Battle of Anqing

Last updated
Battle of Anqing
Part of the Taiping Rebellion
Regaining the Provincial City Anqing2.jpg
DateSeptember 1860 September 5, 1861
Anqing, Anhui, China
Result Decisive Qing victory

Qing Dynasty

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Zeng Guofan
Zeng Guoquan
Chen Yucheng
Ye Yunlai (叶芸来) 
Wu Dincai (吴定彩) 
10,000+ Hunan Army soldiers [1] 20,000+ garrisoned troops

The Battle of Anqing (安慶之戰) was a prolonged siege of the prefecture-level city of Anqing in Anhui, China, initiated by Hunan Army forces loyal to the Qing Dynasty against the armies of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. The siege began in September 1860 and ended on September 5, 1861, when imperial forces under the command of Zeng Guoquan breached the walls of the city and occupied it. [2]

Anqing was strategically important as it allowed access to the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, including the Taiping capital of Nanjing downriver. It served as the base of Taiping activities in Anhui, Hubei and Hunan. [1] It had been held by the Taiping since the early stages of the Rebellion in June 1853. [3] Zeng Guofan, commander of the provincial Hunan Army and de facto leader of the dynasty's war against the Taiping, saw a need to reclaim the walled city to further his campaign against the rebellion along the Yangtze. A siege of Anqing was initiated in late-1860 involving up to 10,000 Hunan Army troops.

In October 1860, the "Brave King", Chen Yucheng was dispatched by the Taiping leadership with an army of over 100,000 to test imperial forces at Anqing, with the ultimate aim of seizing Wuchang upriver. However, while en route to Anqing, they were intercepted by 20,000 elite Manchu cavalry at Tongcheng and forced to retreat. [4]

Foreign intervention also strengthened the Qing position at Anqing. In a family letter dated June 13, 1861, Zeng Guofan ordered his own ships to monitor British commercial vessels after noticing foreign merchants unloading rice to the rebels at Anqing. [5] Zeng successfully obtained the support of British Consul Frederick Bruce in enforcing a naval blockade at Anqing to prevent the rebels from trading with foreign merchants. [6]

As the protracted siege continued into the summer of 1861, the population of Anqing was increasingly starved and cannibalism was reported. [7] In late August, Chen Yucheng made a final desperate attempt to break the siege of Anqing, but was repelled at the Jixian Pass after vigorous fighting with Zeng Guofan's land and naval forces. [7] With his troops exhausted, Chen retreated on September 3, and two days later the city's walls were breached.

With Anqing in imperial hands, the Taiping lost their stronghold in central China. Zeng would establish Anqing as his new headquarters and use it to coordinate the imperial assault on the Taiping capital at Nanjing.

Related Research Articles

Taiping Rebellion Rebellion in Qing dynasty China

The Taiping Rebellion, which is also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion or civil war that was waged in China from 1850 to 1864 between the established Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

Li Hongzhang Chinese politician, general and diplomat

Li Hongzhang, Marquess Suyi, was a Chinese politician, general and diplomat of the late Qing dynasty. He quelled several major rebellions and served in important positions in the Qing imperial court, including the Viceroy of Zhili, Huguang and Liangguang.

Zeng Guofan Chinese politician, military commander and scholar of the Qing dynasty period

Zeng Guofan, Marquis Yiyong, birth name Zeng Zicheng, courtesy name Bohan, was a Chinese statesman, military general, and Confucian scholar of the late Qing dynasty. He is best known for raising and organizing the Xiang Army to aid the Qing military in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion and restoring the stability of the Qing Empire. Along with other prominent figures such as Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang of his time, Zeng set the scene for the Tongzhi Restoration, an attempt to arrest the decline of the Qing dynasty. Zeng was known for his strategic perception, administrative skill and noble personality on Confucianist practice, but also for the ruthlessness of his repression of rebellions.

The Third Battle of Nanking was the last major engagement of the Taiping Rebellion, occurring in 1864 after the death of the king of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan. There were probably more than a million troops in the battle. Zeng Guofan claimed that the Taiping army sustained 100,000 dead in the three-day clash, although its most likely an exaggeration. Following the defeat of the Taiping army the Imperial troops, commanded by Zeng Guofan, slaughtered much of the few city's few remaining population as almost all of the civilian populace had already left northwards to receive food and amnesty from the Xiang army refugee camps due to food shortages. Nanking had been the capital of the Heavenly Kingdom and was known by the Taipings as Tianjing. This battle was the effective end of the Taiping army and Nanking was the last major Taiping city to fall back under Imperial control.

Anqing Prefecture-level city in Anhui, Peoples Republic of China

Anqing is a prefecture-level city in the southwest of Anhui province, People's Republic of China. Its population was 5,311,579 at the 2010 census, with 780,514 living in the built-up area.

Chen Yucheng, born Chen Picheng, was a Chinese general during the Taiping Rebellion and later served as the Heroic (Ying) Prince of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the later stages of the rebellion, his famous nickname was "Four-eyed Dog" because of two prominent moles below his eyes. His two moles resembled eyes from afar, and it spooked some Qing soldiers.

Guo Songtao Chinese diplomat

Guo Songtao was a Chinese diplomat and statesman during the Qing dynasty. He was among the first foreign emissaries to be sent abroad by the Qing government, as a result of the Tongzhi Restoration.

The Battle of Sanhe was a major engagement of the Taiping Rebellion, occurring in 1858. During this battle, the elite troops of Zeng Guofan's Xiang Army were lost, along with one of its most capable commanders, Li Xubin as well as Zeng Guofan's brother Zeng Guohua.

Xiang Army

The Xiang Army or Hunan Army was a standing army organized by Zeng Guofan from existing regional and village militia forces called tuanlian to contain the Taiping Rebellion in Qing China. The name is taken from the Hunan region where the Army was raised. The Army was financed through local nobles and gentry, as opposed to through the centralized Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The army was mostly disbanded by Zeng after the re-capture of the Taiping capital at Nanking.

Zeng Guoquan Chinese general of the Qing dynasty

Zeng Guoquan, courtesy name Yuanfu, art name Shuchun, was a Chinese official and military leader of the late Qing dynasty. He was the ninth brother of Zeng Guofan, a prominent statesman and general, and a descendant of the philosopher Zengzi. He served in the Xiang Army, a standing military force organised by his brother to counter the Taiping rebels, and was nicknamed "Ninth Marshal" (九帥). He was known for his expertise in siege warfare, particularly the use of trenches, hence he was also nicknamed "Zeng the Iron Container" (曾鐵桶). During the conquest of Tianjing (Nanjing), the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Zeng was notorious for condoning massacres of the city populace, which resulted in him being called "Zeng the Butcher" (曾屠戶).

Jiangnan Daying (Chinese: 江南大營 or the Jiangnan Battalion; was an army group assembled by the Qing dynasty. The army group consist of mostly Green Standard Army, and their goal was to quell the Taiping Rebellion around the Jiangnan region. The army group twice encircled Nanjing, the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, but were defeated by the Taiping forces on both occasions.

Wei Jun born in Guangxi, Wei Changhui's brother's son, was a Chinese Colonel General during the Taiping Rebellion and later served as the general of the Taiping monarchy in the early and middle stages of the rebellion. He attacked the Wuchang three times, and occupied the district successfully in 1855. In the third battle of Wuchang, the 100,000 Taiping troops he commanded shot the Xiang Army's spirit master Luo Zenan, which disrupted Zeng Guofan and the Xiang Army.

The Battle of Jiangnan (1860), also known as the Second rout of the Jiangnan Battalion was a battle between the Qing government's Green Standard Army and the army of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion. The Green Standard Army twice attempted to besiege Nanjing, capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, but was unable to break through. To break the siege of Nanjing, the Taiping forces maneuvered to divert Qing forces by sacking Hangzhou, before quickly moving back to Nanjing to counter-encircle the Qing siege forces and routing the Green Standard Army garrison completely, breaking the siege of Nanjing.

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom oppositional state in China from 1851 to 1864

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, literally the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace, later shortened to Heavenly Kingdom or Heavenly Dynasty, was an unrecognized oppositional state in China and Christian theocratic absolute monarchy from 1851 to 1864, supporting the overthrow of the Qing dynasty by Hong Xiuquan and his followers. The unsuccessful war it waged against the Qing is known as the Taiping Rebellion. Its capital was at Tianjing.

Ye Yunlai was a military leader of the Taiping Rebellion. He began his military career in the Jintian Uprising, later becoming a general, leading Taiping forces to many military victories. He was the chief commander defending Anqing city and never surrendered, ultimately dying in battle. He was awarded the E An in 1857.

Events from the year 1860 in China.

Jiang Zhongyuan, courtesy name Changrui, (常孺) was a scholar and soldier from Hunan who fought for the Qing and against the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion.

The Western Expedition was a campaign by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom against the Qing dynasty during the Taiping Rebellion.

Battle of Wuchang

The Battle of Wuchang occurred in 1852 during the Taiping Rebellion in Wuchang, part of the modern-day city of Wuhan.

The Eastern Expedition encompassed the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom's efforts to capture the Yangtze River Delta, the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Zhejiang. Most of the areas would eventually be occupied by the Taipings, but they were notably repulsed at several locations, especially the city of Shanghai. Following the Jintian uprising in the southern province Guangxi and the beginning of open hostilities, Taiping forces attacked and captured Nanjing in central China by 1853. The Western Expedition captures cities along the Yangtze River like Zhenjiang, Anqing were captured later the same year.


  1. 1 2 Platt (2012), p. 191
  2. Hummel (1943) , p. 743
  3. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom: Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire. Thomas H. Reilly
  4. Platt (2012) , p. 193
  5. Zeng (2003) , p. 870
  6. Jen (1973) , p. 426
  7. 1 2 Platt (2012) , p. 215


  • Hummel, Arthur W. (1943). Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
  • Jen, Yu-Wen (1973). The Taiping Revolutionary Movement. Forge Village, MA: Murray Printing Co.
  • Platt, Stephen R. (2012). Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War . New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Zeng, Guofan (2003). Zeng Guofan Quan Ji Jia Shu[The Complete Works of Zeng Guofan – Family Letters]. 2. Zhongguo Huaqiao Chubanshe.