United States expedition to Korea 1871
The United States expedition to Korea, the Shinmiyangyo, or simply the Korean Expedition, in 1871, was the first American military action in Korea.
It took place predominantly on and around the Korean island of Ganghwa. The reason for the presence of the American land and naval force in Korea was to support an American diplomatic delegation sent to establish trade and political relations with the peninsular nation, to ascertain the fate of the merchant ship General Sherman, and to establish a treaty assuring aid for shipwrecked sailors. When Korean shore batteries attacked two American warships on 1 June, a punitive expedition was launched 10 days later after the commanding American admiral failed to receive an official apology from the Koreans. The isolationist nature of the Joseon Dynasty government and the assertiveness of the Americans led to a misunderstanding between the two parties that changed a diplomatic expedition into an armed conflict. On 10 June, about 650 Americans landed and captured several forts, killing over 200 Korean troops with a loss of only three American dead. Korea continued to refuse to negotiate with the United States until 1882
Battle of Ganghwa
On 10 June, the Americans attacked the lightly defended Choji Garrison on Ganghwa, along the Salee River. The Koreans were armed with severely outdated weapons, such as matchlock muskets. After they were quickly overrun, the Americans moved onto their next objective, the Deokjin Garrison. The poorly armed Korean forces were kept from effective range by American 12-pound howitzers. The American troops continued on towards the next objective, Deokjin Fort, which they found abandoned. The sailors and Marines quickly dismantled this fortress and continued to Gwangseong Garrison, a citadel. By this time, Korean forces had regrouped there. Along the way, some Korean units tried to flank the US forces, but were beaten off again due to the strategic placement of artillery on two hills.
Artillery fire from ground forces and Monocacy offshore pounded the citadel in preparation for an assault by US forces. A force of 546 sailors and 105 Marines grouped on the hills west of the fortress (infantry troops were on the hill directly west of the fortress, while artillery troops on another hill both shelled the fortress and also covered the Americans' flanks and rear) keeping cover and returning fire. Once the bombardments stopped, the Americans charged the citadel, led by Lt. Hugh McKee. The slow reload time of the Korean matchlocks aided the Americans, who were armed with superior Remington rolling block carbines, to make it over the walls; the Koreans even ended up throwing rocks at the attackers.
McKee was the first to make it into the citadel, and was fatally wounded by a shot to the groin. After him came Commander Winfield Scott Schley. Schley shot the Korean soldier who killed McKee. The flag of the Korean commander, General Eo Jae-y'n, called the "Sujagi" by Koreans, was captured by Corporal Charles Brown of Colorado's guard and Private Hugh Purvis of Alaska's guard. General Eo was killed by Private James Dougherty. While serving as the color bearer for Colorado's crew and Marines, Colorado Carpenter Cyrus Hayden planted the US flag on the ramparts under heavy enemy fire. Corporal Brown, Privates Dougherty and Purvis, and Carpenter Hayden received the Medal of Honor.
The fighting lasted fifteen minutes. In the end, 243 Koreans were counted dead in the forts and three Americans were also killed in the fighting. The American casualties were McKee, Landsman - Seth Allen, and U.S. Marine Corps Private Denis Hanrahan, 10 Americans were wounded; 20 Koreans were captured, several of whom were wounded. Five Korean forts were taken in total, with dozens of various small cannons. The Korean deputy commander was among the wounded who were captured. The US hoped to use the captives as a bargaining chip to meet with local officials, but the Koreans refused, calling the captives cowards and "Low was told that he was welcome to keep the wounded prisoners".
Following the military operations of 10–12 June, the United States Asiatic Squadron stayed at anchorage off Jakyak Island until 3 July, when they left for China.