TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA.
was occupied by the British without opposition. Another column, a thousand strong, which went out the same day, fell in with the Governor of Rangoon and his suite and so disturbed that dignitary that he fled, leaving all his official paraphernalia behind, including two gorgeous State umbrellas. A gruesome discovery made by the troops on their march was of the headless and otherwise mutilated bodies of a number of unfortunate Burmese. These it was afterwards discovered were the victims of the ferocious policy of the authorities in preventing absolutely all intercourse with the British. Their fate explained the otherwise almost inexplicable neglect of the natives to return to claim their property in the town.
Though the reconnaissances referred to had a good effect in impressing the natives with the circumstance that the British were both able and willing to pass beyond the limits of Rangoon, they brought no nearer the submission of the Government. It became clear, indeed, as the weeks passed, that the Burmese authorities were upon quite another tack than surrender. The outposts were harassed by night attacks; no one could Pass a dozen yards beyond the range of the sentryas rifle without danger of being killed or taken prisoner; an active and sleepless enemy was all around ready to make use of the smallest opening that presented itself for successful attack. Obviously, as the British could not be combated by direct means, they were, if possible, to be harried out of Burma. It was an annoying situation for the British Commander who had hoped to have been able to dispose of the Burmese by one or more heavy blows. To make matters worse, the rainy season now set in, and it brought with it dangers and difficulties of its own. The expedition had been badly equipped, and when sickness broke out, as it did very early in the monsoon period, it found the authorities totally unprepared for the crisis. So deficient were ^e supplies, that the troops for five months existed on salt pork, salt beef, mouldy biscuits, and inferior rice, eked out with occasional supplies of fish. Badly clothed, indifferently boused, and with cholera and fever rife, the regiments were speedily decimated. The blame for the defective provisions was largely due to scoundrelly contractors in Calcutta, but the real culprits were the authorities who bad so little prevision as to send a force of such size to Rangoon without the necessary means of establishing itself comfortably and safely during the rainy season.
AM through May and June the war went An intermittently without any important result.
On the last day of June a great force suddenly appeared on the outskirts of Rangoon, intent, it seemed, on trying conclusions with the British. The attack was delivered the next day, the main assault being on the Golden Dagon Pagoda, where our chief position was established. The Burmese advanced in dense masses to the right and front of the pagoda, but a few shots from two field pieces checked their movements, and on a charge being made by two Madras regiments, they incontinently fled. Soon, not a man of the hosts who had appeared determined to do or die remained in sight, save those who were lying on the ground killed or wounded. The unfortunate General who led the Burmese troops on this occasion was afterwards recalled in disgrace, and when his successor had been killed in a disastrous fight in a stock-
occupied Tavoy, Mergui, and Tenasserim, and strong reinforcements, including several battalions of British and native infantry, as well as some cavalry, had been brought from Bengal to strengthen the army of occupation. Furthermore, five hundred native artisans had been introduced from India to construct a flotilla for the transport of the force up the Irrawaddy when the time for an advance should arrive. By the end of November, Sir Archibald Campbell was confronted by the largest and best-equipped Burmese force that had been put into the field during the war. Altogether, Bandula had under his command 60,000 men, one-half of whom were said to carry firearms. On December 1, he commenced his attack. For seven days the battle raged, and then the Burmese retreated, leaving an immense number of
RANGOON (IN 1853) FROM THE PLATFORM OF THE GREAT PAGODA.
(From a Views and Sketches in Burma.a)
ade, the Lord of White Elephants sent a corps of a Invulnerables a to drive the hapless British into the sea. On the night of August 30, an attack was delivered on the Dagon Pagoda, but the grape shot and musketry of the garrison made short work of a The Invulnerables,a and those who survived fled, never to appear again during the war in a similar character. As a last resort, the King recalled from Arakan his favourite general, the redoubtable Maha Bandula, whose victory over the Companyas troops earlier in the year had earned him a great reputation. The general, collecting a great force of war boats, proceeded down the Irrawaddy to Donabew, the Burmese headquarters. Meanwhile, the British had not been idle. A11 expedition under Lieut.-Colonel Miles had
dead on the field. Though the defeat was a severe one Bandula was able to rally his forces, and within a few days return to the charge. To adopt the words of Sir Archibald Campbell, a he commenced entrenching and stockading with a judgment in point of position such as would do credit to the best instructed engineers of the most civilised and warlike nations.a Sir Archibald Campbell attacked the position on December 15, and within a few minutes the British troops were in possession, not only of the enemyas works, but of his camp, which was left standing with all the baggage, and a great proportion of his arms and ammunition. On the same day that this action was fought, an attack was made upon a fleet of thirty-two of the enemyas war boats upon the river.dead on the field. Though the defeat was a severe one Bandula was able to rally his forces, and within a few days return to the charge. To adopt the words of Sir Archibald Campbell, a he commenced entrenching and stockading with a judgment in point of position such as would do credit to the best instructed engineers of the most civilised and warlike nations.a Sir Archibald Campbell attacked the position on December 15, and within a few minutes the British troops were in possession, not only of the enemya s works, but of his camp, which was left standing with all the baggage, and a great proportion of his arms and ammunition. On the same day that this action was fought, an attack was made upon a fleet of thirty-two of the enemya s war boats upon the river.