The Seymour Relief Expedition (Bowman McCalla)

The Story of the Boxer Rebellion at Arlington National Cemetery

The Seymour Relief Expedition (Bowman McCalla)

Arlington, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Virginia 22211, United States

Created By: Georgetown University


Bowman H. McCalla

Bowman H. McCalla (1844-1910) was born in Camden, NJ. Joining the Navy as a midshipman in 1861, McCalla served during the Civil War. In 1900, he commanded USS Newark, one of the first US warships to arrive off the coast of China. Disembarking from the warships, McCalla led a force of US sailors as part of the first expedition to try and relieve Peking commanded by British Admiral Sir Edward Seymour. Following this expedition’s failure and retreat, McCalla was wounded capturing the Hsiku (Xigu) arsenal. After the war he rose to the rank of Rear Admiral and retired in 1906.

The Seymour Relief Expedition

The Seymour Relief Expedition was the first attempt to relieve the besieged legations in Peking. When the force dispatched to protect the legations appeared insufficient, an expedition of about 2,000 more sailors and marines, led by British Vice-Admiral Edward Seymour set out by train towards Peking on June 10th. The expedition encountered heavy resistance from the Boxers and the Chinese government forces, and after advancing about 55 miles, they were forced to retreat due to lack of supplies and increasing casualties. With the rail line destroyed the force marched back towards Tienstin. Cut off from the rest of the allies, Seymour and his men stormed the Hsiku arsenal and defended it until relieved on June 25th.

Continue a short walk up the hill. You will see a tall monument to Emerson Liscum next to the Lee Drive footpath where it intersects with Sheridan Drive. This is the next stop.

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Story of the Boxer Rebellion at Arlington National Cemetery


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