Infantryman 99th Lanarkshire Regiment 1860 (China)

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Early in February 1860 the 99th sailed from Calcutta, where they had been stationed for fourteen months, to join an expedition going to North China. Three years previously the Chinese had seized a British ship off Canton, which port the British then took, having declared war on the Tartar dynasty. In March 1860 the 99th arrived at Hong Kong and went North to the island of Chusan, where they were billeted in the capital, Tingaae.

In early June they left and sailed North with a convoy to the South Manchurian coast. By the end of June 100 ships had gathered and they then sailed together for the Chinese coast. In early August, the British, together with 4,000 French, marched South. By mid-September the forces were at the town of Hosiwoo only 20 miles from Peking, but on 18th September the advance was halted by a large force of Tartar cavalry and Infantry.

The allies moved forward with the 99th forming part of the British centre and came under heavy but inaccurate fire, including gingal balls. The 99th advanced companies returned fire, and their Colours were under fire for the first time. The Tartars then retreated to avoid being outflanked, and the 99th. concentrated and pressed on behind the cavalry. Most of the Tartar camps were ablaze but the 99th formed part of the outpost picquets sent to the three farther-most ones, which were still intact.

Before dawn on 21st September the advance was continued with the 99th forming part of the left wing. Two miles on masses of Tartar cavalry appeared and galloped forward, but withdrew when the 99th advanced in column and fired a volley. They then deployed as thousands of Tartar cavalry appeared on their left flank. Suddenly the Kings Dragoon Guards, (see elsewhere in this collection) charged out, and together with Fane's Horse, completely routed the Tartars with much slaughter.

The allied advance went on with artillery opening up and the enemy attempting a stand, finally being defeated by the 99th advancing in skirmishing order. Pekin now lay only 6 miles ahead On 5th October a move forward was made with the 99th covering the British left. The famous Summer Palace stood outside the walls of Peking, full of immense riches, which were eventually all stripped in retaliation for the torture and murder of prisoners.

Some of the choicest pieces were collected under a guard from the 99th and sent as a gift to Queen Victoria. The 99th's officers acquired five magnificent vases which are still in the Regiment's possession.(See the picture of the display at Salisbury on the "About Us" page.) The uniform worn by the infantryman shown here is the undress shell jacket and white linen "hot station" trousers. Over his Kilmarnock or "pork-pie" headress he wears a whi te linen cover and neck-flap

Although uniforms had been modified following the Crimea war, and a new style of tunic issued in 1856, equipment was largely the same and a full description of all this equipment can be found elsewhere in this collection, as it is identical to that used by the 1854 Royal Welsh Fusileer


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