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A Boxer Rebellion Bring Back


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Sometimes a little historical gem will surface on eBay. This small silver spoon is one such example. Small in size, but firmly linked to a much larger historical event- one that, during the summer of 1900 held a good part of the world's attention. We have lately, read and seen some great medal groupings linked to Marines who helped break the seige of Peking's diplomatic quarter during the Boxer Rebellion. But what happened after the armies of the Eight Nation Alliance finally reached the Legations. Finding the Chinese Imperial Court had fled along with much of the Chinese Army, the Allies, joined by a number of Chinese citizens, as well a number of surviving Chinese troops and Boxers (minus any identifying paraphernalia) looted the city. The Russians and French were reported to, along with looting, shoot any local in their path, the British were masters at looting and soon developed an organized system involving auctioning off the findings. The Japanese went looking for the Imperial gold and silver reserves. The Germans eager to avenge the death of their Ambassador started destroying "Boxer" villages surrounding the city. The Italians and Austrians looted too. And the Americans....

 

Even the American ambassadors wife was seen running with an arm load of fine silks and furs. Many missionaries looted, claiming compensation for the earlier loss of their property. Our soldiers looted as well. But the American commanding general Adna Chafee, a veteran of the Civil War, would have none of it. Disgusted with what he saw, he ordered all large loot to be gathered and returned to whatever Chinese government could be found...knowing of course these Chinese officials were most likely to sell it and keep the profits for themselves. Out of officers and soldiers tents came furtniture, rugs, art which was then returned. Of coure, given what is still turning up in family collections and at auction houses, not everything went back. Which brings us to this little spoon found on eBay with a military envelop, from an Army organization that was disbanded in 1901, with the inscription written in pencil "captured in Pekin China". No other clues, apart from a Chinese makers mark to a silversmith named "Xin". Even the purpose of the spoon is unknown. Maybe it was too insignificant to have to be returned, maybe the soldier who took it had no intention of returning it. Whatever the reason it survives is now lost to history, but it still can remind us of 55 days in 1900 when World held its breath and the American fighting man, under incredible conditions helped save hundreds of innocent lives from certain death.

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Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Neato!

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Yes I got it several years ago but you can see the spoons outline on the envelop.....they have been together a long time....I am guessing (and it's only a guess) a soldier from the 14th brought it home back to the PI as the whole 9th Reg stayed in Peking for another year or so

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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Really nice souvenir! Thanks for taking the time to put it into context for us.

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