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  • 발신자F. F. Low
  • 수신자H. Fish
  • 발송일1871년 6월 2일(음)
  • 수신일1871년 7월 24일(음)
  • 출전FRUS, 1871, China, pp. 121-6; AADM, pp. 847-52.
ON BOARD FLAG-SHIP COLORADO,
Near Isle Boisée, Corea, June 2, 1871 (Received July 24)

Sir:
 Our peaceful operations looking to the opening of negotiations with Corea, met with a sudden and unexpected but not unprepared-for check yesterday. As had been previously announced to some officials that came on board, the Monocacy, Palos, and four steam-launches started yesterday to explore the passage northward between the mainland and the island of Kanghoa. These officials were informed that our intentions were peaceable, and that no one would be harmed or disturbed unless we were attacked; but that if the vessels or their crews were molested in their peaceful operations, force would be met by force. The admiral placed the expedition under the immediate command of Captain Blake of the Alaska, and, with my assent and approval, instructed him to proceed cautiously, avoiding all menace, through the passage before referred to, taking careful soundings, and making such scientific observations as would enable a correct chart of the channel to be made. Captain Blake was further instructed, in case a hostile attack were made, either upon his men or vessels, to reply by force, and destroy, if possible, the places and the peoples and the people from whom the attack came; that any advantage gained should not be pursued by landing a force; but that advantage gained should not be pursued by landing a force; but that he should quietly proceed in the further prosecution of the work in view until he reached the northerly part of the island of Kanghoa, and, if found to be practicable, should go a few miles up the river Séoul, but not attempt to reach the capital. After doing this he was directed to return to the flag-ship and report the result of his proceedings.
 The two letters of instructions with reference to communicating with the natives, which had been given him on a previous occasion, Captain Blake still retained for his guidance on the present expedition. I also sent Mr. John P. Cowles, jr., acting assistant secretary of legation, with him as interpreter.
 The vessels of the expedition left the anchorage here at 12 o’clock m., and steamed slowly, sounding as they went, without meeting or seeing any signs of hostile resistance until they reached a sharp point in the river indicated on the map as Fort du Conde. This name was given to the point by the French admiral, when he visited the locality in 1866. When the two vessels and three of the launches came directly in range of the two batteries, situated opposite each other, one on either side of the river, the matting and brush which concealed the guns were suddenly thrown aside and a fire opened upon them. I inclose a report from Mr. Cowles, to which I beg to refer for full particulars of the engagement.
 The vessels silenced the batteries and drove the enemy from their fortifications. An unfortunate accident to the Monocacy, caused by striking upon a rock, induced Captain Blake to return and report the result before proceeding further.
 The Secretary of the Navy will receive a report in detail of the operations of the Navy, to which I am obliged to refer you, if further particulars are desired.
 That the attack was unprovoked and wanton, and without the slightest shadow of excuse, must be as apparent to you as it is to me; for all our operations hitherto have been conducted with the greatest caution, in the hope that the assurances of our peaceful intentions, which were sent to the court from Peking, supplemented by similar protestations here, and coupled with an absence of all ostentatious show of war, would so fully persuade the government of our good faith that the result aimed at might be accomplished without the use or even the display of force.
 The events of yesterday convince me that the government of Corea is determined to resist all innovations and intercourse with all the power at its command, without regard to nationality, or the nature of the demands made; and that all overtures will be treated alike, whether they look to the opening of the country and the residence and trade of foreigners, or whether they are confined, as I have endeavored, to securing humane treatment for our unfortunate countrymen who may be thrown by the perils of the sea upon these shores, whose safety and welfare depend, under present circumstances, upon the magnanimity of this semi-barbarous and hostile race.
 The question now is, what is the safe and prudent course to pursue, in view of this temporary check, which the Coreans will undoubtedly construe into a defeat of the “barbarians,” but which, according to the recognized rules of civilized warfare, was a complete victory on the part of the naval forces. In estimating the effect it may exert upon our power and prestige, which will affect the interests of our people in the East, the situation must be viewed from an oriental stand-point, rather than the more advanced one of Christian civilization. If the squadron retires now, the effect upon the minds of the Coreans, and, I fear, upon the Chinese also, will be injurious, if not disastrous, to our future prospects in both countries. Corea will rest firmly in the belief that she is powerful enough to repel any of the western states singly, or even all of them combined; and this opinion will be likely to react upon China, and strengthen the influence of those who insist that it is practicable to drive out by force all the foreign residents. In view of these considerations, I cannot advise the admiral to abandon the field without further attempts at redress for the wrongs and insults which our flag has suffered; at the same time I am fully impressed as to the inadequacy of the force at his command to carry on offensive operations to conquer this people and compel the government to enter into proper treaty engagements. The configuration of the coast, studded with islands; the shallowness of the rivers; the rise and fall of the tides, which vary from 20 to 40 feet; the rapidity of the currents in the rivers, and in passages between the islands and the mainland; the mountainous and broken character of the country bordering upon the coast and river the distance of the capital and the other principal cities from the navigable waters, present obstacles which are not easy to be overcome without the presence of a considerable land and naval force acting in conjunction.
 My own view is that a sufficient force should be sent back to the place where the vessels were attacked yesterday, to take and effectually destroy the fortifications above that place as far as the northerly end of the island of Kang-hoa. This the admiral expects to do, provided he finds his forces are able to do it without incurring too much risk. That would make a virtual, though not declared, blockade of the entrance of the river Seoul, which leads to the capital, which can be kept up until the northern channel is sounded, and will afford active and useful occupation for the vessels of the squadron until the further orders and instructions of the President can be received. It may possibly lead the Corean government to make terms. Of this, however, I am not sanguine.
 It is quite impossible to foretell what course events in the future may compel me to pursue. In any case, I shall not lose sight of the main object the Government had in sending me here, and shall endeavor to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of my instructions in the most peaceful and conciliatory manner compatible with the dignity of the government I represent, and the honor of its flag. I am not unmindful of the fact that the general policy of the Government is peace, and that hostile operations in a distant portion of the world are to be most carefully avoided. But when the representative of the Government, sent upon a peaceful mission in the interest of humanity, is met by uncalled for attack, as has been the case here, any hesitation on my part in sanctioning the seeking of redress for the wrongs and insults which we have suffered might properly be set down as shrinking from a responsibility which I have no right to do, with the vast interests intrusted to my care. The admiral will send a telegram to the Secretary of the Navy, and I shall send a short one referring you to the navy Department for details.
 I have, &c.,

FREDERICK F. LOW

Inclosures

 No. 1. ― Mr. Cowles’s report of the surveying expedition above Isle Boisée, and the engagement of Fort du Conde, of June 1.
 No. 2. ― Copy of telegram to the Secretary of State.

 
별지 : No. 1
 
Mr. J. P. Cowles, jr., to Mr. Low

UNITED STATES SHIP COLORADO,
Isle Boisée Anchorage, Corea, June 2, 1871

Sir:
 In accordance with your instructions, I yesterday joined Captain Blake upon the steamship Palos, to accompany a surveying expedition up the river Salée as an interpreter. You informed me that intercourse with the Coreans would be neither sought nor avoided; and that answer to civil inquiries about our purposes would be that yourself and Admiral Rodgers had already explained to officials from the court that it was our peaceful intention to survey the approaches to the Séoul River so soon as the delay yourself and the admiral offered to make, that they might assure the population along the margin of the river of our friendly character, had expired; that we should land only at uninhabited points, and that all nations offer facilities for such surveys of their coasts.
 The party started at noon of the 1st instant, and consisted of the four steam-launches, under command of Lieutenant Commander Chester, Lieutenants Meade and Totten, and Master Schroeder; the Monocacy, Commander McCrea, and the Palos, wearing Commander Blake’s divisional flag, as the officer in charge of the whole expedition, and under command of Lieutenant Commander Rockwell.
 The launches led and indicated the channel to the gunboats following. Master Schroeder followed a mile behind, delayed by momentary accident.
 Going northerly rapidly up the river, passing numerous forts to the left, on islands, and to the right on the mainland. At 2 p.m. we were passing around an elbow of land to the east of our generally northerly direction. As we were entering a whirl, as bad as that of Hell Gate, New York, full of eddies and ledges, and immediately under a fort on the end of the elbow above mentioned, mats and screens were suddenly alive with the discharge of eighty pieces of artillery directly into the launches which were under the forts. The launches, as fast as the whirl and eddies allowed, turned their howitzers to the fort, and threw in some eight rounds of shell. The gunboats, though in the midst of a perilous navigation, trained their guns on the fort, and the Monocacy’s 8-inch shell frightened the men in the batteries so much that they fled precipitately, and, wrenching up their innumerable flags and standards, retreated to ravines and brush cover, further back on the neck of the peninsula. The banner of “Generalissimo,” as it appeared to be, in the headquarters on the top of the hill, was left flying.
 The launches and gunboats were swept rapidly past to above and to the rear of the batteries. There they anchored, and leisurely shelled the forts and ravines near.
 The Benicia’s launch, Master Schroeder, being delayed by accident, was later in reaching the forts. Instead of avoiding the almost certain fate which running the batteries threatened, he pressed through to join his comrades above the fort, firing as he passed. They came through without harm, though they were wet with the splash of the water about them. The Monocacy having struck a ledge, and leaking badly, the further pursuit of the survey had to be postponed, and the party returned to the fleet at Boisée Island. The few shells thrown into the forts as we returned elicited no reply. The scientific character of the expedition had prevented orders being given to cover such an emergency. The party were therefore forced to return without spiking the guns and bringing away the headquarters flag of the enemy, as all were eager to be permitted to do.
 Some two hundred discharges of light and heavy guns must have been made in the ten minutes that the launches were beneath the forts, and how the launches escaped with only two wounded seems marvelous. The guns were noticed as we returned, and lay nearly as thick together as gun to gun, and gun behind gun on the floor of an ordnance store.
 The pluck of all engaged, but especially of the launches, words can do no justice to. Admiral Rodgers’s comment you must allow me as mine; “There is no lack of pluck in the American people.”
 I have the honor, &c.,

J. P. COWLES, Jr.

 
별지 : No. 2
 
Copy of a telegram sent this day to George F. Seward, Shanghai, to be forwarded from thence by telegraph, June 3, 1971.

 
별지 : Telegram
 
COAST OF COREA, June 3, 1871

My overtures of peace have been met by wanton attack upon surveying party. See admiral’s telegram to Secretary of Navy.

LOW

 SECRETARY OF STATE, Washington, United States.

The above is a true copy.
F. F. LOW.

 
이름
Blake , Blake , Blake , John P. Cowles, jr. , Cowles , Blake , Blake , Chester , Meade , Totten , McCrea , Blake’s , Rockwell , Schroeder , Rodgers’s
지명
Kanghoa , the island of Kanghoa , the river Séoul , Fort du Conde , Peking , Corea , China , the river Seoul , New York , Benicia’s , Boisée Island
관서
the navy Department

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