Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Result||American Military Victory, Korean Diplomatic Victory|
|Casualties||350 Koreans KIA, 3 Americans KIA|
Shinmiyangyo (lit. Western Disturbance of the Year of Shinmi) was first American military action in Korea in 1871. The main reasons for the US presence in Korea were to secure a trade treaty, establish an agreement to protect shipwrecked seamen, and ascertain what happened in the General Sherman Incident in 1866.
The landing forces consisted of about 650 men (over 500 sailors and 100 Marines). In this fight, the US had Remington rolling block carbines (.50-45), the Marines had Springfield muskets and Navy Plymouths; the Koreans had matchlocks. They landed at Choji Fortress on June 10, with no opposition; they camped nearby overnight. The next morning, they finished destroying the fort, dumping or spiking cannons and then moved on, with Marines travelling ahead as skirmishers.
The Korean forces banded together as guerilla units but, armed with only matchlocks, and being kept in check by US artillery (12-pdr. howitzers on field carriages), they could not get within effective firing range. The US troops moved on toward the next objective, Dukjin Fortress (Fort Monocacy).
The Korean forces had, likewise, abandoned the second fortress, choosing to mass together farther north. The Marines quickly dismantled this fortress, too. Like the past fortress, they dumped and spiked cannon, burned stores, etc.
Next, they went onward toward their main objective, Kwangsungbo (Citadel). The Korean forces had regrouped there, en masse. Along the way, some Korean units tried to flank the US forces; they were checked, again, by strategic placement of artillery on two hills nearby the Citadel.
Artillery, both from the ground forces and also from the USS Monocacy, offshore, pounded the Citadel and the hill directly west of it, in preparation for an assault by US forces. The US forces, made up of nine companies of sailors and one company of Marines, grouped on the facing hill, keeping cover and firing at any defender who showed himself.
When a signal was given, firing stopped and the US forces charged toward the Citadel, with Lt. Hugh McKee in the lead. The Koreans fired as fast as they could, but the US forces gained ground before they could reload; the Koreans even ended up throwing rocks at the attackers. Lt. McKee was the first in the Citadel, with a sword in one hand and a revolver in the other. He was shot in the groin and speared in the side by Koreans inside. After him came Commander Schley, who shot and killed the Korean who speared Lt. McKee.
The fighting went on for only fifteen minutes or so and all the defenders were either killed, wounded and captured or escaped. When the fighting was over, about 350 Koreans were dead and three Americans (Lt. McKee, landsman Seth Allen and Marine Denis Hanrahan). The US took 20 Koreans as captives, and hoped to use them as a bargaining chip to meet with Korean officials, but the Koreans refused, calling the captives cowards and telling the Americans they could keep them as chattel. The Koreans sent in reinforcements, this time with modern rifles, and Admiral Rodgers retreated to China on July 3rd.
The US won the battle, militarily, but lost diplomatically, as the Koreans refused to open up the country to them (and the US forces didn't have authority or strength for occupation). However, these events spelled the end of Korean isolationism, and in 1876 Korea established a trade treaty with Japan after Japanese ships approached Kanghwa and threatened to fire on Seoul. Treaties with European countries and the US soon followed.
The Chemulpo Treaty
From April to May 1882 Korea and the United States negotiated and approved the 14 article treaty, which established mutual friendship and defense in case of attack, the ability of Koreans to emigrate to the US, most favored nation trade status, extraterritorial rights for American citizens in Korea, and non-interference of Christian missionaries proselytizing in Korea.
The treaty continued until Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and controlled it until the end of World War II.
The next US military presence in Korea took place at the end of WWII, in 1945; the next military conflict in Korea, involving the US, was the 1950-53 Korean War.
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