It’s the summer of 1900 and northern China is ablaze with the anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion. With the tactic support of China’s Manchu rulers, the fanatical Boxers – so-called for their martial arts practices – lay siege to the foreign legation compounds in Peking.
U.S. Army private Harry Kearny, recent graduate from the Virginia Military Institute, is stationed in the Philippines with Company H of the 14th Infantry Regiment. The “Fighting Fourteenth” is called upon as part of the American China Relief Expedition to rescue the besieged Westerners. En route to China, Harry is promoted from private to lance corporal.
After landing in the port city of Tientsin, the Fourteenth march inland and spearhead the victory over the Chinese army at the Battle of Yangcun. A victim of treachery, Harry is sent on a suicidal solo mission deep inside enemy territory. Will he manage to reunite with Company H as they prepare for the climactic Battle of Peking?
An Army Boy in Peking is a ripping, old-fashioned yarn raised above the limitations of the boy’s own genre by the author’s accuracy in describing the military campaign; the battle details, the grueling marches, the dust and heat, and the chaos of multiple armies in coalition.
This authenticity is no accident: Kilbourne fought in the Boxer campaign. Originally with the U.S. Signal Corps, he was given a commission as an officer in the Fourteenth Infantry Regiment on the eve of the China Relief Expedition, and he led his platoon in the assault that captured the walls of Peking.
Kilbourne was the first soldier in American history to earn the United States’ three highest military decorations: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Distinguished Service Medal
An Army Boy in Peking was first published in 1912. It comes with illustrations and two maps.