Return to NHC homepageDocuments of the Boxer Rebellion

China Relief Retrospective: Miscellaneous Reports for 1901

Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.

_____

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
Washington, D.C., October 1, 1901.

ASIATIC STATION.

          Operations on this station have been marked by practically uniform success. The conduct of our sailors and marines in China was, in the main, all that could have been asked for, and the disintegration of the insurrection in the Philippines, which followed close upon the heels of the capture of Aguinaldo, has to a great extent relieved the tremendous pressure for officers and men on this station under which the Bureau has been laboring for the past two years.

          Concerning the naval operations in China there is little further to state, as the Bureau's report for 1900 covered most of the important events. Soon after the occupation of Pekin by the relieving column of allies the naval force at Taku was sensibly diminished. The Monocacy remained in this vicinity during the entire winter, going into a mud dock in the Peiho River. The New Orleans also remained in North China waters, rendering assistance to the army and carrying mails from Japan to Chefoo and Shan-Hai-Kwan. In this connection the Bureau is gratified to record the facility with which mails for our soldiers and sailors in China were handled by the postal authorities, special postal employees being sent to China for that purpose. Special acknowledgments are also due to the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company, which volunteered to send messages to and from soldiers and sailors in China at one-half the regular rates.

          The commander-in-chief kept in touch with the situation by placing the monitors Monadnock at Shanghai and Monterey at Canton, and other vessels at various points along the coast where called for by consular officers on account of disturbed conditions, or where deemed necessary by him for the proper understanding of the whole situation. The troubles having finally almost altogether subsided, there remain of these only the Monterey and Monadnock, stationed permanently at Shanghai and Canton.

          Among the incidents which might be mentioned in connection with the campaign for the relief of Pekin during the summer of 1900 the Bureau takes great pleasure in calling attention to the case of two British seamen, Herbert George and Edward Turner, who, at the risk of their lives, rescued a junk loaded with wounded American seamen. Although the Department was unable to award medals to these men, there being no authority in law for such an award, the Bureau is gratified to record that the Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York, with great generosity, furnished the Department with gold medals which were forwarded through the Department of State to these men, with letters suitably recognizing their heroism upon the occasion. The Department has already, in its General Orders, No. 55, published to the service the names of those whose distinguished conduct in this campaign merited such recognition, and the Bureau does not therefore feel called upon to mention them, as was intimated was its desire in its last annual report.

 


OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF,
UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCE ON ASIATIC STATION,
FLAGSHIP BROOKLYN,
Cavite, P.I., August 13, 1901.

SERVICE PERFORMED IN CHINA.

          In China principal interest has centered in the north. The beginning of the fiscal year saw the transition from the minor and comparatively ineffectual operations of small bodies of men, mainly landed from ships off Taku, to the better organized and equipped combined movements of regular troops of the allied forces. I arrived in the flagship Brooklyn, with about 300 marines from Cavite, July 8, off Taku, where up to that time the squadron commander had been in immediate direction of our force. These marines and the Ninth United States Infantry, the first of our regular troops to arrive in China, were disembarked in time to take a prominent part in the attack and capture of the walled city of Tientsin. Our naval contingent had been withdrawn before that time, and therefore our operations on shore were under the control of the senior United States Army officer present, although the marines, all belonging to this command, formed a considerable part of the American force. Throughout the Tientsin and Pekin campaigns, however, every possible assistance was rendered the military force in their communications, disembarking, transportation, and care of the sick and wounded. The presence of the Monocacy in the Peiho River was invaluable, she being at the point of landing or transshipment at Tongku.

          After the capture of Pekin I remained off Taku, in frequent conference with the other flag and senior officers on matters of common interest and policy for the naval forces in China, but no part was taken in any hostile operations. On October 11 all the marines were withdrawn from China, in pursuance of our Government's decision to maintain only a legation guard at Pekin, and then, after briefly visiting Chefoo, Nagasaki, and Woosung, I resumed immediate control in the Philippines.

          The Boxer movement in northern China has spread unrest all over the Empire, and fear of local outbreaks prompted calls from may quarters for the presence of a vessel. It was not practical to meet all these, but the important points where danger seemed most imminent were covered and the people in remote or threatened ports were advised to seek a refuge at some protected place without delay while they could yet travel in safety. Vessels were maintained constantly at Chefoo, Shanghai, and Canton; Swatow, Amoy, Newchwang, and toward the end of the summer, Nanking, Hankow, Kiukiang, and Wuhu, on the Yangtse, were visited. In addition to a vessel stationed at Shanghai, another was always there, ready to go up the Yangtse on twenty-four hours' notice.

          By the Department's direction the Castine proceeded to Amoy, spending a fortnight in September there, observing the landing of a Japanese force, which was shortly withdrawn. On account of this incident and of the important trade communications with the Philippines, I ordered the Marietta to visit Amoy soon after the Castine, and it has been my rule to have our vessels proceeding up or down the China coast stop in at Amoy for a few days. Following this idea, the flagship Kentucky made a short stop at Amoy in May, en route from Cavite to Woosung, China.

          After my departure from off Taku, the New Orleans remained there till the Peiho River closed, then made headquarters at Chefoo. For a short time she carried mail between Nagasaki and Shan Hai Kwan. The Monocacy remained in the Peiho in a mud dock while ice was in the river. With the return of summer the New Orleans cruised in the Gulf of Pechili, visiting Newchwang, Chemulpo, Korea, and other ports, with Chefoo as headquarters.

          With the Department's approval the monitors Monterey and Monadnock were, in November, 1900, and January, 1901, stationed at Canton and Shanghai, respectively, with full complements of officers and men.

          At Cavite they were of no utility except as receiving ships; they suffered rapid deterioration of their bottoms in the water of Manila Bay, and ruinous neglect of their machinery in the hands of constantly changing crews, and special provision had to be made periodically for their going over to Hongkong to dock. In short, they were only a burden before; but in their present stations their size and strength make them more impressive and effective than smaller vessels were, which are thus released for service elsewhere. The monitors lie in better water for their bottoms, and having full complements are able to dock without assistance and to hold target practice regularly off the ports.



SPECIAL SERVICES PERFORMED.

          Besides the ordinary services of vessels of war, the Albany, Manila, and General Alava have been used to transport detachment of marines, and the Brooklyn also carried large numbers to and from China. For the same purpose the Zafiro has proved invaluable, especially for distributing drafts of men and collecting short-time men and officers to be sent home from Cavite.

_____


Report of the Surgeon-General, U.S. Navy.

_____

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
BUREAU OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY,
Washington, D.C., October 1, 1901.

Naval hospital, Yokohama, Japan. -- The hospital has sustained no serious injury during the past year from storms and earthquakes, but minor repairs to woodwork and plastering have been frequently necessary from those causes. The buildings are in a fair state of preservation, but the floor of the lower ward is showing wear and giving evidence of weakened supports. Opportunity has not been afforded during the year for more than minor repairs, as, owing to the number of patients received from the Philippines and as a result of the disturbances in China, the wards and rooms were constantly occupied, at times cases in excess of the capacity of the hospital having been provided for in the Yokohama general hospital and elsewhere.

          The building of the addition authorized by the Department during the year 1900, and now practically completed, will, by providing additional quarters, facilitate improvements and repairs in the wards and rooms now in use. The verandas were repaired and painted, the mess hall papered, additional bedding supplied, and a number of articles furnished for operating room.

          While the supply of water has been ample, rain water stored in iron tanks being used for drinking and cooking purposes and well water for bathing and washing, the absence of running water has been regarded as a great defect in a building used for hospital purposes. It is reported, however, that the city water supply will soon be extended to the bluff, but should that prospect not be realized the situation will be greatly relieved by the small tanks placed in the attic of the new building and supplied by a steam pump. In this connection a contract has been let for a deep well and two 5,000-gallon tanks. This supply will be supplemented by the reserve cistern, having a capacity of 40 tons, and which has always been kept full for fire purposes, pressure having heretofore been obtained by a pump worked by hand.

          The work of this hospital during the past year has been of great importance. Since the acquisition of the Philippine Islands there has been a large force of the Navy and Marine Corps on the station subject to a tropical climate. This force has not only been attacked to ships but also located on shore, the number of marine posts having been steadily increased. The importance and value of Yokohama as a sanatorium was soon realized and advantage taken of the United States naval hospital at that place. The necessity for the enlargement of this hospital soon became evident, and plans were being prepared when the Chinese disturbances occurred. Those disturbances caused the Department to immediately authorize the building of an addition. The work, a description of which is found elsewhere in this report, was begun so soon as the contract could be awarded and has now been nearly completed, the detached building, in poor condition and sometimes used as a ward for contagious cases, having been removed to provide a site.

          The hospital is admirably situated on a bluff free from malarial influences, and the climate is delightful. Though July and August have a mean temperature of 80 F., with a minimum of 70 F., January, the coldest month, has a mean of 38 and a minimum of 30. The dewpoint in January is 30 and in July and August is 70. The annual rainfall is 50 inches. Since the proper sanitary laws and regulations have been made and enforced in the city epidemic disease has become very infrequent.

Return to Documents of the Boxer Rebellion | Frequently Asked Questions: Boxer Rebellion



Source: Navy Department. Annual Report of the Navy Department for the Year 1901 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901), pp. 508, 1173-74.

13 March 2000