Field binoculars, Major Dugald Miller

artefact

Following a dispute over opium between China and Great Britain, it was agreed that a treaty of peace be signed between the two nations to be concluded at Pekin. Unfortunately when Sir Frederick Bruce attempted to sail up the Peiho River to Pekin for the negotiations, three of his gun ships were sunk by fire from the Taku Forts. Subsequently the Chinese Expeditionary Force in 1860 totalling 16,000, in which the 67th Regiment was part, sailed from India and landed at Talien-Wan Bay to the north of the Peiho River in early June.

Progress to the forts was slow due to thick mud and the need to build causeways, but by early August preparatory artillery actions were taking place. On the 21st August 1860 the forts were carried by storm by Major General Sir Robert Napier’s 2nd Division with the Colours of the 44th and 67th being simultaneously placed onto the ramparts. Much gallantry was shown and seven VCs were won, four by the 67th, two by the 44th and one by the India Medical Service. The 67th casualties were 8 officers wounded, 6 men killed with a further 63 wounded.

There now followed the march onto Pekin and because of the capture of members of the Allied staff, who were first tortured and then murdered, it was concluded that it was necessary to occupy Pekin which took place on 5 October 1860.

Dugald Stewart Miller was commissioned into the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot on 24 February 1843. By the time of the battle of Taku Forts Miller was a Company Commander and as a result of the action there was promoted to Brevet Major. In July 1864 the Regiment sent 3 companies to Japan as occupation troops in the area of Yokohama and Major Miller was placed in charge of this detachment, which was to serve in Yokohama until December 1864 when it was sent to Hong Kong. Miller was later to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1870. His binoculars were donated to the Museum on his retirement.

On the left hand lens piece is written:

Major Dugald Miller
67th Regt
Dec 1862

On the right hand lens piece is written:

From his old friend
And Godfather
Sir Thos Dyke Acland