Saturday, April 9, 2011
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY SOLDIER LETTERS FROM THE FRONT IN CHINA August, 1900
This is a letter written to Mrs Wolfe, of Port Carbon. The letter is written by her son Joseph who is a member of the 9th Infantry Regiment. The 9th was serving in China at this time. Private Wolfe participated with his regiment which was in advance in the battles that occurred during the march to Peking and its capture. The letter though brief is one of the only letters I’ve found during the Boxer War. This letter was written after the 9th had participated in the Battle of Tientsin
July 21, 1900
Dear Mother: Today I find time to write to let you know I am well, hoping you are all in as good of health as I am. We left Manila 27th of June, stayed three days in Magaska Japan, and then sailed for China. We had a good hard fight for a start, lousing 10 officers, killed and wounded among them our Colonel and Acting Brigadier General Liscum killed. and about 30 enlisted men. It is reported the 17th Infantry will reach here shortly. We were brigaded with it and the 12th in the Philippines. We live good here. As there are lots of Chinese farms to draw supplies from. I am felling first rate. The climate is about the same as our own part of the world. There is a rumor we will be sent to the U.S. before the year is out. Well we won’t be sorry. I must close with love to all.
Joe Wolfe 9th Inf.
9th Infantry in China
The fight in which Wolfe mentions is the battle of Tientsin:
Tientsin, 13 July 1900. The so-called "Boxers" were fanatical members of a Chinese secret society who wished to drive all foreigners from China and eradicate foreign influences. The Boxer movement gained momentum in the final years of the nineteenth century. By early June of 1900 the foreigners in China, especially those in Peking, found themselves in grave danger.
An international column of sailors and marines, including 112 Americans, made a hurried attempt to go to the relief of Peking, but met with severe resistance after it left Tientsin and failed to get through (10-26 June). The movement against Westerners in Peking reached a climax on 20 June 1900 when the German minister was murdered. About 3,500 foreigners and Chinese Christians, fearing for their safety, took refuge in the foreign legation compound, where they were besieged by thousands of Chinese. A composite military force of 407 men (including 56 Americans) plus about 200 civilians defended the compound. The Great Powers took immediate steps to organize a large relief expedition for Peking, to stamp out what came to be known as the Boxer Rebellion.
Using Manila as a main base, the United States promptly dispatched to China Regulars intended for use in the Philippine Insurrection. The 9th Infantry and a Marine battalion landed at Taku on 7 July 1900. Two battalions of the 9th joined contingents of other powers in an attack on Tientsin, which fell on 13 July, the Americans suffering 95 casualties.
How the soldiers looked during the Boxer Rebellion
I take pleasure in penning you a few lines. Hoping they will find you alive and well as I am. We reached this place on the 14th of August. And yesterday I had my first chance of getting outside of our walls to see the sights, and visited the British legation compound. And let me tell you it is a sight to see. To look at it you would think it impossible for five or six hundred men to hold it against the attack of thousands of thousand bloodthirsty devils that were howling about it for weeks. There is scarcely a square foot of surface that was not bored with bullet and shell. It is a sight I shall never forget. Most people had the idea that the Chinese were armed with clubs and knives, but they have modern arms and plenty of them. And any number of up to date Krupp guns, the same as the German Army uses today. We did not have much of a scrap taking the city. We reached here the evening of the 14th f August, and started marching through an open gate. The Chinese were waiting for us on top of a wall about 250 yards to the front. About a company of us got through when they gave us a volley that came like a big wind. We did not have any time to fire a shot in return before our Colonel gave the order. FOUR RIGHT, ABOUT MARCH.
And we slid out without a man hurt. Early next morning we carried the walls with the lost of one killed and four wounded. The Russians were expected to take the sacred city, but their commander said his men were to tired. They were always too tired when there was fighting to be done. And before they go into a fight they start singing and praying for fair play. You ought to see them you would think it was a crazy house broke loose. Well we pitched in and took four gates of the sacred city that day. The English over here seem to be very jealous of the Americans and the Hindu troops they sent here are good for nothing but looting. But the Japs, the brace little Japs, are just the finest soldiers in the world and much good friends of the Americans. Why you would think like an American. Their commander said: Put the Americans behind them they would storm a wall on top of a hill. I am in the best of health and never felt better, and I’ve got so tall you would hardly know me. I weigh 20 pounds heavier than when I left home.
Your Loving Son
Company I 9th Infantry Regiment.
The other story during the Boxer Rebellion is”
My Post of November 27, 2007 …..A Marines Marine MOH Holder Alexander Foley In Boxer Rebellion