Eugene Dupree, July 27, 1900
At Battle of Tientsin
New Bern Boy Tells of His Experience. Slaughter of Chinese. With the Famous 9th.
Tientsin, China, July 27th, 1900.
Ed. Journal:--Thinking that I can write a very interesting letter giving account of one of the bloodiest battles fought between nation for the last few years, I will endeavor to do so, and if you find it interesting enough, why I have no objection to its being published. Five months previous to June the 19th our regiment had been doing garrison duty in the Philippines. But let me say it had been in the Island since April 23, 1899 and has taken part in all the campaigning of the Philippine Islands and only went to doing garrison duty after the insurrection was broken up. When the trouble broke out in China and it was talked of sending troops from the Philippine Islands, why the men of the regiment began to make these wishes, that we would be the ones sent, and these wishes came true, for on June 19th our regiment was ordered to proceed to Manila where it would embark on the transport Logan and sail for Taku, China.
Two days later we were in Manila where we were newly equipped, being given everything new right from the arsenal from a spoon to a rifle. On the eve of the 26th we boarded the transport and at 10 o’clock of the morning of the 27th we steamed out of Manila Bay. It took us 10 days to make the trip including a two days stop at Nagasaka, Japan, where we took on coal. Anchoring in the Bay of Taku, China, our Colonel, E.H. Liscum, who was brevet-General in command of the expedition went ashore to secure lighters as we were to land at Tientsin some 30 miles from Taku, and that trip had to be made up a very small and shallow river. Being able to secure two old Chinese junks and a tug he returned to the transport and after loading them he found it impossible to take off the Regiment so the 1st and 2nd Battalions were sent ashore, and the 3rd was left behind, my Company being one of the 3rd Battalion. We remained on board two days longer, before being able to get ashore. The 1st and 2nd Battalions arrived at New Tientsin on the night of July the 12th.
Now let me first explain about the city. New Tientsin is a very pretty place, being situated on the river, and it is all foreign settled with some very handsome brick and stone residences and stores, no Chinese being settled there at all. Old Tientsin is the walled city, having two walls around it, the first of mud some 20 feet high and nearly as thick, the inside wall is of stone 20 feet thick and 35 feet high, and within these walls are said to be a million Chinese. Before the countries had any troops to arrive here the Chinese had bombarded New Tientsin and nearly destroyed it, the people securing any transportation possible and getting to the beach or the Bay of Taku and receiving protection by going aboard different countries’ gunboats.
On the morning of July the 13th, the Allied forces attacked Old Tien Tsin the 1st and 2nd Battalions of our Regiment taking part and it was after they entered the first wall and charged the stone wall that the Ninth United States Infantry lost 95 killed and wounded. Our General was killed and four officers wounded, the rest being enlisted men of the ranks. We were some 15 miles from Tien Tsin and landed at 11 o’clock. They had been bombarding the city some three hours when we landed, as we had no breakfast each company had their cooks prepare coffee. After getting coffee the 3rd Battalion was sent out to the Railroad station to reinforce the French marines. After getting there we were held some 500 yards back from the firing line or trenches. While laying there the Chinese got a gun trained on us and shelled us so until we were compelled to go in the round house of the railroad and cover the ask [ash?] pits and get in them for protection, using cross ties to cover them with. The bombardment lasted for 17 hours before we entered the city. The Russians, Japanese, English, French and American Marines, entered at 3 [8?] a.m. on the morning of the 14th. My Company was the first to enter the city of our Regiment and in marching to the building where the American Marines had raised the Stars and Stripes my eyes met a horrible sight. The streets were just covered with dead Chinamen, in some places you could hardly step.
The Allied Forces used some 15 big guns. The Americans did not have any big guns. The English used 2 lyddite guns, I do not know the weight of the projectile it throws but its explosions are so great that it kills anything within 50 yards of where it bursts. They just placed shells all over the city. I must admit I saw several women and children who no doubt met their death by these shells.
I have never been able to learn what the loss of the Allied forces were. The United States lost the heaviest, considering the troops she had here, one Regiment of Infantry and about 300 Marines. I have heard the Chinese loss estimated at 30,000.
Everything is very quiet now and I learn we go no further than here. I hope it is true, I have enough of it.
Co. M, 9th Infty.
[New Bern Weekly
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