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Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, vol. 3 (Washington: Goverment Printing Office, 1896): 203-204.

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Report of Ensign Fredrick Pearson

[Report of Ensign Fredrick Pearson, USN, commanding steamer USS Ta-Kiang regarding actions at Shimonoseki, Japan, September 1864.]

                         U.S. CHARTERED STEAMER TA-KIANG,
                         Off Shimonoseki, Japan, September 11, 1864.

     Sir: In obedience to your order, I took charge of the steamer Ta-
Kiang on the 28th August.
     On the 29th I left Yokohama for the island of Hime Sima, where I
arrived at 8 p.m. September 1, in company with the Dutch sloop of
war Djambe.
     September 2. -- At 8 p.m. all the allied fleet arrived, making a total of
eighteen sail.
     September 4. -- At 10 [a.m.] the fleet got underway, steaming in three
columns for the Strait of Shimonoseki. Our position was in rear of
the French column. At 4 p.m. we anchored off the mouth of the
strait, in sight of the batteries on the Nagato shore.
     September 5.-- Moved up closer to the batteries, taking a position
between the English and French admirals. At 4:10 p.m. the English
admiral fired a shot, which was immediately answered by the enemy.
The action now became general, lasting until 5:30 p.m., when all the
batteries in sight were silenced. During the night the English landed
and spiked some of the guns in the first battery.
     September 6.-- At 6 a.m. the Japanese opened fire, which was returned
by the fleet. At 8:30 the Ta-Kiang steamed up close to the first bat-
tery with two of the Duplex's boats, containing a landing party, in tow.
Other vessels having boats in tow steamed toward the shore. The
English, French, and Dutch forces were landed, and by noon the bat-
teries were taken possession of. A skirmish was kept up during the
day, the fleet firing occasional shots. Toward evening the enemy made
an attack upon the force, occupying the first and second batteries,
which, after easy fighting, was repulsed. Before night the land forces
returned to their vessels and our steamer was anchored near the French
     September 7 and 8.-- Twenty-three wounded men were received on
board; also a surgeon and attendants. On the afternoon of the 8th
hostilities ceased and the white flag was shown by all the vessels of
the fleet.
     September 9.-- At the request of the French and English admirals, I
proceeded to Hime Sima, the object being to direct any vessels which
might have arrived there to the strait.
     September 10.-- No vessels being in sight, I returned to the strait,
anchoring off the town of Shimonoseki.
     I received a communication through the English admiral from the
Prince of Nagato, which I send you; also a copy of it in English.
     Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Fredk. Pearson, U.S. Navy
  Ensign [Lieutenant], Commanding Steamer Ta-Kiang.
Commanding U.S. Ship Jamestown, Yokohama, Japan.

[Agreement for cessation of hostilities with Japanese forces.]

     First. Henceforward all ships of all countries passing through the
Strait of Shimonoseki shall be treated in a friendly manner; ships shall
be allowed to purchase coal, provisions, wood, and water, and every
other necessary. As the harbor of Shimonoseki is subject to violent
winds and currents, people suffering from stress of weather shall be
allowed to land without opposition.

     Second. Not only shall new forts not be built, but no repairs shall
be made to the old ones, nor shall guns be mounted therein.

     Third. Although the town of Shimonseki might justly have been
burned for having first fired upon foreign ships, it was left undestroyed.
A ransom shall be paid for this, and in addition to this the whole
expenses of the expedition shall be defrayed (by the prince.)

     I agree to abide by the decision of the foreign ministers at Yeddo
with regard to these two points.

     This agreement being merely for the cessation of hostilities upon this
occasion, it has nothing to do with questions affecting Choshiu, which
have to be settled between the Japanese Government and the ministers
of foreign powers.


GENJI, 1ST Year, 8th Month
True Translation:  


Published: Fri Sep 08 10:20:29 EDT 2017