Zeng Guoquan

Last updated
Zeng Guoquan
Ping Ding Yue Fei Gong Chen Xiang -Ceng Guo Quan Xiang .jpg
Personal details
Born(1824-10-12)12 October 1824
Xiangxiang, Hunan Province, Qing Empire
Died13 November 1890(1890-11-13) (aged 66)
Jiangsu, Qing Empire
OccupationStatesman, general
Military service
Allegiance Qing Empire
Branch/service Xiang Army
Battles/wars Taiping Rebellion
Tianjing Massacre
Zeng Guoquan
Traditional Chinese 曾國荃
Simplified Chinese 曾国荃
(courtesy name)
Chinese 沅甫
(art name)
Traditional Chinese 叔純
Simplified Chinese 叔纯

Zeng Guoquan (12 October 1824 – 13 November 1890), 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).



Zeng was born in Xiangxiang, Changsha Prefecture, Hunan Province. Zengzi was his ancestor. He sat for the imperial examination several times but failed to make the cut. During the Taiping Rebellion, Zeng assisted his brother Zeng Guofan in raising and organising local militias from Hunan to form the Xiang Army to fight the rebels. In 1856, he managed to recruit 3,000 troops from Hunan to reinforce Qing imperial forces at Ji'an, Jiangxi Province. In the following year, they managed to recapture Ji'an from the rebels.

In 1860, Zeng and his troops besieged Anqing and repeatedly fended off rebel reinforcements led by Chen Yucheng. They captured Anqing in the following year. In 1864, they conquered Tianjing (Nanjing), the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom established by the rebels. Zeng was later appointed as the Provincial Governor of Hubei Province.

During the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor, Zeng, Guo Songtao and others compiled the book Hunan Tong Zhi (湖南通志; Guide to Hunan). In 1863, he sponsored 5,000 silver taels for the publishing of a book, Chuanshan Yishu (船山遺書; Lost Book of Chuanshan), by Wang Fuzhi. He also offered 300 silver taels to Li Shanlan for the printing of Ze Guxi Zhai Suanxue (則古昔齋算學), a book on mathematics written by Li. In 1882, when he learnt that Peng Yulin wanted to establish a Chuanshan Academy in Hengyang, he donated his personal copy of the Chuanshan Yishu and provided funding to help Peng start the school.

In 1867, when the Nian Rebellion was ongoing, Zeng and Li Hongzhang adopted different approaches towards attacking the rebels. Zeng ordered Bao Chao to lead his unit to attack the rebels. Liu Mingchuan was defeated but was saved by Bao Chao. Liu then pushed the blame for the defeat to Bao and Liu Shengzao, resulting in the latter two being punished. Zeng was also forced to retire, ostensibly on the grounds of illness, but actually as punishment for his failure. In 1875, Zeng returned to politics and consecutively served as the Provincial Governor of Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces, and Viceroy of Liangguang. In 1884, he was appointed as Viceroy of Liangjiang. He died in 1890 and was given the posthumous name "Zhongxiang" (忠襄).

See also

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 Qing dynasty and the theocratic Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

Li Hongzhang

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 Confucian practice, but also for his ruthlessness in repressing rebellions.

Zuo Zongtang

Zuo Zongtang, Marquis Kejing, sometimes referred to as General Tso, was a Chinese statesman and military leader of the late Qing dynasty.

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.

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.

Shi Dakai Wing King (翼王)

Shi Dakai, born in Guigang, Guangxi, also known as Wing King or phonetically translated as Yi-Wang, was one of the most highly acclaimed leaders in the Taiping Rebellion and a poet.

Guo Songtao

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.

Bao Chao (1828–1886) was an eminent Han Chinese official, military Captain General, of the late Qing Dynasty in China. He raised the Xiang Army to fight effectively against the Taiping Rebellion and restored the stability of Qing Dynasty along with other prominent figures, including Zuo Zongtang and Zeng Guofan, setting the scene for the era later to fight against known as the "Nien Rebellion". He was known for his military perception.

Cheng Xueqi (Chinese: 程學啟; courtesy name Fangzhong 方忠; born in Tongcheng, Anhui, was a general of the Taiping Rebellion who surrendered to the Qing dynasty in 1861 with Ding Ruchang. He was an eminent Han Chinese official and a Captain General in the army of the late Qing dynasty. He led the Huai Army to fight effectively against the Taiping rebels and helped to restore the stability of Qing, along with other prominent figures, including Li Hongzhang and Zeng Guofan, setting the scene for the successful defense of Shanghai and the Suzhou Massacre POW Incident. The Tongzhi Emperor praised Cheng as "intelligent and brave".

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.

Li Chenden was an eminent military general during the late Qing Dynasty in China. He joined the Xiang Army and fought effectively against the Taiping Rebellion restoring the stability of the Qing Dynasty. He was one of nine generals who led the force which occupied Nanjing, then under the control of the Taiping in 1864. Commander Zeng Guoquan identified Li as the most meritorious of the nine generals in the recovery of Nanjing. The Beijing government praised him and his fellow generals commended him.

Zhu Hongzhang, born in Liping, Guizhou, was an eminent Han Chinese official and a military general of the late Qing Dynasty in China. He joined the Xiang Army to fight against the Taiping Rebellion and to restore the stability of the Qing state. He was one of the nine generals that lead a force of 60,000 troops to occupied Nanjing in 1864. Zhu was awarded a third-class merit for the recovery Nanjing. Although Zhu was awarded a third-class merit for the recovery Nanjing after Commander Zeng Guoquan commended Zhu's work to the Beijing government, there were dissenting opinions that Zhu should have received the first merit instead of Li Chendian.

Hunanese people

The Hunanese people or Xiang-speaking Chinese are a Xiang-speaking Han ethnic subgroup originating from Hunan province in Southern China, but Xiang-speaking people are also found in the adjacent provinces of Guangxi and Guizhou.

<i>The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom</i> (TV series) Chinese television series about the Taiping rebellion

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom is a Chinese television series based on the events of the Taiping Rebellion and the rise and fall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the late Qing dynasty. The 48-episode series was first broadcast on CCTV in China in 2000. The series was also broadcast on STAR Chinese Channel in Taiwan and on ATV in Hong Kong.

Battle of Anqing

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.

Events from the year 1860 in China.


Government offices
Preceded by
Yang Changjun
Viceroy of ShaanGan
Succeeded by
Tan Zhonglin
Preceded by
Zhang Shusheng
Viceroy of Liangguang
Succeeded by
Zhang Shusheng
Preceded by
Viceroy of Liangjiang
Succeeded by
Liu Kunyi