The Battle of Chapu, Chapoo, or Zhapu(18 May 1842) was fought between British and Qing forces at Zhapu (then romanized as "Chapoo" or "Chapu") on the northern shore of Hangzhou Bay during the First Opium War.

Battle of Chapu
Part of the First Opium War
Date18 May 1842
Zhapu, Zhejiang, China

Coordinates: 30°36′22″N 121°5′46″E / 30.60611°N 121.09611°E / 30.60611; 121.09611
Result British victory

 United Kingdom

Qing China
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
  • 1,200–1,500[4]
  • 14 junks captured[5]
Battle of Chapu
Traditional Chinese乍浦
Simplified Chinese乍浦


Map of the battle

Before the attack, the British commander, Major General Hugh Gough divided his forces into three: a column of infantry on the left (863 men) and right (969 men), with artillery in the centre. Gough accompanied the right column, which landed first on May 16. The remaining troops moved round to the rear of the enemy thereby cutting their communications with Zhapu. Meanwhile, the accompanying steamers began a bombardment of the city's defences. In Gough's own words: "The enemy were completely taken by surprise; as usual, they were unprepared for anything except a frontal attack. They gave way on all sides and took to flight, with the exception of a body of some 300 Tartar troops who seized a small joss-house, and held it with indomitable pluck and perseverance."[6]

Multiple assaults proved necessary to capture the joss-house with casualties suffered on both sides; eventually it fell and after each of the gates had been captured, the city fell to the British. Not without cost and Gough lost one of his most accomplished field commanders Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Tomlinson who was killed personally leading a breaching party of the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot.[7]


The British did not remain in Zhapu long. They captured the city's ordnance and destroyed its arsenals before moving on to attack Wusong.[8]

Hailing, the Manchu commander at Zhenjiang, received the report of Zhapu's surrender on June 18.[9] The Manchus committed mass suicide[where?] while the Han Chinese discussed the situation with the British.[4] When hostilities[which?] ceased, Chinese official Yilibu returned sixteen kidnapped British soldiers to Gough in "recognition of his courtesy in releasing the Chinese captured at Chapoo".[clarification needed]




  1. ^ Bulletins of State Intelligence 1842, pp. 918–920
  2. ^ Rait 1903, p. 263
  3. ^ Bulletins of State Intelligence 1842, p. 916
  4. ^ a b c d Rait 1903, p. 265
  5. ^ Bulletins of State Intelligence 1842, p. 918
  6. ^ Rait 1903, p. 264
  7. ^ Battle of, Chapu. "Online Collection National Army Museum, London". Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  8. ^ Rait 1903, p. 266
  9. ^ Elliott, Mark (June 1990). "Bannerman and Townsman: Ethnic Tension in Nineteenth-Century Jiangnan". Late Imperial China 11 (1): 51.