Taitsong Was As
Determined To Humiliate The Mings As His Father Had Been.
He commenced his
offensive measures by an attack on Corea, which he speedily reduced to
such a pass that it accepted his authority and transferred its allegiance
from the Mings to the Manchus.
This was an important success, as it
secured his eastern flank and deprived the Chinese of a useful ally in the
Forbidden Kingdom. It encouraged Taitsong to think that the time was once
more ripe for attacking Ningyuen, and he laid siege to that fortress at
the head of a large army, including the flower of his troops.
Notwithstanding the energy of his attack, Chungwan, the former bold
defender of the place, had again the satisfaction of seeing the Manchus
repulsed, and compelled to admit that the ramparts of Ningyuen presented a
serious if not insuperable obstacle to their progress. Almost at the very
moment of this success the Emperor Tienki died, and was succeeded, in
1627, by his younger brother, Tsongching, who was destined to be the last
of the Ming rulers.
The repulse of Taitsong before Ningyuen might have been fatal if he had
not been a man of great ability and resource. The occasion called for some
special effort, and Taitsong proved himself equal to it by a stroke of
genius that showed he was the worthy inheritor of the mission of
Noorhachu. Without taking anybody into his confidence he ordered his army
and his allies, the Kortsin Mongols, to assemble in the country west of
Ningyuen, and when he had thus collected over a hundred thousand men, he
announced his intention of ignoring Ningyuen and marching direct on Pekin.
At this juncture Taitsong divided his army into eight banners, which still
remain the national divisions of the Manchu race.
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