The Devil Soldier
October 10, 2012 12:22 AM Subscribe
posted by the man of twists and turns (10 comments total)
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In 1859 an American named Frederick Townsend Ward arrived in Shanghai. A sailor, mercenary, smuggler and filibuster, he created a force of Europeans to protect the city from, and engage directly in, the Taiping Rebellion
against the Qing Dynasty
, to avoid the complications of Western powers getting directly involved. After a severe defeat at Sungkiang/Songjiang
, he decided to recruit from the local Chinese population instead, arming and training them in the Western fashion. This force was dubbed the 'Ever-Victorious Army.'
Ward, due to some legal trouble with the authorities in Shanghai, ended up renouncing his American citizenship
and became an Imperial subject. After a string of victories
against the Taipings, he was made a 3rd-rank mandarin
and awarded the rank of 'General.' He died of his wounds after the battle of Cixi in 1862
, and was buried at Songjiang. After Ward's death, command of the Ever-Victorious Army eventually passed the Charles George 'Chinese' Gordon.
Ward was the subject of a book, The Devil Soldier
, reviewed in the LA Times
and Chicago Tribune