Period: 1871-06-09 - 1871-06-10

The American minister to China, Frederick Ferdinand Low, was instructed in 1870 to secure a treaty for the protection of shipwrecked mariners and, should the opportunity present itself, to obtain commercial advantages in Korea. He sailed from Nagasaki for Boisée Island (Chagyakto) on the Salée (Yom) River in May 1871 onboard the USS Colorado, flagship of Rear Admiral John Rodgers, then commanding the Asiatic Squadron. The squadron boasted a fleet of nine ships mounting 97 guns, and a meager force to guard the lives and property of American citizens over the vast expanse of water and coastline that comprised the Asiatic Station of 1871. A single shot from the forts initiated heavy fire from masked batteries as well as forts along the face of the hill. Despite complications caused by the swift current and jagged rocks, fire was promptly returned by all American vessels, and the Korean guns were soon silenced. No apology was offered. So, on 9 June — the eve of the attack — Commander H.C. Blake received orders from Rodgers "to take and destroy the forts which have fired on our vessels, and to hold them long enough to demonstrate our ability to punish such offenses at pleasure." The force detailed totaled 759 Marines and sailors, but the actual number of troops put ashore was 651 men.