The Yangtze River Patrol

uaskme

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Then in reference to the Yangtze river squadron they apparently did so with the approval of Southerners the shape of Jeff Davis. Are you suggesting corruption in politics? Now we all know that could never happen with southern gentry involved.

US involvement in China was minimal when compared to the Brits or French. As China had a Civil War that made ours look like a common bar brawl at roughly the same time as ours... I don't think the linked article is quite so knowledgeable as you might like to think.
Yes compared to the Euros it was minimal. The old They did it Too? It seems the Moral Police here have different yardsticks for the 2 Sections. Guess it was Legal, oops, no it wasn’t. Yankee Merchants participated in the Opium Trade and the new Slave Trade from China to Cuba and Peru during this period.
 

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johan_steele

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Yes compared to the Euros it was minimal. The old They did it Too? It seems the Moral Police here have different yardsticks for the 2 Sections. Guess it was Legal, oops, no it wasn’t. Yankee Merchants participated in the Opium Trade and the new Slave Trade from China to Cuba and Peru during this period.
Not really, I view those who get rich off the back of others in a poor light. I don't care if they're southern or martian. Claiming some sort of equivalence though; not so much.

Slavery was legal as some are eager to remind us. Opium at the time was legal as some are eager to remind us. Slavery and the Opium trade as an equivalent... as horrid as the drug trade was and always will be it pales to the reality of racially based chattel slavery such as became a staple of southern society and the heart of the CS labor industry.
 

TnFed

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jgoodguy, thanks to you and Leonard for this thread. I have found it most interesting. So much to know and so little time to learn. The reason that I know a little bit about it is sort of accidental. I was reading one of the Flashman novels and in the story he was with the English sailors that were fished out of the Pei Ho River by the Americans. He was involved in the Taiping Rebellion in the book also. You are right, it made our Civil War look like a barroom brawl.
 

leftyhunter

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jgoodguy, thanks to you and Leonard for this thread. I have found it most interesting. So much to know and so little time to learn. The reason that I know a little bit about it is sort of accidental. I was reading one of the Flashman novels and in the story he was with the English sailors that were fished out of the Pei Ho River by the Americans. He was involved in the Taiping Rebellion in the book also. You are right, it made our Civil War look like a barroom brawl.
To be fair the credit for starting this thread absolutely goes to James Lutzweiler . I was thinking was the Boxer Rebellion the first US military force or intervention in China. Then I looked up the US Navy in China
thanks to the excellent movie " The Sand Pebble".
So what I have discovered so to speak yes the US did consider China important enough to have a military commitment but an extremely modest one at best during the Nineteenth Century.
So no China was not a central theme of American history at least until very recently.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Agreed. The "Yangtze River Patrol" is an interesting chapter in Naval history.

However, it was not limited to the United States.
Most European nations that had economic interests in China during that era, maintained a naval presence on the Yangtze River.
More likely a more serious naval presence then the United States at least up to 1912.
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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To be fair the credit for starting this thread absolutely goes to James Lutzweiler . I was thinking was the Boxer Rebellion the first US military force or intervention in China. Then I looked up the US Navy in China
thanks to the excellent movie " The Sand Pebble".
So what I have discovered so to speak yes the US did consider China important enough to have a military commitment but an extremely modest one at best during the Nineteenth Century.
So no China was not a central theme of American history at least until very recently.
Leftyhunter
For what it is worth the Sand Pebble movie memory prompted my interest. The book was written by a veteran of the patrol and finding the civil war era roots of it all motived me.
 

WJC

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If American merchant ships and missionaries stayed say less then 200 miles from Shanghai you might be right but if not then it's a different story.
Is there any evidence that American merchant ships went beyond Nanjing?
 

jgoodguy

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IMHO it will boats not ships on a river. Smaller shallow draft boats. Some craft would be limited due to being too large needing deeper water to maneuver. The depth of the river is different at different locations and varies with the seasons.
From 1920 Link

United States naval forces on the river are distributed over its entire length. In summer they are usually at Hankow and above. In winter some are locked up to the upper river with the deeper-draft craft in the lower river. Our forces cooperate with the British, taking turns at guarding certain points, each protecting the interest of the other.​
 

leftyhunter

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IMHO it will boats not ships on a river. Smaller shallow draft boats. Some craft would be limited due to being too large needing deeper water to maneuver. The depth of the river is different at different locations and varies with the seasons.
From 1920 Link

United States naval forces on the river are distributed over its entire length. In summer they are usually at Hankow and above. In winter some are locked up to the upper river with the deeper-draft craft in the lower river. Our forces cooperate with the British, taking turns at guarding certain points, each protecting the interest of the other.​
The above link is very valuable. It even gave trade statistics for 1920. The Yangtze River Patrol was far stronger by the 1920s then during the antebellum and ACW era when it was rather miniscule. Even the larger USN presence in 1920s era China was criticized by American business interests as being inadequate as China undergoes Civil War and collapse of law and order.
Looking forward to your future report on the activities of the antebellum and ACW era Yangtze River Patrol.
Leftyhunter
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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I have no idea although that may very well be the case. The USN just had to few patrol boats to cover day more then 200 or so miles. Hopefully @Mark F. Jenkins and @AndyHall will weigh in.
Leftyhunter
Sorry, outside my (present) area of expertise. I've collected some books on the China river gunboats as part of a larger effort to understand riverine warfare in the machine-engined era, but haven't delved very deeply into them.
 

WJC

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I have no idea although that may very well be the case. The USN just had to few patrol boats to cover day more then 200 or so miles. Hopefully @Mark F. Jenkins and @AndyHall will weigh in.
Leftyhunter
Thanks for your response. Deepwater vessels certainly did serve ports as far upstream as Hankow (now part of Wuhan), about 200 miles, which had five concessions during the 19th-century, starting with Britain in 1862. (The U. S. did not have a concession in Hankou).
I don't recall the number of craft the U. S. Navy had on patrol on the Yangtze at any given time, but it is important to remember that ours was not the only Navy on patrol duty.
 

leftyhunter

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Thanks for your response. Deepwater vessels certainly did serve ports as far upstream as Hankow (now part of Wuhan), about 200 miles, which had five concessions during the 19th-century, starting with Britain in 1862. (The U. S. did not have a concession in Hankou).
I don't recall the number of craft the U. S. Navy had on patrol on the Yangtze at any given time, but it is important to remember that ours was not the only Navy on patrol duty.
Per the link supplied by @jgoodguy by the late 1920s there were eleven boats on duty but the number varied. Of course a lot of boats rotated as mentioned in and out of service.
Yes there were other navies but their main priority was in protecting their own interests.
The Yangtze River Patrol from 1854 to 1865 appears to be very small and the USN is stretched out.
So far no evidence that at least in the Nineteenth Century the Yangtze River Patrol was a major focus of the USN.
Leftyhunter
 

WJC

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Per the link supplied by @jgoodguy by the late 1920s there were eleven boats on duty but the number varied. Of course a lot of boats rotated as mentioned in and out of service.
Thanks for your response.
That's my point: at any given time only a portion of the command was on station. It is likely that during the Civil War and in the post-Civil War years only one or at most two U. S. Navy vessels were actively patrolling the Yangtze at any given time. This number certainly increased by the early 20th-century.
 

WJC

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Yes there were other navies but their main priority was in protecting their own interests.
Thanks for your response.
Certainly, that's why every Navy involved was there. But there was a common interest in stopping piracy, outlawry and revolution so that they often worked together.
 

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So far no evidence that at least in the Nineteenth Century the Yangtze River Patrol was a major focus of the USN.
Thanks for your response.
Clearly, our Naval presence was small. Further research into letters and discussions among leadership in the Navy Department, State Department, the President and American merchants will probably show it was virtually a token, a 'way to keep our toe in the door'.
 

leftyhunter

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Thanks for your response.
Certainly, that's why every Navy involved was there. But there was a common interest in stopping piracy, outlawry and revolution so that they often worked together.
So far per the sources the US and British worked together. Perhaps new sources will show if the USN cooperated with other navies other then during the Boxer Rebellion.
Leftyhunter
 

vikingbear

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All the nations helped each other out on the river. You will find out when you read the book. They would join forces to protect western people and stores ect. Edited. Most of these PR's would just have to show up, and let themselves be seen. Most of the time when they deployed ashore, they were ignored by the Chinese. There could be riots and all Edited. would be braking out, and the small group of seamen would keep marching, right through angry people who might yell or toss rotten food at the marching men but otherwise let them rescue westerners and return to the ship. Some said that the locals were afraid of the GB's deck guns and MG's. Only then would the escorted westerners house be looted or burned. If the seamen stayed to guard the house, they might get sniped at , and then, might not. Same on the river, they might get shot at, while protecting shipping, this might highten into a full blown firefight or only a couple shots. If it was some warlord, they might get shot at by a couple artillery shells. Oh ya, if you want to visit the Sand Pebbles you would have to visit aisa, because that's where she is.......or was at least.
It almost seemed like some kind of unoffical rules were being followed by both sides.
 


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