The news of the Dagu defeat was a great shock in London, requiring a fresh, strong expedition to China. Elgin and Gros were sent out again with a military expedition headed by Sir James Hope Grant, whom the government firmly told that Britain’s sole objective was peaceful trade. The army would even stay outside Beijing, leaving a mere thousand excellently equipped and supplied men to escort Elgin within. The French commander was Cousin-Montauban. The overall command was in Grant’s hands. However, the Chinese, ill equipped and commanded, had one big weapon: that China’s government, if pressed, might collapse. Who could then negotiate on anything?
Appendix: British and French armies marching to Beijing