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November 30, 2006

Reilly's Battery... Battery F, 5th US Field Artillery

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...A final council of war assigned each national contingent a gate to attack along the city’s outer walls but agreed to postpone the assault when the Russian commander stated that his troops needed time to recuperate from the grueling march from Tientsin. The agreement was short lived, however, for on the evening of August 13 the Russians stole a march on the rest of the allies and attacked Peking on their own at the gate originally assigned to the Americans. News of the Russian action led first the Japanese and then the American and British contingents to make a mad dash for the city. There, on the morning of the fourteenth, they found the Russians pinned down at the Tung Pien gate unable to make further headway. Soldiers of the 14th Infantry scaled the city’s outer wall and cleared the gate, relieving the trapped Russians and opening the way for additional soldiers to pour into the city. Meanwhile, the British penetrated the outer wall at another point and relieved the legation quarter. The following day, Capt. Henry J. Reilly’s Light Battery F of the U.S. 5th Artillery shattered the gates of the city’s inner wall with several well-placed salvos, opening the way for the allied troops to occupy the central Imperial City.

Excerpted from Chapter 15 of American Military History Vol 1, from the US Army Center For Military History.

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An interesting little tidbit I came across as I was doing a little research for these pics of Reilly's Battery - look at the number of Medals of Honor awarded to members of the China Relief Expedition. MG Adna Chaffee commanded 2500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors in this campaign - that lasted all of two months in terms of fighting, with three major fights, Tientsin 13 July 1900, Yang-tsun 6 August 1900, Peking 14-15 August 1900.

Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have generated... two (though there may be some more in the works.).

Food for thought there. Regarding standards, expectations, culture... and politics.

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