Battle of Shanhaiguan (1900)

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Battle of Shanhaiguan
Part of the Boxer Rebellion
Date 1900
Location Shanhaiguan, China
Result Inconclusive
Belligerents
 United Kingdom Qing dynasty Imperial China
Righteous Harmony Society
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Qing dynasty Song Qing
Casualties and losses
Railway destroyed "Old dragon head" destroyed

The Battle of Shanhaiguan was a battle where Boxers and Imperial army troops engaged in combat against British forces.

Chinese Forces[edit]

The permanent Chinese forces stationed at Shanhaiguan consisted of the left division under commanding officer General Song Qing. It consisted of two battalions, one under General Ma Yukun, however, both withdrew to Tianjin in June and July before the battle, which they did not participate in.[1] In June Ma Yukun then received orders from Empress Dowager Cixi to enter Beiing, to crush the Boxer rebels along the way.[2]

Battle[edit]

Part of the Great Wall, the "old dragon head", was destroyed during the battle by the British during a sea attack.[3][4] In response, Chinese Boxer forces responded with a counterstrike and destroyed the railroad nearby.[5]

Honghuzi attacks[edit]

Main article: Honghuzi

Louis Livingston Seaman wrote about an incident in which the Chinese Honghuzi bandits, who were also Boxers, ambushed, tortured, and executed an Eight-Nation Alliance force consisting of Sikhs at Shanhaiguan:

"In January, 1900, during the Boxer campaign (and the Hunghutzes were all Boxers in those days) I chanced to be on the Great Wall of China at Shan-HaiKwan, when a party of five sikhs, with two coolies and a cart, went through a gateway on a foraging expedition for wood. Shortly after one of the coolies rushed back, so frightened he could hardly articulate, and reported that a party of mounted Hung-hutzes had swooped down on the sikhs, who had carelessly neglected to take their arms, and had carried them off and stolen their ponies. The coolies had escaped by hiding in a near-by nullah.[6]

It was " boots and saddles," and in less time than one can write it, the Royal Bengal Lancers, Beluchis, and Gourkas were swarming over the hills in a vain hunt for their comrades and the Boxers. But they were late. Several hours after, they came upon the scene of torture. All was over. There remained only the mutilated remains of their companions and the inhuman instrument that had accomplished its deadly work.

The death instrument was a sort of iron cage, about eight feet high, made of rods fastened to a small ring at the base, resembling somewhat the steel frame of an umbrella on an enlarged scale. The rods were closed round the victim much as they are round the handle of a closed umbrella, and a rudely constructed nut or screw at the top forced them tightly together. In this infernal device the unfortunate sikhs had been forced, one after another, and as the screw was tightened and the flesh of the victim protruded between the bars, these fiends had sliced it off with their swords until the end came, and it came quickly."[7]

Occupation[edit]

In September, Shanhaiguan was occupied by Britain, which wanted to prevent Russia from entering the area.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jane E. Elliott (2002). Some did it for civilisation, some did it for their country: a revised view of the boxer war. Chinese University Press. p. 498. ISBN 962-996-066-4. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  2. ^ David D. Buck (1987). Recent studies of the Boxer Movement. M.E. Sharpe. p. 144. ISBN 0-87332-441-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  3. ^ Stephen Turnbull (2007). The Great Wall of China 221 BC-AD 1644. Osprey Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 1-84603-004-8. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  4. ^ Thammy Evans (2006). Great Wall of China: Beijing & Northern China. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 9. ISBN 1-84162-158-7. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  5. ^ Middle East and Africa. Taylor & Francis. 1996. p. 742. ISBN 1-884964-04-4. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  6. ^ Louis Livingston Seaman (1904). From Tokio through Manchuria with the Japanese. PRINTED AT THE APPLETON PRESS, NEW YORK, U.S.A.: S. Appleton. p. 158. Retrieved 18 March 2012. "of twenty well-mounted men to accompany us wherever it suited our convenience to go, and directed that we should be furnished with good mounts whenever we desired. The photograph of Li Hung Chang, already referred to, contributed in no small degree to the cordial relations that we had established. General Chung was a great admirer of the old statesman, and through this influence our new host welcomed us as old friends. This was not, however, my first acquaintance with the Hung-hutzes. In January, 1900, during the Boxer campaign (and the Hunghutzes were all Boxers in those days) I chanced to be on the Great Wall of China at Shan-HaiKwan, when a party of five sikhs, with two coolies and a cart, went through a gateway on a foraging expedition for wood. Shortly after one of the coolies rushed back, so frightened he could hardly articulate, and reported that a party of mounted Hung-hutzes had swooped down on the sikhs, who had carelessly neglected to take their arms, and had carried them off and stolen their ponies. The coolies had escaped by hiding in a near-by nullah." LONDON SIDNEY APPLETON COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY Original from the University of California Digitized Nov 21, 2007
  7. ^ Louis Livingston Seaman (1904). From Tokio through Manchuria with the Japanese. PRINTED AT THE APPLETON PRESS, NEW YORK, U.S.A.: S. Appleton. p. 159. Retrieved 18 March 2012. "It was " boots and saddles," and in less time than one can write it, the Royal Bengal Lancers, Beluchis, and Gourkas were swarming over the hills in a vain hunt for their comrades and the Boxers. But they were late. Several hours after, they came upon the scene of torture. All was over. There remained only the mutilated remains of their companions and the inhuman instrument that had accomplished its deadly work. The death instrument was a sort of iron cage, about eight feet high, made of rods fastened to a small ring at the base, resembling somewhat the steel frame of an umbrella on an enlarged scale. The rods were closed round the victim much as they are round the handle of a closed umbrella, and a rudely constructed nut or screw at the top forced them tightly together. In this infernal device the unfortunate sikhs had been forced, one after another, and as the screw was tightened and the flesh of the victim protruded between the bars, these fiends had sliced it off with their swords until the end came, and it came quickly." LONDON SIDNEY APPLETON COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY Original from the University of California Digitized Nov 21, 2007[1][2][3]
  8. ^ JSTOR (Organization) (2006). Modern Asian studies, Volume 40, Issues 3-4. Cambridge University Press. p. 640. Retrieved 2010-11-28.