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THE DUTCH AND THE CHINESE IN BORNEO.

(From the Java Courant, Sept. 25.)

On the 23rd Sept., H.N M. steamer Borneo returned to Batavia from Sambas, bringing intelligence of important advantages gained over the hostile Chinese on the 11th and 12th. Pemangkat has been taken, and the enemy defeated. Three hundred dead have been counted on the part of the enemy. The wounded found thereabouts amounted to a number quite astounding, taking the circumstances into consideration.

The fight was furious; the enemy fought desperately; our troops fought bravely. The victory, however, cost bloody sacrifices on our part. The estimable- Colonel Sorg, commander of the expedition, and leader of the first column, who was severely wounded in the field of battle on Bali, was again, in storming the principal redoubt, struck by a shot from the enemy, so that he was obliged to relinquish the command, but which he did not until the Dutch flag had replaced that of the Chinese, and the victory was secure.

There were also wounded Lieutenant Maavschalk, engineers ; Ist Lieutenant Kusch, infantry; Lieutenants Van der Bank, and Van Kasteele of the navy, Dr. Mullcr, navy; besides 67sub-officers and men of the land and sea forces. Eight men were killed.

Thefollowingis an abstract of the report of the Vice-Admiral, Commander of 11. N. M. Navy in the East Indies, to the Governor-General:—

On the 9th September the steamer, Borneo left Sambas with'the military and! the marines of the Borneo, forming a to-

tal of more than 300 men, while 27 large and small prahus, carrying the baggage and the provisions of the soldiers, and the ammunition and the coolies, were taken in tow by the -steamer. At three o'clock in the afternoon the Borneo came to anchor at the mouth of the river in front of Pemungkat, where H.M. schooner Kameleon, the government schooner Haul and two gun-boats were stationed. H. M. corvette Boreas, on account of her deeper draft of water, was obliged to remain in the outer roads. The lauding of the troops in armed boats took place ear|ly in the morning of the 11th ; the Borneo then steamed very near the Chinese Benting, situated in the bay at the east side of the little hill Peniebungan, against which a regular and well maintained fire with shell and grape was opened from i the 30 pounder-gun of the steamer while the guns of Kameleon and Himi fired at the defences of the enemy on and at the west side of the small hill. The Chinese being very soon compelled to leave the place, the signal was given for the landing of the marines, amounting in all to Ht>'men; which was no sooner effected than this column advanced through a marshy and woody country in order to form a junction with the chief division of the troops, Avhich was to approach the principal fortification of the enemy by another road. The small benting on the banks of the river and another on the top of the hill Peniebungan were taken possession of, and the marines debouched from the forest near thekongsie house at the very moment that the troops met much resistance in their first attack, and were even assailed in their rear. A general attack was then made on the kougsie house, which was taken by storm. The garrison of the enemy was killed on the spot; prisoners were not made by any party.

At the storming, Lieutenant-Colonel Sorg. the military commander; Lieutenant Van den Bank, of the navy; and Lieutenant Maarrschalk of the engineers, were severely wounded, besides many non-commissioned officers and soldiers.

The Chinese made repeated attempts to re-take the kongsie house. On the evening of the conquest they still tried an attack, which was however powerfully repulsed. During the night all was quiet; but in the morningof the 12th the attacks were again renewed. At half-past two o'clock in the afternoon the enemy stormed from three sides at the same time, with heavy masses against our men, but they were again received with as much courage and coolness as formerly, and compelled to retreat with a great "loss in dead. Towards mid day two swivels and some ammunition which had been requested by the military commander, were sent on shore from the Borneo and arrived in the Banting under a very heavy gunfire from the enemy, by which the surgeon of the second class," W. C. Muller, received a wound in his leg which he dressed himself, and still continued to attend to the wants of others. Lieutenant J. C. J. Van de Kastoele, of the navy, was also slightly wounded.

On the 13th, loth, and 16th, September the new Benting on the top of the hill was erected; the surrounding country was cleared of trees and brushwood, and two S-poundefs with 90 soldiers were put iii as a garrison.

The number of the enemy is said to have been-5,000, of which they lost more than 900 in dead and wounded. Our loss during a fight of two days amounted, as regards the marines, to 3 deaths and 24 wounded; and including land forces and navy to 8 deaths and 67 wounded.

The following is extracted from the report of Major-General Penning Nieuwlaud, Chief of the General Staff, to the Governor-General:—

Lieutenant-Colonel Sorg arrived at Sambas with the first division of the expedition on the 21st August. On the preceding day Pemangkat had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and its inhabitants, had dispersed themselves by night. The enemy, to which that place was of the greatest importance, with all possible exertions established batteries, and very soon commenced to annoy the blockading flotilla with the fire from their shore batteries, which was answered by the fire of our vessels and boats. On the 30th August, the secoud division of the expedition arrived at Sambas, and while the preparations for the attack on Pemangkat were in progress, the Borneo arrived with the third or last division. On the 9th the troops arrived in the roads of Pemangkat, and all the preparations for the landing were made on the 10th. The force of the enemy was estimated at 3,500 men, of which 700 were armed with jantos, an iron gun which is carried by two men; the rest were armed with lances, klewangs, and scythes. Our landing force, including the marine reinforcement, consisted of 20 officers and 44S men, with 200 Malay axiliaries from Sambas, and the requisite coolies. This force was divided into three columns, in order to land at three different places ; intending to take the exterior fortifications of the enemy, and afterwards to attack tho chief defence at the Kongsie house. At four o'clock in the inornin» of the 11th September the first troops had already been carried on shore by the prahus and boats. The chief column, (which Colonel Sorg accompanied) consisting of tho 6th flank Company (Europeans) cominauded by Captain Bade, the 2nd Centre company under Captain Crona, 32 marines of Corvette Boreas, under Lieutenant Van dor

I Bunk, with four mortars, under the Lieutenant of Artillery, Riesz, lauded at halfpast five o'clock. THe advance was extremely difficult, through a dense forest and marsh into which the men sunk to the knees at each step. At 7 o'clock, the column reached the wet rice field. Colonel Sorg intended to attack the enemy from the rear, and to batter the chief redoubt from a height. At 8 o'clock the vanguard reached the foot of the hills, and was then received by a heavy fire from the enemy, but our skirmishers drove them back with vigour, and dispersed them. The firing very soon became general, and the enemy retreated slowly towards their fortifications, contesting every foot of ground. A part of our troops remained in posi-j tion on the conquered heights, while the: rest followed the enemy, who defended themselves with an incredible obstinacy. The hand mortars took their position and acted well; a good part of the victory is to be attributed to c the artillery.

At last the Ist column approached the chief redoubt. The moment for storming had come, our soldiers undaunted ; they climbed the high palissades, in order to enter, and nearly ;all of them were fighting hand to hand with the enemy.

In the mean time the 2nd column, consisting of five officers and eighty-two men, under Lieutenant Tiedenburg had disembarked, and after having taken the landing place, had marched towards the kongsie house, where it arrived at the same moment that some of the braves of the chief column had entered it, and the fight was the most heavy.

The storming was now general, the enemy was fighting desperately, our men with lion's courage. Our men, entering from all sides, maddened by the fight, made a slaughter which will remain in the recollection of the guilty Chinese. All who could not escape by (light were killed by our warriors.

The Chinese flag was hauled down, and the flag of Holland was raised.

The 3rd column, under Lieutenant Pheiffer with 26 men of the garrison of Sambas and 150 auxiliaries, had landed about the same time with the 2nd column, and having taken the forts at the landing place, followed the enemy, but having passed the forest at their arrival on the plain, the resistance of the enemy was so determined that the auxiliaries retreated, which compelled the small party of soldiers to retreat towards the landing place, in order not to sacrifice itself completely. It ought to be mentioned, that this column was only intended to make a feint, but was'forced to take a more active part in the fight than had been expected, through the circumstance that it met a party of the enemy retreating before the chief column.

The chief redoubt was taken, but notwithstanding their terrible loss, the enemy had not lost their courage; they dared to attack the chief redoubt they had lost; but being repulsed, a sally drove them further back. However the next day, the 12ih, they repeated three times the attempt to recover the redoubt, the last time they attacked it from three sides but were again repulsed, and followed by a sally, were put to flight further on. The Chinese had approached near the palisades, and were there shot down. During the whole day the fire of the enemy from the mountains did not cease, and it stopped only towards the evening of the 12th. And soon no euemy was more seen. It must be said to their honour that they fought gallantly.

After having destroyed the redoubt at Pemangkat, our men took position on the point Pentebungan, erected there a fort, which, provided with guns, commands the mouth of the river, and the inhabitants of Pemangkat are already coming back, in order so establish themselves ou the ruins of their campong under our protection.

The deserving Lieutenant-Colonel Sorg was wounded by a gunshot in the right leg during the storm. The medical report is unfavourable with respect to the state of the wounded in general. The loss of the enemy is astonishingly great. It is estimated at 300 deaths, which number is unquestionable. In one of the corners of the redoubt alone seventy-two dead bodies were lying; therefore by taking the double of the death for the number of the wounded, it will certainly not be exaggerated to fix the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded at 900 men.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WI18510312.2.15

Bibliographic details

THE DUTCH AND THE CHINESE IN BORNEO., Wellington Independent, Volume VI, Issue 565, 12 March 1851

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THE DUTCH AND THE CHINESE IN BORNEO. Wellington Independent, Volume VI, Issue 565, 12 March 1851

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