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Battle of the Straits of Shimonoséki
July 16, 1863

Almost two weeks after Lee retreated from Gettysburg and the Stars & Stripes went up over Vicksburg, “Abe Lincoln’s Navy” was involved in an episode on the other side of the globe. U.S.S. Wyoming and Jamestown were cruising the Pacific protecting American interests and keeping an eye out for the commerce raider C.S.S. Alabama. Near the end of her time on station, the Wyoming was suddenly called into action against anti-foreign elements that were disrupting the government of Japan. While the military dictator of Japan, the Tokugawa Shogun Iesada, favored opening the realm to trade with the rest of the world, a considerable number of feudal lords energetically opposed this. They demanded an end to Shogunal rule and a return of power to the emperor, with the expulsion of all foreigners – while advocating the creation of a modern military that would allow them to expand the empire. To punctuate their hostility to the Shogun, the anti-government elements launched a campaign of terror. Murder and arson were commonplace in Tokyo. During one of the many disturbances, the U.S. Consulate was burned to the ground, forcing the Consul, Robert Pruyn, to remove to Yokohama. With American citizens and interests at risk, the U.S.S. Wyoming, under Commander David McDougal, was ordered in May 1863 from Hong Kong to Japan. The situation went from bad to worse when an edict from the imperial house was issued ordering all foreigners to be swept out of Japan. Urged by his advisors, the Japanese Mikado had set 25 June 1863 as the date for the expulsion of all aliens.

The Wyoming was a screw sloop of 1457 tons displacement. She was 198.5 feet long and had a beam of 33'2". She carried a crew of about 200 sailors and Marines. Under steam, she could make 11 knots if her hull was clean and her engines in good repair. Her firepower consisted of two 11" Dahlgren smoothbores, a 60-pound Parrott Rifle and three 32-pounders. 

The imperial order had its first consequences when hostilities erupted during the night of June 25-26, 1863. At one o'clock that morning, two armed vessels -- illegally flying the flag of the Japanese central government, or Shogunate -- attacked the American merchantman Pembroke, bound for Nagasaki and Shanghai, as she lay anchored in the Strait of Shimonoséki awaiting a pilot and the turn of the tide. Fortunately, Pembroke suffered no casualties, got underway, and moved out of danger and continued her voyage for Shanghai, post-haste, without making her scheduled stop at Nagasaki. Word of the incident did not reach Yokohama from Japanese sources until the 10th of July. This first report indicated that the Pembroke had been sunk with all on board. The next evening, mail from Shanghai brought "authentic information" confirming the attack. The United States Minister in Japan, Robert H. Pruyn, sent for the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Japanese government and informed him in the presence of Commander McDougal of the gravity of the situation, stressing that an insult to the American flag was a serious matter. After being told by Pruyn that the United States government would demand satisfaction and expect a statement from the Japanese concerning the offense, the Japanese diplomat begged that the Americans do nothing until his government at Yedo (Tokyo) would take action.

After the Japanese left, McDougal told Pruyn that, despite being under orders to return to America, he realized that the situation called for prompt action on his part; he had decided to proceed instantly to the Shimonoséki Strait to seize and, if necessary to destroy, the offending vessels. The two men agreed that failure to punish the outrage properly would encourage further anti-foreign incidents. Their decision to nip the situation in the bud was reinforced by word that the vessels of other powers had also been attacked. A French dispatch boat was attacked shortly after the Pembroke and narrowly escaped sinking in mid-channel. Her commander reported his experience to Captain Casembroot of the Dutch steam-frigate Medusa of 16 guns. On account of the longstanding friendship between the Dutch and the Japanese, Casembroot had gone to Shimonoséki with the expectation of making peace; but hardly was the Medusa in the channel when she was under heavy fire. Before she could get away she had been hulled thirty-one times, and had lost four killed and five wounded. A day or two later, a French gunboat was hulled three times as she dashed past the batteries at full speed, and a Satsuma vessel, which was mistaken for a foreigner, was sent to the bottom. It was evident that the Japanese knew how to handle their guns, and had the range of the channel



Captain David McDougal (left, in his post-war admiral's uniform), and

The harbor at Shimonoséki (below)

Accordingly, Wyoming prepared for sea. At 4:45 a.m. on 13 July, Comdr. McDougal called all hands, and the sloop got underway 15 minutes later, bound for the strait. Joseph Heco, a Japanese national working for the U.S. Consulate, recorded:

July 13th. I got up early in order to comply with the Consul's order, and not to disappoint the Minister, got on board a few minutes after 4 a.m. expecting to find the Minister already there. But he was not there. The Wyoming had steam up and was ready to get under weigh. Captain McDougal asked me whether I had seen the Minister since the conference of the day before. I said I had not, but that I had received the Consul's order at 11 p.m. the previous night, and had come off, thinking that he was already on board. Then the Captain said, "Well, he must be coming, since he agreed that he would!" At 5.30 a.m. E. S. Benson came off, saying that he had heard that the Wyoming was going down the Inland Sea on business and that he had an invitation from one of the ward-room officers to join us for the trip. Meanwhile the Captain kept looking anxiously through the glass shore-wards, but never a sign of the coming of the Minister did he see. So at 5 m. past 6 o'clock we hove up anchor and steamed slowly out of the harbor of Yokohama. The Captain invited me to his cabin and placed me in the spare room, since the Minister had not come.

After a two-day voyage, Wyoming arrived off the island of Hime Shima on the evening of 15 July and anchored off the south side of that island.  Again, from Heco’s account:

July 15th. After breakfast, the Captain, the Doctor and myself were sitting in the Captain's smoking-room when the Captain asked my opinion about the "situation" and of the feeling of the people and the Daimio towards foreign nations.

I told him that so far as I heard and knew the feelings of the Daimio towards foreign nations were divided, some being favorably disposed towards them, others being neutral, and some hostile. Those who were either actually or feignedly hostile were strong, and were bent upon driving foreigners from the country at any cost. An order to this effect had been given by the Mikado to five of them, of whom Chôshiu  was one.

He then asked me whether I thought the Chôshiu  men would fire on an American man-of-war. I said that a merchant man or a man-of-war would make no difference to them.

"Then do you think we ought to prepare for an attack?" asked the Captain.

"Yes, decidedly so." I answered. "It is highly advisable to make all the preparations and to take all the precautions necessary in a case of emergency."

After this conversation the Captain ordered his officers and men to prepare for action. The guns were shotted, and muskets and revolvers loaded and made ready for immediate use. At 3 p.m. we entered the Bungo Channel and passed the island of Takanaba. At 5 p.m. we came to anchor at Himeshima in the Suwo Nada close to the Bungo side.

The Straits of Shimonoséki separate the islands of Kyushu and Honshu and serve as the passageway from the East China Sea to the Inland Sea, a major area of trade during the 1860s. The Honshu side of the straits was under the control of the fiefdom of Prince Chôshiu, one of the most rabid of the anti-foreign element in Japan. He had mounted guns in six batteries which dominated the passage and stationed three warships under the guns. No move was made by the Shogun to bring his rebellious vassal to heel. With the Tokugawa dictatorship openly unable (or unwilling) to control the anti-foreign faction, confrontation was the only option left to McDougal.

At five o'clock on the morning of July 16, Wyoming weighed anchor and steamed toward the Strait of Shimonoséki. She went to general quarters at nine, loaded her pivot guns with shell, and cleared for action. Heco provides a first-person description of events:

July 16th. The weather was clear with not a cloud to be seen in the whole sky. About 5 a.m. we weighed anchor and steamed slowly onward in search of the vessel that had fired on the Pembroke. We zigzagged from one side of the Suwo Nada to the other hoping to meet her, but without success. So at length we changed our course from the Bungo to the Suwo side, and from there we made towards Shimonoséki. In case we failed to find the vessel, we meant to proceed to Hagi, the old Capital of Chôshiu .

By nine o'clock the sun in a cloudless sky had waxed scorching. There was not a breath of wind, the sea smooth as a tank of oil with not a ripple on its surface save that made by our own motion as we churned onwards. The deck was strewn with fire-arms and cutlasses ready for use at a moment's notice. About this time the Captain ordered the men to haul in the big guns and to cover up the ports with tarpaulins, so as to make us look like a merchant-man. About 10 a.m. we were within a few miles of the Eastern entrance of the Straits of Shimonoséki. The Lieutenant in the forecastle called out that he sighted two square-rigged vessels and a steamer at anchor close in to the town.

The warship entered the strait at 10:45 and beat to quarters. Her entry was announced by signal guns on shore, and as soon as she came in range she was fired upon by the batteries. She made no reply, however, until she reached the narrowest part of the straits. At that point the larger shore batteries concentrated their fire; beyond, in more open water lay three armed merchantmen, all heavily manned, and with their crews yelling defiance. Oddly enough, these were all American vessels – the bark Daniel Webster (six guns), the brig Lanrick (Kosei, with ten guns), and the steamer Lancefield (Koshin, of four guns) -- which had been purchased by the Chôshiu clansmen. In the land batteries, too, were five 8-inch Dahlgren guns which had recently been presented to Japan by the United States. McDougal judged the greater threat to be the three warships and was pleased to see that all were still at anchor. He could engage them first, hoping to catch them before their cables were slipped and they made for deep water. The bark lay anchored close to the town on the northern shore, the brig was about fifty yards outside and a little beyond, while the steamer lay further ahead and outside, that is, nearer mid-channel. As McDougal approached the narrows, he noticed a line of stakes which he rightly guessed had been used by the Japanese to gauge their aim. Accordingly, he avoided the middle of the channel and steered close under the batteries. This shrewdness probably was the salvation of the Wyoming, for the batteries at once opened a tremendous cannonade which would have sunk a dozen vessels in mid-channel, but which only tore through her rigging. In an instant, the Stars and Stripes were raised and the challenge answered with shells from the Wyoming’s two 11-inch Dahlgrens. Wyoming ran through the fire of the shore batteries with no injuries and only minor damage. She soon cleared the narrows and bore out into the open water where her guns could reply.

While Dr. Dambey, Mr. Benson and I were standing on the quarterdeck the report of a big gun suddenly thundered in our ears. On looking up we saw smoke issuing from the wooded bluff on the mainland on our right as we were bearing down towards Shimonoséki. I at once hurried to the Captain on the bridge and told him that I fancied that this gun was a signal for battle. And on my way back to the quarter-deck a second report rang out from a second battery, further within the Straits. And in a few more seconds, yet another broke the silence and rolled rumbling about along the hill-sides. This was from the innermost battery of all on a lofty height right behind the town. A few seconds later, a tongue of fire leapt from the place where the first shot had been fired, and before the smoke had begun to float upwards I heard a hurtling screech, and a column of water spurted up and fell back with a splash just about twenty feet astern of where we were standing talking on the quarter-deck. The gunners on shore clearly meant business.

Commander McDougal then gave orders to "go in between those vessels and take the steamer." The Yokohama pilots protested loudly, but the American had made up his mind to take the chances of shallow water and headed for the three ships. Heco records , "When we heard this, everybody on board, I noticed, became excited and some of the men became quite pale -- for it was no easy matter to take an enemy's vessel without a hand-to-hand fight, and many of the crew I was told had never been under fire."

As Wyoming narrowed the distance to the Japanese ships, Orderly Sergeant Abel Clegg ordered his twelve Marines to load their muskets and prepare to fire. McDougal intended to run his ship right between the enemy vessels, engaging the bark and the brig to starboard and the steamer to port. When he did, the Marines were to demonstrate their prowess as marksmen and pick off the enemy gunners. Wyoming would pass so close to Prince Chôshiu’s ships that even the poorest shot in the guard would not have an excuse for missing his target. Immediately a fresh battery of four guns opened a raking fire, but the Wyoming answered with a single shell so accurately aimed that it tore the entire battery to pieces. Dashing ahead, she passed abreast the bark and the brig (Kosei) at close quarters and exchanged broadsides with both.

At precisely 10.50 a.m. we ran right in between the three Chôshiu vessels, and treated them to a salute from our two Dahlgren guns. After delivering our broadside we steamed slowly out and crossing the bow of the steamer Lancefield , we worked towards the channel pounding away at the enemy all the while. Meanwhile the enemy kept up an unflagging fire from ships and batteries alike But their aim was wild; we noticed that the guns on shore were all fired and trained upon the channel, and we passed so close under them that their shot mostly went ten or fifteen feet overhead. But it was not at all nice or comfortable to hear them whizzing and screaming aloft among our rigging. And the worst of it all was that there was no chance of falling back to the rear, for in a fight on ship-board there is no such convenient thing as the rear to fall back to.

The firing was so close that the long guns of the Wyoming seemed almost to touch the muzzles of the enemy, and it was in these few minutes at close quarters that the greater part of the American loss occurred. The forward gun division suffered most on account of its exposed position, sustaining, in fact, all the casualties of the day except three. When the smoke had cleared, six men from the crew of Wyoming’s forward broadside gun were down, one of them dead. Elsewhere on the ship, a marine was struck dead by a piece of shrapnel. Damage was extensive, but McDougal remained undaunted. The Japanese handled their guns so rapidly that the brig alone managed to pour three broadsides into the Wyoming. Nonetheless her port battery, targeting the steamer Koshin, let loose two rifled shells. After passing through the Japanese gunboats, Wyoming rounded the bow of the steamer and made a looping turn to port, intending to make another dash at the enemy. The brig was already settling, but the Daniel Webster, in spite of the great holes in her side, still kept up a steady fire, and six land batteries now reopened with the Wyoming as a fair target. The steamer, meanwhile, weighed anchor and, moving to the opposite side, seemed to be getting ready to ram or board the American. At this critical moment the rushing tides sent the Wyoming's bow aground, but after some minutes her engines succeeded in backing her off. Wyoming swung around, and, bringing her port battery to bear, fired on the approaching steamer. A second salvo exploded Koshin’s boilers and she began to sink; her crew abandoned her and took to the water.

The steamer seemed to have some dignitaries on board, as we saw that she had purple awnings with the Prince's crest. As soon as we crossed the Lancefield's bows she slipped her cable and essayed to run for refuge into the inner harbor. At this instant the Captain called out to the gunner at the 11 inch Dahlgren to fire. But the gunner seemed to pay no attention until the Captain had  given the order for the third or fourth time. At last he did as he was told, and "Bang" went the gun with an ear-splitting crash. And as the smoke of the discharge drifted aside we saw a great volume of smoke and steam hissing and pouring from the Lancefield's deck, and at the same time she slewed slowly round and heeled over on one side, and in a minute or two down she went into the waters. When we saw the steam pouring out of her, our tars gave three rousing cheers, fancying that the 11 inch shell had burst within her. And they heartened up wonderfully and went into the fight with all their soul and with all their strength and with all their mind. This lucky shot struck just at the right moment, for by this time several of our men had been laid low or disabled by shot and flying bolts and splinters. The reason why the Captain of the gun did not let loose at the first word of command was that he was taking aim at the exact water-line. And when he did fire he hit the spot to a hair's-breadth. He finished the vessel by that single well-directed shot. It tore through one side of the hull, ripped through the boilers, out at the other side, and drove ashore and lodged there without ever bursting. This I learned from the Chôshiu  officers afterwards.

McDougal then fired into the Japanese bark and the Kosei, sending the latter to the bottom. Then, ignoring the shore batteries and the Daniel Webster, McDougal opened fire with his two 11-inch Dahlgren pivot guns on the brig Kosei. Both shells took effect in her hull; another from the forward pivot tore through her boiler, and in a cloud of smoke and steam the vessel went down. Meanwhile, the bark Daniel Webster had been firing as fast as the guns could be loaded, and the six shore batteries were a continuous line of smoke and flame. McDougal now trained his guns to reply. In a few minutes the bark was wrecked, and then one shore battery after another was silenced. When satisfied that he had destroyed every thing within range, he turned and steamed slowly back. On his return he was practically unmolested.

Thus we fought 6 batteries, a barque, a brig and a steamer. We silenced all the batteries, and as for the brig and the steamer we sank them. And all this was done in a little more than one short hour. We ceased firing at 20 m. after 12 p.m.

From our observation it appeared that all the guns were trained on the channel, and placed so as to rake the course usually taken by foreign vessels in passing the Straits. Had it not been for the Captain's clever maneuver of running right close inshore under their batteries, every shot they fired would have hulled us. But as it was they all screeched harmlessly over us. The only punishment we received we got from the vessels.

During the engagement we fired 53 shot and shell in all, with the result I have above mentioned. The Chôshiu men discharged 130 rounds in all, of which 22 did us actual damage. These hit our rigging, smoke-stack and hull, and killed 5 and wounded 7 of our men.

This action had lasted one hour and ten minutes, in the course of which the Wyoming had been hulled ten times, her rigging had been badly cut, her smokestack perforated, and she had lost five killed and seven wounded. The battle had been won by the coolness and nerve of the American commander, and a fine feature of the story is that while most of the Wyoming's crew had never before been under fire, even when the ship was aground and the pilots were paralyzed with terror the bluejackets stood by their guns like veterans. Those were the days, too, when a white man caught by the insurgents endured the unspeakable death of the "torture cage," and the men knew that their commander had ordered that if the ship became helpless by grounding or by shot she was to be blown up with all on board. Although Wyoming was significantly cut up, Prince Chôshiu’s forces took the worst of the battle. McDougal had served notice that hostile action against Americans would result in punitive action. As Commander McDougal wrote in his report to Gideon Welles on 23 July, "the punishment inflicted (upon the daimyo) and in store for him will, I trust, teach him a lesson that will not soon be forgotten."

After we were fairly out of danger, the crew went to dinner, and the vessel steamed slowly back to Himeshima where we had spent the previous night. Here our Captain meant to bury our dead on shore. Accordingly all due preparations were made, and boats were lowered and I was requested to accompany the officer in charge to interpret. But just then we observed a dense and dark crowd of natives mustering on the beach, and the Captain deemed it best not to take the dead ashore, inasmuch as this muster of the natives might portend a collision with the funeral party. Wherefore he countermanded the order.

Then he ordered the officers to lower a boat and examine the hull of the vessel. They dug out one whole shot from under the bulwark, and the fragment of one from under the bowsprit and several others fragments from other places.

About 5 h. 30 p.m. the fine weather suddenly gave place to a downpour of rain, and it continued to lash us unsparingly until 3 o'clock next morning. All had retired except the watch when about 9 h. 30 m. p.m. the quarter-master reported to the Captain that he had heard a signal gun in the distance and that several lights appeared ahead approaching us. This occasioned a good deal of alarm in the wild and rainy night. We beat to quarters and all stood ready for an emergency. But it turned out to be a groundless alarm, for we soon found that the lights were merely junk lights while nothing more was heard of the signal gun. So in about half an-hour we all turned in again.

July 17th. At 5 a.m. we weighed anchor and steamed out to sea to bury our dead. We made all preparation and attached weights to the dead bodies, and at 9 h. 30 a.m. just as we were at the entrance of the Bungo Channel, the engines were stopped, the crew were mustered, and the bodies committed to the deep. A few minutes after the ceremony the doctor reported that one of the wounded was groaning in sore pain, and that he had but a few hours to live.

July 18th. The doctor and the Captain consulted about another of the wounded. He had been the first man struck in the fight; his forearm being badly lacerated by a splinter. It was now resolved to amputate it. At 10 a.m. the operation was performed, and the man's pain so sensibly abated that his groaning ceased.

July 20th. Overnight we came to anchor in Yokohama harbor Next morning the shore people crowded on board to hear the news. From them we also learned that the Dutch man-of-war Medusa from Nagasaki had come through the Straits and had met with a hard time of it off Shimonoséki. The Chôshiu men had shelled her, killing four of her people and wounding sixteen more. Also that the French dispatch boat the Kien-chang, from Yokohama to Shanghai, had been fired on in the Straits and had been well-nigh disabled. She had run out the same way as the Pembroke had done. When this news came to the hearing of the French authorities they sent down two boats to take revenge upon Chôshiu .

After breakfast I bade adieu to Capt. McDougal and went ashore and reported myself to the Consul. I asked him why the Minister had not come, saying that Capt. McDougal had waited for him for two hours. The Consul replied with a smile that the Minister had had a severe attack of diarrhea overnight.

July 24th. The French warships got back from the Inland Sea and reported that they had had severe             fighting at Shimonoséki. They claimed a victory and brought lots of trophies in the way of muskets, flags, bows and arrows, swords and armor. But after investigation it appeared that it was but few of the above articles they had brought, while they had their smokestack smashed, and had lost a mast, with several men killed and wounded.

A few days after McDougal's exploit a heavy French frigate with a gunboat entered the straits and destroyed what was left of the batteries by landing a force of marines. Some months later, however, the clansmen rebuilt their forts and succeeded in closing the straits for fifteen months. Finally, a large allied fleet put an end to the uprising and restored safety to the foreigner in Japan. But no other operation impressed the insurgents with the same respect as the attack of the Wyoming, single-handed, against their entire force.

The Dutch captain who had taken his punishment without accomplishing anything in return, was knighted on his arrival in the Netherlands, and all his crew received medals. McDougal, on the other hand, got no promotion and not even contemporary fame among his countrymen, for 1863 was the crucial year of the Civil War, and his exploit in far-away Japan was lost in the roar of battles at home. As Theodore Roosevelt once said of this fight "Had that action taken place at any other time than during the Civil War, its fame would have echoed all over the world.

Oddly enough, the Wyoming probably missed her chance for a more widely known place in American naval lore. Later in 1863 she and the Alabama did pass within 25 miles of each other, unknown to both. Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes, the commanding officer of the Alabama, wrote confidently in his journal that "Wyoming is a good match for this ship," and "I have resolved to give her battle. She is reported to be cruising under sail-probably with banked fires-and anchors, no doubt, under Krakatoa every night" and "I hope to surprise her, the moon being near its full.

The stout Wyoming was decommissioned on 30 October 1882 and turned over to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy where she spent the next decade employed as a practice ship for midshipmen. Later taken to Norfolk, Virginia, she was sold at the port on 9 May 1892 to E. J. Butler, of Arlington, Mass.  

Official Report

Report of Commander McDougal U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Wyoming,
of the engagement between that vessel and the Japanese forces off Shimonoséki

Yokohama, July 23, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your order of the 15th April, to proceed with this ship to the port of Philadelphia.

Preparations were made to leave on the 11th instant. On the evening of the 10th news was received through Japanese sources that an American steamer had been fired on by a bark and brig of war belonging [to] the Prince of Nagato, at the western outlet of the Inland Sea, and that she disappeared, and supposed sunk. A mail from Shanghai the same evening brought authentic information that the American steamer Pembroke, on her passage from this place to Shanghai through the Inland Sea, had been fired on by the above vessels and had made her escape through the Bungo Passage.

On the 13th we left this place for the scene of the outrage, and arrived off the inner entrance of the western outlet of the Inland Sea on the morning of the 16th.

On the tide proving favorable we proceeded in the straits, and on opening the town of Shimonoséki discovered a steamer, brig, and bark of war at anchor off the town, with Japanese colors at the peak and the flag of the prince at the fore.

We stood for the vessels, and on approaching were fired on, as we got in range, by six batteries on different positions, mounting from two to four guns each. Passing between the brig and bark on the starboard hand and the steamer on the port, we received and returned their fire at pistol shot. Rounding the bow of the steamer and getting in position, maintained the action for about one hour. During the affair the steamer got underway, but two well-directed shells exploded her boilers. The brig appeared to be settling by the stern, and no doubt sunk. The amount of damage done the bark must have been serious, as well as great destruction on shore. The straits opposite the city are about three-fourths of a mile wide, with strong currents, which made it very difficult to maneuver the ship properly. As I had no charts, and my pilots completely paralyzed and apprehensive of getting on shore (in fact did touch once), I was induced to withdraw out of action.

The fire from the shore battery was extremely brisk, and continued so as long as we were in range. We were hulled 11 times, and with considerable damage to smokestack and rigging aloft, which was attributed to our passing within the range they were prepared for.

I regret to state the loss of 4 killed and 7 wounded (1 of whom since dead). Enclosed is the surgeon's report.

It affords me much pleasure to state that the conduct of the officers and crew was all I could desire.

Lieutenant Barton, in charge of the first division, makes honorable mention of the conduct of Acting Master's Mate J. E. Sweeney, Peter King, seaman, captain of forward pivot gun; Thomas Saddler, captain top, and Charles J. Murphy, seaman. I would also mention the cool conduct of Frank Wyatt, boatswain's mate, captain of the after pivot gun, and Edward Penney, captain of top and second captain of the after gun.

The Prince of Nagato, it appears, has commenced this war on his own account, as he is one of the most powerful and influential of the princes of the Empire and bitterly opposed to foreigners, but the punishment inflicted and in store for him will, I trust, teach him a lesson that will not be soon forgotten.

On the 7th instant the French dispatch steamer Kienchang, passing through on her way to Shanghai, was fired on and considerably injured, and on the 11th H. N. M. ship Medusa was also fired on, and sustained some damage and a loss of 4 men and 7 wounded.

As soon as the outrage on the French steamer was known here the French Admiral Jaurés left with his flagship and a gunboat for Shimonoséki, and no doubt will complete the punishment due for the wanton violation of existing treaties.

The Jamestown was at Wusung on the 16th, to sail immediately for this port via Nagasaki. I shall await her arrival.

I enclose a proximate plan of the straits, the position of the vessels and shore batteries, and course, etc., all of which is respectfully submitted by

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of the Navy, Washington.



Inland Sea of Japan, July 17, 1863.

SIR: In consequence of the engagement with the Japanese at Shimonoséki yesterday, I have to report the following casualties:


No.          Name.                                     Rate.       Remarks.

1              Alexander Furlong               Marine                                   Killed.

2              Wm. Clark                              Seaman                                  Do.

3              George Watson                    Landsman                              Do.

4              Michael Lynch                     Coal heaver                           Do.

5              James Carswell                     Landsman                              Very severely wounded; since dead.

6              Andrew Wallace                  Captain of afterguard          Very severely wounded.

7              Wm. Thompson                   Seaman                                  Do.

8              Tho. Stewart                         Landsman                              Wounded.

9              Michael Doyle                      Marine                                   Do.

10            Wilson P. Snyder                 Landsman                              Slightly wounded.

11            Chas. J. Murphy                   Seaman                                  Do.

Total killed, 4; total wounded, 7.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Surgeon, U. S. Navy.

 Commander D. McDOUGAL, U. S. Navy



The U.S. Marine Corps in the Civil War: The Final Year, D. Sullivan, White Mane Pub., Shippensburg, 2000.

The Army of the Pacific, A. Hunt, Museum of California Historay at http://www.militarymuseum.org/Pac%20Sqdn.html

Japan National Trust Organization, Guide to Regions at http://www.jnto.go.jp/regions/chugoku/606.html

McDougal and the Wyoming, J. Begone and M. Stylo at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/1422/wyoming.html

From Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, HazeGray.Org at http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/sloops/wyoming1.htm

Wars of the World, “The Japanese Civil War,” at http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/juliet/japan1863.htm

The Narrative of A Japanese, J. Heco, Ed. J. Murdoch at   http://www.militarymuseum.org/Pac%20Sqdn.htmlhttp://www.media.kyoto-u.ac.jp/edu/lec/edmarx/meiji-america/heco/1b.htm

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