The Chinese Windlass
In the summer of 1860, the Second Opium War was reaching its climax. Three years earlier, Britain and France had invaded Canton, China, in order to expand their trade in such unsavory commodities as opium and indentured servants. Chinese Emperor Xianfeng had resisted the outsiders, and a low-intensity war continued in fits and starts.
The European nations, tiring of the expense and anxiety of fighting a war so distant, launched an invasion fleet carrying nearly 18,000 men. After landing ...