DALNY, July 27th, 1904. DEAR MOTHER:
We left Shimonoseki three days ago and have had very pleasant going on the Heijo Maru a small but well run ship of 1,500 tons. Fox and I got one of the two best rooms and I have been very comfortable. We are at anchor now at a place of no interest except for its sunsets.
We have just been told as the anchor is being lowered that we can send letters back by the Island, so I can just dash this off before leaving. We have reached Dalny and I have just heard the first shot fired which was to send me home. All the others came and bid John and me a farewell as soon as we were sure it was the sound of cannon. However, as it is 20 miles away I'll have to hang on until I get a little nearer. We have had a very pleasant trip even though we were delayed two days by fog and a slow convoy. Now we are here at Dalny. It looks not at all like its pictures, which, as I remember them were all taken in winter. It is a perfectly new, good brick barracks-like town. I am landing now. The two servants seem very satisfactory and I am in excellent health. Today Cecil has been four days at Hong Kong. Please send the gist of this letter dull as it is to Mrs. Clark. When I began it I thought I would have plenty of time to finish it on shore. Of course, after this all I write and this too, I suppose will be censored. So, there will not be much liveliness. I have no taste to expose my affections to the Japanese staff. So, goodbye.
We have been met here with a bitter disappointment. We are all to be sent north, although only 18 hours away. We can hear the guns at Port Arthur the fall of which they promised us we would see. To night we are camping out in one of the Russian barracks. To-morrow we go, partly by horse and partly by train. A week must elapse before we can get near headquarters. And then we have no guarantee that we will see any fighting. This means for me a long delay. It is very disappointing and the worst of the many we have suffered in the last four months. I have written Cecil asking her to seriously think of going home but I am afraid she will not. Were it not for that and the disappointment one feels in travelling a week's journey away from the sound of guns I would be content. My horse is well and so am I. It is good to get back to drawing water, and carrying baggage and skirmishing about for yourself. The contractor gave us a good meal and the servants are efficient but I like doing things myself and skirmishing for them. We make a short ride this morning of six miles to Kin Chow and then 30 miles by rail. "Headquarters" is about a five days ride distant. Tell Chas my outfit seems nearly complete. Maybe I can buy a few things I forgot in Boston at Kin Chow. Fox and I will get out just as soon as we see fighting but before you get this you will probably hear by cable from me. If not, it will mean we still are waiting for a fight. The only mistake I made was in not going home the first time they deceived us instead of waiting for this and worst of all.
We have been riding through Manchuria for eleven days. Nine days we rode then two days we rested. By losing the trail we managed to average about 20 miles a day. I kept well and enjoyed it very much. As I had to leave my servant behind with a sick horse, I had to take care of my mule and pony myself and hunt fodder for them, so I was pretty busy. Saiki did all he could, but he is not a servant and sooner than ask him I did things myself. We passed through a very beautiful country, sleeping at railway stations and saw two battle fields of recent fights. Now we are in a Chinese City and waiting to see what should be the biggest fight since Sedan. The Russians are about ten miles from us, so we are not allowed outside the gates of the city without a guide. Of course, we have none of that freedom we have enjoyed in other wars, but apart from that they treat us very well indeed. And in a day or two they promise us much fighting, which we will be allowed to witness from a hill. This is a very queer old city but the towns and country are all very primitive and we depend upon ourselves for our entertainment. I expect soon to see you at home. In three more days I shall have been out here five months and that is too long. Good luck to you all.
We still are inside this old Chinese town. It has rained for five days, and this one is the first in which we could go abroad. Unless you swim very well it is not safe to cross one of these streets. We have found an old temple and some of us are in it now. It is such a relief to escape from that compound and the rain. This place is full of weeds and pine trees, cooing doves and butterflies. The temples are closed and no one is in charge but an aged Chinaman. We did not come here to sit in temples, so John and I will leave in a week, battle or no battle. The argument that having waited so long one might as well wait a little longer does not touch us. It was that argument that kept us in Tokio when we knew we were being deceived weekly, and the same man who deceived us there, is in charge here. It is impossible to believe anything he tells his subordinates to tell us, so, we will be on our way back when you get this. I am well, and only disappointed. Had they not broken faith with us about Port Arthur we would by now have seen fighting. As it is we will have wasted six months.
Love to Dad, and Chas and Nora and you.
In writing of his decision to leave the Japanese army, Richard, after his return to the United States, said: