Help support TMP

"US Marines - Boxer Rebellion Uniforms" Topic

16 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the 19th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Painting Guides Message Board

6,669 hits since 2 Sep 2009
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Sep 2009 2:30 p.m. PST

Are there any on line uniform plates depicting the US Marines in campaign/undress uniform. I am sending some of the Redoubt figures to a painter and hoped that I could point him to a web page with a color picture of the Marine uniform.

SteelonSand Inactive Member02 Sep 2009 4:17 p.m. PST

Hi Der Alte, how about photos? Quite a collection of various nations here, nice one of U.S. Marines in middle of second row:


Hope this helps!

Plynkes Inactive Member02 Sep 2009 4:21 p.m. PST

Is this chap a marine?


He's certainly some sort of a Yank.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Sep 2009 4:57 p.m. PST

Plynkes: I think you have the winner. Thank you very much!

Steelonsand: thanks also – interesting pix

RudyNelson03 Sep 2009 7:00 a.m. PST

Der Alte Fritz. Was not one of the color platesin Lynn Bodin's Osprey book 'The Boxer Rebellion' include a US Marine. I will check my library later today. But I am almost positive that he was shown loading a rifle.

Plynkes Inactive Member03 Sep 2009 9:25 a.m. PST

You are correct, Rudy, but he asked for an online source. You can look at the colour plates of many Ospreys on Google Books, but sadly that particular one doesn't include any plates in the preview (other than the cover). I looked before responding.


Just looked at my copy of the book and the US Marine is dressed pretty much identically to the one in the picture I linked to earlier. The only real difference is that the artist has depicted the trousers as a much lighter blue, kind of like a pair of faded jeans.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2009 9:46 a.m. PST

He sure is – in fact, as I recall the entire US garrison in Peking were Marines

terrain sherlock Inactive Member03 Sep 2009 10:10 a.m. PST

I think the cover guy is Army.. see:


Note the light trousers.. and the comparative darkness
of the gaiters..

RockyRusso Inactive Member03 Sep 2009 11:09 a.m. PST


This is a transition period between blues and khaki. In the actual fighting, period photos show both army and marines in a "mix and match" situation rather than as GI as these examples.


WarWizard03 Sep 2009 11:30 a.m. PST

Would that be same uniform as in Spanish American War?

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP03 Sep 2009 1:00 p.m. PST

From my readings on the Boxer Uprising, I have the impression that the Marines in the Legation were in the Blue uniform, perhaps more full dress than campaign. The troops that came in the relief force were Army in khaki. I have liked the Marines dress from The 55 Days of Peking as a model. As on the Osprey cover. At least in combat, the Army was in Khaki. I have not seen marines in the field, only in Peking. Here are some nice contrasts, but sadly from a toy company

Classic poster of Army in the episode.


Note men climbing wall in background. These appear to be in blue shirts. So maybe the Army had khaki jackets but blue shirts. Marines blue jackets and white shirts.

Botch B02 Jun 2010 8:13 a.m. PST

The Osprey Bodin book is a great intro and pioneered the way, but aware that subsequent research has shown much of the uniform and OOB info to be inaccurate.

In China the uniform most frequently worn was the dark blue shirt, light blue trousers and broad brimmed ‘campaign' or ‘field' hat, and high canvas leggings. Enlisted men dispensed with the coat in the field because of the heat and fought in ‘shirt sleeve order'; drab campaign hat with large Marine Corps emblem on the left side; dark blue woollen shirt open at the neck, usually with the sleeves rolled up exposing the sleeves of the off-white undershirt (vest); drab tropical, sky blue winter or white summer trousers; high drab USMC or lower USN leggings. Officers wore the blue coat described in the 1875 regulations as a fatigue jacket, on which rank insignia backed with scarlet cloth was worn on each side of the standing collar, light blue trousers, and campaign hat. They also sometimes wore the leggings. Officers' and NCO's blue trousers had the red seam stripe.
Maj Waller, USMC, commented that Marines dressed in the blue wool shirts made perfect targets standing among the other khaki dressed members of the relief force sent to Peking .
A b&w drawing shows US Marines on the walls of Peking dressed in all white uniforms with dark gaiters. The headgear is the M1895 undress peaked cap in white linen cap covers, worn by both the officer and EM. [Harrington 2001].
The Legation marines would certainly have presented a non-regulation appearance as they had uniforms made for them locally. Ms AH Mateer recorded that they had arrived in their heavy winter uniforms ‘… not having had time to provide anything more fitted for summer wear. … the ladies took up a collection… and procured enough navy-blue drilling and brass buttons to fit the soldiers with light weight suits. … They ripped apart a duck suit belonging to a gentleman of the party, for a pattern. Then one of their number cut coats and another cut trousers. To be sure the soldiers were tall and short, heavy and slight, but the pattern was medium. … Then the fitter went down to the soldiers' house and one by one pinned and fitted. … Four pockets and a row of brass buttons and a little standing collar adjusted under the instruction of the soldiers and the jackets were pronounced satisfactory. Concerning one point only were these soldier boys particular, and that was that there should be no hint of flare where the trousers meet the foot for these soldiers of the marine corps were sensitive on the subject, and anxious that no extra width of trouser should cause them to be mistaken for sailors.'
One non-regulation uniform item was recorded by Lt Smedley Butler, ‘… a private in my company called Pete. He was a Greek who had served in the Marine Corps for thirty years. He was a little fellow, weighing no more than one hundred pounds, and wore brass earrings, which gave him a wide pirate look.' [Thomas]
Drummers and Buglers wore the same uniform as the EM.

AICUSV07 Jun 2010 7:42 a.m. PST

I have tow questions;
1. I read some where a while back that the Marines of the Legation Guard had no Officers, only NCOs. As a result during the siege they were placed under German Officers. Is this true? (If so, it makes painting the officer easy).

2. Looking at the photos posted here, it would appear that the Marine's cartridge belts are not the Mills web belts as used by the Army. There look like they are leather with pouches. Any info on this?

Cuirassier07 Jun 2010 5:39 p.m. PST

I love these photos.

Click on the images to enlarge them.




Smokey Roan Inactive Member13 Jun 2010 9:56 a.m. PST

Rocky, that's what I have found, be it Peking, the Americas, the pacific, Cuba or the Phillipines.

Mix and match, which is frustrating in a way, as many sources differ.

Botch B25 Jun 2010 1:42 a.m. PST


1) no – there were 2 officers.
Nov 1898-Spring 1899 Peking Legation Guard:
18 Marines under 1st Lt Robert Dutton from ships of the US Pacific Fleet.
24 May 1900. USMC 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, and 25 marines, under Capt John T ‘Handsome Jack' Twiggs Myers, USMC, USS Oregon, transferred to USS Newark.
27 May 1900. Capt Bowman H McCalla, USN, commanding USS Newark, anchored at Taku Bar, 40 miles down-river from Tientsin. Newark's complement of US Marines was under Capt Newt H Hall, USMC.
29 May 1900. Both USMC contingents [Oregon's and Newark's] & a US Naval contingent [from Newark] landed at Taku and went to Tientsin under Capt McCalla, USN. Capt Myers, USMC, as above; Capt Hall, USMC, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, 1 drummer, and 23 Marines [48 according to Guy]; Naval Battalion 4 naval officers [including Ensigns Wurtzbaugh & McCourtney], 60 seamen, 3-inch landing gun and naval crew, 2 Colt Automatic machineguns [about 75 sailors in all]; Asst Surgeon T M Lippett, USN.

2)In 1895 the USMC & USN were issued the ‘United States Navy Rifle Cal 6mm M1895', manufactured by Winchester, and more usualy referred to as the Lee rifle. It was adopted to replace a mix of black powder rifles then in use, and was a small bore smokeless powder weapon. It was chosen over the Army's choice, the Krag, as faster loading and with a ballistically better cartridge.
It had an integral single column vertical box 5 round magazine loaded by a clip which fell out of the open bottom after a couple of rounds had been fired. It had a fast action straight pull bolt designed by J P Lee. The gun was severely criticized because of difficult bolt disassembly, excessive bore erosion from hot burning powder, the extractor often proving unreliable, and the 6mm bullet being a poor ‘man-stopper'. The sling was brown leather.
The Lee was actually on its way out by the Boxer Rebellion, the Navy having been convinced of the merits of a single service rifle, and was adopting the Krag. The conversion to the Krag began in 1900 and appears to have been completed by the end of the year. However, the Legation Guards had Lees, and the Marines from the Philippines were armed with both the Lee and the Krag. The USMC has evidence that the Relief Force even included a few old Navy issue buttstock spring-fed tube magazine Winchester-Hotchkiss bolt-action rifles and US Rifle M1884 Trapdoor Springfield .45-70s single shot breech-loading rifle (the standard arm of the Corps from 1885-1898) alongside the new Krags.
White belts were worn in FD; field equipment for the Lee was a M1895 dark blue webbing waistbelt with brass fittings, and 12 black leather-flapped cartridge clip pockets made as part of the belt, ie not detachable. Two dark blue or black web braces clipped to eyelets on the front of the waistbelt, went over the shoulder and crossed at the small of the back before again clipping separately to the waistbelt. The Krag equipment was looped cotton woven Mills belts, C clamp buckle, in both navy blue and khaki.
The Lee bayonet had black walnut grips; black leather bayonet scabbard had blue steel fittings and either clipped to or looped over the waistbelt on the left hip.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.