Battle of Amoy

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Battle of Amoy
Part of First Opium War
18th Royal Irish at Amoy.jpg
The 18th Royal Irish Regiment storming the fortifications at Xiamen
Date26 August 1841
Xiamen ("Amoy"), Fujian, China

Coordinates: 24°27′28″N 118°4′24″E / 24.45778°N 118.07333°E / 24.45778; 118.07333
Result British victory

 United Kingdom

Qing dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Hugh Gough
William Parker
15 ships[1]
2,500 troops[2]
26 junks
5,600–10,000 troops[3]
Casualties and losses
2 killed[4]
15 wounded[5]
more than sixty dead[6]
500 guns captured[7]
26 junks captured

The Battle of Amoy or Xiamen was fought between British and Qing forces at Xiamen (then known as "Amoy" from the local pronunciation of the name) on Xiamen Island, Fujian, in the Qing Empire on 26 August 1841 during the First Opium War. The British captured the forts at Xiamen and on nearby Gulangyu Island ("Kulangau").


Before the engagement, Qing forces prepared defenses along the shores of Xiamen and built batteries on Gulangyu Island. The British began the battle by bombarding the island's batteries for two to four hours (sources vary), with little effect. Land forces then disembarked their transports and took the batteries with little resistance. The day was noted as being very hot and fatiguing to the men. Qing forces withdrew and the city fell the next day. A garrison force of 550 men, mostly from the 18th, and three ships — the Druid, Pylades, and the Algerine— were left moored at Gulangyu to defend Xiamen.[8]

Rosa Luxemburg provides a brief account of the battle in her book The Accumulation of Capital.

"On August 25, 1841, the British approached the town of Amoy, whose forts were armed with a hundred of the heaviest Chinese guns. These guns being almost useless, and the commanders lacking in resource, the capture of the harbour was child’s play. Under cover of a heavy barrage, British ships drew near the walls of Kulangau, landed their marines, and after a short stand the Chinese troops were driven out. The twenty-six battle-junks with 128 guns in the harbour were also captured, their crews having fled. One battery, manned by Tartars, heroically held out against the combined fire of three British ships, but a British landing was effected in their rear and the post wiped out."[9]

Commander John Elliot Bingham (late first lieutenant of HMS Modeste) wrote a detailed first-hand account of the battle from a British perspective.

British order of battle[edit]

Officers Enlisted men
Artillery 9 240
18th 30 648
26th 8 153
49th 24 460
55th 26 731
Madras Sappers 6 184
total 103 2416

Ships: Wellesley, 74 ; Blenheim, 74 ; Blonde, 44; Druid, 44; Modeste, 18; Cruiser, 18; Pylades, 18; Columhine, 16 Bintinch, 10 ; Algerine, 10 ; Sesostris, 4 ; Phlegethon, 4 ; Nemesis, 4 Queen, 4[8]




  1. ^ MacPherson 1843, p. 350
  2. ^ Hall & Bernard 1846, p. 230
  3. ^ MacPherson 1843, p. 342
  4. ^ MacPherson 1843, p. 347
  5. ^ MacPherson 1843, pp. 338, 347
  6. ^ MacPherson 1843, p. 342
  7. ^ MacPherson 1843, p. 338
  8. ^ a b Frontier and Overseas Expeditions From India, vol. 6, p. 382
  9. ^ Luxemburg, Rosa (1913) The Accumulation of Capital Routledge, 2013 p. 371