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Tientsin: The Capture of Tientsin, 13 July 1900

[Translation from original Russian order.]

ORDER TO THE DETACHMENT OF THE EXPEDITION.

CAMP NEAR TIENTSIN,
15/28 June, 1900.

          By the aid of God, and the bravery of my troops and those of other nations, viz, German, English, American, and Japanese, we yesterday succeeded in taking by storm a stronghold of Tientsin known by the name of the east arsenal.

          Neither the open plain, covered by a frightful, hostile fire, nor the ditches filled with water and soft mud, nor the steep walls, were able to stop the advance of the brave storming party which only would be ordered to cease the pursuit of their task when the enemy fled in all directions. Hurrah!

          To you, brave comrades, there is nothing impossible. The Lord, our protector, will show us the way to other victories and glory. On my part, as chief of the expedition, I wish to express to you my heartfelt thanks and my congratulations on the wreath of laurel with which you have decked your glorious colors anew.

          Chief of the detachments.

STESSEL,
Major-General.

_____

List of casualties.

Killed.-- Corporal Lannigan, 21st, shot in face and stomach; Private Provensal, 20th, shot through lungs (accidental); Private J.K. Miller, 21st, shot through neck and lungs; Private Hunter, 23d, shot through stomach; Private Morris, 21st, reported shot through stomach.

Wounded.-- Sergeant Sullivan, 21st, head, very slight; Sergeant Taylor, 23d, foot, very slight; Corporal Kates, 21st, hand, slight (disabled); Private Mathias, 21st, hand, slight; Corporal Hetrick, 23d, hand, slight; Private J. J. Sullivan, 23d, leg; Private Cock, 25th, shell wound, foot; Private C. C. Smith, 25th, bullet, thigh; Private Bailey, 27th, bullet, hand; Private Carter, 21st, fractured thigh, bullet; Private McCoy, 25th, shell wound, thigh, slight; Private Pennington, 30th, hand; Private Francis, 21st, thigh.

_____


HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Tientsin, China, July 9, 1900.

SIR: We made the attack on the Chinese right flank this morning at about 6 a.m. My force was on the right flank of our line. We drove the enemy steadily to the westward, and finally the flanking party, our marines and some sailors (Japanese), entered the arsenal together. We were subjected to a heavy shell fire but had no casualties, although the shells exploded overhead and among men for an hour.

          Chinese losses about 500 -- I think more. Japanese cavalry and artillery did excellent work. Our losses were about 45, of which 7 were killed.

          The arsenal was so badly wrecked that no garrison was left in charge.

          Three miles of the line to the westward entirely clear of Chinese. My prisoners say that Boxers lost so heavily last rain that they fell back to the westward that day. Last rain was on Friday.

          Report as to the capture of Nieh's family by Boxers is confirmed by prisoners. At the same time, they say the troops we fought to-day were his (Nieh's).

          Ma's troops on the other side of the river confronting Russians.

          I think it more than probable that we will make a general attack on the city to-morrow.

          The firing and fire discipline of our men was expert to-day. Fifty of them controlled and overpowered the fire of the enemy while our artillery was passing over a bridge. I was thanked by three different nations for the work of our men. I am glad to say that they are well and fit as fiddles for any work.

          We still need artillery and cavalry very much.

          Some political questions may arise in a day or two and I shall report them immediately. At the same time I am being governed entirely by the Secretary's instructions.

          Chinese shelling from the east did great damage. I have secured quarters for the Ninth entirely out of line of fire. Everything else under fire. My barracks struck again to-day.

          Very respectfully,

LITTLETON W.T. WALLER,
Major, U.S.M.C., Commanding Battalion.

THE SECOND IN COMMAND,
United States Naval Forces, Asiatic Station.

_____

TIENTSIN, CHINA, July 10, 1900.

SIR: I have the honor to report that there will be an attack made on the east and north of Tientsin City (Chinese) to-morrow morning. The expedition starts at 1 o'clock a.m. I have command of the marines and will parade with and direct the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, occupying the head of the column and the right of the firing line.

          These dispositions may, of course, be changed by the arrival of Colonel Meade with the rest of the battalion.

          I have arranged to relieve the Centurion men and marines in charge of the railroad station to-morrow. This place is a very hot corner, and I shall use only the men I now have, as they are thoroughly accustomed to the shelling and "sniping."

          My report of yesterday was sent to the second in command, as I was not aware of the arrival of the commander in chief.

          I take the liberty of sending you the copies of two letters received by me concerning the part taken by my men in yesterday's fight. I hope, sir, that these men may be mentioned to our Government. They have done magnificent work since the 20th of June. To-day there is not a man on the sick list except the wounded. Yesterday their fire discipline was the admiration of all nations, and their admirable fire directed against the enemy kept down the Chinese rifleman so that all the trains, artillery and baggage, were permitted to pass over an exposed bridge without one casualty.

          If the shelling from the Chinese guns continues as bad as yesterday I shall be obliged to move my men. My barracks have been hit three times, and the compounds on either side are plowed up with shells. The quarters I have reserved for the Ninth Infantry are out of the line of fire.

          We expect to have the four 4-inch guns from the Terrible in position to-day. These guns use the lydite shells.

          Very respectfully,

LITTLETON W. T. WALLER,
Major, U.S.M.C., Commanding United States Forces.

THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF,
United States Naval Forces, Asiatic Station.

_____

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Tientsin, China, July 7, 1900.

SIR: The British got up nine more guns last night, two being their 4.7, the rest 9 and 12 pounders. The night was quiet until 1 o'clock, when there was heavy firing on the railroad station. I have not heard the casualties. The British casualties yesterday were 14, I am told. Four were caused by the bursting of an over-sensitive shell in a Krupp gun; the ammunition was German; the guns manned by British marines. Captain Bruce, of the British-Chinese troops, was mortally wounded and has since died, I am informed.

          The engagement at the railroad station caused the Japanese to send out reenforcements. These troops drove the Chinese back for about 700 yards.

          I have sent out a party of sharpshooters, composed of my men and Royal Welsh Fusiliers, to occupy the tower of the English college and pick off "snipers," and to watch for and locate any signals or flag flying from the French concession. This party is under the command of Lieutenant Wynne, U.S.M.C.

          We began shelling the Chinese city, the west arsenal, and viceroy's yamen at noon to-day. There has been little or no reply, though, supposition is that the Chinese are running short of ammunition. I expect they will reply as soon as we cease firing.

          I am glad to say that Major Bruce is not dead. He is shot through the liver, but doing very well indeed.

          The aid to Admiral Seymour has come to me from the Admiral, asking me to state what force of men it would take to make the march on Pekin, holding the line of communication. I replied to this, Not less than 40,000 seasoned troops, with not less than 25,000 in the attacking column. The Japanese general has stated that it would take 55,000 troops.

          I was then asked if I would be willing to serve under a commanding general, if one could be selected. I replied that for the purposes of the expedition I would gladly do so, as I recognized the absolute necessity for a common head for the military operations. I was then asked if I would serve under a prince of the blood if selected. To this I replied in the same manner, that as far as the military operations for the purposes of this expedition I would do so. I was asked if I would serve under a Japanese field marshal, and replied in the same manner. I was asked if I thought the other nations would agree to this, and replied that I did not think the Russians or French would so agree.

          The 4.7 guns were not mounted to-day, owing to some objection on the part of the Russians to the location of the emplacements being too near their camp.

          The Chinese guns fired on us this evening, several of the shells striking in the town. There were six or eight casualties among the British.

          My men drove off a party of "snipers," and report that the Chinese have extended their lines well to the westward, and are still working on trenches in that direction.

          Vice-Admiral Alexieff arrived to-day. I am informed that he has ordered up 2,000 more Russian troops.

          Three hundred Japanese and 200 British Chinese troops arrived to-day.

          I believe a demonstration should be made by troops from Tongku from some point on the right bank of the river against the right flank of the Chinese army now working to the westward in order to surround our position. They are really beginning to threaten the river communication.

          The Japanese general seems to be under the impression that our people at Pekin have been destroyed. He is the best informed as to the situation here.

          July 8, we attack Chinese line at 4 a.m. to-morrow with 2,000 men. Plan advance beyond the right flank of Chinese now being intrenched to the westward of the concessions. My men will occupy the right of line just along the mud wall. The line will curve in toward the Chinese right and drive the forces into the west arsenal, where a general attack will be made. My duty is to cut off the retreat beyond the arsenal toward the city.

          I expect heavy fire from four guns on our right, unless they are occupied by the advance of the stronger force on the opposite side of the canal. My force and its engagement is really a more or less independent action on our side, and only joining in the general line when it has caught up to and advanced beyond our left.

          Our reinforcements are greatly needed, especially if the marines have brought the 3-inch rifles.

          I am arranging the quarters for the men of the Ninth Infantry. I think they can be located with comfort after a little work. It is impossible to be protected from shell fire; we all have it and must take it. Casualties to-day are 2 wounded. Our troops are greatly needed, both practically and for military purposes.

          Very respectfully,

LITTLETON W.T. WALLER,
Major, U.S.M.C., Commanding United States Forces.

THE SECOND IN COMMAND,
United States Naval Forces, Asiatic Station.


U.S. FLAGSHIP NEWARK, Taku, China, July 8, 1900.


SIR: I inclose herewith copy of report of Major Waller, dated July 7, and giving the conditions existing in Tientsin on that date.

Very respectfully,
LOUIS KEMPFF,
Rear-Admiral U.S.N., Senior Squadron Commander,
United States Naval Force,
Asiatic Station.

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
Navy Department, Washington, D.C.

[First indorsement.]

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCE ON ASIATIC STATION,
Flagship Brooklyn, July 10, 1900.

Respectfully forwarded, as the date of the report from Tientsin was prior to my arrival here.

GEO. C. REMEY,
Rear-Admiral, U.S.N., Commander-in-Chief.

[Second indorsement.]

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
Bureau of Navigation, August 31, 1900.

          Respectfully referred to the Brigadier-General, Commandant, United States Marine Corps, via the office of the Assistant Secretary, to note and return.

WILLIAM S. COWLES, Acting Chief of Bureau.

[Third indorsement.]

NAVY DEPARTMENT, September 1, 1900.

          Referred to the Commandant Marine Corps to note and return.

F.W. HACKETT, Assistant Secretary.

[Fourth indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, September 4, 1900.

Respectfully returned to the Secretary of the Navy, contents having been noted.

CHARLES HEYWOOD, Comdt.


HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Tientsin, China, July 12, 1900.

SIR: I have the honor to report the safe arrival at this place of my command, with all artillery, ammunition, and stores. Most of my men are now engaged in storing the latter in the "go-down" set aside for that purpose.

          Fifty of my men are detailed to form part of the outpost stationed at the railway station near here, relieving the marines already on duty at that place. This is a point of great importance, the duties being arduous and performed by details from the joint forces, as is all other guard duty.

          A movement against the native city of Tientsin is contemplated for to-morrow. As a part of this force my command will furnish 1,000 men, of whom 667 will be detailed by the Ninth United States Infantry and 333 by the First Regiment of Marines. This includes the artillery serving under me.

          To-day there has been practically no firing by either of the parties engaged, but it is expected that an artillery duel will be led up to by a bombardment which it is expected our guns will begin this afternoon. Several new guns have been mounted lately by the enemy, as an offset to those dismounted by our pieces.

          The guards of the U.S.S. Yorktown and the U.S.S. Monocacy will be returned to their respective ships by the tug leaving here this afternoon. One of the marines of the Monocacy, Private Bliss, has been retained here as absolutely necessary for duty at this place.

          Very respectfully,

ROB. L. MEADE,
Colonel, United States Marine Corps, Commanding United States Forces.

THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF,
United States Naval Forces on Asiatic Station, off Taku, China.

 

U.S.S. MONOCACY, Tong-Ku, China, July 12, 1900.

SIR: A lighter came down from Tientsin at 10 last night with naval brigade of the Centurion and many sick and wounded. Three of the latter I brought on board, one being Lieutenant Wright, R.N., dangerously hurt. A Mr. Campbell, who said he was invited to go to Newark by Captain McCalla, I shall send off at the first opportunity. The British officer in command of brigade spent the night in my cabin. He reports that the two battalions of the Ninth were sniped going up the river, and had bivouacked at creek coming down from Rail Head. They had started again when he came down, and were near Tientsin, with the marines under way a mile behind.

          The Shenkin has arrived with Third Battalion, and will be put on lighter which brought down the Centurions and same tug take to Tientsin our troops. This by the courtesy of Captain Warrender, R.N.

          Very respectfully,

F.M. WISE,
U.S.N., Commander, Commanding.

THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF

[First indorsement.]

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCE ON ASIATIC STATION,
Flagship Brooklyn, off Taku, China, July 15, 1900.

          Respectfully forwarded for the information of the Navy Department.

          By direction of the Commander in Chief.

R.R. BELKNAP,
Lieutenant, U.S.N., Aide.

[Second indorsement.]

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY,
BUREAU OF NAVIGATION,
August 31, 1900.

          Respectfully referred to the Brigadier-General, Commandant, United States Marine Corps, through the office of the Assistant Secretary, for note and return.

WM. S. COWLES, Acting Chief of Bureau.

 

[Third indorsement]

NAVY DEPARTMENT, September 1, 1900.

          Referred to Commandant Marine Corps, to note and return.

F. W. HACKETT, Assistant Secretary.

_____

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Tientsin, China, July 16, 1900.

SIR: I left Tongku on July 11 at about 8.15 a.m., and arrived at Tientsin after midnight. I found Major Waller and his force quartered in the European concession in houses which were nightly under shell fire of the enemy. Small bodies of the enemy also controlled the streets with rifle fire at night, this fire generally beginning about 10 o'clock and lasting until about daylight.

          Only the foreign concessions were held by the allied forces when I arrived, the French concession being nearest to the walled city, the English next, and the German lowest down the river. The walled city, strongly fortified, and all other portions of Tientsin, also strongly fortified, were held by the Chinese imperial troops and the "Boxers."

          Our force took turns with the other troops of the alliance in guarding the railway station, which was an exposed place, almost continually under shell fire and a very dangerous duty.

          On the 12th instant, at a conference held at the English general's headquarters (Brig. Gen. A. R. F. Dorward), it was decided to attack the city at about daybreak the next day (13th), and I was called upon to furnish a quota of 1,000 men, our marines (22 officers and 326 men) and a force (673 men) from the Ninth United States Infantry, who had preceded us to Tientsin by a few hours. One battalion of the Ninth Infantry was still in Taku or en route.

          At 3 a.m. I marched out of barracks with a force of 22 officers and 326 men, in four companies, Companies A, D, C, and F, commanded respectively by Lieut. S. D. Butler, Capt. C. G. Long, Capt. A. R. Davis, and Capt. B. H. Fuller. Company F was an artillery company of three 3-inch rapid-fire guns and three Colt's automatic guns, and this company was supported by Company D (Captain Long, who was also the commanding officer of the Second Battalion of the temporary organization I have with me in China).

          We marched through the Taku gate of the walled city in two columns, the Japanese forces being to the right and the English and American forces on the left. The column in which the Americans were was distributed as follows: Two companies of the Royal Welsh Fusileers leading, followed by the marines (infantry and artillery), the English naval brigade, and finally the Ninth United Stares Infantry (673 men). The road was very heavy for artillery such as we had, and I do not advise the naval gun to be used as a field piece until some device is gotten up as a limber, because the trail wheel plows into the ground, and the dikes and ditches, which were frequent, necessitated all the united force of the two companies to get the guns across, costing much strength which should have been reserved for the fatigue of the battle field.

          Our verbal orders (we had no written ones) were to march on a line parallel to the city wall, about 1,000 yards in rear and to the southward of the bridge at the south gate, and there the commanding officers were to receive their final instructions. No such meeting, however, was held, and my orders for the marines were to advance along the mud wall in a northerly direction with two infantry companies, leaving the artillery company and its infantry support to act in connection with the British field artillery and to open fire at a point where the Chinese had some 4.7 (or 6-inch) guns mounted, which had been particularly obnoxious. We arrived at the south gate at 5 o'clock a.m.

          The naval battery of the Terrible, under command of Captain Bayly, of the royal navy, had opened fire on the forts and guns of the enemy just before our arrival, and they were responded to by the enemy vigorously. This battery was so accurate in its fire that every shell landed in the place intended for it, and at about 5.45 o'clock a.m. the Chinese magazine was exploded with a shock which was almost like an earthquake shock, and was distinctly felt by all of us, who were standing fully one mile and a half from the point of explosion.

          At about 6.30 a.m. I received orders from the British general to support the Royal Welsh Fusilieers in an attack on the extreme left, and we crossed the wall in skirmish line, having an extensive swamp to cross. The country was a flat, level one, with grave mounds and dikes and ditches in great numbers; and these already dug trenches were a very considerable help to us, as in such an open, fire-swept plain we would have had difficulty in advancing, and would have been compelled, with only the bayonet, to throw up hasty intrenchments. The fire of the Chinese, both in artillery and infantry, was fearfully accurate, as the casualty list will evidence; and I thanked God for the mounds and dikes.

          We advanced by rushes to a line of trenches about 800 yards from the enemy. We found that in our front there were very bad swamps and a stream of water, which would render it impossible for us to have reached the city at that point; but I believe it was not intended that we should advance farther, as the Royal Welsh Fusileers were then in the same skirmish line with us. We reached the advanced position about 8 a.m. I took 180 rounds per man with me -- 100 rounds in the belts and 80 in the haversacks. This is not sufficient for an all-day fight, and as it grew toward night I began to be apprehensive of being left in an advanced position in a fight where no prisoners were taken on either side with only the bayonet to fight with.

          On the firing line the action was especially hot and the enemy's fire especially rapid and accurate, and about 8.30 a.m. the enemy appeared in large numbers on our left and among the grave mounds of the field in which we were, with the evident intention of flanking us. I made a turning movement to the left and rear, and we drove them away. Later in the day, about 2 p.m., they again made a flanking effort, but at this time the infantry support of the artillery company was on the mud wall of the city and aided us by a cross fire. The company was commanded by Capt. C. G. Long. The effort of the enemy proved a failure, and we drove them in.

          We remained in the trenches until about 8 p.m., when we received an order from the brigadier- general commanding to withdraw, which was probably the most difficult action of the day, since the enemy had so well covered our position that their shots struck the crests of the trenches and threw dirt in our faces many being hit. I ordered the withdrawal in small parties of 8 or 10 men, to rush from mound to mound or trench to trench. I had previously sent the wounded to the rear under particularly unfortunate circumstances. I had also to send one dead officer to the rear.

          The withdrawal was successful, only one man being hit, and we were in safety under the mud wall near the south gate.

          General Dorward ordered that the troops should sleep upon their arms that night and on the following morning to enter the city, the south gate to be blown in by gun cotton.

          The troops had nothing whatever to eat on the 13th save the small luncheon (if it may be so called) which each man carried in his haversack. It was not expected when we started that the action would prove so long, but General Dorward, knowing the situation, kindly sent to the reservation for food and other necessaries, and the bivouac proved a success, and the men, although very fatigued, were ready for duty.

          On the 14th instant, the south gate having been blown in, we moved into the walled city at about 6 o'clock a.m.

          We found the city filled with dead Chinamen and animals. No resistance was made to our occupation in the walled city itself, but an infantry fire was kept up by the Japanese infantry upon the enemy, who responded from the suburbs. Since then we have had undisturbed possession of all Tientsin.

          During the day of the 13th instant my force of marines stationed at the railway station were vigorously attacked and suffered heavily. I respectfully append the report of the commanding officer of the detachment.

          The conduct of my officers and men I can not praise too highly. I had them for the most part under my personal eye. I desire especially to call your attention to the conduct of First Lieut. Charles G. Andresen, whose fearless conduct excited the admiration of all; First Lieut. S. D. Butler, who at the risk of his life, went out of the trench to bring in a wounded man and was shot while doing so; First Lieut. Henry Leonard, my adjutant, who brought First Lieutenant Butler in in safety and was dangerously wounded. All conducted themselves well, and I can not commend them too highly. I append a list of the names of the officers who were engaged in the battle.

          Since the armed forces of the Chinese have been driven away one conference of the representatives of the eight powers has been held with reference to city government, and this conference is to meet again to-morrow to elect a president.

* * * * * * *

          I had almost forgotten to state that the Russians, in force, attacked the north side of the city while we engaged on the south. One part of my force was at the railway station during the battle and were driven back by the shell fire. They did not retire far, however, and they guarded what they were sent to guard.

          I regret to report the death of Capt. A. R. Davis, who was killed at my side in the advanced trench. He was killed almost instantly. I had his body brought in with the wounded, and he is buried here in Tientsin, his grave being marked. This was all I could do. Col. E. H. Liscum, commanding the Ninth United States Infantry, was killed in the action, being twice wounded, once through the lungs and again through the foot. He is buried here in Tientsin.

          It being impossible to bring in all the dead, they were buried in the trenches where they fell.

          All the forces engaged spent the night of the 13th on the ground near the south gate, provisions and water having been sent for by the British brigadier-general commanding.

          I take much pleasure in appending a copy of the letter of the British general commanding, commending the conduct of my officers and men.

          I also append a list of casualties of the marines and the Ninth Regiment, and certain other papers.

          I was informed to-day by General Dorward that he contemplated moving on Pekin in about a fortnight.

          It has been utterly impossible for me to make a report before this. Every moment since my return from the front has been fully occupied by important matters. I desire to call attention to the work of Capt. M. J. Shaw, acting commissary and quartermaster, after Captain Lemly was wounded. His untiring activity in keeping the command supplied with ammunition, food, water, and all other necessaries merits commendation from me.

          Maj. George Richards, assistant paymaster, and Capt. W. B. Lemly, assistant quartermaster, on the regimental staff, volunteered to act as my aides, and they accompanied me during the day of the battle (13th). Captain Lemly was wounded in the leg very early in the action and before we had reached the arsenal.

          The forces engaged are estimated to be about 5,650 of the allied forces. The Chinese had about 60 guns, and their forces are variously estimated -- nothing being correct -- but there was a large army of imperial troops and Boxers.

          Very respectfully,

ROBT. L. MEADE,
Colonel, U.S.M.C., Commanding United States Forces in Tientsin, China.

THE BRIGADIER-GENERAL, COMMANDANT,
United States Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.


FIRST REGIMENT OF UNITED STATES MARINES,
Tientsin, China, July 15, 1900.

SIR: In obedience to your order of this date, I have the following report to make:

          At 7 p.m. on July 12 I relieved First Lieutenant Butler at the railroad outpost. The detachment consisted of First Lieutenant McGill and 50 enlisted men. We remained on this duty until 12.30 a.m., July 14, being relieved by the Ninth Infantry, U.S.A.

          The American position was on the right of the French, and extending to the engine house. On the right of the engine house were the English troops.

          The engine house was not occupied, though it was properly prepared for defense against infantry attacks. Traverses made with cross-ties were also built on left flank.

          The lines were subjected all night to a very heavy infantry fire from front and left. The enemy opened fire with their artillery about 4.30 a.m., July 13. At 5 a.m. the artillery fire became so severe that all the men were ordered out of the trenches, except an observation point. Good shelter was obtained by covering the ash pits of the engine house with cross-ties. The enemy having advanced and occupied a burnt village about 600 yards in our front, it became necessary to again occupy the trenches. This was done promptly under a severe fire. After driving back the enemy, the men were again ordered under shelter. At this point 50 men of the United States Infantry, under command of Lieutenant Brown, arrived, having been ordered out as reenforcement. The fire continued severe until about 11 a.m., when it became less intense. At 5 p.m. the artillery fire ceased, and we only had the infantry to contend with.

          This was the state of affairs when I was relieved, at 12.30 a.m., July 14.

          I have to report the following casualties: Private James McConkey, killed; Private Megonigal, severe wound in arm; Private Penney, wounded in thigh; Private Buck, slightly wounded in leg; Private Egelseer, wounded slightly in arm.

          In addition the Ninth United States Infantry had 2 enlisted men killed and six wounded. The English had 4 wounded and the French 2 wounded.

          The behavior of Lieutenant McGill and the men of the detachment proved them to be most courageous, reliable, and efficient. They are deserving of the highest praise.

          Very respectfully,

P.M. BANNON,
Captain, U.S.M.C., Commanding Company N.

THE COLONEL COMMANDING,
First Regiment, United States Marines, Tientsin, China.

_____

UNITED STATES MARINE BARRACKS,
Tientsin, China, July 16, 1900.

SIR: I respectfully report as follows on the movements of the Second Battalion, First Regiment, United States Marines, in the attack on the Chinese city of Tientsin, on Friday, July 13, 1900, and its capture the following morning:

          The Second Battalion, under my command, consisting of one battery of artillery, 3 rapid-fire guns, and 3 Colt's automatic; and one company, Company D; the former commanded by Capt. B. H. Fuller and the latter by First Lieut. R. H. Dunlap. The other officers of the battalion were First Lieut. A. J. Matthews, adjutant; Lieutenants Clifford, Jolly, Little, and McCreary, U.S.M.C., and Assistant Surgeon Thompson, U.S.N. We started from our barracks at about 3 a.m. with the First Battaion, all under the command of Col. R.L. Meade, U.S.M.C.

          When about 1½ miles from the western arsenal, I was ordered to go into action on the right of the Japanese artillery, who had one battery of light field guns. The First Battalion moved to the front and the Second Battalion inclined to the right and moved across the marsh to a position just to the right of the Japanese and outside the outer wall. This was about 2,200 yards from the south gate of the Chinese city, the point to be forced.

          The infantry helped place the guns in position, and about 75 or 100 shells were fired over the outer wall and into the city; Lieutenant Matthews indicating from the top of the wall the fall of the projectiles. Seeing that a better view of the south gate could be obtained from inside the mud wall, the battalion was moved by the left flank through the arsenal gate and took a position inside and to the left. This was at about 6.30 a.m.. From this position the fire was continued, and some very good shots were placed in the Chinese city. One of the Chinese batteries on our left located us and tried to drive us from our position. One 3-inch gun was turned on this battery, also the Colt's guns, but the ranger was too great for the latter to have any effect.

          Our ammunition supply was small, as we had to move it over ditches by hand and keep pace with infantry. After exhausting our ammunition the guns were moved outside the wall and left in charge of Captain Fuller and about 60 men. Lieutenant Porter and the Colt detachment joined Company D, commanded by Lieutenant Dunlap, the Colt guns being left with Captain Fuller.

          We then moved with this force of about 100 men to the extreme left flank of the allied forces, which was noticed to be open and liable to a flank attack by the Chinese, which would enfilade on men already on the line about 600 yards from the inner wall. Arriving there we opened fire on the enemy who appeared to harass the flank. Shortly afterwards, having received a signal to move forward, we went over the wall and advanced in extended order a distance of about half a mile across the marshes, coming up on the left of the First Battalion.

          During the advance the fire against us was continuous and quite heavy, coming from the front and left flank, but we advanced without halting, the last 200 yards in double time. One man, Private Kelleher, was hit in the shoulder just as we arrived on the line, and was sent to the rear later. Just before moving to reenforce the line, Lieutenant Wynne and about 40 men joined my command. This was about 8.45 a.m. About 9.15 a.m. the enemy tried to flank us, so I moved my command about 50 yards to the rear and 100 yards to the left, thus protecting the flank, and also sent Lieutenants Wynne and Jolly with 40 or 50 men well to the left.

          The fire was received and returned all day and several attempts at a flank attack frustrated. My command remained in position until about 7 p.m., when , after the other companies had moved to the rear for a night position, we followed them. Lieutenant Wynne's detachment from the outer wall covered the movement to the rear.

          The officers and men during the engagement, which lasted thirteen or fourteen hours, displayed coolness and in every way the qualities of good soldiers and marines. The artillery, under Captain Fuller and his officers, was handled well, and the fire was effective in spite of the poor ammunition. I inclose a report from Captain Fuller as to the further movements of part of his company. Lieutenant Dunlap, in command of Company D, kept his company under excellent control, and by well-directed volleys and individual fire well protected the extreme left flank of the allied forces. Sergeant Kollock was shot and instantly killed shortly after arriving on the line. He was buried on the field.

          After moving to the rear we took up a night position, and early next morning, the south gate having been forced, the companies moved into the Chinese city of Tientsin, returning to the barracks in town about 1.30 p.m.

          I inclose a report made by Lieutenant Dunlap, commanding Company D. Private Desmonds, Company A, who was acting as a sharpshooter well on our left flank, was wounded in the arm and leg, but moved to the rear without assistance. His actions indicated bravery, fearlessness, and good judgment. My command returned about 2.30 p.m. Captain Shaw, commissary officer of the regiment, was in charge of the barracks, and sent to the front every assistance possible, and was untiring in his energy.

          Very respectfully,

CHAS. G. LONG,
Captain U.S.M.C., Commanding Second Battalion.

THE COLONEL COMMANDING,
First Regiment United States Marines, Tientsin, China.

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UNITED STATES MARINE BARRACKS,
Tientsin, China, July 16, 1900.

SIR: I have to report as follows in regard to the operations of my company in the battle of Tientsin July 13, 1900:

          My company, Company F, formed the crews of three 3-inch naval field guns and three Colt automatic guns. When the column had arrived in the open country to the south of the west arsenal all the artillery was ordered to take position in the rear of the mud wall on both sides of the arsenal gate. The 3-inch guns were placed in position to the right of the gate and opened fire on the walled city, at a range of about 2,200 yards. This position was subjected to rifle fire from sharpshooters in the walled city and from guns firing shrapnel from a fort on the west side of the city. A total of about 75 shells were fired from this position.

          The enemy's guns having nearly gotten the proper range on us, all the artillery was withdrawn into the gate of the arsenal and the 3-inch guns took position just inside the gate to the left, from which position two guns fired at the city, while one at first and afterwards two fired at the enemy's west fort. This firing was continued until all the ammunition was exhausted, a total of 130 rounds. The guns were then retired outside of the wall. Two Colt guns were also brought into action against the west fort, but without any visible result. The 3-inch ammunition was very poor in quality, very few of the shells exploding, making any correct estimation of the range very difficult. Soon after the guns had been withdrawn the crews of the Colt guns, under Lieutenant Porter and Lieutenant Little, were detached and ordered to go with the battalion commander for the defense of the left flank. They remained there the rest of the day. A Colt gun was afterwards taken to the left flank, but after firing for a time was disabled by the breaking of the firing bolt. The rest of the company, about 60 men, remained at the arsenal gate until about 9 or 10 a.m., when, in compliance with a request for reenforcements from the Ninth Infantry, on the right of the line, it was sent by the British general to that point.

          The company was conducted through the arsenal out into the open field to the right, advancing at first in column of files and then deploying to the right, when, by section rushes, we arrived at a point about 200 yards in rear of the line of the Ninth Infantry. Upon arriving there word was passed back by an English officer to remain in the ditches, as nothing could be done at the front. This advance across the open was under a heavy rifle fire, by which the following men were wounded: Sergeant Wimters, in arm, Private Van Horn, leg, serious; Private Rickers, leg; Private Larson, arm; Private Chapman, cheek, Private C. D. Miller, groin and leg.

          We were obliged to remain in ditches and behind a house until about 8 p.m., unable to reply to the enemy's fire, as they were practically invisible from our position. We were in a position, however, to protect the right flank if an attack had been made on it.

          At about 8 p.m. the Ninth Infantry retreated from their position, bringing their wounded with them. They halted under shelter of the house above mentioned, where some of their wounded were attended to by an English hospital steward, and carried to the rear by the men of my company and the English blue jackets.

          In our immediate vicinity all during the day was a company of English blue jackets, under command of a lieutenant from the Orlando. They rendered invaluable assistance in carrying the Ninth's wounded to the rear on the retreat and in forming the rear guard. The retreat was made directly to the rear to the mud wall under fire, but there were no casualties. About 25 of the company on the retreat went to the arsenal gate under Lieutenant Clifford, while the remainder carried wounded into town, returning to the arsenal in the morning in charge of ammunition and provisions.

          Lieut. Henry Leonard, who had joined the company when it went out to reenforce the Ninth Infantry, was wounded in the arm when leaving the cover of the before-mentioned house -- a most gallant attempt to get to the front. He was taken to the rear under a heavy rifle fire by Sergeant Adams and Corporal Adriance, of Company F, whose courage I wish to most emphatically commend.

          Sergeant Foley showed great coolness and bravery in taking position on the extreme right flank, and in carrying messages under heavy fire. At about 7 o'clock the morning of July 14 the company was taken by Colonel Meade into the walled city, leaving there about 1 p.m.. All the company displayed coolness and bravery and conducted themselves satisfactorily.

          Very respectfully,

B. H. FULLER,
Captain Company F, U.S.M.C.

Capt. C. G. LONG, U.S.M.C.,
Commanding Second Battalion, First Regiment of Marines.


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From the general commanding British forces, North China, to the officer commanding United States forces.

TIENTSIN, CHINA, July 15, 1900.

SIR: I desire to express the high appreciation of the British troops of the honor done them in serving alongside their comrades of the American Army during the long and hard fighting of the 13th instant, and the subsequent capture of Tientsin City, and of my own appreciation of the high honor accorded to me by having them under my command.

          The American troops formed part of the front line of the British attack and so had more than their share of the fighting that took place. The ready and willing spirit of the officers and men will always make their command easy and pleasant, and when one adds to that the steady gallantry and power of holding on to exposed positions, which they displayed on the 13th instant, the result is soldiers of the highest class.

          We all deeply sympathize with you in the heavy losses you have suffered, especially with the Ninth Regiment in the loss of their gallant colonel, E. H. Liscum, while at the head of his men, and with the First Regiment of Marines in the death of Captain Davis, who met a soldier's death in the very front of the fight.

          I blame myself for the mistake made in the taking up of their position by the Ninth Regiment, not remembering that troops wholly fresh to the scene of action and hurried forward in the excitement of attack were likely to lose their way. Still the position they took up and gallantly stuck to all day undoubtedly prevented a large body of the enemy from turning the right of the attacking line and inflicting serious loss on the French and Japanese.

          Among many instances of personal bravery in action I propose especially to bring to notice in dispatches the conduct of First Lieut. Smedly D. Butler, United States Marine Corps, in bringing in a wounded man from the front under heavy and accurate fire. Lieutenant Butler was wounded while so doing, but I am glad to learn not seriously. The regimental adjutant, First Lieut. Henry Leonard, as Lieutenant Butler was suffering severely, volunteered to carry him out of the firing line. This gallant feat he successfully accomplished, but I regret to say was very dangerously wounded in so doing.

          The Ninth Regiment were fighting somewhat outside my sphere of action, so I am to bring forward only one instance of personal gallantry in that regiment, although circumstanced as they were, fighting for about twelve hours almost alone and unsupported, and never giving back a foot of ground until directed to retire under cover of night and fire of the naval guns, such instances must have been very numerous. The one I would refer to was the bringing back to me by the acting regimental adjutant, Captain Lawton, of the account of the position of the regiment across a wide and fire-swept space, and returning with reenforcements to guide them to his regiment, when he was severely wounded.

          The withdrawal of the regiment was a delicate military operation finely carried out, on which I congratulate Lieutenant-Colonel Coolidge and the officers and men under his command.

          I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant.

A. R. F. DORWARD,
Brigadier-General.

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Source: Navy Department. Annual Report of the Navy Department for the Year 1900 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900), pp. 1155-65.

13 March 2000