Secretary of the Navy Report, 1867

The Murders onboard the Schooner General Sherman

Background

In the autumn of 1866 intelligence reached the Asiatic Squadron that the American Schooner General Sherman had been wrecked in the Ping Yang river, one of the streams of Corea, and that all of her officers, crew, and passengers were murdered.

Rear-Admiral Bell dispatched the Wachusett, Commander R. W. Shufeldt, to Chifu to investigate the circumstances attending the loss of the General Sherman, with instructions to demand of the chief authorities that, if there were any survivors of the schooner, they should be delivered on the deck of the Wachusett, whatever might be their nationality, and to make such further investigation as was practicable.

USS Wachusett at Shanghai, 1867, 
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Courtesy of Charles H. Bogart, 1973.

The Wachusett anchored near the mouth of the Ta Tong River, on the west coast of Corea, on the 23d of January. The pilot secured for these waters did not consider it safe, at that season, to take the vessel to the Ping Yang, which was some fifty miles to the northward.

Commander Shufeldt had, therefore, to communicate with the King of Corea by a messenger, secured through the instrumentality of the chief of a fishing village. The object of his visit and his demands were thus made known; but no reply to his communication was received. On the 29th of January, however, an officer, who claimed to be from the capital, was presented on board the Wachusett, and had an interview with her commander. The result was most unsatisfactory. Commander Shufeldt, was unable to find any peaceable solution of the difficulty, or that there were any survivors of the ill-fated vessel.

Commander Shufeldt's  Report

 

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