Military Career of Allen Manville
Allen Manville was born in Ockley, near Dorking, Surrey, in around April of 1834. His first experience of the Military was as a recruit
for the Royal Sussex Light Infantry Militia, for whom he enlisted on the 18th of February 1853. Having had a taste of the life of a
part time soldier for 18 months, it would seem that Allen had decided to enlist on a regular basis, and duly did so on the 6th of
October 1854 when he joined the ranks of the 35th Regiment of Foot (Royal Sussex) at Petworth, Sussex. His discharge from the
Militia had been approved the day previous, with the certificate signed by the Adjutant, Captain Fuller, and a note to the effect that
if Manville should not be accepted in any way, his discharge from the Militia would declared null and void. A copy of this certificate
exists in his army discharge papers.
Manville is shown on the musters of the 35th Foot as travelling from London to Chatham, arriving at the Depot Company on the
19th of October. The Royal Sussex were at that time in Dum Dum, India, and had left behind a company to recruit and train
soldiers, a normal procedure in this era. The Depot of the 35th was under the command of Captain Henry Samuel Bowman, who
retired in November. After five months with the 35th Foot, and not having been issued with a Regimental number, Private Manville is
transferred to the 3rd Regiment of Foot (East Kent, or the Buffs) on the 28th of February 1855. He is one of 6 men thus
transferred, the others being Privates Robert Dumbrell, John McGiver, Frederick Marshall, Joseph Speak and William Thompson.
The Buffs had left England for service abroad (originally in Malta) in 1851, and at the beginning of 1855 they were then just coming
to the end of a period of service in Greece. Manville leaves the Depot at Chatham (this being the location of most of the Regimental
Depots of units serving in India) with 61 other men (plainly there were men transferred from other units other than the 35th) on
the 2nd of March 1855 and arrives at the Depot of the 3rd Foot at Kinsale, Ireland, four days later. This Depot is under the
command of Major C.W. Green, and they had been, and continued to be involved in very active recruiting over those months since
the Buffs had been warned for service in the Crimea. Private Manville is numbered 3523 and remains at Kinsale until the 11th of
April, when the Depot marches to its new station at Buttervant. This was to be a temporary stay at Buttervant, as the Depot was
again on the move to Cork at the end of May 1855, taking ship to Portsmouth and arriving at Winchester by the 14th of June, this
move however did not involve Manville, as he was at that time already in the Crimea.
A draft (208 men strong according to the Historical Records) of the Buffs under Captain J. Lewes, including Manville, is shown in the
musters as being ‘On Command’ at Cork at the end of April, and they then board the Transport ‘Saldanha’ on the 1st of May. This
Transport arrives at Balaklava in the Crimea on the 30th of May, the troops having been officially transferred to the Service
Companies on the 25th of May, probably when they arrived in the Black Sea. It is also possible that the men of this draft had spent
some time in Malta, as the discharge papers of Manville suggest he spent 26 days on the island, however it is more likely that they
wrongly assumed Manville had been in the main body move to the Crimea. The Service Companies of the Regiment had boarded the
‘Emu’ and disembarked at Valetta in Malta where they were to remain until the 14th of April. On the 14th they boarded the sailing
ship ‘Timandra’ which was towed by HMS Ardent through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea to Balaklava, the 675 men of the
regiment disembarking on the 2nd of May 1855, as such they beat the Draft from Ireland by only 3 weeks. Although the battalion
had missed the ravages of the winter in the Crimea the problems of sickness were still abundant and 17 men died within a short
time from cholera. The Buffs moved inland from Balaklava to a camp at Kamara where they were brigaded with the 31st Regiment
and the 72nd Highlanders. Heavy rain at the end of May had turned the area of the camp into a sea of mud, so the Buffs were
moved to higher ground near Cathcart’s Hill. At this time the regiment also suffered its first casualties with Captain Pownall and 2
men being wounded. Once here, the Regiment began to prepare for its first real action, the attack on the Quarries which was
planned for the 6th of June.
The Quarries formed a crucial position in close proximity to the major defensive position of the Redan, one of the key points of
Sebastopol. At 3 o’clock on the 6th of June the Artillery began a huge bombardment of the Russian defences which continued until
dusk, the mortars continuing to attack the Russians during the night as they attempted to repair their works. By 6.30pm on the
7th there was little remaining of the defensive works, and this was when the British launched their main assault, 210 men of the
Buffs under Captain Ambrose being involved in supporting the initial attack by holding the captured works in the Quarries. The
Russians, keen to keep the Allies away from the walls, threw several concerted attacks against the British, the night of the 7th being
almost constant hand to hand fighting that left the soldiers exhausted by the morning of the 8th. The Buffs lost 2 killed and 9
wounded, including Captain Ambrose who was severely wounded.
During June the heat in the camp increased considerably, and as a result of constant fatigue and a lack of rations, sickness began to
be more and more common among the troops. On the 18th of June, after a bombardment of the City on the previous day, the
Allies launched an attack on the positions of the Redan (by the British) and the Malakoff (by the French). Although not involved in
the actual assault, the Buffs lost a Sergeant and four Privates from the bombardment of the Russians as the columns withdrew, the
British losses on that day being over 300 killed and missing with four times that number wounded. A few days later, on the 28th of
June, weakened by the distress of the failures of his army and suffering from cholera, Lord Raglan the Commander in Chief, died.
The siege dragged on through July and into August, with an ever lengthening sick list. On the 17th of August, in the trenches
known as the Right Attack, a detachment of the Buffs under command of Lieutenant’s Dennis and Caldecott was hit by a Russian
shell. Lieutenant Dennis lost both legs and an arm and died of his wounds, 2 more men were killed and Caldecott and five more were
wounded. According to the despatches in the ‘Times’, Private Allen Manville was among the five men wounded on this occasion, his
wounds were only slight and no mention of them is given on his discharge papers. Who knows however what psychological effects
this wound and the scenes that he saw that day may have had on Manville in his later service.
The Brigade containing the Buffs was split up at this time, and the Regiment was re-brigaded with the 30th, 55th and 90th
Regiments. On the 8th of September the Allies again attempted the assault of the Malakoff and Redan. Here we revert to the
Historical Records of the Buffs:-
The orders for the assault laid down that a covering party of 200 men should be the first to leave the British trenches, its duty
being to keep down the fire from the embrasures, and to shoot down the Russian gunners whilst 350 men carrying ladders followed
immediately behind it. The exact function of the ladder parties after they had negotiated the ditch in front of the Redan and put
their ladders in position was not made quite clear in the original orders ; in an after order, however, issued on the 7th September, it
was directed that the men of these parties should be the first to storm the Redan after placing their ladders. It was further ordered
that they should be “good men and true to their difficult duty” Behind the ladder parties was to come the main storming column of
1000 men followed by an armed working party 250 strong, and then the supports, a further 1500 men. In rear of all were to be
the remainder of the 2nd and Light Division, some three thousand men, in reserve.
In allotting the troops to the various duties which they were to undertake during the assault a very serious blunder was made for,
instead of entire units being detailed for the various portions of the columns, each group was composed of equal numbers from
each of the two divisions and, furthermore, from each division parts of five different units were employed to make up the
component parts of the column, an arrangement which hardly tended towards cohesion in a scrambling attack such as this was
bound to be.
On the afternoon of the 7th September the commanding officers of the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division were given their orders by
Colonel Warren, and Major Maude was told that the Buffs were to furnish 100 men as the divisional covering party, and 160 men as
a ladder party, the whole to be under his command. The remainder of the Regiment was to be in reserve. In rear of the Buffs were
to follow 500 men of the 41st and 200 of the 62nd Regiments, forming the divisional storming party.
At 6 a.m. on the 8th of September the parties paraded and moved off to the entrance to the trenches where they were given a few
words of encouragemmt by Lieut-General Sir William Codrington, the commander .of the Light Division, who was in charge of the
whole assault. As there were no assembly trenches the ladder parties of both divisions had to form up one behind the other in the
main sap leading up to the Redan, and the assault could not begin simultaneously. Lots were drawn and it fell to the Light Division
to take the lead, and the ladder party of the 97th Regiment, under Major Welsford, consequently entered the sap first, followed by
Captain Hood’s party of the Buffs, with whom went also Major Maude. In the fifth parallel, the nearest trench to the Redan, out of
which ran this sap, the covering parties and formers of both divisions formed, those of the Light Division on the left, and those of
the 2nd Division on the right, the Buffs party being immediately in front of the Quarries. This trench was only nine hundred yards
long and into it were crowded nearly twelve hundred men.
At 8 a.m., nevertheless, all were in position, and it was fortunate indeed that the bombardment of the last few days had largely
silenced the Russian guns, or losses during the four hour’s wait, until the time of the assault, might well have been serious. As it
was, a number of casualties occurred, and Captain Hood was badly hit in the side by a piece of shell, but only on a direct order from
Major Maude was he induced to go to the rear.
At 12 noon precisely the French assaulted the Malakoff, and within a few minutes their tricolour could be seen flying from the
rampart, the signal for the British advance, upon which Captain Lewes’ party of the Buffs scrambled out of the trench and started
to double across the two hundred yards of open ground which separated them from the Redan, the Light Division covering party of
the Rifle Brigade keeping pace with them on the left. Now occurred a slight hitch : the ladder party of the 97th made such slow
progress along the sap that Major Maude, fearing the result of delay, called to his men to climb out at the side. Most gallantly they
followed him across the open under a hail of shot of all descriptions, and they suffered so severely that only seven of the twenty
ladders which they were carrying could be put to the ditch of the Redan.
As it so happened, this ditch, which was from eighteen to twenty feet deep, as a result of the bombardment had filled up in many
places by debris, and the covering parties had been in many cases able to cross without ladders, and had occupied a position which
extended some fifty yards on either side of a salient which here abutted from the body of the work. On the arrival of the ladder
parties an entry was quickly made into the Redan. The Russians, who as had been anticipated were not in great strength, were
taken momentarily by surprise and fell back from the parapets, leaving a number of gunners who were chained to their guns, to be
killed and their guns to be spiked.
Now, however, came the crisis of the day, for although the survivors of the covering and ladder parties were in the Redan they were
not in sufficient strength to do more than hold their own. The Russians were re-forming behind a breastwork at the far end of the
Fort, and strong columns were moving up to their support. The 2nd Division storming party instead of advancing from the
assembly position in the 5th parallel, as the Light Division had done, was moving slowly up the sap, with the result that the Buffs,
on the right, were left entirely unsupported while every moment the Russian fire increased.
At this period Major Maude and Sergeant Moyniham of the 90th Regiment in the Light Division, at the head of a small party of men
of various regiments, greatly distinguished themselves, holding an advance position some way down the left face of the Redan,
quite unsupported against repeated attacks of the enemy, Maude using with great effect the rifle of one of his party who had been
killed. Whilst this gallant little fight was going on the belated storming party of the 2nd Division arrived. So great was the confusion
by now, however, that the impetus had gone out of the attack which had reached no further than the parapet of the Redan. The
arrival of supports served merely to increase the chaos; cohesion had gone and, although there were many acts of individual
gallantry, the majority of men, believing a rumour that the place was mined, preferred to stay where they were and to fire into the
Redan, nor could the efforts of officers and NCO’s induce them to insure the success of the day by a bayonet charge.
Three times did Colonel Windham, who displayed the greatest gallantry throughout, sent back for reinforcements, with the
heterogeneous mass of men on the parapet he could do nothing. Getting no response to his messages, Windham made the error
of going back to see what he could do himself. This was fatal, for the directing head of the 2nd Division was now gone, and just
after the now sorely wounded Maude and the remains of his party came back through one of the mantlets of the fort the young
soldiers of the parties began to break and in a very few minutes the ditch was filled with a mass of disordered men upon whom the
Russians showered grenades as they tried to extricate themselves from the piles of debris and corpses which impeded their flight
back to the British trenches. Put bluntly, after little more than an hour's fighting, the attack had been completely and disastrously
repulsed. The covering parties and ladder parties had done their work right nobly ; quite unsupported as they were, no men could
have achieved more than they did, and had the storming parties instead of checking at the salient, moved into the Redan the story
of the day's fighting would have been very differently told.
The spirit of the men of the Regiment may be judged by the example of Major Maude’s groom. Private Listen of the Grenadier
Company, who, despite the order that all servants should remain in camp, begged to be allowed to accompany his officer, and was
killed at Maude's side before he had reached the Redan, Men detailed for the reserve crept oft to join the assaulting parties, and at
least one bandsman from the reserve was found dead on the parapet of the Redan. The French, fortunately, had not only taken the
Malakoff, but they had been able to hold it in spite of very heavy losses.
Thus with one of the main keys of the fortress in enemy hands, the Russians set fire to the city and all their stores and evacuated
the city by means of a bridge of rafts. Colonel Windham was appointed commandant of the town, and the Buffs with five hundred
artillerymen march in as the garrison. Due to shelling from the northern side of the harbour they were later withdrawn to the camp,
but the Buffs were the only regiment to take their colours into Sebastopol.
The Regiment remained housed around the city throughout the Winter, during which they occupied themselves with military training
and such sports as horse racing and playing football. During this period Private Manville is shown as spending four days in hospital
during the last quarter of 1855 and he was on fatigues on the muster in November of 1855. A Congress was held at Paris on the
29th of February 1856 and as a result of this a peace was signed on the 30th of March. 921 NCO’s and men were awarded the
medal for the Crimea with the clasp ‘Sebastopol’ and the Regiment was awarded that battle honour. The Allies began to leave the
Crimea soon after the peace was signed, most units taking passage to England, but the Buffs headed instead for Corfu. The
Regiment, 556 men strong, boarded the ships ‘Adelaide’ and ‘Imperador’ on the 10th of May 1856 and landed at Corfu some six
days later. The total casualties for the Regiment in the war were 48 men killed in action, 3 officers and 30 men who died of wounds
and a further 22 officers and 106 men who were invalided home.
The musters are quiet during the period in Corfu, Manville was shown as being on guard at the end of the September, October and
November 1856, he is further shown as being in cells for 3 days in the last three months of the year. In February of 1857 he
spends four days in hospital, and is on Regimental employ in April. After three days in hospital in the third quarter of the year, and
1857 draws to a close with no other details in the musters. The Regiment is sent from Corfu in July of 1858 and is split into
detachments on the Islands of Zante, Cerigo and Ithaca, the HQ being on Cephalonia. Manville, under the command of Major T.H.
Somerville and Captain W. Pownall is sent to Zante on the 17th of July, where they remain until they board the ‘SS Oriente’ on the
8th of September for passage back to Corfu. During the period at Zante, on the 6th of August, Manville is appointed as a Drummer,
vice 3123 Robert Dawson who was appointed Corporal.
Once at Corfu, and under orders for service in India, the Regiment then embark on the Steam Ship ‘Perseverance’ on the 22nd of
November and disembark at Alexandria a few days later. At that port the men are loaded on trains to travel to Suez, where they
then embark on the Oriental Company’s steamer ‘Hindoostan’, which is to convey them to Calcutta, arriving there on the 29th of
December 1858. On arrival at Calcutta the Buffs march to Dum Dum, where they go into barracks, no doubt expecting a prolonged
period of undisturbed service in India. By February 1859, Drummer Manville is on detachment at Calcutta under Major Pownall,
where he remains until some time in June, and is again detached at Calcutta at the time of the July and September musters. The
Buffs were not, however, to be allowed a quiet time in barracks, as they are chosen to form part of the force for the forthcoming
operations against the Chinese. The War against China had flared back into life (there had been a peace treaty signed in May 1858),
after the Chinese had prevented the Royal Navy from entering the Peiho river. An attempted assault by a force consisting of mostly
RN & RM had been repelled by the defenders in June of 1859, and the British were keen that this would not reoccur. Thus a large
army force was to be assembled under General Hope Grant, and the Buffs were to join this force which was first to assemble at
Hong Kong and Canton. The Regiment was gathered at Calcutta in October 1859, the first detachment, which included Drummer
Manville, departed from Calcutta on board the ‘Armenia’ on the 12th of October. At that time Allen had just received his first extra
payment for long service and good conduct, a penny a day extra being granted from the 6th of October. From here, we switch to
the Historical Records:-
Their departure from India was somewhat unpropitious, for the first vessel, H.M.S. Adventure which sailed from Calcutta on the 4th
October 1859, with headquarters and five companies on board, was compelled to return owing to a breakdown which was not
repaired until the 12th November. During the period of waiting to re-embark Paymaster F. G. Syms died suddenly, the second
officer to die since the Regiment had come to India—Lieutenant B. D. Wright having succumbed to fever in July.
H.M.S. Adventure being fit to put to sea once more, headquarters and three companies again boarded her, the remaining two
companies embarking in the Coromandel (Indian Navy), The other wing of the battalion, under Major King, meanwhile, had sailed in
the transport Armenian on the 12th October, arriving at Canton on the 9th November, where on the 23rd December it was
ultimately joined by the portion of the Regiment which had originally sailed before it.
At Canton the Buffs found themselves under the command of an old officer of the Regiment in the person of Major-General Sir
Charles Van Straubenzee now about to finish his period of command of the troops in China. Here, and at Kowloon, Hope Grant's
force began by degrees to assemble, a long delay being necessary before it was possible to move northwards, for, in addition to
having to wait for the French, who were based on Shanghai, to complete their arrangements, there had arisen the obstacle
inseparable from all British expeditions, namely the question of providing field transport. In this case, owing to the difficulty of
finding sufficient numbers of suitable horses, and to the impossibility of carrying large supplies of forage, the problem was to a large
extent solved by the formation of a Chinese coolie corps under the command of British officers amongst whom was Lieutenant F.
Morley of the Buffs.
The time at Canton was spent in drilling, route marching and musketry practice, with an occasional field day. As time went on the
force, which eventually numbered close upon 14,000 men, was organized into a cavalry brigade and two infantry divisions of two
brigades each, as follows :
Cavalry Brigade. Brigadier Pattle.
1st King's Dragoon Guards, Probyn's Horse, Fane's Horse, 1 Battery R.A.
1st DIVISION. MAJOR-GENERAL SIR JOHN MICHEL, K.C.E.
1st Brigade. Brigadier Staveley. 2/1st and 31st Regiments, the Ludhiana Regiment.
2nd Brigade. Brigadier Sutton. 1/2nd and 2/60th Regiments, 15th Punjabis. 1 Co. R.E., 2 Batteries R.A.
2nd DIVISION. MAJOR-GENERAL SIR ROBERT NAPIER, K.C.B.
3rd Brigade. Brigadier Jephson. 1/3rd Buffs, 44th Regiment, 8th Punjabis.
4th Brigade. Brigadier Reeves. 67th and 99th Regiments, 19th Punjabis. 1 Co. R.E., 2 Batteries R.A.
A battalion of Royal Marines, a small siege train and 250 Madras Sappers and Miners also accompanied the force. During the long
time which was occupied in assembling and preparing the British force, efforts were made towards a peaceful solution of the quarrel
with China, these meeting with no success, however, on the 1st June the troops embarked on board the huge fleet of 120 steam
and sailing vessels which were to convey them to the scene of operations. To escort this armada there were 70 men-of-war, under
Admiral Hope. Fog delayed the sailing of the ships for twenty-four hours, and no sooner had they left the Canton river than they
encountered such rough weather that the whole convoy had to put back to harbour again. A second start was made on the 8th
June, and by the 2nd July the expedition had safely arrived at Talien-wan Bay, some two hundred miles east of the mouth of the Pei-
Here both the British and the French, who were under the command of General Montauban, landed and went into camp, the former
at Talien-wan and the latter at Chefoo. Stores were landed and depots of supplies for the forth-coming campaign were established ;
this work, never-theless, did not account for the delay of three weeks which occurred due, to a certain degree, to the French lack of
transport animals which they were compelled to procure from Manila and Japan. Transport was not the only cause of the delay it
would seem, for Mr. Harry Parkes, the British Commissioner at Canton who accompanied the force, says of our allies “they act in
every respect like a drag on the coach. They use our stores, get in our way at all points and retard all our movements". Eventually,
in spite of difficulties, all was ready, and on the 24th July the combined forces re-embarked and by the 28th all the ships had arrived
at the appointed anchorage off the mouth of the Peh-tang-ho river, ten miles north of the mouth of the Peh-ho where stood the
On the 30th the disembarkation began, Sutton's brigade of the 1st Division being the first to be towed ashore, with a party of
French troops, to land on the mud flats which here intervene between the river and dry land. The first man to leave his boat was
Brigadier Sutton, who removed his boots, socks and trousers and slung them over his shoulder; his sensible example was followed
by officers and men. After floundering through a mile of mud, they reached at last a narrow causeway upon which they bivouacked
for the night. Not a drop of water was there to be had, every man having drained his bottle during the course of the exhausting
struggle in the mud.
Late in the evening it was discovered that the village of Peh-tang, which lay some little distance along the causeway, was not
garrisoned, and at daybreak on the 31st a staff officer and Mr. Parkes broke open the gates, and Sutton's brigade moved in and
took possession. A heavy storm on this day prevented the further disembarkation of troops, but by the 1st August the weather
had improved sufficiently to allow of a beginning being made in the landing of the remainder of the force. Under the circumstances, it
was only to be expected that this would be a lengthy business, and it was not until the 7th that all the troops had landed, the Buffs
being amongst the last regiments which went on shore on that day.
From the moment that they landed the troops were kept busily employed in making roads, building wharves and landing stores and
material. The conditions under which they existed in Peh-tang were uncomfortable in the extreme. To spread the force over the
countryside was impossible owing to the marshy and muddy nature of the ground, and, in consequence, 18,000 men and 4,000
horses had to be stowed away in a village no more than five hundred yards square. All the houses were thatched, and to stop
cooking and smoking inside them was not possible, there was, therefore, a constant danger of fire which fortunately never
materialized. The inhabitants, most of whom had to be turned out to make room for the force, seemed not unfriendly, for they had
suffered to a considerable extent as a result of the depredations of the Emperor's Tartar troops whom, it seems, they would gladly
have seen defeated. At all events these villagers paid the British soldiers a somewhat doubtful compliment by telling them that the
smell of a Tartar was worse than that of an Englishman. For the first few days the troops fared badly in the matter of food,
receiving only a small quantity of salt beef or pork and a few biscuits which were so hard that without soaking they were uneatable.
To this meagre fare was added a measure of rum of which sixty tots were extracted from one gallon. Looting, which was prevalent
amongst the French and the Chinese coolies, Sir Hope Grant put down with a strong hand amongst his own men to whom, as soon
as they found that there was nothing to fear, the local peasants very soon brought ample supplies which were readily bought.
A reconnaissance on the 3rd August had revealed the fact that the main route to the Taku Forts, which lay along the causeway
already mentioned, was barred by entrench-ments at the village of Sin-ho, seven miles south-west of Peh-tang. As the result of a
further reconnaissance on the 9th, It was reported that there was a cart track, passable for all arms, which ran circuitously to Sin-
ho, skirting the causeway some little distance on its western side. It was not until the 12th that the French, who had been slow in
getting their stores and material on shore, were ready to move. On this day Hope Grant, with the 1st Division and the whole of
Montauban's force, moved off along the cause-way, marching directly for Sin-ho, sending at the same time the Cavalry Brigade and
the 2nd Division to move by the westerly track to turn the left of the enemy's position.
The advance guard of the 2nd Division consisted of 200 men of the Buffs and two Armstrong guns of Captain Milward's battery, the
whole being under the command of Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Sargent who had joined the battalion as second-in-command at Canton in
February. For the first few miles of its march this division, which had moved out from Its billets at 4 a.m., had the greatest difficulty
in getting its artillery along. The track was not passable for all arms, horses were bogged and guns and limbers got stuck up to the
axles in the mud. After struggling for close upon eight hours, sound ground was reached and the division found itself at once
confronted by a very large body of Tartar horse which bore down in the most threatening manner on its left flank. The two
Armstrong guns with the advance guard immediately opened on the Tartars, being reinforced almost at once by the remainder of
the battery which poured in a rain of 12-pounder shells amongst the enemy who appeared quite unmoved and who, according to Sir
Robert Napier, the divisional commander, “bore unflinchingly for a con-siderable time such a fire as would have tried any troops in
the world." Finally, Fane's and Probyn's Horse charged the Tartars who, though greatly superior in numbers, quickly made off, their
ponies easily out distancing the cavalry horses which, after the long time spent at sea, followed by their struggles through the mud
in the morning, were in no condition for pursuit. These two regiments, nevertheless, contrived to do a certain amount of execution
amongst the enemy.
The 1st Division, meanwhile, had had little difficulty in clearing the Chinese entrenchments in front of Sin-ho which village it speedily
captured, being joined later in the day by the cavalry and the 2nd Division. Some two and a half miles to the south-east of Sin-ho
there was another entrenched position about the village of Tang-ku, the only approach to which was along a narrow causeway,
bounded by deep ditches. This position Montauban most strongly urged Grant to press on and capture before darkness on the
12th, but the British commander demurred, pointing out that until he could bridge the waterways which separated the causeway
from the firm ground lying between it and the Pei-ho he would be merely playing into the enemy's hands if he advanced along the
present only possible approach to the position. Montauban, nevertheless, decided to push on, but after an artillery duel which lasted
for some two hours he returned to Sin-ho where the whole force bivouacked for the night.
The 13th August was spent by Hope Grant in bridging the waterways which bounded the causeway on its south-western side to
enable his troops to attack the Tang-ku position from the sound ground on the north bank of the Pei-ho. His arrangements being
completed by the evening, at daybreak on the 14th the French and the 1st Division,which was covered by the skirmishers of the
60th Rifles, assaulted the entrenchments which with little difficulty and slight loss they captured, moving on immediately to take
possession of the village from which the enemy was seen to be retreating in haste. The 2nd Division remained in reserve during this
manoeuvre, but it was pushed forward as soon as the village had been occupied to take up a covering position, and Colonel Sargent
was placed in command of the most advanced post, held by a wing of the Buffs with two Armstrong guns, two 12-pounders, a
rocket battery and two howitzers.
It was at the end of the operations on this day that there came to light an incident that had occurred in the morning which, though
of no military significance, led to the name of a man of the Buffs being handed down to posterity as an example of the dauntless
spirit of the British soldier. It appears that on the 12th August, whilst the 2nd Division was toiling along the track to Sin-ho, a body
of Tartar cavalry, having worked round to the rear of the column, came upon a body of coolies carrying the rum of the division who,
due very probably to the state of the ground, had lagged some distance behind. In charge of this party was a sergeant of the 44th
Regiment who had with him No. 2051 Private John Moyse of the Buffs and a number of Indian followers. The whole party was
captured by Tartar cavalry, and taken off to the Chinese camp. On the morning of the 13th Moyse and his companions were
brought before a Tartar mandarin, Tsan-koo-lin-sin, who declared to them that if they would but kow-tow or touch their foreheads
on the ground before him, no harm would befall them. Moyse refused to do this and he was then warned by an interpreter that if he
did not obey he would be beheaded by one of the escort on a given signal by the mandarin, but still he stoutly declared that he
would sooner die than disgrace his country, whereupon he was instantly cut down and killed, and his body was dragged away. His
companions, who had complied with the demands of the mandarin and thus saved their lives, were brought back under flag of truce
on the evening of the i4th August to Colonel Sargent's advanced post in front of Tang-ku, and here the circumstances of Moyse's
death were made known by them.1
Very soon after this event the action of Private Moyse was immortalized by Sir Francis Hastings Doyle in the poem which is quoted
THE PR.IVATE OF THE BUFFS
Last night among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaff'd and swore ;
A drunken private of the Buffs,
Who never look'd before.
Today beneath the foeman’s frown,
He stands in Elgin's place,
Ambassador from Britain's crown,
And type of all her race.
Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
Bewildered and alone,
A heart with English instinct fraught,
He yet can call his own.
Ay ! Tear his body limb from limb,
Bring cord or axe or flame !—
He only knows, that not through him
Shall England come to shame.
Far Kentish hopfields round him seem'd
Like dreams to come and go;
Bright leagues of cherry-blossom gleam'd,
One sheet of living snow :
The smoke above his father's door
In grey soft eddyings hung :—
Must lie then watch it rise no more
Doom'd by himself so young ?
Yes, Honour calls !—with strength like steel
He put the vision by.
Let dusky Indians whine and kneel ;
An English lad must die !
And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
With knee to man unbent
Unfaltering on its dreadful brink
To his red grave he went.
—Vain, mightiest fleets of iron framed,
Vain, those all shattering guns ;
Unless proud England keep, untamed,
The strong heart of her sons !
So, let his name through Europe ring—
A man of mean estate
Who died, as firm as Sparta's King,
Because his soul was great.
There ensued from the 15th to the 21st August a pause in the operations whilst ten days' supplies were accumulated at Sin-ho,
and the siege train was brought up for the bombardment of the forts. On each bank of the river was a detached fort which from the
west covered a larger or principal fort. On the northern bank the detached fort lay only two miles from Tang-ku, and its capture
would enable fire to be brought to bear on the corresponding fort on the southern bank as well as on the main fort on the same
bank. It was plain, therefore, that this northern detached fort was the key to the position, and Grant began to make his plans for
its capture as the first stage of the forthcoming operations. Montauban, however, demanded a simultaneous advance against the
southern forts which would naturally have entailed dividing the force into two, leaving but a half of it to deal with the northern forts
and to keep open com-munication with Peh-tang. So insistent was Montauban that he actually passed 2,000 of his men across the
river, but finding the approach to the forts so cut up that he could not advance without bridging the breaches he withdrew his men
and reluctantly consented to cooperate in Grant's plan the preparations for which were completed by the 20th August.
At daybreak on the 21st the bombardment began and was vigorously replied to by the Chinese who had reversed a number of their
pieces which up to now had pointed seawards, and had strengthened their batteries by two 32-pounders, recovered from one of
Hope's sunken gun-boats. At 6 a.m. a magazine in the fort exploded, and it seemed to the Allies that all was over, but after a few
minutes the Chinese again opened fire until a second magazine blew up, hit apparently by a shell from one of the gunboats which
had now made their appearance in the river. The 44th and 67th Regiments were then pushed forward with two batteries, the
infantry advancing straight upon the main gate of the fort with the French upon their right, nearer to the river.
Before the storming troops was a series of most formidable obstacles; first a deep dry ditch, then a ditch filled with water, followed
by twenty feet of ground covered with closely planted sharp stakes; a second ditch; a second barrier of stakes and a thick loop-
holed wall completed the defences through which the causeway led. The bridges over the ditches, however, had been destroyed,
and the drawbridge over the last ditch was, as a matter of course, raised. To negotiate the ditches, parties of engineers
accompanied the stormers, carrying pontoons which in the event proved to be no more than encumbrances, for they blocked the
causeway and kept the troops standing under a very heavy fire. Abandoning the pontoons, there-fore, the 44th and 67th
scrambled across the dry ditches and swam the wet ones and, in spite of a storm of missiles from the fort and a cross fire from the
south bank, there were soon assembled under the walls a sufficient number of men to justify an entry being made. Major Anson, of
Sir Hope Grant's staff, meanwhile, had contrived to cut the ropes of the drawbridge with his sword, and across this the men
entered only a few seconds behind the French who had carried with them scaling ladders. The garrison put up a stout resistance,
but it was overcome, being almost annihilated with the bayonet, and by 9.30 the Allies were in complete possession of the fort.
The heavy guns were now brought forward preparatory to bombarding the remaining northern fort, but as they were about to
come into action a white flag was hoisted on the main southern fort, and emissaries arrived with messages for the Allied
Commissioners, Lord Elgin and Baron Gros. These were informed that failing the surrender of the forts within the space of two
hours fire would be reopened. Towards 1 p.m., there being no sign of capitulation, the Buffs and the 8th Punjabis were ordered
forward from the position which they had been holding in front of Tang-ku and, passing the already captured detached fort, they
advanced on the main fort which they entered without opposition, taking 2,000 prisoners. Colonel Sargent with a detachment of the
Buffs, in a naval boat, now proceeded to cross the river to the main south fort over which he managed to hoist the British flag just
before the arrival of a party of French who were bent on a similar mission. A rapid examination of the fort disclosed a number of
burning slow fuses which had been lighted with the intention of blowing up the work. These were quickly extinguished, an explosion
being thus prevented and large quantities of powder being saved.
British losses on this day, which were naturally heaviest amongst the 44th and 67th Regiments, amounted to 201, the French
losing about the same number of men of whom 17 in each force were killed. The Buffs lost but a lance-corporal and a man wounded.
The capture of the Taku Forts which had thus been so successfully accomplished and with such little loss of life was followed during
the next few days by the dispersal of the Chinese garrisons, which were disarmed and allowed to go unmolested to their homes,
and by negotiations be-tween the Allied diplomats and the Chinese authorities. The upshot of these negotiations was the signing of
an agreement by the Chinese Governor-General to give up all the country and the fortifications on the river as far as Tientsin which
city was to be handed over to the Allies. On the 25th the force began its march to occupy that town which lies some thirty-five miles
up the Pei-ho from the Taku Forts, the 60th Rifles and a wing of the Buffs, much to their disappointment, being left behind, the
former to guard the bridge of boats which had been thrown across the river at Sin-ho, and the latter to garrison the captured forts.
In command of this wing in the forts was Colonel Sargent who was appointed commandant and Senior Allied Com-missioner. The
men appear to have been kept busily occupied in helping to demolish the barriers in the river, and in assembling depots of fuel and
supplies against the possible continuation of the war through the winter. Also in the forts was a detachment of French troops
between whom and the Buffs it is pleasant to note, after the earlier friction of the campaign, there existed the best feelings.
Somewhat unskillful handling of diplomatic affairs after the arrival of Grant's force at Tientsin necessitated his moving, with the 1st
Division and a portion of the French force, upon Pekin, sixty miles inland and in the neighbourhood of which, on the 18th
September, there was further fighting. The defection of large numbers of coolies and transport drivers with their animals had
compelled the 2nd Division to be left at Tientsin, and with his comparatively small force Grant's situation began to get somewhat
critical. However, on the 13th October, after much negotiation and many threats, the gates of the capital were thrown open to the
Allies, and ten days later a con-vention determining the amount of the indemnity to be paid by the Chinese, and a confirmation of
the treaty of 1858 were signed.
The occupation of Pekin was marred by the most ruthless looting and pillaging of the Summer Palace by the French troops, nor were
British officers guiltless in this respect, but Sir Hope Grant ordered everything taken by them to be handed over to prize agents for
sale by auction the proceeds of which were pooled in a general prize fund. Their shares in this fund not only Grant but his divisional
commanders, Michel and Napier, renounced and close upon £4 in cash was there and then paid out to every man in the force.
By early November most of the troops were on their way back to the ships, a small garrison having been left temporarily at Tientsin
and the Taku Forts. The earlier operations had been carried out in intense heat and under very trying conditions, the health of the
force, however, had been surprisingly good, the returns showing that in the Buffs but one officer, Lieutenant H. A. A. Breedon, and
fifteen men died from the beginning to the end of the campaign. By the beginning of December the Regiment was back at Hong
Kong where orders awaited it to sail for England at an early date.
For this campaign there was awarded to all ranks who had taken part a medal which, with a bar bearing the words “Taku Forts,
1860" was issued to 818 men, and to 30 officers of the Buffs. Permission was further given, in December 1861, for the honour
"Taku Forts" to be borne on the colours of the Regiment.
The embarkation of the Regiment on this occasion followed the orders for a move rather more quickly than usual, for there were a
number of ships ready and waiting to sail. On the 15th December, in three detachments, the Buffs, with a strength of 30 officers
and 1,076 men, boarded the troopships Tasmania, Miles Barton and Athleta. In the first ship was the headquarters and five
companies, in the second three companies under Major King, and in the third the remaining three companies in charge of Colonel
Until the Cape was reached all went well with these ships, but on a date which is not ascertainable the Miles Barton, hereabouts, ran
ashore and became a total wreck ; the men, however, were all landed safely without loss of life. How this detachment was
subsequently conveyed from the Cape to England is not recorded. The behaviour of officers and men on this occasion was reported
to the Commander-in-Chief, H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, who ordered to be conveyed to Colonel Ambrose, in a letter dated the
23rd April 1861, his appreciation of the exertions of the officers and the discipline and conduct of the men in trying and dangerous
circumstances, mentioning particularly the names of Major H. King, Captain G. N. Roe and Lieutenant F. T. Jones for their example.
As will have been gathered from the earlier chapters of this volume, shipwrecks and losses at sea are far from uncommon events in
the history of the Regiment, or for that matter in the history of any regiment. In the course of this voyage of the Buffs from China
to England, however, In addition to the wreck of the Miles Barton, there occurred an incident which is certainly unique in the annals
of the Regiment, and is possibly also unique in the history of the Army.
On the 3rd February 1861, on the arrival of the Athleta at Cape Town with Colonel Sargent's detachment on board, a number of the
crew began to persuade their comrades to quit the ship and to join one of the vessels which were detained in the harbour as the
result of the desertion of their crews to the Australian gold diggings. The captains of these detained ships were offering enormous
wages in the hope of obtaining sufficient hands to enable them to continue their voyage, the temptation to desert was there-fore
very great, and soon the whole crew had decided to slip off the ship as soon as opportunity offered. The master of the Athleta,
Captain Potter, and Colonel Sargent, however, being aware of the intentions of the crew were able to frustrate their plans by means
of guards and picquets; but on the l0th February, the day before the ship was due to sail, the crew came up in a body and
demanded leave from the captain to go ashore to complain to a magistrate of bad treatment and bad food on board, hoping thus to
delay the sailing of the ship and to take the chance thus given them of deserting.
At this point Colonel Sargent, who realized the risk of months of delay if once these men got ashore, advised Captain Potter to put
to sea at once. This, accordingly, he prepared to do, but not a man would help to weigh anchor or put a hand to a rope. Colonel
Sargent then proposed to the captain to put the crew under a guard and to fill their places with men of the detachment. These
proposals being quickly accepted the sailors were at once confined, and the detachment was ordered to fall in on deck where Colonel
Sargent explained the situation to them and called for volunteers to take the place of the mutineers. Of 60 men who stepped
forward 28 were selected and, headed by Colonel Sargent himself, they straightway went aloft to set the sails, the ship being
outside the harbour almost before the malcontents realized what had happened.
A diet of bread and water for twenty-four hours decided the sailors to ask to return to their duty, but so well did the men of the
Buffs do their work, and there possibly being no prospect of bad weather, that the captain decided to keep them under guard for a
week at the close of which time they were permitted to resume their normal tasks. On being informed that the captain proposed to
transfer to the volunteers of the Buffs the portion of the crew's wages which he had stopped whilst they were confined, the men,
one and all, refused to accept it, saying that they were quite satisfied “with having done their duty as British soldiers, determined to
support their commanding officer in any position". It being strictly against the regulations for a soldier to go aloft, no report of the
incident of the Athleta ever reached higher authority, it seems, however, that no harm can be done by recording it at this distance
Owing to the prompt action of Colonel Sargent, and the support which he received from his men the ship was in no way delayed,
arriving at Portsmouth actually on the same day as the Tasmania which had encountered no hindrance during the voyage, and on
the 16th April 1861 the seven companies which were accommodated in these two ships disembarked and travelled immediately by
rail to Dover where they were later joined by Major King's detachment from the ill-fated Miles Barton.
The musters of the Buffs show quite clearly that they embarked at the Peiho on the 19th of November 1860 and that the Battalion
had reached Hong Kong by the 14th of December, boarding transports the following day for passage to England. Drummer Manville
was aboard the ‘Miles Barton’ (see notes) under Major H.J. King. The paylists show that whilst the majority of the Regiment reached
Portsmouth after a journey of exactly four months on the 15th of April 1861, the men under King left Cape Town on the 7th of
March and arrived on the 25th of April at Portsmouth. The following day sees these men of the Buffs entrain for passage to Dover,
where they are met by the remainder of the Regiment who have gone into barracks there.
Once at Dover, the paylists record that Manville was deducted 3 days pay, which also resulted on the 6th of June 1861 with a loss
of his good conduct pay, this was after he had taken a furlough from the 10th to the 23rd of May. It is strange that Manville was
posted to Dover, but yet still managed to get married at the Parish Church, Horsham, Sussex (just south of Manville’s home town
of Ockley) to a girl called Mary Anne Potter on the 15th of August 1861. The marriage certificate states that Manville, a 25 year old
Soldier of the “3rd Old Buffs” was resident at Horsham, and that his father was a Labourer called John Manville. The bride was a 19
year old minor, a resident of Horsham, whose father Benjamin Potter was also a Labourer. The marriage was carried out by J.
Arthur H. Scott, Curate, and witnessed by Edward and Mary Potter.
After a short spell of only eight months the Buffs are entrained at Dover on the 19th of December 1861 and are sent to occupy
quarters at the Tower of London, one company going into Wellington Barracks. Drummer Manville takes a furlough from the 3rd to
the 27th of February 1862, and it would seem that he is keeping his nose clean, as on the 6th of June, a year to the day of losing
his good conduct pay, it is restored to its value of 1 penny per day. Whilst at the Tower, the Buffs, on the 18th of October 1862,
were present at Hyde Park during the inspection of the Household Brigade by H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge. On this occasion the
Regiment exercised its ancient privilege of marching through the City, by way of Temple Bar, both too and from the review, with
drums beating, bayonets fixed and colours flying.
In the New Year the Buffs are again on the move, this time to the Garrison town of Aldershot, shown in the pay lists as being a
journey of 37 miles. The North Camp at Aldershot then becomes the home of the unit for the next 18 months. Manville is again on
furlough in February of 1863, being away for the entire month from the 1st to the 28th. His health must have been suffering at this
time as he is listed as a ‘convalescent’ on the July 1863 muster, although there is no mention of a prolonged hospital stay. A
furlough is taken for an extended period between the 16th of April 1864 and the 9th of June, this coincides with his re-engagement
with the army for a further 11 years and six months, which he signed at Aldershot on the 14th of April 1864. Three days before his
return from furlough, on the 6th of June 1864, after now serving 10 years in the ranks, he is granted a second penny a day good
The majority of the Regiment leaves Aldershot on the 21st of July 1864, the HQ and five companies (383 men) moving the 198
miles to Sheffield, where they arrived the following day. The remainder of the men (317 men including Manville) are sent to Weedon,
departing Aldershot for the 101 mile journey on the 22nd of July and arriving (plainly by train) the same day. Whilst at Weedon on
the 14th of December, Manville is again deprived of good conduct pay, reverting to a penny a day for some undisclosed offence, and
again on the 20th of June 1865 he commits an offence that results in the last of his good conduct payments being rescinded.
By this time the Regiment has again moved, the Weedon detachment joining the HQ at Sheffield on the 1st of April 1865 (199 men,
97 miles) and then the whole unit moves from Sheffield to Liverpool on the 25th of April. The men cross the Irish Sea to Dublin and
then move inland to the Curragh Camp, arriving there on the 26th. Manville is part of a detachment of around 130 men under
Captain Cox and Lieutenant’s Verey & Ker who are then detached to Athlone, arriving there by the end of July 1865, and returning
to the Curragh on the 5th of October. All is then quiet at the Curragh for the next year, until, after less than five years at home,
the Buffs are again ordered overseas, this time for service in India.
The men transit to Kingstown, Dublin, on the 23rd (317 men including Manville), 24th (321 men) and 27th (76 men) of July. The
date of actual embarkation is not given in either musters or Regimental history, however the three groups arrive at Calcutta on the
12th, 15th and 16th of November 1866. Having been restored a penny of good conduct pay just before leaving Ireland on the 20th
of June 1866, Manville is again deprived of this pay on the 15th of December and sentenced to 4 days imprisonment from the 16th
to the 20th. At this time the Buffs are on the move, having been in Barrackpore on the last day of November 1866, they are in
Gazeeabad on New Years Eve and have reached their new station at Meerut by the end of January 1867. During the first year in
Meerut the Battalion was hit hard by cholera, which claimed 2 officers, 159 men and 59 women and children.
By September 1867 Manville is shown as being ‘at the Married Camp’, and the next month on guard. On the 20th of December he is
restored his first penny of good conduct pay, however he was to keep it for only 7 months, as on the 9th of July 1868 he is again
deprived along with No.980 Private George Reynolds, Manville and Reynolds were to spend the next four days in the guardroom
cells. In December 1868, and at this time serving with C Company, Drummer Manville is sent on detachment under command of
Captain Peachey to Dugshai (in the Simla hills). This was plainly a forward party, as the Regiment is also on route to Dugshai in
January, however they were to stop on route at Amballa (Umballa) to join the force assembled there on the occasion of the meeting
of the Viceroy (Earl of Mayo) and Shere Ali, the Amir of Afghanistan.
The main element of the Buffs joins at Dugshai in May 1869, and two months later on the 13th of July, Manville is again granted a
penny of good conduct pay. The Regiment remains at Dugshai in the cooler environment of the Simla Hills for 18 months, until they
are again on the move in October 1870. Before this move however, Allen again falls foul of the Army’s strict discipline system when
he is deprived of his good conduct pay on the 13th of April 1870, and spends 7 days in prison from the 22nd to the 28th of April.
. The Buffs are now split into two wings, with most of A,B,D,E & F companies moving to Benares (Manville had joined E Company in
July 1870) whilst the remainder of the unit is based at Seetapore. The wing at Benares is under command of Captain’s Parnell and
Graves. The following few years seem to have passed quietly at Benares, Manville being restored his good conduct pay for the fifth
time on the 2nd of July 1872. Problems however begin to surface at this time, and after another loss of good conduct pay on the
16th of January 1863, and a spell in prison from the 19th to 25th of January, Manville is sent for evaluation by a medical board,
which declares him unfit for further service.
On a Regimental Board, held at Benares on the 17th of March 1873, the three officers present (Captain Charles Reeves, Lieutenant’
s Spencer and Howarth) confirm this opinion, stating that his character had been good until the last crime, at which point he may
have been considered to have been of unsound mind. At this time his name had appeared 12 times in the regimental defaulter book,
but had never been tried by Court Martial, he was also in possession of a Crimea medal and China medal, both with one clasp, and
had no educational certificate.
Manville embarks for England on the 28th of March 1873, and at that point he is no longer mentioned on the rolls of the Buffs. He
appears in front of a Surgeon Major at Netley on the 3rd of July 1873 and is stated as having ‘Chronic Mania – developed when
serving in the East Indies at the beginning of the present year and referable to influence of tropical climate’, his medical state at that
time was ‘Irrational in his conversation, and he is a confirmed kleptomaniac’. In this plainly ill state, after a period of a year at Netley,
the Army decide to send Manville to Bow Asylum, where he is sent on the 6th of July 1874 for a period of 12 months. At that time
he is described as being 40 years and 2 months old, 5 feet 5¾ inches tall, sallow complexion, dark eyes, brown hair and a labourer
by trade. He is also stated as having a scar on little finger of his left hand, possibly the wound he suffered in the Crimea. Manville
remained at Bow for 12 months, at which time (July 1875) the Army then discharged him to the care of Dorking Workhouse.
What became of Allen Manville is not clear, certainly he is not listed on the 1881 census for Great Britain, and neither is there a
death certificate for him from 1874 to 1881. It is probable that he became a nameless man from this time, and that his death, when
it came, was never recorded.
Public Records Office:-
Musters WO 12/4993, 35th Foot, 1854-55
Musters WO 12/2145-2163, 1st Bn. 3rd Foot, 1855-1873
Chelsea Hospital Discharge Papers, WO 97/2045
‘Historical Records of the Buffs’
‘Casualty Roll of the Crimea, 1854-56’, Cook & Cook
GRO Marriage Certificate
Lloyds List for 1859 :- No.806, Miles Barton, Master Shelford, 1034 Tons, built St. Johns, 1853, owner Beazley, Home Port of
|Allen Manville - 1st Bn. 3rd Foot - Served 1855 to 1873