|Chinese 'West' Column approaching|
|10th cavalry - horse holders at the rear.|
|Main body, Tenth army: 39th Brigade marching |
|Chinese storming the heights|
(This was the simplest possible 'programme' for the Chinese column: Lay out the columns, point them at the enemy, and say 'go get 'em. Stop for nothing'. Makes for plenty of tension!)
|Attack upon 10th cavalry|
|Attack upon 37th Brigade|
|39th Brigade infantry facing off against |
Chinese 3rd Regulars (smoke premature - they aren't yet
in rifle range),
|Can 10th Cavalry hold...?|
|Chinese conscripts storming the pass defended |
by only a battery of guns
|38th Brigade arriving on the field|
|Battle rages for the heights, casualties heavy|
on both sides.
|Reinforcements arriving, but are they in time...?|
|Heights' defenders starting to give ground...|
|... and rout|
|The heights are lost; 10th Cavalry having lost |
|Chinese infantry swarming over the heights|
and through the pass...
|... into the plain beyond|
|10th Cavalry make off, leaving the flying artillery |
|Tenth Army drawn up at the foot of the hill|
|Firefight between Chinese 3rd Regulars and|
|3rd regulars routed, leaves Chinese flank open...|
|Chinese storm the Union gun and MG lines |
east of the road...
At the full tide of their onset, the Chinese column abruptly collapsed. Abandoning the artillery and machine guns just taken, the assailants became hordes of fugitives. The tide receded far more rapidly than the onset, all but one formation, 1st Regulars, reduced to a fleeing mass.
There was no pursuit. For one thing, the Cavalry had been roughly handled, and was in no condition to pursue. Thirty-seventh Brigade had been almost destroyed, its artillery and machine guns overrun, its survivors routed. Torn between the bitterness of defeat and rage at the tardy support, Brigadier Bidwell was at least somewhat encouraged by his commanding general's soothing words, and subsequently by the unstinting mention in dispatches. As far as General Jackson was concerned, Bidwell's adamant defence had gone far to win the battle once the reinforcements arrived...
The Union victory had come at a very high cost, over 3000 casualties. The ambulance wagons and the hastily set up field stations and temporary hospitals two days' march to the southeast were going to be busy. The artillery and machine guns overrun were in turn abandoned by the retreating enemy, and some could be recovered and brought back into service. All the same, eight guns and four machine guns had to be written off as unserviceable. A certain amount of reorganisation was clearly indicated.
This was no Pyrrhic victory. There was no question but that in the eyes of most, this had been a shattering defeat for the Chinese West Column. Even in the tide of success, the losses had been great, and much of the army exhausted just in storming the heights. They could count themselves fortunate perhaps in achieving as much as they did by way of exploitation. Well over 9000 casualties that battle had cost - three times, as it transpired, the Union losses (actually 9500 [57 figures] to 3167 [19 figures] being the net losses respectively).
Though disappointed, T'ai Kun Wu, characteristically, was inclined to take the optimist's view. With anything like equality in materiel, he would have won that battle. That would be a matter to take up with the emperor upon the termination of this campaign. And he still had the whole of North Column in hand, as well as what remained of East Column. A little bit of rest and reorganisation - a few days only was all he needed - and he'd be ready to take the field once more.
He would need to move fairly quickly. Already there was a trickle of traffic westward upon the long road to the Empire, some of it comprising members of the state service nobility. Intriguers to a man, they would be ready when the time came to whisper into the Emperor's ear the words to bring T'ai Kun Wu's career to an abrupt end.