Gunboat on the Yangtze

The Diary of Captain Glenn F. Howell of the USS Palos, 1920–1921


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About the Book

Captain Glenn F. Howell kept a detailed account of his activities in China for 62 years. His journals now make up 202 leather-bound volumes—one of the largest sources in existence, perhaps the largest, of servicemen’s observations of service in China during that country’s struggle to oust one power and come to grips with a new one between World War I and II.
This work presents Howell’s diary from June 6, 1920, to September 23, 1921, during which time he commanded the naval gunboat USS Palos on the Yangtze River. First comes a biography of Howell, an overview of Chinese history from 1800 to 1920, and a history of the United States military involvement in China during those years. Howell’s time as commander of the USS Palos is divided into three sections. Preceding each, the editor comments on the nature of the upcoming diary entries. Howell covers a range of topics, including the Chinese people, various important locales (e.g., the Three Gorges), making official visits, (his first as a captain), officer–enlisted man relations, opium, the steam navy, people who influenced him (S. Cornell Plant and Captain Joseph Miclo, skipper of the Meitan), missionaries and other foreigners in China (including U.S. military retirees), and “trackers” (China’s human beasts of burden.)

About the Author(s)

Glenn F. Howell served two full tours of duty on the old China Station in the interwar period.
Dennis L. Noble is retired from the United States Coast Guard. A former librarian and adjunct college professor, he lives in Sequim, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Glenn F. Howell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1232-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8091-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     1
Introduction     5

PART 1: Wanhsien [Wanxian]–Shanghai (June 6, 1920–November 8, 1920)     25
PART 2: Shanghai–Shanghai (November 9, 1920–May 22, 1921)     78
PART 3: Shanghai–Hankow (May 25, 1921–September 23, 1921)     119

Epilogue     164
Appendix 1: The Last Cruise of the Palos     169
Appendix 2: The Crew of the Palos June 1920     177
Appendix 3: Published Writings of Glenn F. Howell     178
Bibliography     179
Editor’s Military History     183
Index     185

Book Reviews & Awards

“excellent”—Catholic Library World.