The Walls of Peking
"I'll try, Sir!" Courtesy of the Army Art Collection, U.S. Army Center of Military History
Note: Although this artwork depicts the fighting at the Walls of Peking, the US Flag was not hoisted to mark the friendly
positions as shown in the painting. All of the historical documents of the expedition report that the
14th Infantry Regimental Colors were actually raised to mark friendly positions.
At the foot of the wall surrounding Peking, when two companies of the U.S. Army's 14th Infantry Regiment were pinned
by heavy fire from the east wall of the Tartar City and the Fox Tower between abutments of the Chinese City Wall
near Tung Pien Gate, volunteers were called for to attempt the first, perilous ascent of the wall. Trumpeter Calvin P. Titus
of E Company immediately stepped forward saying, "I'll try, sir!" Using jagged holes in the stone wall, he succeeded
in reaching the top. He was followed by the rest of his company who climbed, unarmed, and hauled up their rifles and
ammunition belts by a rope made of rifle slings. As the troops ascended the wall, artillery fire from Reilly's battery set fire
to the Fox Tower. In the face of continued heavy Chinese fire, the colors broke out in the August breeze as the sign that
U.S.Army troops had achieved a major step in the relief of the besieged Legations. For his courageous and daring deeds
in being the first to climb the wall, Trumpeter Titus was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.