Kanghwa island invasion

This week and next we will explore this long forgotten military episode. In Part 1 we will feature the Marine Corps awardees, while Part 2 will feature the Naval awardees. A short synopsis of the action is described below:

“The American Minister to China, Frederick Ferdinand Low, was instructed in 1870 to secure a treaty for the protection of shipwrecked mariners and, should the opportunity seem favorable, to obtain commercial advantages in Korea. He sailed from Nagasaki for Boisée Island on the Salée  River in May 1871 on board the USS Colorado, flagship of Rear Admiral John Rodgers then commanding the Asiatic Squadron… A treaty of amity with Korea appeared necessary in view of her central location amidst the trade routes of the East and the brutal treatment accorded foreigners who were shipwrecked off her coast.”

Lower ranking Korean officials who met with the US expedition were informed that a treaty was sought with the highest political tiers of their society and requested they be presented. In the interim, the expedition announced their peaceful intentions and made preparations to take soundings of the waterways along the coastline in anticipation of the treaty.

During these actions, however, they were fired upon from Korean forts on the bluffs above. In retaliation a landing force of 651 Marines and sailors was put ashore on 9 June, 1871 “to take and destroy the forts which have fired on our vessels, and to hold them long enough to demonstrate our ability to punish such offenses at pleasure.”

The three day campaign that followed was a brutal, but ultimately successful, military mission. For a more fully detailed story of the action, please visit http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/marine_amphib_korea.htm

The Marines

BROWN, CHARLES
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: New York, N.Y. Enlisted at: Hongkong, China. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado in action against a Korean fort on 11 June 1871. Assisted in capturing the Korean standard in the center of the citadel of the fort.

COLEMAN, JOHN
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 9 October 1847, Ireland. Accredited to: California. G.O. No. 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado in action at Korea on 11 June 1871. Fighting hand-to-hand with the enemy, Coleman succeeded in saving the life of Alexander McKenzie.
(NOTE: SEE NEXT WEEK FOR THE CITATION OF ALEXANDER McKENZIE)

DOUGHERTY, JAMES
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 16 November 1839, Langhash, Ireland. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Benicia in action at Korea on 11 June 1871, for seeking out and killing the commanding officer of the Corean forces.

McNAMARA, MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1841, Clure, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Benicia during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Advancing to the parapet, McNamara wrenched the match-lock from the hands of an enemy and killed him.

OWENS, MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 6 February 1853, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Colorado during the capture of Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting courageously in hand-tohand combat, Owens was badly wounded by the enemy during this action.

PURVIS, HUGH
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 5 March 1846, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.
Citation: On board the U.S.S. Alaska during the attack on and capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Braving the enemy fire, Purvis was the first to scale the walls of the fort and capture the flag of the Korean forces.

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