1930s FASCINATING AND UNIQUE DIARY OF AN ARMED DETAIL OF FIVE MARINES TRAVELING BY STEAMBOAT INTO THE INTERIOR OF CHINA, EACH MAN CONTRIBUTING RECORDING AND DETAILING THE LIFE AND NATURE ALL AROUND THEM


On offer is a fascinating and significant handwritten diary that was found with other military items from a US 4th Marine Veteran, George Mower, who served in China, WW II and Korea. The very unique diary was written by five Marines (their rank and last names listed on the first page) while on duty in China from Dec. 28, 1934 through Feb 1, 1935. The very first words of the journal are as such: "This diary of facts concerning a trip made up the Yangtzie River, into the interior of China that mysterious and forbidding land of the Green and Yellow Dragon - by five marines detailed as armed guards for the Yangtzie Rapid Steamship Co. - an American owned and operated Co. - was conceived and written by Oscar Nelson and George Mowers, with the help of the remainder of the detail. The trip and what is said about the country is described by Mowers. Nelson was the (?), he located the different points of interest, learned their names, and their distances apart. All members of the group added the human interest which is committed to the pages. This diary was not kept for material gain, but only as a souvenir. It is written in the simple words of those who made the trip, so that as they ramble through its pages, so they may live over again in the memory, those days spent on the Yangtzie River." The men on detail are referred to as Lt. Hussa, Sgt. Stevens, Cpl. Nelson, Pvt Mowers, and Pvt. Sours. On December 28 they gather their supplies and embark "at 5:15 PM aboard Yangtze River Steamship Co. Ship I'Fung". During the detail there are many details on their trip, often in the military way of breaking down the events by the time they happened "At 1700 it begins to darken - a cold rain makes visibility poor. The bleak and dreary banks of the river is now relieved by several hills, crowned by pagodas and tall trees." On another day the diary states, "The weather is cold and the wind still too high to allow us to venture out on deck to observe much of the country along the banks of the river. What I can see of the short from my cabin window looks to be cold, beak, bare and desolate. Occasionally I can pick out a small grass shack from which drifts a small lazy column of smoke. Then at other times I can see a Chinese farmer scurrying along the banks of the river, or perhaps he's a fisherman. What a perfect setting for one who likes nature in the raw. I'll take mine after it has been refined." There are plenty of details about life on the ship and the dreary and rainy conditions which seem to be ever present. As well, the authors of the diary seem to be slightly interested in Chinese history, as there are some small passages on the history of China: "At the close of the Sung dynasty it was founded by refugees who fled from other parts of the country to escape the conquering Mongols." There is also writings about the little time off in Shanghai and Hankow. "Arrived at Hankow and anchored at 1600. Clean well built city from the river. Went ashore after dinner and walked up the (?)- clean and well policed. Rickshawed and walked thru the city. A big prosperous city - modeled after Shanghai - but did not see much of interest. Their famed "Cabaret Row" was a flop. Was sober and the girls looked old and their teeth were dirty. The liquor was bad." There are also run ins with bandits and pirates, "Now when you get on the land opposite your ship you run into some of the famous Yangtzie River Pirates in the guise of (?) men. They demand 40 cents big money to bring you a hundred yards to your boat. And they get it or you swim." One of the trips ashore is described as, "By chance we were witness to a very interesting sight this afternoon. We saw a number of Chinese soldiers forcing a number of Chinese civilians into service in the army. They must have had about a thousand of these recruits and they marched them down the streets four abreast. Some of the recruits were greasy and dirty, looking as though they had been taken from shops or factories, while others were a little seedy looking and indicating that they were farmers or fishermen. What a strange site they formed as they marched along...In age and size they ranged from mere boys to full grown men. Each one of them carried on his back a blanket or rag in which was roped all of his worldly possessions, as a whole they resembled a herd of wild sheep being herded to the slaughter house. Such is life in China, some Chinaman with a little money who has had the privilege of gaining a little knowledge and an education declares himself a general, recruits himself an army - either willing or otherwise - and procedes to make himself master of all he surveys." The diary is full of these fascinating little observations of life and nature in China along the banks of the Yangtze River. There are also details on the military strife happening in China in the mid-1930s. "National Chinese soldiers are being sent up the river to Wanhsien and other towns in the Szechuan province for very obvious reasons. Szechuan theoretically is supposed to be a part of the Republic of China, but in practice it is not. It is controlled by General Lu, an influential and powerful General. Szechuan is the richest province in China, is isolated from the rest of China due to the fact that it lies in the remote western part of the country and is surrounded by mountain boundaries which are almost inaccessible except by way of the Yangtzie river, through the gorges (?). It is to this isolation and natural defence formed by the mountains, General Lu in the past, with aid of his powerful and well equipped army, has been able to maintain control over Szechuan and levy and collect the taxes. The armored detail eventually switches from their original boat to the I'Ping, and then to the I'Chang. The diary ends on Feb. 2nd with no mention of any transfer or change in duty, only that they were close to Shanghai. It is unclear whether this diary is complete or not. Each page is numbered at the top so they are very easy to keep in order, as the pages are loose and unbound. It ends with, "We anchored for the night at 2200. Lt. Shaw said that the Captain told him we would be in Shanghai about 1000 tomorrow. Nelson is becoming more and more restless. He is longing for the dear old Shanghai nights." All pages of the diary are easily readable in a very accessible script. There are spelling mistakes consistently throughout the diary, but they are not a barrier to understanding the words. Each page is in excellent condition.

Title: 1930s FASCINATING AND UNIQUE DIARY OF AN ARMED DETAIL OF FIVE MARINES TRAVELING BY STEAMBOAT INTO THE INTERIOR OF CHINA, EACH MAN CONTRIBUTING RECORDING AND DETAILING THE LIFE AND NATURE ALL AROUND THEM

Author Name: Lieutenant Hussa, Sergeant Stevens, Corporal Nelson, Private Mowers, Private Sours

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: Yangtze River, Shanghai, Hankow, China, 1935

Binding: Unbound

Book Condition: Good+

Type: Manuscript

Size: 9" x 12"

Seller ID: 0009004

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, STORIES OF UNITED STATES MARINES, EXTRA-MILITARY DUTY, CHINA PRE WORLD WAR TWO, PRE CHINESE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION, YANGTZE RIVER, HANKOW, SHANGHAI, BANKS OF THE YANGTZE RIVER, GREEN AND YELLOW DRAGON, YANGTZE RIVER STEAMSHIP COMPANY, YANGTZIE, THE SAND PEBBLES, LIEUTENANT HUSSA, SERGEANT STEVENS, CORPORAL NELSON, PRIVATE MOWERS, PRIVATE SOURS, USMC, I'PING, I'CHANG, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, AMERICANA, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL