User:Scotchorama/Siege of Concessions in Tianjin

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Siege of Concessions in Tianjin

{{Infobox military conflict | conflict = Siege of Concessions in Tianjin | partof = The Boxer Rebellion | image = [[Railway station riddled by shells during the bombardment, Tientsin, China.jpg | caption = Railway station riddled by shells during the bombardment, Tianjin | date = 20 June - 14 August 1900 | place = Beijing, China | result = Allied victory

| combatant1 = Eight Nation Alliance:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Britain
Empire of Japan Japan
France France
German Empire Germany
Kingdom of Italy Italy
Russian Empire Russia
United States

| combatant2 = Righteous Harmony Society
Qing dynasty Qing Empire | commander1 = United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Sir Claude MacDonald | commander2 = Qing dynasty Ronglu
Qing dynasty Prince Duan
Qing dynasty Dong Fuxiang
Qing dynasty Ma Anliang
Qing dynasty Ma Fulu 
Qing dynasty Ma Fuxiang
Qing dynasty Ma Fuxing | strength1 = 409 soldiers; 473 foreign civilians; 2,800 Chinese Christians | strength2 = 10,000 Manchu Hushenying bannermen, 10,000 Muslim Kansu Braves (engaged in combat)
20,000 Manchu bannermen (not engaged in combat) | casualties1 = | casualties2 = | campaignbox =


The Siege of the International Legations occurred during the Boxer Rebellion in the Chinese city of Beijing (Peking). Menaced by the Boxers, an anti-Christian, anti-foreign peasant movement, 900 soldiers and civilians, largely from Europe, Japan, and the United States, and about 2,800 Chinese Christians took refuge in the Beijing Legation Quarter. The Qing government took the side of the Boxers. The foreigners and Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter survived a 55-day siege by the Qing Army and the Boxers. The siege was broken by an international military force which marched from the coast of China, defeated the Qing army, and occupied Beijing. The siege was called by the New York Sun "the most exciting episode ever known to civilization."[1]

Foreign Concessions in Tianjin[edit]

The walled (Chinese) city of Tientsin at the center of this map was one mile square. The foreign concessions are shown on the far right, just inside the low mud wall that surrounds Tientsin and environs. The Americans, British, and Japanese attacked the walled city from the south; the Russians from the east.

Thousands of Boxers from the countryside converged upon Tientsin and, on June 15, they rampaged through the walled city destroying Christian churches and killing Chinese Christians. On June 16, a mob of partially armed Boxers advanced on the foreign settlement. They were driven off with heavy casualties by volleys of fire from the defenders.[2] The Chinese army near Tientsin stood by and awaited orders from Peking to either support the Boxers or protect the foreigners. As a result of the June 17 attack by the foreign armies on the Dagu Forts, the Qing government of China took the side of the Boxers and ordered the army to attack the foreign settlements. The Chinese began bombarding the foreign settlement with artillery on June 17. The Western and Japanese soldiers defending the foreign settlements were initially stretched thin and all communication with the coast and the allied fleet was cut off for several days.[3]

The Chinese army numbered an estimated 15,000 in Tientsin plus Boxers armed with swords, spears, and antique guns, although the number of Boxer combatants was diminishing rapidly as the movement was fading back into the countryside from where it came. The army were led by general Nieh Shih-ch'eng, who was considered one of the ablest Chinese officers. Most of the Chinese army action against the foreign settlements consisted of a daily artillery barrage. The army fired an estimated 60,000 artillery shells at the foreign settlements. However, most of the shells failed to explode on impact due to inefficiency and corruption in the Chinese ammunition factories and did less damage that might otherwise have been expected.[4]

On June 21, 131 US Marines and 400 Russians made a desperate attempt to reinforce Tientsin by following the railway from the coast to the city. Only two miles from the city they were ambushed by the Chinese and forced to retire, the Americans losing 3 killed and 13 wounded.[5] Additional Western soldiers were unloaded from ships offshore and rushed up the railroad to Tientsin. Five thousand reinforcements reached Tientsin on June 23 to augment the hard-pressed soldiers and civilians defending the foreign settlements. Their arrival caused the Chinese to withdraw from their position on the east which enabled the besieged to establish a tenuous line of communication and supply along the railroad to the coast, 30 miles (48 km) away. The Chinese army continued to besiege three sides of the Tientsin foreign settlements.[6] On June 26, a force of 2,000 sallied from the settlements and rescued Admiral Seymour and his 2,000 men who were surrounded six miles (10 km) out of the city. With Seymour's men they returned to the settlements without opposition. Most of Seymour's force of sailors returned to their ships. Reinforced, and with their supply line to the coast secured, the coalition of allied soldiers in the foreign settlement began planning an assault on the walled city of Tientsin to defeat the Chinese army and open the road to Peking and the relief of the Siege of the International Legations.[7]


  1. ^ Thompson, Larry Clinton. William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion: Heroism, Hubris, and the Ideal Missionary. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009, pp. 1, 83–5
  2. ^ Preston, Diana The Boxer Rebellion. New York: Berkley Books, 199, p. 107
  3. ^ Thompson, pp. 98–100
  4. ^ Robert B. Edgerton (1997). Warriors of the rising sun: a history of the Japanese military. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 76. ISBN 0-393-04085-2. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  5. ^ Paul Henry Clements (1915). The Boxer rebellion: a political and diplomatic review, Volume 66, Issues 1–3. NEW YORK: Columbia University. p. 135. Retrieved 1-9-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ See the report by U. S. Consul Ragsdale on the "Siege of Tientsin" in U. S. For. Rel, 1900, pp. 268–273.
  7. ^ Bodin, Lynn The Boxer Rebellion. London: Osprey Publishing, 1979, p. 15

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