Like most foreign troops stationed in China, the United States Marines' mission was to protect the American embassy and American consulates, missionaries, tourists, and other citizens in China. During the half century covered by this book, the Marines saw China as it would never again be. The Opium Wars and Boxer Rebellion gave the Europeans a certain standing, with prerogatives and privileges that were looked upon by everyone, even the Chinese, as a natural order of existence. The author discusses early military operations in north China, the early legation guards, the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, and the Marine legation guard in Peking also in 1900. It also discusses Seymour's relief column, Waller's column, the capture of the Walled City of Tien-Tsin, the siege of the legations at Peking, the relief of Peking, and the Marines' return to Peking.