Posted in Military History

Today in U.S. military history: breaking the siege at Peking

American troops in the relief of Peking in China. Painting by H. Charles McBarron, Jr.

1900: After fighting their way 80 miles from the port of Tientsin, an eight-nation relief force (the United States, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, and Italy) arrives at the walls of Peking. A young Marine private named Dan Daly earns his first of two Medals of Honor during the battle by single-handedly holding off hundreds of Chinese soldiers. Meanwhile, U.S. Army Cpl. Calvin P. Titus (depicted above, holding flag) earns the Medal of Honor for volunteering to scale the city wall surrounding Peking. The troops break the siege, effectively bringing an end to the Boxer Rebellion.

In our nation’s history, only two Marines earned the Medal of Honor for two seperate actions — Dan Daly and Smedley Butler, both of whom fought at Peking. 18-year-old captain (having just received a brevet promotion for valor at Tientsin) Butler was wounded in this day’s action, and would say that Daly was “The fightin’est Marine I ever knew.”

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Posted in Military History

June 21 in U.S. military history

American troops in the relief of Peking. Painting by H. Charles McBarron, Jr.

1900: The Chinese empress Cixi formally declares war on foreign powers. 100,000 members of the nationalist “Righteous and Harmonious Fists” movement (nickamed the “Boxers” by the British) launch attacks against Christian and foreign targets in Peking’s (modern-day Beijing) Legation Quarter. The siege lasts nearly two months before Western reinforcements arrive. Marine legend Dan Daly will earn his first of two Medals of Honor (one of only two men to accomplish the feat) when he single-handedly kills some 200 Boxers.

1916: During Gen. John J. Pershing’s “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico to capture or kill Pancho Villa, Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment clash with – and defeat – a Mexican Army force at Carrizal. The incident nearly puts the two countries on a war footing, but with the “War to End All War” raging across the Atlantic, tensions would soon dissipate.

1921: Army and Navy aircraft attack the former German battleship Ostfriesland, sinking the massive vessel and giving support to famed World War I aviator Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell’s theory that dreadnought battleships could be easily sunk by planes and are taking up too much of the military budget.

1942: The Japanese submarine I-25 surfaces at the mouth of the Columbia River, off the coast of Oregon, and targets Fort Stevens. The sub’s gun inflicts virtually no damage, but the attack marks the only time that a stateside U.S. military installation is bombarded.

Halfway across the Pacific, PBY “Catalina” crew members rescue two downed aviators floating in the ocean, over 300 miles north of Midway. The men have been drifting since their TBD “Devastator” torpedo bomber went down during the Battle of Midway on June 4.

1945: After 82 days of the bloodiest fighting during World War II, the last remaining Japanese resistance on Okinawa collapses. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima, commander of the Japanese forces on the island, commits ritual suicide. The Battle of Okinawa is over. Over 100,000 Japanese soldiers perish and 12,500 American Marines, soldiers, and sailors are killed in combat. Kamikaze attacks account for the sinking of dozens of American ships.

1969: Following two days of artillery attacks, a 600-man North Vietnamese Army force assaults the American combat base of Tay Ninh, 50 miles northwest of Saigon. After two days of fighting, 196 NVA soldiers and ten Americans lay dead.

Posted in Real American Heroes

Daniel J. Daly’s First Medal of Honor

Navy MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to




for service as set forth in the following


For extraordinary heroism while serving with the Captain Newt Hall’s Marine Detachment, 1st Regiment (Marines), in action in the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 14 August 1900, Daly distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

During the 56-day seige of the international compound, Capt. Hall went to bring reinforcements to reestablish their defensive line when the German outpost was pushed back. Pvt. Daly remained behind, singlehandedly defending a bastion on the Tartar Wall against hundreds of Chinese forces – armed only with a bolt-action rifle and bayonet. Daly held his position overnight, and Marine Corps legend states that the bodies of 200 dead Boxers littered the ground when reinforcements arrived.

Born: 11 Nov. 1873, Glen Cove, N.Y…. One of only 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice… Of the 19 double recipients, is one of only two men to receive the Medal for two separate engagements… Offered a commission on several occasions but refused… Also saw action at Hayti and fought during World War I… Also awarded the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Cross… Retired as Sergeant Major in 1929… Namesake of USS Daly (DD-519)… Departed: 27 Apr. 1939.