That's when 21 men on the Steam Ship General William Sherman had entered Korean waters with claims that they wished to trade British goods picked up in China. Of course at that time Koreans wanted nothing to do with trade outside of their country. They told the ship to either wait for higher instructions from Korean officials, or immediately leave their waters.
But the ship ignoring the instructions, a matter taken by the Koreans to be an act of war. It sailed upriver to the capitol and was fired upon and returned fire en-route. Many of the crew were killed and the vessel was finally set afire by floating barges lit for such purposes. The remainder dove into the water, came ashore and were either beaten or tortured to death.
Over the next few years several attempts to learn what had happened to the crew were made. One vessel had to turn back due to weather. Another because of tides. A further attempt to gain information on June 1 1871 resulted in two American warships turning back when fired upon. But they would return on the 10th, with almost triple the number, and little thoughts of turning back.
Navy vessels were always expected to have about 1/3rd of the crew trained for landing parties and Sam was one of these. He would go ashore and be part of the action as the Koreans in the smaller forts would either be captured, killed or retreated. This partly no doubt due to their antiquated weaponry including resorting to flintlocks, shotguns, spears and rocks.
Naval Lieutenant McKeen led the ground party in which Sam was a part. When the officer was the first to arrive at the Citadel he was shot and instantly killed. Sam would be at his site trying to save him. That battle would be over in about 1/2 hour. But in that time the enemy commander was killed, his 2nd in command and about 20 others were taken prisoner and about 250 were killed. McKeen, one other sailor and one Marine were the only American deaths, though there were many wounded. One of the dead had 17 spear wounds.
A few days short of eight months later Sam would be awarded with the medal of honor for his bravery at the side of his officer commanding. Eight other sailors and 6 US Marines would ultimately be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions that day as well.
These medals were the first awarded for actions with the enemy of a foreign power. Though 7 years earlier several medals including some coming to Canadians, were awarded for ACTIONS on foreign lands..or waters in this case... during the sea battle off the shores of France during the famous sea battle of the USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama, mentioned often in the space. (The shoreline war grave of three sailors in that action is located at Cherbourge. One of the three buried is a Canadian sailor from that battle.)
Sam would continue serving in the US navy for about another decade and then, after almost 30 yrs of service he would leave there to work as a Quartermaster on various vessels plying the Great Lakes. Still not losing his sea legs he would then start a new career as a light-keeper at at least three different Lighthouses.
Sam passed away in late 1905 and lay at rest in Illinois.
As you can see below, his old marker was replaced several years ago with the newer Medal of Honor marker and as you can see he did actually have a last name. And that was Rogers.
And now, as Paul Harvey used to say,... that is the rest of this story.