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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #91
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    Anqing City was strategically like the gate to Nanking City. Anyone who could control Anqing City area could control Nanking City area. Now the leaders of the Peaceful Army felt that their duties were to defend what had left, especially to defend Anqing City and Nanking City. This was really a wrong strategy, but it was the history. Since Anqing City was still occupied by the Peaceful Army, the government army couldn't surround Nanking City, because the Peaceful Army in Anqing City would come to rescue by assaulting the encircling government army from behind. So Elder Zeng laid out a strategy to take Anqing City first. He gave the difficult task to another brother of his, the younger Zeng as mentioned before. So the Peaceful Army exercised a stubborn and brutal resistance against the fierce attack of Xiang Army headed by Younger Zeng. Shrewdness King had sent a strong reinforcement to its rescue, but had been beaten. In September 5, 1861, Xiang Army occupied Anqing City and marched along the Yangtze River both on land and by water to assault Nanking City, the capital of the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom. West Empress Dowager appointed Elder Zeng as the Two River General Governor (A general governor governed more than one province while a governor ruled only in one province.) in total charge of the warfare against the Peaceful Army. Younger Zeng launched waves after waves of assail on Nanking City, which was in a crucial situation. Since Shrewdness King had died, Heavenly King had called for Loyalty King back to the capital to defend it. But Loyalty King had his tactics. He led his army of some ten thousands strong to advance towards Shaoxing City and soon took it and then occupied another city, Ningbo. Thus Hangzhou City, the capital of Zhejiang Province, was exposed before the Peaceful Army, which surrounded it accordingly and cut off the supply of food to the city. As the rations were scarce, almost thirty thousand people died from starvation in the city. A government reinforcement army came to the rescue from another province, but was blockaded somewhere between Jiangxi Province and Zhejiang Province and was at last defeated by the Peaceful Army. Hangzhou City fell into the hands of Loyalty King. Many government high-rank officials and officers either fought to death or committed suicide, because even if they managed to flee from the war zone, they would be arrested as cowards and probably sentence to death. That's the martial law. That way, they would lose both the life and the good reputation. When they fought to death or made suicide, they had at least a good reputation to keep as a brave person and their families could get money from the government and live easily.

  2. #92
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    When the Peaceful Army had surrounded Hangzhou City, the governor of Zhejiang Province had asked Elder Zeng to send troops to his rescue, but Zeng hadn't complied, because the governor hadn? supplied his Xiang Army with rations according to the arrangement by the Secretarial Bureau. So when Hangzhou City had been taken by Loyalty King, the governor had made suicide.
    The goal of Loyalty King to attack these cities was to draw away the government troops that were assailing Nanking City, thus to make the situation there not so critical to the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom. But in January, 1862, West Empress Dowager appointed Zuo Zongtang as the governor of Zhejiang Province and in February Zuo led his troops into the province to fight the Peaceful Army. The strategy of Loyalty King failed.
    While Governor Zuo took over town by town, city by city, originally occupied by the Peaceful Army, Loyalty King led his army towards Shanghai. West Empress Dowager wanted Younger Zeng to go to defend Shanghai, but Younger Zeng wished to take Nanking City. He thought that it was more important to take the capital of the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom than to defend Shanghai. So in February West Empress Dowager had to order Li Hongzhuang to reinforce Shanghai. Zuo and Li were both scholars and worked under Elder Zeng and Li was Zeng's pupil. But both Zuo and Li didn's completely obey Elder Zeng after they were respectively made the governors. In March, Governor Li organized his own army under the aid of Elder Zeng, which was equipped with new weapons and called Huai Army.

  3. #93
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    Some wealthy people in Shanghai were afraid of the Peaceful Army and wanted Governor Li to come as soon as possible. They rented some foreign steam ships to fetch the Huai Army. Governor Li arrived in Shanghai in April and vanquished the Peaceful Army. In June Governor Zuo wiped out more of the Peaceful Army in Zhejiang Province and was appointed General Governor of Zhejiang Province and Fujian Province.
    Heavenly King ordered Loyalty King to come back to defend the capital. In September, 1862, Loyalty King gathered all his troops of twenty thousand strong and marched west to attack Younger Zeng, but couldn't beat him. He entered Nanking city with his troops. Meanwhile, the Huai Army continued to assault the Peaceful Army still fighting in that area. When Loyalty King was back to the capital, he suggested to Heavenly King that they should desert Nanking City and fight their way out to somewhere else for further development, but Heavenly King rebuffed his proposal. Heavenly King didn't know anything about strategies. If he was surrounded in the city, he would be like a fish in a bowl waiting to be butchered. If he could fight his way out of the encirclement, he would be like a fish in the ocean. Wrong strategy always means failure.
    When the Peaceful Army had attacked Shanghai, there lived many foreigners. After the treaty had been signed in Peking as the result of the Second Opium War, some foreigners organized armies to fight against the Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom for the Qing government. They helped the Huai Army. In November,1862, Governor Li took Suzhou City. In December, West Empress Dowager appointed him as the governor of Jiangsu Province. But later Suzhou city was reoccupied by Admiration King of the Peaceful Army.

  4. #94
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    In 1863, Wing King moved into Sichuan Province, but was defeated and killed there by the government army. In December, 1863, Admiration King of the Peaceful Army in Suzhou City was betrayed and killed. In March, 1864, Governor Zuo took Jiaxing City and Hangzhou City, the last two cities under the control of the Peaceful Army in that province. In June 1, 1864, Heavenly King died of some kind of disease. (Some history book says that he committed suicide by swallowing poison in despair.) In July 19, 1864, Xiang Army exploded open a part of the city wall and rushed in. The Peaceful Army wouldn? surrender and defend alley by alley till most of them died in the fight. That night, disguised as soldiers of the government army, Loyalty King took the son of Heavenly King and escaped from the city gate opposite to where the government army entered. But they were separated in the chaos. Loyalty King hid in a temple outside the city, but the government troops was searching everywhere and found him in the temple. So he was escorted to where Elder Zeng camped and was executed there on August 7, 1864. The son of Heavenly King fled with some of his attendants to Fujian Province. There were two different rumors about what became of him. One was that he was captured later and killed. This digressed into another rumor that the boy executed was not the real son. The real son was hidden somewhere no one could find him. The other rumor was that some attendants took him on board a steam ship and went to live in San Francisco and later joined the revolutionary movement.

  5. #95
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    The Peaceful Army was annihilated during 1864, but the Nian Army kept fighting against the government. The difficulty with the Nian Army was that they didn't have a settlement to be surrounded. So West Empress Dowager ordered Elder Zeng to take over the charge to battle the Nian Army. Elder Zeng stationed all the troops under his command in a huge loose circle around the area that the Nian Army moved and then shrank the circle to press the Nian Army into the focus in hopes to wipe it out in the focus. The stratagem sounded good, but it took time to bring it into realization. When in a long time he didn't send in any report of success, some critique officials handed in some critique reports saying that Elder Zeng was trifling with his duties and must be removed from this post. Their deduction was based on that since the stronger Peaceful Army had been wiped out, why the comparatively not so strong Nian Army was still there. They thought that it should be conquered by then. They didn't know that the mobile Nian Army was more difficult to deal with. However, West Empress
    Dowager ordered Governor Li, Elder Zeng's pupil, to take over the charge and Elder Zeng to resume his former position as the Two River General Governor.
    At that time, the Nian Army had split into two parts. The part went west was called West Nian Army and the part left where they had been was called East Nian Army. Governor Li was to fight the East Nian Army and West Empress Dowager ordered Governor Zuo to move his troops west to combat the West Nian Army. Then she gave Zuo's post to Provisions Governor Wu Tang, who had at last some province to govern.
    Governor Li had to follow his tutor's tactics because the situation looked that way and any other strategy wouldn't work. Only now the Nian Army had split and their strength had lessened. That's an advantage to him. The East Nian Army was forced to retreat into a small area between two rivers, where the government army launched a sudden attack at night and annihilated the East Nian Army entirely. Now the West Nian Army moved northbound towards the capital. Once when they got very close to the capital, West Empress Dowager was in a panic and ordered Ronglu to bring his troops to block the advance of the West Nian Army, which then made their way south. Part of the West Nian Army went further south and was subdued in Yangzhou City area and its leader was executed on January 5, 1868. The other part went to Shandong Province and was vanquished there in August of that year. The end of the Nian Army.

  6. #96
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    In the north beyond the Great Wall, it was the original habitat of the Mandarin Clan, where were all the tombs of the emperors of Qing Dynasty. There was a vast stretch of plain used as pasture for horses. So all the horses for the government cavalry came from there. But robbers in that area also rode on horseback. They came and were gone very fast after the robbery. So they were called Horseback Robbers. It turned out to be a real headache to the local government. When the local government got the message of their whereabouts and sent cavalry there, the horseback robbers already did their job and disappeared. Now five hundreds of them were approached the imperial sepulchers. If any royal mausoleum was dug open and the treasure buried inside was robbed, the local government chief officials would all be put to death. So an urgent report came to the notice of the empress dowagers. West Empress Dowager had serious discussion with the secretaries. As no army could be spared from the south where battles were still being waged against the rebellions at that time, they had to dispatch a newly trained division, which was equipped with rifles. Prince Yihuan was in charge of this special division. Ronglu was his aide with the title of Wing General. Secretary Wenqiang proposed that he himself would head a detachment selected from that division. The empress dowagers consented to his proposal. Secretary Wenqiang told Ronglu to choose the soldiers from the division to form a detachment.

  7. #97
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    Ronglu was born of Mandarin Clan. His grandfather and father both died in Guangxi Province fighting the Peaceful Army when it had just begun its mutiny. As a reward to their family and an appreciation of the feats they had performed, Ronglu had been given a post as an official in Construction Ministry. When Sushun had been the minister, Ronglu had nearly been put into jail under the false accusation of embezzlement. When Wenqiang had been made the minister there, he had greatly appreciated the ability of Ronglu in handling the ministerial business. When Prince Yihuan wanted to reorganize the special division and strengthen its discipline and needed someone to help him, Secretary Wenqiang recommended Ronglu to him. Ronglu was appointed Wing General just like a bird needs wings. Ronglu knew who's who and what's what in that division. That's why Wenqiang told Ronglu to form the detachment for him. He would take the detachment to arrest horseback robbers, with Ronglu as his aide.
    As that division was notorious for its non-discipline and inability to fight, West Empress Dowager was anxious to make sure how things stood with it. So she sent Little An to have a look. Little An went there in plain clothes. He saw quite a few uniformed men carrying bird cages and others eating food bought from vendors. The scene looked like either a market place or an amusement spot. West Empress Dowager made Secretary Wenqiang acquainted with her fear, but Wenqiang soothed her by saying that it was because those men were living in the big city, too much luxurious things to distract them from their duties and if they were put in difficult conditions, they would adjust themselves to the situation. So Secretary Wenqiang led his detachment to guard the mausoleums of the former emperors against the horseback robbers, who already ran away before the detachment arrived. Secretary Wenqiang helped the local government to reorganized the local defensive forces and then let Ronglu take charge of the detachment to chase the robbers. He himself came back to the capital and reported to the empress dowagers that the imperial graves were safe now.

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