Preparing for the advance--A conference of Generals--An immediate start--A reconnaissance--On August 4--A guard for Tientsin--The number of troops marching on Pekin--At the Siku Arsenal--The position of the Allies--Pei-tsang-Enemy in great fore--The Americans--The magazine--The first line of Chinese trenches.
THIS news from Pekin, which came as a great surprise to everybody, stirred the blood of the Allies. It was plain that, although still alive, the besieged in the Legations were in a sorrowful plight. At any cost, an attempt to relieve them must be made at once. It was impossible to rest idle only eighty miles away, and let men, women, and children of our blood be slaughtered by these barbarians.
For two or three days there was a great commotion in Tientsin to prepare for the advance. Pekin carts were commandeered in all directions, and saddles, ponies, mules, donkeys, and rickshaws. Ponies and mules fetched high sums, and were very difficult to obtain. I was fortunate enough to get some good mules and Chinese artillery pack- saddles, which came in very handy to carry the heavy load of photographic plates and cameras that I intended using on the way.
On August 3, at 10 A.M., a conference of generals was held, at which it was decided, at the instance of General