation which would have been an absolutely correct one, had Rhodjestvensky been, as he supposed, in the proximity of a small Japanese force only), and that they were steaming in a north-easterly direction at about twelve knots an hour. From these data he was able to decide that the general engagement would begin about 2.p.m that day, and that it would be his wisest plan to await the enemy with his whole strength near Okinoshima, and make an attempt to smash the head of his left column. About noon, his main fleet had assembled about ten miles north of Okinoshima. It consisted of a battleship Squadron under Rear-Admiral Togo, an armored cruiser Squadron under Vice- Admiral Kamimura, a Squadron of smaller cruisers under Vice-Admiral Uryu, the hero of the action at Chemulpo, with various flotillas of destroyers, and was joined a little later by Kataoka and Dewa with their ships.
At 1.45, the Commander-in-Chief first sighted the enemy, a few miles to the south, coming, as his information had led him to expect, in double column, with their main strength at the head. At the head of the right column were four battleships of the Borodino type while the vanguard of the left column, consisting of the Oslabya, Sissoi Veliky, Navarin, and Admiral Nakhimoff, was followed by the Nicholai and three coast defense ships. Between the two columns, and guarding the front, were the cruisers Zemstchug and Izumrud whilst behind the battleship columns could be seen, extending for many miles through the mist, a long line of ships, a cruiser detachment consisting of the Aurora, Oleg and cruisers of the 2nd and 3d class, the Dmitri Donskhoi, Vladimir Monomach, &c. &c.
The Commander-in-Chief had calculated in the forenoon that he would begin the battle about two o'clock that afternoon. It was actually at 1.55 that he gave the signal which in after years will rank with Nelson's Trafalgar message: " The rise or fall of the Empire depends upon the result of this engagement: do your utmost, every one of you."
Never was a nobler message given to a Fleet on the eve of a momentous battle. At that instant the Fate of Japan actually did tremble in the balance. The slightest mistake, or mischance, at that moment, would have meant the loss of all the advantages which the valor of the Japanese armies had gained on the continent, in Manchuria, and Korea. It would have meant more: the very existence of Japan as an independent nation was at that moment at stake.
It was a moment of breathless excitement as the battleships steamed off in a S.W. direction for a few minutes, and then suddenly veering to the east, made an oblique movement towards the Russian column. In a few moments the Armored Cruiser Squadron had joined the battleships, whilst the smaller cruisers and ships, under Dewa, Uryu, and Togo, steamed away to the south, and enveloped the doomed battleships in the rear.
(b) THE ATTACK ON THE MAIN SQUADRON.
It was the Commander-in-Chiefs object, as was shown in the previous chapter, to concentrate the main portion of his forces on the eight battleships that led the van of the Baltic Squadron: for, if these were once destroyed or crippled, the rest of the Armada would be entirely at his mercy.
His ships, therefore, were directed towards the head of the enemy's line. At 2.08 the enemy opened fire, at a long range. The Japanese made no reply until within 6000 meters, when they concentrated their fire first on the Oslabya, the leading ship of the enemy's left column, which was in a very short space of time obliged to retire from the line, with many wounds in vital spots, and fires breaking out in two or three places. The next ships singled out for the concentrated fire of the Japanese battleships and cruisers, which became more deadly as the distance that separated the Fleets became diminished, were the Kniaz Souvaroff and Imperator Alexander III, which were likewise obliged to retire from the fighting line. The Oslabya sunk at 3.10 p.m., the other two were quite crippled, the Zemtchug was also disabled, and the issue of the battle was speedily decided, for the enemy's line was broken, and he was already thinking more of flight than resistance.
The bombardment of the battleships was now continued for about two consecutive hours without any incident of note, the Russians lying helpless in the hands of the Japanese ships which sailed round them as they pleased, inflicting a continuous series of wounds from their heavy guns, to which the Russians were able to make but a poor reply, inasmuch as, in addition to the general inferiority of their marksmanship, they had to contend with rolling waves which distressed them considerably, whilst, owing the superiority of their position, the Japanese did not suffer so much. The lift in the fog which gave the Japanese a view of the enemy, at the very nick of time, together with the wind and waves, which remained constantly adverse to the Russians, have by many Japanese been considered to be providential features of this battle.
One " stirring incident" to which the Commander-in-Chief gives special prominence, was an attack by destroyers, under Hirose and Suzuki, on the disabled Kniaz Souvarqff\ which was lying outside the fighting line, but still able to fire her guns from time to time. Hirose's boats do not seem to have effected very much against her, but the Suzuki flotilla made a more successful attack. The battleship was observed to list heavily to the port- side, but remained afloat until 7.20, when she was torpedoed by boats of the Fujimoto destroyer flotilla.
The remnants of the Russian battleships now tried to escape southward, pursued by the armored cruisers of the Japanese. The battleships followed at a more leisurely pace, taking occasional shots at the smaller ships of the Russians, which had been following their battleship line at the commencement of the engagement, and, a thick fog coming on, these two divisions of the Japanese Squadron lost sight of each other for several hours.
During the period of separation the battleships first attacked (about 5. 40. p.m.) and sank the Russian special service ship Ural, and then, discovering through the fog a group of six large Russian vessels trying to escape to the north-east, delivered an attack which lasted from 6. p.m. to sunset. In this engagement a vessel with a heavy list, and supposed to be the Alexandet III, was observed by the battleships to capsize and sink, while, another vessel, supposed to be the Borodino, exploded and sank, within view of the Cruiser Squadron which we saw go off in pursuit of the Russian fugitive battleships. Evening was now rapidly coming on, and it was impossible, in the dim light, to make out the ships exactly, but certainly these two vessels disappeared beneath the waves about this time.
At 7.38, the Commander-in-Chief ordered the dispatch-boat Tatsuta to convey orders to the fleet to rendezvous at Ullundo for the fight 01 the morrow.
(c) THE ATTACK ON THE SMALLER CRUISERS.
Whilst the battleships and armored cruisers were thus engaged in smashing the head of the Russian line, the smaller vessels which brought up their rear were being dealt with by detachments under Rear-Admirals Dewa and Uryu, and Captain Togo Masamichi. (Two Captains and Two Admirals of the name of Togo were engaged in the battle of the Japan Sea.)
These divisions received their orders form the Commander-in-Chief at 2. p.m., five minutes after the signal for the battleships and cruisers had been given, and at once proceeded, in reversed line, with the enemy on the portside, to attack the rear of the Russian fleet, the ships for special service and the cruisers Oleg, Aurora, Svietlana, Almaz, Dmitri, Vladimir Monomach &c. The Japanese vessels which had the advantage of superior speed, opened fire at 2.45 p.m. and by constantly changing their course and firing upon the Russians from ever- varying directions, soon contrived to disconcert them entirely. Futile efforts were made by Aurora at 5. p.m., and by some destroyers at 3.40 p.m., to break through the Japanese lines, but by four o'clock the Russians had been broken, their ships were separated from each other and damaged, and some of the special service ships disabled. At 4.20 two of these vessels, presumably the Anadyr and Irtish, were sunk by the Uryu detachment: at 4.40 four Russian coast defense vessels and small battleships, joined their distressed cruisers; but the Japanese had also received reinforcements by the arrival of Captain M. Togo's detachment, and thus conditions were about equalized.
A severe engagement ensued, the severity being immeasurable by the injuries received by the Japanese ships. Dewa's flagship, the Kasagi, was obliged to retire from action, and, accompanied by the Chitose, to seek the shelter of Aburadani Bay. Her injuries were so severe that she was obliged to withdraw from the action altogether. Rear Admiral Dewa transferred his flag eventually to the Chitose and returned to the scene of battle: in the meantime the command of both detachments had devolved on Admiral Uryu. At 5.10 Uryu's flagship, the Naniwa, was obliged to retire, with a hole in the stern below the water-line; but her retirement did not affect the issue. " The armored cruiser squadron, which had gone off into the fog in pursuit of the Russian battleships, now returned, and by 5.30 p.m. the whole of the Russian Fleet was in flight, and pursued by the Uryu and Togo squadrons. The pursuit went on until 7.20, when the Commander-in-Chief's signal of recall was received. During the pursuit, the Japanese sunk the special service ship Kamchatka, and the Kniaz Souvaroff which, though long disabled, and twice torpedoed, kept firing her stern guns to the last.
(d) THE NIGHT ATTACK BY THE TORPEDO-BOATS AND DESTROYERS.
When Admiral Togo sent a message to his cruisers and battleships, bidding them desist from their pursuit and rendezvous at Ullando, he had no intention of ceasing his action. He was merely changing his weapons of attack.
During the whole of the 27th, a strong southwesterly gale with heavy waves, had made the management of small vessels almost impossible. The Admiral had therefore ordered all this torpedo- boats to assemble in the sheltered Bay Miura, and there to await his further orders.
At sunset the wind abated, but the sea was still very high, and the Commander-in-Chief still hesitated about using his small craft under such unpropitious circumstances. But the zeal of the Japanese officers and men was not to be denied by such trifles as winds and waves. Without any orders, they assembled at their proper stations, ready for action, and their intrepidity made it impossible to deny their wish. It was a race for distinction. Fujimoto's destroyers pressed on the enemy from the north, destroyers and torpedo-boats under Yajima and Kawase came from the north-east, Yoshijima's boats from the east, Hirose's destroyers from the south-east, whilst yet another group under Fukuda, Otaki, Kondo, Aoyama and Kawada, pressed on the ships from the south. At 8.15 p.m., the torpedo attack commenced, at a close range, and continued until 11.p.m. The official report of the Commander-in-Chief describes, the engagement as " a terrible melee." At the end of it the Japanese had lost 3 torpedo-boats sunk, and seven injured, with comparatively heavy casualties, but the Russian losses had been much more severe: the battleship Sissoi Veliky, and the armored cruisers Admiral Nakhimoff and Vladimir Monomach, were practically wrecked, unable either to fight or to steam. These vessels did not sink at once. The Sissoi Veliky floated about all night, and her crew were taken off by the Japanese before she went down, about eleven the next morning. The crews of the two cruisers which sunk about 10 a.m. were likewise saved by the Japanese. It was impossible, however, for the Japanese to rescue the crew of the Navarin, which was torpedoed about 2. a.m. by the destroyers under Commander K. Suzuki. This ended the night attack.
The waves, which, it had been feared, would be prejudicial to the action of the torpedo-boats were providentially favorable to the Japanese. The tossing of the vessels distracted the Russian aim, and the small craft were thus able to creep up within a very short distance of their enemy, who were constantly exposed below the water-line owing to the motion of the waves.
(e) THE SECOND DAY OF THE BATTLE.
The Commander-in-Chief was already secure of his victory, but something more than a simple victory was required to assure the safety of his country. It was essential that the Russian fleet should be so completely annihilated that further operations by sea should become absolutely needless, and that nothing more than an insignificant remnant should escape to bring the news to Vladivostok.
In his desire to accomplish this great object he had, during this battle, departed from his usual cautious custom of never exposing his ships to danger. It is true that Fortune had favored him, and that none of his important, units had been lost; but every single ship had been at times exposed to great danger from hostile shots, and more than one of them bore signs of combat on their hulls and upper works. It was this desire, too, which had induced him, in spite of the roughness of the waves, to allow his eager torpedo-craft to go forth, and continue during the night the work which his battleships and cruisers had so excellently done through the day.
The torpedo-craft were still busy with their task when the day dawned; and the battleships and cruisers began to make ready for new ventures. During the whole of the 27th the fog had been intermittent, so that the enemy were sometimes hidden and sometimes visible: the night also had been foggy, and the broken remnants of the Russian fleet had some apparent hopes of escaping safely under the cover of the friendly mist. But once more the " stars in their courses" fought against the Russian, as they did against Sisera of old: the day broke clear and fogless, and the telltale streaks of black smoke on the horizon revealed the whereabouts of the fugitive Russians. Chase was at once given by battleships and cruisers alike, and by 10.30 a.m. the runaway squadron had been overtaken. These vessels proved to be the battleships Nicolas I. and Orel, the coast defense vessels, General Admiral Apraxine and Admiral Seniavin, together with the cruiser Izumrud which had at the beginning been at the head of Russian line of battle. One of these vessels, the Izumrud, made good her escape. She was found some time afterwards off the coast of the Maritime Province, not far from Vladimir Bay, where she had evidently been run ashore by her crew, who escaped with every thing on board that was worth removing, leaving her battered hull alone as a lasting monument to the efficiency of Japanese artillery. The other four vessels under Rear-Admiral Nebogatoff were too much injured either to escape or to continue the fight, and surrendered to the Japanese almost without a contest.
Whilst this was going on, the Otowa and Nii taka attacked the Russian cruiser, Svietlana, and sunk her off Chuk-pyon Bay at 11.06 a.m. The destroyer Bystri which accompanied the Svietlana, was attacked by the Niitaka, (afterwards joined by the destroyer Murakumo), and destroyed some 5 miles further north, at 11.50 a.m., the survivors in both these cases being taken off by the commissioned cruisers America and Kasuga.
About 3 p.m., the Iwate and Yakumo overtook the Admiral Oushakoffy which they sunk after a short engagement. A little later, the Sasanami and Kageroy destroyers, captured the Russian destroyer Biedovi, a capture of some importance, as the Russian commander-in-Chief lay wounded on her; whilst the Iwate and Yakumo, accompanied by the destroyers Asagiri, Shirakumo and Fubuki, made an attack on the Dmitri Donskoiy which was discovered the next morning sunk in shallow water off the eastern shore of Ullondo Island, her crew having escaped safely to shore where they were taken by the Japanese.
Other captures were the Sissoi Veliky, Admiral Nakhimoff and Vladimir Monomachy already mentioned. All three ships sank shortly after their surrender, as did also the Gromki destroyer, which went down at 12.43 p.m., her crew safe in Japanese hands.
Thus ended the great Battle of the Japan Sea. Of the 38 vessels with which the Russian Armada had essayed the passage of those narrow water, only one cruiser, the Almazy and one destroyer, the Bravi, reached the port of Vladivostok. Of the rest some were captured, and more were sunk, some escaped to Manila or Shanghai, where they were disarmed, one was missing, — three or four weeks later a solitary Russian transport, with wounded soldiers on board, made its sad way into the harbor of Diego Suarez on the coast of Madagascar.
Japan breathed again, and well she might.
Admiral Togo exposing himself to the Enemy's dangerous fire on the bridge of the Mikasa.
For the second time in her history she had been delivered from the danger of a great hostile Armada.
The Japanese, who stood ready to lose their all on the issue of the day, had lost a few small torpedo-boats, and their casualties amounted to 113 killed and 424 wounded. — a total casualty list of 537. Some of their ships had been knocked about by Russian shells, but others, such as the Itsukushima, and Chinyen, and a few torpedo boats and destroyers had absolutely no losses to record.
On the other hand, of the estimated force of 18000 men on board the Russian Squadrons, 14000 had gone down with their ships, 3000 had been made prisoners, and only 1000 men, more or less, had succeeded in making their escape.
The great victory, which will live forever in the history of Japan and the civilized world, is ascribed to the virtues of the Great Emperor, whose wise and enlightened rule has made possible the rise of his country, to the loyal work of many years of naval expansion, to the wisdom and prudence of the Commander-in-Chief, to the valor and discipline of the officers and men under his command, — and, when all that has been said, above all, to the invisible aid of those heavenly powers whom every Japanese acknowledges in his inmost heart.
It is premature as yet to institute comparisons between Togo, who is yet alive, with all manner of possibilities before him of future glories, and any great hero of the past, whose record of actions is all made up. We will wish him a long life of distinguished usefulness; and when at length it is closed, and the whole tale of service is completed, no Englishman will grudge him his proper place amongst the great seamen of the world, — even though that place should involve the dethroning of our own great Nelson.
We conclude this chapter with a striking leader from the London Times published soon after the receipt of the telegraphic news announcing the victory.
" The further details of Togo's great victory that continue to arrive cannot add anything to the impressiveness of the result, to which they add confirmation which was hardly necessary. ' The Russian fleet is practically annihilated,' was the first message of the great Admiral, and all that subsequent information can do is to eliminate the qualifying adverb. It was the aim of the Japanese not merely to defeat the Russian fleet, but to destroy it, and what they determined to do they have done, as Togo's battle signal bade them do, to " their " utmost." It may be a long time before we learn authoritatively and fully how the thing was done, but the stupendous feat for the present holds the imagination so powerfully as almost to stifle curiosity. There is, however, one thing upon which this is the time to insist, with the great fact standing alone before the world. Whatever the methods, whatever the means employed, we have to account for the collision of two great fleets, so equal in material strength that the issue was thought doubtful by many careful statisticians, ending in the total destruction of one of them and in the immunity of the other from damage greater than might well ' be incurred in a mere skirmish. The fishing boats on the Dogger Bank were hardly more helpless before the Russian guns than the Russian fleet has proved in the hands of Admiral Togo. The final explanation is not in ships or in guns or in seamanship or in tactics. It is to be sought in moral character, in lofty ideals, in resistless enthusiasm, and in a universally diffused sense of duty and of patriotism. Without complete confidence in the moral qualities of those to whom Togo addressed a final message almost identical with that of our own Nelson, he could never have dared to divide his forces in order to surround the Russian fleet. Without the most complete response on the part of those under his command, the attempt must have led to disaster. With anything like parity of moral qualities among his adversaries he could not have ventured upon tactics so ambitious and so daring. But he measured, as the Japanese commanders on land have always measured, the moral and intellectual gifts of his opponents no less than their material resources. The man who sees can judge the errors of the blind, but the blind have no means of estimating the capacity of him who sees. The possessor of high moral qualities can measure the results of their absence in his adversary, but the adversary has no due to the operation of qualities he does not own. The Tsushima victory is the outcome of Bushido, of the training of the Japanese people in, the great fundamental principles of human conduct. That training is not a veneer which can be put on for a given purpose. It is a thing which must begin with the cradle and which must be universal in a nation which hopes to come through the last ordeal as the Japanese have done. Which thing may well give this nation pause, and set it considering whether there are not greater ideals than buying- in the cheapest market and obtaining the greatest average return upon capital."
Admiral Togo visiting Vice-Admiral Rojestvensky at the Naval Hospital at Sasebo.
It is not for me, a landsman, to attempt to criticize the strategy of the great battle. I am fortunately spared the necessity of having to do so by the fact that other and better men have already spoken', so that I need but reproduce their words with the assurance that by so doing I am giving my readers better matter than any that comes from my own pen. There is no greater authority on all things naval than Captain Mahan and his recent articles in Collier's Magazine, though based on telegraphic information only, seems to sum up the situation accurately. I give them in extenso.
" At the beginning of any inquiry into the lesson derivable from the Battle of the Sea of Japan, we are met, I fear, by the condition which must be plainly enunciated, at whatever expense to national susceptibility, that there has been no approach to equality in the efficiency of the opposing ships' companies. For this inferiority on the part of the Russians there may be good reasons, which will* transpire later; but the fact remains, and it cannot but modify and color all deductions which may be made. For one thing, it must, in my opinion, force our attention to fasten chiefly upon the proceedings of the Japanese admiral. His own personal skill and sound judgment, now attested and matured through a year's experience of active war, under varying conditions, make it probable that in the outlines of his conduct we see manifested the convictions reached by a naval officer who, beyond the others at the present moment, can appreciate with the accuracy of intimate acquaintance what are the real possibilities open to each branch of naval warfare. His convictions rest, too, upon knowledge of the results attained, and attainable, in the use of their weapons by the officers and men under his own command the high training and efficiency of whom have compelled universal admiration. Hence, the course pursued in this great naval battle has been grounded upon no a priori reasoning alone. It has rested upon a large acquired knowledge of the powers of the torpedo and the gun, of the battleship and the torpedo vessel, obtained under severe conditions of war and weather, which usually are largely corrective, not merely of bare theory, but even of the instructive actual practice carried on in peace and in summer maneuvers.
To the chastened and quickened knowledge thus derived, which invests with unique authority the procedures of Togo, must be added the fact the Russian admiral abandoned to him the initiative, thus permitting him freely to adopt the course which to him seemed best to suit the capacities of his ships. The superior speed of the Japanese vessels would probably in any event have ensured this advantage; the fastest fleet has the weather gauge; and Togo doubtless counted on it from the first. His action, therefore, may be fairly assumed to reflect his ripened convictions, in themselves no mean contribution to the determination of naval problems.
I wonder if I may be pardoned a very short historical digression, entirely pertinent to Togo's course, in noting that the Press dispatches give us as his preliminary step a signal entirely parallel almost identical, with that of Nelson at Trafalgar. " The destiny of our empire depends upon this action. You are all expected to do your utmost." I should scarcely have noted this resemblance, obvious though it is, had not a prominent Japanese official committed himself to the expression that to the Japanese temper such a reminder was not needed; each Japanese so expected of himself. Doubtless; and so, doubtless also, each seaman of Nelson's fleet. Yet it will detract no whit from the admiration and reverence with which we have learned to regard Japanese valour and self-devotion, to believe that hearts beat higher and purpose stronger when Togo's words were repeated to them.
To turn now to the military deductions, which may safely be drawn from the general outline of the Japanese admiral's course, and from the time and manner of the several incidents in the progress of the engagement, as these have so far reached us. The term " deductions " is perhaps premature, even for the very guarded inferences to which I propose to confine myself; the object of these being, as I said before, rather to direct attention and guide consideration, as further fuller reports reach us, so that the bearing of these upon naval armament may be more justly estimated.
Let it be recalled, in broad generalization, as stated in my former article, that the Russians were superior, numerically in battleships, but decidedly inferior in armored cruisers. The latter are practically second-class battleships, in which gun power and armored protection have been sacrificed, in order to gain speed and coal capacity. In torpedo vessels also the Japanese were superior, in the proportion at least three or four to one. These are the conditions of respective material force,
which before the meeting were qualified by uncertainty as to the relative capacity of the opposing officers and men. Prepossession undoubtedly here favoured the Japanese, and justly, as the result has shown; but antecedently, naval officers at least knew that much ought to have been effected in the several months of passage, interrupted by long repose in unfrequented anchorages, which Rojest- venski had enjoyed.
With these antecedents, two fleets met in the eastern part of the Straits of Tsushima. The battle began by day; two separate accounts place the firing of the first gun at close to 2 p.m. The scene being in nearly the same latitude as Norfolk, therefore not far south of us our own recent observation in New York is evidence that daylight would last over five hours—from 2 to 7.30. This consideration bears directly upon the employment of torpedo vessels. Some doubtless pondered—I know I did—whether, in view of the very large number at the disposal of Japan, and her comparative weakness in battleships, T5go would hurl some of his forward in daylight, hoping to sweep off one or two of his huge adversaries, at a sacrifice which his country could support. If, as has in some quarters been stated, the Russian admiral constituted a second column, towards the enemy, composed of lighter cruisers, he may have done so with an idea of meeting the first of an attack by torpedo vessels; sending to encounter them ships which would be quite as capable as a battleship of sinking such an assailant, and which could be better spared. The disposition, in fact, would be the correlative of the idea of a daylight attack, suggested for Togo, and should it have been adopted for such a reason by the Russian admiral, I should certainly hesitate to join in condemning the arrangement, tactically considered. Least of all should I do so on the ground I have seen, that this lighter line was thrown into confusion, and so reached upon and confused the main battle line. There would be in such conditions nothing to cause confusion among capable and self-possessed captains. The position would be one perfectly familiar to naval history; and if the main battle line of the enemy, instead of his torpedo cruisers, came on, the exposed ships simply ran " to leeward," through the intervals of their own fleet.
So far as the accounts go, however, Togo did not at once, nor for some time, send in his torpedo vessels. Should the facts, as finally revealed, confirm this, it will show that his experience supported the naval anticipation, heretofore pretty general, that torpedo vessels should not be so exposed by daylight, even when in large numbers. Neither, in order to use them, did he wait far nightfall before engaging at all. He fell on at once, when his dispositions were matured, and his famous signal repeated. The fighting began with the guns, and so continued for two or three hours. Possibly I may have overlooked some one of the tangle of unverified details which so far constitute our data, but the first suggestion of a mine that I find is from the captain of the Nakhimoff, who reports (it is said) that 90 minutes after the firing began he felt a shock, after which the ship sank rapidly. No torpedo vessel is mentioned as near by. The sinking of the Borodino is apparently attributed to gun fire, in the very full account given by the lieutenant of her forward turret; but he notes a torpedo-vessel attack towards evening, when the ship was already down in the water. The published statement of a Japanese officer corroborates the time and manner of this attack, specifically naming the Borodino.
Amid much vague and indeterminate mention, this so far seems the sum of the performance of the torpedo vessels by day on the first day. As regards the Nakhimoff her story lacks precision. Togo, indeed, reports that she was damaged by torpedo boats the succeeding night, and was found still afloat next morning. This traverses the statement attributed to her captain, and would make his quitting her precipitate; but there may be an error in names, The Borodino accounts are minute, and support one another. The vessel, disabled, by several hours of concentrated gun fire—" upon which the second division had been concentrating its fire"—receives the coup de grace by torpedo attack; " the fifth destroyer flotilla advance signaling, ' We are going to give the last thrust at them.' " I remember such a probable succession of events predicted by a lecturer at our Naval War College 18 years ago; not that sagacity was needed to detect the obvious. It always has been unlikely that torpedo vessels would by daylight attack a battleship unless disabled. Even then they would be supported by the fire of heavier ships, as in this case; for we are told here that " the cruiser Chitose continued its fire as our destroyers pressed forward." The analogy to the ancient fireship is here maintained throughout. It was after the sun went down that the destroyers became active in attack.
It will be most interesting when we know, definitely and exactly, upon what part of the Russian order, and in what manner, Togo directed his main attack. It seems increasingly evident, reading somewhat dimly still between lines, that he struck the head of the enemy's column; for he forced it to change course, and the Borodino, which suffered a heavy concentration of fire, as has been seen, seems to have been near the head. This would tend to precipitate the confusion into which the Russians fell, and would bear out Nelson's counsel, which the exigencies of space crowded from my last article in Collier's, "Outmaneuver a Russian by attacking the head of his line, and so induce confusion." Into such disorder the Russians fell, facilitating still further the concentration of enemies upon separated vessels, or groups; an opportunity which the Japanese were enabled to improve by being numerically much superior in armored vessels on the whole, though with fewer battleships. Indeed, the larger numbers of the Japanese increased much their ability to combine to advantage; for the possibility of combination increases with numbers. This if accurately inferred from the instance before us, sounds again the warning, continually repeated, but in vain, that in distributing fleet tonnage regard must be had to numbers quite as really as to the size of the individual ship. This, I say, while fully conscious of the paradox, that an amount of power developed in a single ship is more efficient than the same
amount in two. In part, the present Japanese success has been the triumph of greater numbers, skillfully combined, over superior individual ship power, too concentrated for flexibility of movement.
Confusion, once initiated, was adroitly increased by sending torpedo vessels in large numbers across the head of the now retreating Russian column; an office for which their speed peculiarly fitted them. Thus began what is described in general terms as an. enveloping movement. For a body of vessels already shaken in their formation and morale to advance with falling night into a host of dreaded torpedo-boats was well calculated to increase disorder, which, when existing in the van tends rapidly to propagate itself in the rear vessels as they crowd up towards their predecessors; a circumstance that doubtless inspired Nelson's saying. Many of us can recall what befell when the leading ship of Farragut's column at Mobile was smitten with the dread of a torpedo line ^ In the Battle of the Japan Sea, approaching night now gave the torpedo craft their double opportunity—the cover of darkness, and an enemy crippled and broken. Yet, although we may be sure they did much good work, the testimony more and more seems to show that the decisive effect had been produced by the guns, and that the destroyers acted mainly the part of cavalry, rounding up and completing the destruction of a foe already decisively routed. It may be believed that they in many cases sank what the Japanese, in Nelson's phrase, might have considered already " their own ships." It is reported that this enveloping movement was shared also by some of the armored vessels, moving by the rear, and seemingly also to the other side ; a distribution of vessels and combination of movement —corresponding to analysis and synthesis—which is only possible to numbers, and enforces again the need for numbers, as well as for individual power.
What followed was distinctly of the nature of pursuit; a disorganized enemy chased, driven asunder, beaten down and captured in detail. Of the several partial encounters, incident to this characteristic action of the succeeding two days, Admiral Togo's several numbered dispatches have made brief mention. In a summary of this kind they require none. It is sufficient here to note the general fidelity to the well-worn military maxim, that a flying foe must not be let go while there remains a fraction of his force which might be overtaken. The Japanese have deserved the fullness of their triumph."
With these words I take leave of Admiral Togo for the present. The time will come when we shall know more of the secret history of this war than we know at present, and more, consequently, of the man that has done so much on the sea to enhance the glories of Japan. He has already added another chapter to the history of his achievements, in the operations subsequent to the battle of the Japan Sea around Vladivostok and the Siberian littoral, — a chapter which in due course of time will be written by newspaper men, chroniclers and historians. For the present let it suffice me to have given to the English speaking public, a sketch, however rapid and incomplete of one of the warrior heroes whom Japan has given to the world in the early years of the 20th Century.