On October 18, 1860, regular army British regiments and ones from the Indian Army, some 3,500 soldiers in all, systematically set fire to the Yuanming, Changchun, and Qichun Gardens located to the northwest of the Qing imperial capital at Beijing. The reason for this action was in retaliation for the death in captivity of several British subjects and Indian Army soldiers who had been seized by Qing forces, while supposedly carrying a flag of truce. They were imprisoned at the Yuanming Gardens for several days, where the London Times reporter and 19 other soldiers and civilians perished in captivity. Lord Elgin, the British official who ordered the destruction of the gardens as a “solemn act of retribution,” considered the treatment of the captives a barbarous act and a transgression of the “laws of nations.”