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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Giving You Ward and Gordon of The Ever Victorious Army (China Civil War 1850-1864)


The Ever Victorious Army
Dark Blue = Army
Light Blue = Artillery
White = Bodyguard
The Ever Victorious Army was the name given to an imperial army in China during the Taiping Rebellion. This force was led by foreign mercenaries that fought for the Imperial Qing Dynasty against the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace - the rebels of the Taiping Rebellion.

The Ever Victorious Army was led by an American, to begin with, and had many Chinese soldiers trained by European officers. This strange army was active from 1860 to 1864 and played an important role in destroying the Taiping Rebellion.

The Ever Victorious Army was formed by Frederick Townsend Ward in 1860. He was a young American sailor and soldier of fortune. Much of what he did during Taiping Rebellion was overshadowed by his own nation's civil war which was raging during his time. Ward was a robust young man with progressive ideas. He trained Chinese soldiers with new skills and weapons.

It is also believed that his Chinese Lieutenant and friend, Li Hongzhang was gifted in moulding the fighting force of the Ever Victorious Army to fight for the Empress Dowager and her Qing Dynasty. This radical new trained army was able to defeat larger forces of the heterodox Christian Taiping revolutionaries. The Ever Victorious Army quickly gained victories and the Qing Dynasty gave them the title of "Ever Victorious Army."

However, the dashing Frederick Townsend Ward was killed in September 1862 after the Battle of Cixi. The command of the Ever Victorious Army was eventually given to Charles George Gordon. He would become known as "Chinese" Gordon and later 'Gordon of Khartum,' were he would be killed in Sudan during the Mahdi War.

Gordon's China adventure was twenty years plus before Sudan and with other Chinese Imperial forces, the British officer would fight many of the last major battles bringing an end to the Taiping Rebellion. He got much credit for this and it is argued that Frederick Townsend Ward did not get the recognition he deserved. This was because he was unfortunately killed before the war was over and the American Civil War was more prominent then his endeavours at the time.

When Ward first formed the Ever Victorious Army, they only operated in an area of thirty miles radius of Shanghai. By the time the Taiping Rebellion was crushed with the downfall of Nanking, the Ever Victorious Army had gone much further afield. They were disbanded and payed off in May of 1864.




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