Mr. Burlingame to Mr. Seward

No. 123.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the French fleet, of six vessels and 600 men, under the command of Admiral Rose, left Cheefoo on the 11th of [Page 426] October for Corea, for the purpose of obtaining satisfaction for the murder of the French missionaries. It arrived on the 13th at the mouth of a river on which is situated Seoul, the capital of Corea; ascending this to Kang-hoa, a city of 20,000 inhabitants, on the 14th the Admiral landed his force, and on the 15th and 16th captured the city without loss. Great preparations had been made by the Coreans to meet the French all along the river, but the French arriving before the completion of their works they abandoned them at first without a struggle.

A deputation arrived from the capital, 26 miles from Kang-hoa, complaining of the conduct of the missionaries, but ending with a request that the admiral should go to the capital and discuss the affair in a friendly manner. The admiral conceived this to be a ruse to entrap him and refused to go, but invited them in return to come to him. In the mean time large forces began to gather about Kang-hoa. On the 26th a reconnoissance was made with 150 men, near the river, along the road leading to the capital. These when near the landing on the river side were fired upon, and two men were killed and 25 wounded.

On the 27th another reconnoissance was made with 150 men, who, upon near-ing a pagoda, were fired upon by 500 Coreans, and at the first volley three were killed and 32 wounded, whereupon a retreat was made, and Admiral Rose, probably finding that nothing could be done with his limited force, left Corea to recruit it, with which he cannot return until next spring or summer.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.