I'm really unsure if this is okay, but it's related to Japan and really obscure info, so I would think so. If not, please tell me and forgive me, Yuno!
Basically I tracked down a 2004 edition of a military magazine in order to get one 7 page biography about a US Navyman who served in the Japanese Military during the 1874 Taiwan Expedition, and have just spent the past hour or so re-typing out all the text of the story, since this magazine and story are not available online, and they're the only true biography just focusing on this guy.
I'm going to post it here, since it's not available online and interesting and rare in regards to Japanese history.
My only big worry is the first half goes into the American (Cassel's) early military service, which doesn't have to do with Japan, but I'm not sure how to crop out out while still making it flow, and I wouldn't want to exclude it for Sama anons who are actually interested in this guy but wont be able to find the info online.
Here I go!
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A Conspicuous Ornament: The Short, Eventful Life of Lt. Cdr. Douglas R. Cassel, U.S.N. (1845-1875)
By Roger D. Cunningham
In the spring of 1874 the diplomatic correspondence between the American Minister (ambassador) to Japan, John A. Bingham, and the State Department discussed three American Citizens who were assisting the Japanese government in staging a military expedition against the island of Formosa (Taiwan). These three Americans were all Civil War veterans, two of whom had served in the Union Army. The third man was a young naval officer who was still on active duty -Lt. Cdr. Douglas R. Cassel.
Born in Zanseville, Ohio, in October 1845, Douglas Cassel was the third of James W. and Amanda A. Cassel's four children. After his father died in 1850, Douglas decided to emulate his maternal grandfather and seek a career in the Navy. He was able to secure an appointment to the United States Naval Academy from Congressman Cydnor B. Tompkins, and he entered that institution as an acting midshipman in September 1860. Established at Annapolis, Maryland, as the United States Naval School in 1845, the academy had been renamed in 1850. Its rigorous curriculum required four years of study, with training aboard ships each summer. As fifteen-year-old Fourth Classman, Cassel was quartered on the USS Constitution, one of the Academy's three schoolships. He earned demerits almost every month during his first year, including six demerits for being "disorderly" at fencing on 23 April 1861, less than two weeks after South Carolina troops fired on Fort Sumter, in Charlestone harbor, and the Civil War started.
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The susceptibility of Annapolis to Confederate attack prompted the federal government to move the academy much farther north, so that same month, the Constitution transported all of the midshipmen to Newport, Rhode Island, where the institution was initially located at Fort Adams, before moving to a nearby hotel, the Atlantic House, and remaining there for the next four years. Continuing to demostrate the exuberance of youth, Midshipman Cassel earned more demerits, including ten that he received from 27 January 1863 from his seamanship instructor, Lieut. Alfred T. Mahan, for "visiting and skylarking after taps." This was almost 30 years before Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 established him as one of the nation's premier naval historians and strategists.
The Civil War greatly increased the Union Navy's need for officers, so about 40 percent of the Naval Academy's Class of 1864 was graduated in May 1863. In September, after three years of training, Midshipman Cassel reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles that he was ready for active duty, and a month later he was promoted to acting ensign and ordered to report to the USS Powhatan. Cassel reported to that ship, docked at the Philadelphia Navy yard, and he remained a member of its crew as it sailed in the West Indies.
In January 1864, at the harbor of Cap Haitien, Haiti's second city on the northern shore of the Caribbean island, Cassel transferred to the USS Rhode Island, which then departed for Boston navy Yard. Three months later, the ensign changed ships again, this time reporting to the USS Brooklyn, of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. While assigned to that ship, he participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay, sustaining a slight scalp wound. Capt. James Alden, the Brooklyn's commander, reported that during the fighting several officers and their assistansts, including Cassel, "fought their guns nobly and well."
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In January 1865, Ensign Cassel saw action ocne again. He commanded a landing party from the Brooklyn that participated in the amphibious assault on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, the "Goliath" that guarded the Cape Fear River's approach to the Confederate port of Wilington. Although the assault succeeded, Cassel's party belonged to a 2,000-man brigade of bluejackets and Marines - primarily armed with cutlasses and pistols - whose attack on Fort Fisher's northeast corner was repulsed. Cassel and his men were on the left of the naval brigade's line, and he later reported "[W]e kept our position and remained under fire of the fort until the retreat was ordered." After the fighting, Cassel found three of his men were missing, and one was wounded.
Three months later, the young officer was ordered to the USS Dacotah, of the Pacific Squadron. The Navy's foreign squadrons were being reestablished, "so that the flag which had been withdrawn [during the war] might be again exhibited in every important port where American commerce penetrated." In January 1866, the Dacotah sailed from Philadelphia and cruised along the west coast of South America, protecting American shipping. Cassel was promoted to lieutenant in July.
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Soon after being promoted to lieutenant commander in May 1868, Cassel was detached from the Dacotah and ordered to return to the United States. After a short assignment to a receiving ship, USS New Hampshire, at Norfolk, Virginia, in January 1869 the young officer reported for duty on the USS Richmond, of the European Squadron, whiched cruised in the Mediterranean and adjacent waters. In August 1870, Cassel was detached from the Richmond and ordered to report to Rear Adm. John Rodgers for duty on the Asiatic Station. In May 1871, Cassel reported to the steamer USS Alaska, and a month later he participated in a punitive expedition against Korean forts. Admiral Rodgers led his five-vessel expedition up the Han River to punish the "Coreans" for mistreating an American merchant crew and then refusing to negotiate with the United States government. When the expedition was fired upon, a battalion-sized landing party of sailors and Marines went ashore under covering fire from two gunboats. Cassel commanded the force's two howitzer batteries - seven guns in all - which were dragged with great difficulty across a mud flat to support the main body. The American force moved to a new position, stormed the main Korean fort, blew it up, and withdrew. The amphibious operation accomplished very little, but its outcome was certainly a welcome improvement over the performance of the naval brigade at Fort Fisher six years before.
Four months after the Korean operation, Cassel transferred to the USS AAshuelot, temporarily commanding that ship from December 1873 to March 1874. He was then granted a one-year leave of absence so that he could honor a request from the Japanese government that he assist in modernizing its navy. It is not clear what caused the Japanese to become interested in Cassel, but in this new assignment, they accorded him the rank and pay of a captain.
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Cassel's services were arranged through Charles W. Le Gendre, a Frenchman who had immigrated to the United States, earned the brevet rank of brigadier general as a volunteer officer during the Civil War and served as an American diplomat before becoming an advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 15 March 1874 Japan's Minster for the Navy informed Le Gendre that it "had been determined" to employ Cassel, and the minister asked him to communicate with the American government to help "settle particulars about his employment." Tha same day, Cassel wrote Commodore Daniel Ammen, the chief of the Navy's Bureau of Navigation, and requested detachment "to remain one year in service of [the] Japanese government." Minister Binghman endorsed Cassel's request as "beneficial to both governments." On 4 April the Japanese informed Le Gendre that for one year's service they were willing to pay Cassel $7,000 plus 1,000 yen for his expenses, and the young officer accepted this generous offer ten days later.
On 22 April, Minister Bingham reported to the Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, that Cassel, Le Gendre, and James R. Wasson, a former United States Army officer who ahd been hired in 1873 to survey Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, were being employed by the Japanese government in a punitive expedition against Formosa. Bingham, a former Ohio Congressman who had assumed his diplomatic duties five months before, was a staunch peace advocate, and he was very much opposed to the idea that these three men might violate American neutrality in a Sino-Japanese dispute.
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The Formosa Expedition of 1874, which represented Japan's first major military excursion since a disastrous foray against Korea in the late 16 century, was comrpised of more than 3,000 samurai from Kyushu, under command of Lt. Gen. Saigo Tsugumichi. Formosa's Botan "aborigines" had murdered fifty-four shipwrecked fishermen from the Ryuku Islands in December 1871, and after Japan annexed the Ryukus in 1873, its military had demanded the right to punish the Formosans (as the United States Navy had done in 1867).
Realzing that their expedition would require foreign assistance in order to succeed, the Japanese government selected the three aforementioned Americans for important positions. Minister Bingham also protested Japan's use of the New York, an American vessel belonging to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company The New York remained in Japan, but after a minor delay, Cassel and Wasson sailed from Nagasaki on another ship, the Nepaul, with the expedition's advance party of about 100 men. Cassel assured Bingham his duty was of a civil nature and that he would not commit any belligerent acts.
On 6 May, the Nepaul reached Liang Kiao Bay on the southwesern coast of Formosa. Cassel was in charge of the group, and the next day he and Wasson went ashore to select a 3,000-man campsite, which could be fortified and also provide good communications with the sea. Four days later, more Japanese troops landed on Formosa, and on 15 May the expedition's leaders met with Chief Issa, the head of the island's sixteen southern tribes. Cassel informed Issa that the emperor of Japanw as sending an army to punish the tribes that had murdered his shipwrecked subjects. He assured Issa that he should not regard the Japanese as enemies, because his tribes had not been involved in murdering the Ryukuan mariners. Cassel also told him, however, that unless the Botans turned over the murderers and begged to be pardoned, the Japanese would "march into their country… to destroy their villages, lay their coutnry to waste and exterminate their people." Chief Issa informed Cassel that the Botans were not under his control and said that the Japanese could punish them as they wisheed.
On 22 May, General Saigo arrived with more troops, and over the next two weeks the Japanese fought the Botans and their allies twice, destroying their villages and reducing the dangerous tribes to "panick stricken fugitives, hiding in the mountains." After the troops returned to their camp in early June, active operations ceased. On 1 July a gunboat landed a messenger from the American consul at the Chinese port of Amoy, who had already arrested Le Gendre when he passed through there en route to Formosa. The envoy delivered letters to both Cassel and Wasson, warning them not to participate in any hostile actions against the Chinese, although up to that time both men had been little more than "itnerested spectators." Later that month, there was an outbreak of malaria that eventually killed more than 550 of the Japanese. Both Americans contracted the disease, but Wasson left the island before "the malady had reached its worst form, and was among the first to recover." In October, Rear Adm. Alexander M. Pennock, the commander of the Asiatic Station, revoked Cassel's one-year leave of absence, in accordance with instructions from Secretary of the Navy George M. Robeson, and he directed that Cassel report to him in person. Admiral Pennock then informed Secretary Robeson that Cassel wanted to be detached from duty and ordered to his home.
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Meanwhile, Sir Thomas Wade, the British ambassador to China, had intervened to settle the Sino-Japanese dispute, and an agreement was signed in Peking at the end of the month, with the Chinese agreeing to pay an indemnity that tacitly acknowledged Japanese suzerainty over the Ryuku Islands. The Japanese agreed to withdraw their troops from Formosa, and General Saigo's expedition returned to Japan in early December. Later that month, Cassel was ordered to report to the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C.
In may 1875, Douglas Cassel returned to his home in Zanesville, "his health ruined beyond recovery." He soon went to visit relatives in Germantown, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, and in mid-June he succumbed to the lingering effects of his malaria. Cassel's body was returned to Zanseville and buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. His New York Herald obituary reported that "his loss [was] not only to be deplored by the service of which he was such a conspicuous ornament, but by the country at large."
Although Cassel's mother, Amanda, had remarried in 1862, her second husband had died the following year, leaving her completely dependent upon Dogulas for financial support. In August 1875 she successfully applied to the Navy for a pension. At the end of the year, Capt. Edward Y. McCauley wrote Minister Bingham from the Boston Navy Yard to secure his assistance in persuading the Japanese government to pay four months' salary (about $4,000) to Cassel's family, in accordance with his employment contract. Captain McCauley informed Bingham that the officers of his ship, the USS Lackawanna, would be forwarding the minister an application as well as a copy of that contract. He begged the diplomat to use his "personal influence in obtaining this relief for the family, who lost their only support in consequence of Cassel's dying of disease incurred whiulst actively engaged in the Japanese service." There is no record of whether McCauley's attempt to assist the deceased officer's family was successful, but the government paid Amanda Cassel a monthly pension of $30 until she passed away in 1892.
During his short but eventful naval career, Douglas R. Cassel had seen a great deal of the world, and in a very small way, he had also left his mark upon its history. His impressive service record certainly suggests that if he had not died at such a young age, much more would have been heard from him.
 Cassel ZB File.
 Ibid.; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, vol. 21 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906), pp. 408, 446 (hereafter cited as ORN).
 Mark M. Boatner, The Civil War Dictionary (New York: David McKay, 1959), p. 294; ORN, vol. 11, p. 469
 Cassel ZB File; Charles Oscar Paullin, Paullin's History of Naval Administration, 1775-1911 (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1969), p. 313.
 Cassel ZB File.
 Ibid.; Allan R. Millet, Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps (New York: Macmillian, 1980), pp. 105-06; For Cassel's report on the artillery's role in the expedition, see Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy… for the year 1871 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1871), pp. 297-98
 Cassel ZB File.
 Ltrs, Katju Yas Yoshi (translated as Yasuyoshu) to Le Gendre, 15 Mar 1874, and Cassel to Ammen, 15 Mar 1874, roll 2, John A. Bingham Papers, Ohio Historical Society; ltrs, Katju Yas Yoshi to Le Gendre papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (hereafter cited as LC).
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 Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, December 7, 1874 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1874), pp. 675-77.
 "Taiwan Expedition of 1874," Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan (Online edition); Olavi K. Falt, "Western Views of the Japanese Expedition to Formosa in 1874," Asian Profile 13 (June 1985): 202; Edward H. House, The Japanese Expedition to Formosa (Tokyo, 1875), p. 16; Erving E. Beauregard, "John A. Bingham, First American Minister Plenipotentiary to Japan (1873-1885)," Journal of Asian History 22 (1988): 109; Cassel ZB File
 James R. Wasson, unintitled expedition report, Tokyo, 1875, pp. 8-29, Le Gendre Papers, LC.
 Ibid., pp. 54-82; ltr, Pennock to Secretary of the Navy, 18 Oct 1874, roll 260, "Squadron Letters", 1841-1886, National Archives of Microfilm Publications M89, NA.
 House, Japanese Expedition, pp. 45, 172, 215, 217; Tyler Dennett, Americans in Eastern Asia (New York: Macmillan, 1922), p. 443; Cassel ZB File.
 Army and Navy Journal 12 (19 June 1875): 717; Zanseville Times Signal, 5 Feb 1950. Cassel stayed with the Charles W. Chandler family in Germantown. Mrs. Chandler was his cousin; the New York Herald obituary was repritned in the Zanseville Daily Courier, 25 June 1875.
 Pension record of Douglas R. Cassel, RG 15, NA. In April 1862 Cassel's mother had married Judge Abner Pratt, but he had died in March 1863; ltr, McCauley to Bingham, 29 Dec 1875, roll 2, John A. Bingham Papers.
The end! I really hope this was okay to post, and I hope it will be interesting information to somebody who reads it!!
I think there was a guy from England who became a samurai
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Yep, William Adams!
His life inspired the novel (and later a miniseries that starred Toshiro Mifune) Shogun by James Clavell.
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Another interesting case like that was Edward and Henry Schnell from Prussia.
One was a Prussian Army veteran and the other was permitted to carry two samurai swords by the shogun.
They interest me because at one point they got in a shoot-out with sonno joi samurai from Numata who attacked their shop.
They ended up serving the Shogun during the Boshin war, trying to acquire modern firearms for Shogun forces but ultimately failing.
Douglas Cassel and James Wasson are the only Americans I know of to serve in 19th century Japan militarily, however.
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>just spent the past hour or so re-typing out all the text of the story, since this magazine and story are not available online, and they're the only true biography just focusing on this guy.
Woah, amazing high effort posts. I haven't read it all yet but this is an interesting story and I'm impressed with anonymous' history knowledge!>>19432>His life inspired the novel (and later a miniseries that starred Toshiro Mifune) Shogun by James Clavell.
I read that novel in school, I remember liking it a lot but sadly I don't remember much of the details.
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It's been on my backlog, but since it's not totally factual and is more-so inspired it's been at the back.
It definitely sucks to forget a lot about a good book you read when you were younger, I know the feeling.
>>19435>It definitely sucks to forget a lot about a good book you read when you were younger, I know the feeling.
that's an awesome feeling, because then you get to read it again and it's not just "oh yeah I remember this"
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I wasn't paying attention and clicked the wrong field…
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Also it turns out Cassel (and Wasson) brought along a Winchester rifle!
It's pretty amazing how far and wide the cultural impact of the Winchester was despite it never getting adopted as a standard service rifle.