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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #16
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    They put up slogans so that people could know what was their goal. Their slogans were: If there's land, plough together; if there's food, eat together; if there're clothes, use together; if there's money, spend together. And absolute equality everywhere. Enough food and clothes for everyone. These slogans fascinated and attracted a vast number of poor people, and hence swelled the Peaceful Army.
    Their sublime aim was to overthrow Qing Dynasty and drive the Mandarin Clan out beyond the Great Wall, back to where they had come from. An order stated that anyone in the Peaceful Army, if coming in possession of anything, must hand in to the Heavenly Treasury and everyone could get a share from it when needed. Therefore, unlike the armies of Qing government, the Peaceful Army had good discipline and was supported by the people. Many young beggars and vagabonds joined it. Another edict was given that people of the Han Clan should grow their hair on the front part of their pate and restore the hairstyle of Han Clan. The male hair style of the Mandarin Clan was to shave the front part of the pate clean and braid the back part of the hair into a pigtail. When the Mandarin Clan had built up their Qing Dynasty, they had ordered all the male people of the Han Clan to wear their hair in the same style. Whoever had refused would have been beheaded. Their slogan was: hair or head. (It meant that if you wanted your hair, you could not keep your head on your shoulders.) So when the Peaceful Army grew their hair, Qing government called them Long-Hair.
    While the Peaceful Army was celebrating their victory and newly-founded regime, Qing government gathered large troops and encircled YongAn City. In March, 1852, the Peaceful Army concentrated its forces and wedged out from the enclosure of the government army. The government army pursued, but was put to rout. The Peaceful Army headed for Guilin City, the capital of Guangxi Province. They surrounded the City for a month, but could not take it. So they quit and marched northbound.
    The emperor sent three detachments to attack the Peaceful Army, but were also beaten. Then the government troops gathered in Wuchang City for the purpose to prevent the Peaceful Army from going further north. The emperor issued an order to allow cities, towns and even villages to organize and train their own people for self-protection.
    On December 7, 1852, the Peaceful Army split itself into two sections. One section went on land and the other by water. They obtained plenty of ships from the government army. Their goal was the Wu-Han area, which included Wuchang City, Hanyang City and Hankou City. The Three Cities were the important military strategic area on the upper Yangtze River. Within ten days the Peaceful Army occupied the three cities one after another. The Heavenly King and all his other kings stayed in Wuchang City to celebrate and recruit while the emperor ordered his army commanders to set up defense lines in Hunan Province, Hubei Province and Anhui Province to blockade the advance of the Peaceful Army towards Nanking City.

  2. #17
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    On February 9, 1853, after the Chinese New Year, the Peaceful Army left Wuchang City, dividing itself again into two sections. They went on land alongside and by water on the Yangtze River. They aimed at Nanking City. They took over many cities and towns along the way, like Jiujiang City, Anqing City, which was a very important spot in the military point of view, and Wuwu City. On March 18, the Peaceful Army entered Nanking City. They changed the name to Tianking City. (Tianking means the Heavenly Capital.)
    The Peaceful Army established new law and order in the City. It was very simple: those who killed others would be executed. No robbery or theft happened because the excessive things must go to the warehouses of the Heavenly Treasury. Every twenty-five families formed a social unit. A unit leader was elected. A strong male adult was chosen from every family to form the basic military unit. The twenty-five families worked together and lived together. There was a treasury warehouse in every unit. Everything they got was stored there and everything necessary for the living was supplied from there. It was said that the foreign governments sent their representatives to have a look in Nanking City, surprised at all these. They thought it was a revolutionary army and hereby kept strictly neutral between the two regimes.
    When the message reached the Forbidden City, the emperor lost his appetite in anxiety. He appointed new commanders to organize two detachments. One set up their camp in the area of Purple Golden Mountain not far from Nanking City on the southern side of the Yangtze River. It was called the South River Camp. The other camped in Yangzhou City on the northern side of the Yangtze River, hence called the North River Camp.

  4. #19
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    Chapter 6

    The historians have discussed why the Qing government armies were so easily defeated and their conclusions are: (1) The military system of Qing Dynasty was that the army controlled by the central government was called Eight-Flag Army and those belonged to the local government were named Green-Camp Army. The Eight-Flag Army could no longer fight after long time of peace (almost two hundred years) and lack of training and practice. The old fighters had long been dead. The new generation of soldiers all came from rich or well-to-do families. They joined the Army as an honor since there was no occasion for fighting at that time. There really were days fixed for training, but most of them just hired some poor young men to be drilled in their names for roll-calling. No one knew who's who by face. Now the time came for the combat, but they didn't know how to fight. As for the Green-Camp Army, their sole duty was to defend the city or town they belonged to against small groups of outlaws. They had no experience in big-time fight on the battlefield, like forming a phalanx, and no training whatever for that matter. (2) Every commander wanted to be independent and fought separately. They couldn't unite as a strategic whole. Especially so was the Green-Camp Army. They were accustomed to the way that once they chased the rebels out of their jurisdiction, their duties were performed. The fleeing rebels were the problem of another jurisdiction. (3) There were conflicts of ideas and interests between officials and officers of the Mandarin Clan and those of the Han Clan. The latter looked down upon the former and wouldn't obey the former. The commanders were all from the Mandarin Clan and all were no good. (4) In Qing Dynasty, officials were above officers in status and ranks, but they didn't know how to fight. So officers often disobeyed them. Quite a few officials just ran away in the face of the enemies. (5) The government officers and soldiers often did nasty things to common people like extorting, and so they couldn't get universal support. When the Peaceful Army assaulted Nanking City, there were only five thousand government soldiers to defend it. This was a big city with the circumference of forty-eight kilometers and more than fifteen thousand battlements. Every soldier should safeguard three battlements. No wonder the Peaceful Army entered the city like back into their own home.
    After the Heavenly King settled in Nanking City as his capital, he issued two orders. His Heavenly General and Earthly General (their position equivalent to that of a commander) would march twenty thousand strong northbound, detouring Yangzhou City where the government army camped. His Spring General would start from Pukou Town northward. The instruction given to them was to advance towards Peking to overthrow Qing Dynasty. They fought their easy way through Anhui Province and met resistance in Hunan Province. But they penetrated the defense line of the government army and approached Kaifeng City, the capital of Hunan Province. They assailed the city, but couldn't break through. So they went in a roundabout way and ferried across the Yellow River at Yixin Town. They enclosed Huaiqing Town and conquered the government army there, headed by the governor of Zhidi Province (It's Hebei Province now on the map). They hoofed towards Baoding City, close to Peking.

  5. #20
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    The emperor was chocked by the message. He scraped up all his forces on hand, including the regiment of his bodyguards, one hundred and fifty thousand in all. By that time, the detachments of the Peaceful Army had reached Tianjin City. The mayor had a section of the dike dug open. The water from the Grand Canal deluged the area and blocked the advance of the Peaceful Army. It was winter already. The soldiers of the Peaceful Army were all from the south of China, where the climate is warm. They could not stand the cold of the north and had to beat a retreat. They were assaulted by the government army in their way to withdraw. The Qing government used Mongolian cavalry to attack the Peaceful Army. Four hooves were much quicker than two feet. Spring General of the Peaceful Army was killed in the battle. Heavenly General was surrounded, waiting for rescue. The Heavenly King did send reinforcement twice, but the reinforcement didn't reach Heavenly General because it was blocked by the government army. The Mongolian cavalry that was encircling Heavenly General broke a part of the dike of a nearby river. The flood soaked the provisions and gunpowder of the Peaceful Army. As a result, Heavenly General was captured and executed. Earthly General escaped with two thousand soldiers, but was ambushed, captured and executed, too. The goal to seize Peking failed, because forty thousand of the Peaceful Army could not fight against one hundred and fifth thousand of the government army. It was in 1855.
    However, warfare went on at both sides of the Yangtze River. In April, 1856, Swallow King of the Peaceful Army vanquished the North River Camp of the government army. Then in July of the same year, Swallow King and Wing King together beat the South River Camp. The Peaceful Army had the control of the entire area of the Yangtze River. The revolutionary cause reached its summit.
    Emperor Xianfeng ordered some of his courtiers to organize new troops in the southern provinces. One of the courtiers was Zeng Kuofan of the Han Clan. Zeng was born in 1811 in a landlord family. He passed all the government tests in 1838 and was promoted to be the Right Deputy Minister of Etiquette Ministry. When Emperor Xianfeng succeeded to the throne, he got another title of the Left Deputy Minister of Judicial Ministry.
    Zeng exercised the self-education of his own character. He believed in patience, perseverance, honesty and hidden wisdom (to show you are not clever, or even stupid). These were his principles in all the things he undertook. There were different ways to organize troops. The way Qing government adopted was that everyone at the right age could join the troops, and the officers were appointed by the government. The officers and soldiers didn't even know each other. There were no other ties between them. Zeng followed another way. He appointed those he knew well as his officers and let his officers recruit their own soldiers, mostly from the same village or from the same neighborhood. They were familiar with each other and cared for each other. The ties between them were not mere military disciplines. So the morale was different. Furthermore, most of his officers were literate, some even learned, while many officers in the government army were illiterate; some even couldn't write his own name, or know his own name if when shown to him. The high-rank government officers if illiterate, had secretaries to do the writing job for them when needed.

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