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The Crimean War in the Far East

  • John J. Stephan
Extract

The Crimean War (1854—56), as its name suggests, was fought mainly on and around a peninsula jutting out from the northern shores of the Black Sea. Names such as the Alma River, Balaclava, and Inkerman are generally conjured up at the mention of this costly conflict. Strategic planning and operations on both sides, however, were not confined to the Crimea and the Caucasus. Far from Sebastopol, hostilities between Russia and the allied powers of Britain and France erupted in the seas of Japan and Okhotsk, and in the North Pacific Ocean. Accorded relatively little attention at the time, almost forgotten today, this Far Eastern1 theatre of the war offers insights into the growing role of Europe in East Asia. Whereas in the Crimea, the Allies achieved a victory of sorts while making immense human sacrifices, in the Far East they failed in many of their objectives but without incurring a great loss of life. The tragi-comic nature of tactical operations in the Far East should not obscure the war's broader implications: (1) the advance of Russia into the Amur River basin and Maritime Provinces then part of the Chinese Empire; (2) the intensification of British anxieties regarding Russian penetration into Manchuria and Korea; (3) the growing role of Japan in international relations; and (4) the progress of cartographical knowledge through surveys conducted in response to the demands of war.

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1 In this article ‘Far Eastern’ includes the north-eastern shores of the Asian continent (Eastern Siberia and Kamachatka).

2 citation id="ref002" citation-type="other">Foreign Office, General Correspondence, China F.O. 17 (hereafter cited as F.O. China Corres.) Vol. 221, Admiralty, to Foreign Office, 9 June 1854. Admiralty Secretary's Department, Out-Letters (Adm. 2) Adm. to David Price, Vol. 1612, 21 March 1854.

3 Admiralty, Secretary's Office, In-Letters (Adm. 1), Vol. 5629, Stirling to Adm., No. 28, 30 April 1854.

4 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5629, Pellew to Adm., No. 101, 15 April 1854. Pellew's informer was the British consul in Manila.

5 Lensen, George A., Russia's Japan Expedition of 1852–1855, Gainesville, 1955; and, The Russian Push Toward Japan: Russo-Japanese Relations, 1697–1875, Princeton, 1959, pp. 329–32.

6 Ravenstein, E. G., The Russians on the Amur, London, 1861, p. 117.Vladimir, , Russia on the Pacific and the Siberian Railway, London, 1899, p. 202.

7 Ravenstein, p. 122. Vladimir, p. 204.

8 Vladimir, p. 211. Lensen, The Russian Push Toward Japan, p. 330. Vend, Vera, L'Amiral Nevelskoi et la Conquête définitive du Fleuve Amour, Paris, 1894, p. 209.

9 For a detailed study of Stirling's mission to Japan in 1854–5, see Beasley, W. G., Great Britain and the Opening of Japan, London, 1951, pp. 113–44.

10 The Annual Register, 1854, London, 1855, x.

11 Admiralty, Admirals Journals (Adm. 50: Vol. 260, hereafter cited as Price Journal), 28 March 1854. Admiralty, Ships Logs (Adm. 53), Vol. 5743 (hereafter cited as President's Log), 28 March 1854.

12 Price Journal, 8 April 1854.

13 Ibid., 15 April 1854. President's Log, 15 April 1854. The Admiralty warned Price about the Aurora's approach from Rio but much too late. Adm. Out-Letters, Vol. III, 6 Adm. to Price, No. 55, 17 May 1854.

14 Price Journal, 17 May 1854. President's Log, 17 May 1854.

15 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5630, Price to Adm., No. 95, 25 July 1854.

16 Dispatch released by the Admiralty published in The Times, 24 October 1854.

17 Price Journal, 14 August 1854.

18 For a detailed account of the Petropavlovsk battle from the Allied side, see President's Log, 29 August–5 September 1854; E. Du Hailly, ‘L'Expedition de Petropavlovsk’, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 August 1858, pp. 686–718;Laird Clowes, W., The Royal Navy, VI, London, 1901, pp. 430–1;The Times, 23 November, 6 December 1854. The Russian version can be found in Vladimir, Russia on the Pacific and the Siberian Railway, pp. 218–31; The Times, 23 December 1854.

19 Price Journal, 30 August 1854. Price left no clue in the last lines of his journal, written at noon, about his state of mind.

20 Clowes, VI, 430–2; Du Hailly, pp. 705–10; Vladimir, pp. 219–25; Ravenstein, pp. 123–4; The Times, 23 November 1854.

21 Clowes, VI, p. 430; Ravenstein, p. 123. Okudaira, Takeo, ‘Kurimiya sensō to kyokutō’, Kokusaihō gaikō zasshi, XXXV, 1936, 317.

22 Du Hailly, pp. 705–6.

23 Price joined the Navy in 1801 and won a reputation for bravery after participating in attacks against the French and Danes. He captured part of a French convoy (1811), was twice captured by the Danes, served under Sir Samuel Hood in the attack on Baltimore, and was severely wounded in the Battle of New Orleans (1815). He became Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific squadron in August 1853, an appointment generally agreed to have been made on merit alone. The Times, 25 November 1854;Dictionary of National Biography, XLVI, London, 1896, 326.

24 Dictionary of National Biography, XLVI, 326

25 Letter published in The Times, 26 December 1854.

26 President's Log, 30 August 1854.

27 F.O. China Corres. Vol. 226, No. 35. Enclosure No. 1 in Bowring to Foreign Office, 19 January 1855. The quotation is from Polynesian Office, 13 November 1854, forwarded by the English Consul-General in Honolulu to Bowring.

28 The Times, 26 December 1854.

29 For details of the Russian and British negotiations with Japanese authorities in 1854–1955, see Beasley, Great Britain and the Opening of Japan, pp. 113–44; Lensen, Russia's Japan Expedition.

30 Vladimir, p. 225.

31 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5656, Bruce to Adm. No. 47, 12 June 1855.O'Byrnes Naval Biography, London, 1860, pp. 135–6. The Times, 12 September 1855.

32 Tronson, J. M., A Voyage to Japan, Kamtschatka, Siberia, Tartary, and Various Parts of Coast of China, in HMS Barracouta, London, 1859, p. 86.Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5672, Stirling to Adm. No. 101, II December 1855.

33 Tronson, p. 89.

34 Lensen, Russia's Japan Expedition, pp. 135–6.

35 Letter released by the Admiralty, published in The Times 12 September 1855. Bruce exaggerated. The Allies found two Americans and their French cook living in the town. Tronson, p. 94; The Times, 10 September 1855; Ravenstein, p. 128; Du Hailly, p. 182 Clowes, VI, p. 432.

36 The Times, 10 September 1855.

37 A Japanese explorer, Mamiya Rinzō, journeyed to the north of Sakhalin and up the Amur River in 1809 to discover the passage forty years before Nevelskoi. His maps were brought back to Europe by the German physician, Philipp Franz von Siebold, in 1832 but were not published until 1851.Tomio, Hora, Mamiya Rinzō, Tokyo, 1960, pp. 265–74.

38 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Stirling to Adm., No. 74, 1 October 1855.

39 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Elliot to Stirling, No. 55, Enclosure No. 1, 19 May 1855. An engineer with Elliot on the Sybille wrote an account of these operations.Whittingham, Bernard, Notes on the Expedition against the Russian Settlements in Eastern Siberia etc., London, 1856, pp. 81116.

40 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Elliot to Stirling, No. 55, Enclosure No. 2, 23 May 1855; Admiralty, Ship's Logs (Adm. 53), Sybille's Log, Vol. 5743, 20 May 1855; and Whittingham, p. 84.

41 For Zavoika's account see The Times, 30 October 1855; Vladimir, pp. 231–2; and Henry, Arthur Tilley, Japan, the Amoor, and the Pacific, London, 1861, p. 206.

42 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Elliot to Stirling, No. 55, Enclosure No. 2, 23 May 1855. Sybille's Log, 20 May 1855.

43 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Elliot to Stirling, No. 55, Enclosure No. 2, 23 May 1855.

44 Ibid., Enclosure No. 3, 7 July 1855.

45 Vladimir, p. 234. The Times, 30 October 1855.

46 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Stirling to Adm., No., 2 July 1855.

47 Except for the chartered Brig Greta captured off Sakhalin on I August 1855 while bringing part of the Diana crew from Shimoda to Nikolaevsk. Tronson, p. 139.

48 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Elliot to Stirling, No. 23, 28 August 1855.

49 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5672, Elliot to Sitirling, No. 101, Enclosure No. I, 25 November 1855.

50 For a first-hand report of the Uruppu occupation, Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, Nicolson to Stirling, No. 74, Enclosure No. 6, 29 September 1855.

51 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657, No. 55 Enclosure No. 10, Stirling to Elliot, 12 June 1855.

52 Ibid., No. 55, Stirling to Adm., 2 July 1855.

53 Ibid., No. 74, Stirling to Adm., 1 October 1855.

54 Ibid., Vol. 5672, No. 101, Stirling to Adm., 11 December 1855.

55 Adm. in letters Vol. 5672, No. II, Enclosure No. I, Draft of Adm. to Stirling, 8 December 1855. This letter is not to be found in Adm. Out-Letters and presumably was destroyed.

56 Ibid., No. II, Stirling to Adm., 13 February 1856.

57 Ibid., No. II, Adm. to Stirling (draft), 2 April 1856.

58 The Times, 25 October 1855.

59 Hansard, , Parliamentary Debates, 3rd Series, CXL, London, 1856, 453–61.

60 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5657 No. 74, Stirling to Adm., 1 October 1855. Stirling's letter can also be found in F.O. China Corres., Vol. 234, Bowring to Foreign Office No. 326, 12 October 1855, Enclosure No. 1, Stirling to Bowring.

61 Okudaira, ‘Kurimiya sensō to kyokutō’, p. 335.

62 Eckel, Paul E., ‘The Crimean War and Japan’, Far Eastern Quarterly, 3, 1944, p. 109.

63 Beasley, Great Britain and the Opening of Japan, p. 113.

64 Okudaira, ‘Kurimiya sensō to kyokutō, pp. 341–2. Ōkuma, Shigenobu, Kaikoku taisei shi, Tokyo, 1913, pp. 853–4.

65 F.O. China Corres., Vol. 255, No. 78, Enclosure No. I, Stirling to Bowring, 8 November 1855.

66 Golder, F. A., Russian Expansion on the Pacific, 1641–1850, Cleveland, 1914, p. 264 n, citing Barsukov, Ivan, Graf Nikolai Nikolaevich Murav'ev-Amurskii, Moscow, 1891.

67 F.O. China Corres., Vol. 215, Bowring to Clarendon, No. 122, 25 08 1854.

68 F.O. China Corres., Vol. 226,Miller to Bowring, 8 November 1854, enclosure in Bowring to Clarendon, No. 35, 19 January 1855.

69 Adm. In-Letters, Vol. 5672, Elliot to Stirling, No. 101, Enclosure No. 1, 25 November 1855. Vol 5672, Nicolson to Seymour, No. 55, Enclosure No. 1, 12 August 1856; Tilley, Japan, the Amoor, and the Pacific, p. 218; Whittingham, Notes on the Expedition against the Russian Settlements in Eastern Siberia, p. 298;Furet, L., Lettres à M. Leon de Roany sur L'Archipel Japonais et la Tartarie Orientale, London, 1857, pp. 1011; and Perry, McDonough Collins, A Voyage Down the Amoor, London, 1860, pp. 243–4.

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Modern Asian Studies
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