The new book, written by NHHC writer-editor Emily Abdow, analyzes the U.S. military’s first taste of coalition warfare on a global stage and its first time meeting China on the battlefield.

In the summer of 1900, foreign diplomats living in Beijing’s Legation Quarter were besieged by Chinese imperial soldiers and “Boxers,” members of a secret society determined to rid China of foreign influence. Defending the Legation Quarter was a small international guard that included 56 American sailors and marines. To survive, the Americans communicated with their foreign allies via hand signals, improvised as food supplies and artillery dwindled, and fought fiercely despite nearly impossible odds. But they could not hold out forever.

Relief of the Legation Quarter required additional U.S. Sailors, Marines, and soldiers to join an international coalition and face the significantly larger force of imperial soldiers and Boxers. This monograph tracks the critical role of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the defense of the Legation Quarter and in the campaign that led to its relief.

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Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, ten museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.

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