Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carl Ohlemacher and the 14th U. S. Infantry

Private Carl Ohlemacher (top row left)  
14th U. S. Infantry, Companies D and F
1899 - 1902
Mr. and Mrs. John Ohlemacher, Huron, Ohio, donated this print of Private Carl Ohlemacher and Companies F and D of the 14th U. S. Infantry, known as the Golden Dragons. Born in Sandusky, Ohio, Ohlemacher worked as a cooper. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the 14th U. S. Infantry for three years service. Later that same year, the 14th sailed for the Philippines, where they fought in the Philippine Insurrection. Ohlemacher particpated in the battles of Paramagne and Zapote.

In August of the following year, the 14th was deployed to China to put down the Boxer Rebellion. The unit was part of the United States' 2500-man force under the command of Major General Adna Chaffee, who had arrived only weeks earlier.

The China Relief Expedition was made up of a coalition of 19.000 American, Russian, Italian, French, Japanese, British, German, and Austrian soldiers. Their mission was to rescue United States citizens and foreign nationals held during the 
Boxer Rebellion. They moved toward Peking, fighting in the battles of Pie-tsang and Yang Tsun, where Ohlemacher's 14th served as the spearhead for the eventual victory. At Peking, the 14th scaled the Tartar Wall and placed the first foreign flag ever to fly over the wall. Their efforts made it possible for British regiments to reach and relieve the legation compound. In gratitude, the Chinese presented the 14th with a large amount of silver bullion.

Courtesy of U. S. Army Art Collection

Excerpt from Major General Adna Chaffee's report.....

I withdrew the troops from the legation and camped just outside near the Tartar wall for the night. My casualties during the day were 8 enlisted men wounded in the Fourteenth Infantry, 1 enlisted man wounded of Battery F, Fifth Artillery, and 1 officer and 2 enlisted men wounded of the marines.
Upon entering the legations the appearance of the people and their surroundings, buildings, walls, streets, alleys, entrances, etc., showed every evidence of a confining siege. Barricades were built everywhere and of every sort of material, native brick being largely used for their construction, topped with sandbags made from every conceivable sort of cloth, from sheets and pillowcases to dress materials and brocaded curtains.

Many of the legations were in ruins, and the English, Russian, and American, though standing and occupied, were filled with bullet holes from small arms, and often having larger apertures made by shell.

The children presented a pitiable sight, white and wan for lack of proper food, but the adults, as a rule, seemed cheerful and little the worse for their trying experience, except from anxiety and constant care. They were living on short rations, a portion of which consisted of a very small piece of horse or mule meat daily. The Christian Chinese were being fed upon whatever could be secured, and were often reduced to killing dogs for meat. All the surroundings indicated that the people had been closely besieged, confined to a small area without any comforts, no conveniences, and barely existing from day to day in hope of succor.
Ohlemacher was discharged at Fort Snelling, Minnesota in March 1902, the expiration of his term of service. He returned to Sandusky, where he married Mary Hengel and attended St. Mary's Church. The father of five children, Ohlemacher worked at the Farrel-Cheek Foundry. He passed away in Sandusky December 1935.

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