The Siege of Peking (John T. Myers)

The Story of the Boxer Rebellion at Arlington National Cemetery

The Siege of Peking (John T. Myers)

Arlington, Virginia 22202, United States

Created By: Georgetown University


John T. Myers

John Twiggs Myers (1871-1952) was born in Wiesbaden, Germany to the son of a former Confederate Quartermaster General who left the United States after the Civil War. Graduating the Naval Academy in 1892, Twiggs was serving as a Marine captain in Manila in May 1900 when he was dispatched with about 50 Marines to China to guard the American legation in Peking. He subsequently commanded the US force during the siege of Peking until being wounded on July 3rd by a spear while recapturing a position on the wall overlooking the legations. Myers was semi-famous following the conflict and he later served in numerous Marine operations in Morocco, Cuba, and Santo Domingo. His likeness has been used for several fictional portrayals of Marines in the era including the 1963 film 55 Days at Peking where Charlton Heston played a fictionized version of Myers. He retired as a Lieutenant General in 1934.

The Siege of the Peking Legations

Following the foreign assault on the Taku forts the Qing government sent the legations a diplomatic note on June 19th ordering all foreigners to leave Peking. On June 20th, the German Minister travelled to the foreign ministry to discuss the issue but was murdered by Boxers enroute. Realizing there was no safety in leaving the city, the foreigners then took refuge in the Legation Quarter. The siege began thereafter when the Boxers and Chinese imperial troops surrounded the foreign legations and cut off their access to food, water, and medical supplies. The foreigners were forced to band together and defend themselves against the attackers, who bombarded the legations with gunfire and artillery.

The siege lasted for 55 days, during which time the foreign legations suffered from disease, starvation, and heavy casualties. A force of about 400 British, American, French, Italian, German, Austrian, Japanese, and Russian troops guarded the 2000m perimeter of the quarter. Sheltering in the compound were 473 foreign civilians and several thousand Chinese Christians. 55 troops and 13 foreign civilians were killed during the course of the siege along with an unknown number of Chinese Christians and Boxers.

Return to McClellan Drive and make a right. Before you reach the circle, turn right onto Crook Walk and head up the stairs. When you reach Sheridan Drive, make a left turn. Continue straight as the road turns and walk up the hill about 30 feet. You will find the next stop marked by a large cross marker.

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


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