The Chinese defenders fought ferociously at Tientsin until the night of July 13th or early morning of the 14th. Then, for reasons unknown, the imperial army melted away, sneaking out of the city gates under cover of darkness, leaving the Boxers and the civilian population of Tientsin at the mercy of the foreigners.
Atrocities were common, particularly from the Russian and German troops, including rape, looting and murder. The foreign troops from the other six countries behaved somewhat better, but all were merciless when it came to suspected Boxers. Hundreds were rounded up and summarily executed.
Even those civilians who escaped direct oppression by the foreign troops had trouble following the battle. The family shown here has lost their roof, and much of their home is heavily damaged.
The city generally was badly damaged by naval shelling. On July 13, at 5:30 am, the British naval artillery sent a shell into the walls of Tientsin that hit a powder magazine. The entire store of gunpowder blew up, leaving a gap in the city wall and knocking people off their feet as far as 500 yards away.