Chen Wu SGYY Biography

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Chen Wu SGYY Biography

Unread postby Sam » Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:16 pm

Well, I haven't wrote a Wu biography as of yet, and because Chen Wu was always one of my favourite Wu officers in the novel, I chose to start with him. As usual, feedback is more than welcome, and the notes are all compiled at the bottom of the biography. Hope everyone enjoys it.

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Chen Wu, styled Zilie, hailed from Songzi in Lujiang. He was a man seven spans tall with a sallow complexion and reddish eyes.

When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou, Chen Wu, in coordination with Sun Ce’s commander Zhou Yu, attacked Liu Yao’s home base of Qu’e. The two succeeded in capturing the city, forcing Liu Yao to flee to Moling to request aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his aid in the expedition, Chen Wu was shown into audience with Sun Ce who, despite Chen Wu’s somewhat peculiar appearance, admired him greatly and appointed him as Commandant. (1)

When Sun Ce began his attack on Xue Li, Chen Wu was put in the vanguard. Wu, accompanied by a mere dozen or so cavalry, charged directly into Xue Li’s ranks upon arriving at Moling and took more than fifty heads. Xue Li was so intimidated by his ferocity that he shut the gates of Moling and refused battle. The siege of Moling continued until word came that Liu Yao and Ze Rong had joined forces to attack Sun Ce’s army at Ox Landing. Sun Ce led the bulk of his force there and successfully defeated Liu Yao and Ze Rong, half of their soldiers surrendering and a further ten thousand being beheaded. After his victory, Sun Ce, with Chen Wu, turned back to Moling to resume the siege.

After returning to Moling, Sun Ce rode to the foot of the city wall to demand surrender, but he was shot in the left thigh. Ce fell from his horse and had to be carried back to camp, where he instructed his men to spread the rumour that he had died in hope of luring Xue Li out. Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce’s camp in preparation for Li’s attack and, true enough to Ce’s prediction, Xue Li attacked with generals Zhang Ying and Chen Heng that very day. Chen Wu and the rest of Sun Ce’s forces ambushed them immediately. Zhang Ying attempted to escape, but Wu bore down on him and speared him through; Xue Li and Chen Heng also died in the heat of battle. Moling was thereupon taken and the inhabitants calmed. Sun Ce next moved his army onto Jiangxian to capture Taishi Ci, an officer serving under Liu Yao.

After reaching Jiangxian, Chen Wu surmised that Taishi Ci’s men were mostly mountain folk who knew nothing of discipline and that Jianxian wall was not especially high. That night Chen Wu, upon Sun Ce’s instructions, armed himself with a dagger and dressed himself in just a short jacket. He then began to climb the wall of Jianxian and started a fire upon reaching the top. After seeing the flames rising within Jianxian, Taishi Ci attempted to flee out of the east gate, but he was pursued by Sun Ce and captured some thirty li from the city. Taishi Ci surrendered to Ce and recruited one thousand of Liu Yao’s defeated troops; a further ten thousand troops were recruited by Sun Ce himself. Ce next led his army onto Wujun, governed by Yan Baihu; Chen Wu was one of the commanders selected to join him.

Chen Wu, with Jiang Qin, crossed the river in a small boat to support the attack on Yan Baihu. When he reached the bridge leading to the city, he found that Sun Ce's commander Han Dang had already arrived with Ce’s land force but that Yan Yu, the brother of Yan Baihu, had also arrived to oppose Dang. Chen Wu therefore had his men spray the bank with arrows and took a heavy toll on Yan Yu’s men. Yu retreated before the onslaught and Han Dang, taking advantage of the opportunity provided by Chen Wu, advanced on the west gate and drove the enemy into the city; Yan Baihu refused to give battle for the following three days.

On the fourth day, Yan Baihu attempted to sue for peace by sending his brother, Yu, to negotiate with Sun Ce. However, after Yu revealed that his brother wished for joint rule of the Southland, Ce personally killed him and had his head sent back into Wujun. Yan Baihu knew he would be unable to resist another attack from Sun Ce’s army and so fled the city. Ce additionally captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji, and thus firmly established his kingdom, the kingdom of Wu, South of the River.

Following the death of Sun Ce in A.D. 200, Ce’s younger brother, Quan, took on the responsibility of ruling the Southland and for years the south expanded and defended its borders, becoming one of the largest kingdoms in the whole of China. It was because of this that prime minister of the Han, Cao Cao, launched an invasion against Wu in A.D. 208-209. Noting the size of Cao’s fleet, the commander in charge of the south’s defence, Zhou Yu, surmised fire must be used to defeat the northern host. When Yu organised the fire attack on Cao Cao’s fleet - which was to take place at Red Cliffs - Huang Gai was put in charge of the fireboats while Chen Wu was one of four commanders ordered to cover Gai from the rear. (2) As Huang Gai set sail, Wu continued to cover him from behind, allowing Gai to successfully fire Cao Cao‘s fleet; the southeast wind spread the flames to the remainder of Cao’s ships. (3) As Cao Cao’s army desperately tried to escape the fiery inferno, Chen Wu bore down on them from the east and killed many. The northern army was thus repelled - on Cao Cao’s side, those who fell to spear or arrow, burned to death or drowned, were beyond numbering.

When Cao Cao again attempted to invade the southland in A.D. 213, Sun Quan personally met him at Ruxu; Chen Wu was one of the commanders selected to help repel the northern army a second time. As the two opposing lines formed, Sun Quan pointed his whip straight at Cao Cao and said, “The prime minister has full control of the northern heartland and has attained the height of his fortunes. What greed prompts him to invade the south?”
To this Cao Cao responded, “You are a vassal who shows no respect to the royal house. The Son of Heaven has mandated me to bring you to justice.”
With a laugh Sun Quan replied, “What an outrage! Who in the world does not know that you coerce the Son of Heaven to compel the obedience of the feudal lords? Far from not respecting the Han court, I am going to bring you to justice so that the dynasty may be set to rights.”
Enraged, Cao Cao shouted to his commanders to take the hill and capture Sun Quan, but Chen Wu charged out from the left of the hill before Cao’s generals could get anywhere close to Quan, commanders Han Dang, Zhou Tai and Pan Zhang supporting him in the attack. The four generals had three thousand archers unleash a storm of arrows on Cao’s position, forcing Cao to beat a hasty retreat. Chen Wu chased after Cao Cao as he was trying to escape, but he was forced to pull back when Cao’s personal bodyguard, Xu Chu, blocked his way. Following this victory, Sun Quan penned a letter to Cao Cao who, upon reading the text, ordered a general retreat to the capital, Xuchang (4)

When Sun Quan organised an attack on Hefei in A.D. 215, Chen Wu was given the command of assisting Sun Quan in the central army. The southern force crossed the river and successfully captured Hezhou and Huan; the army’s next destination was Hefei itself, guarded by Zhang Liao. Chen Wu set out after the other southern commanders to join the battle at Hefei, but the army’s bulk was ambushed by generals Zhang Liao and Li Dian before Wu arrived - Sun Quan himself only barely escaped with his life. Following this defeat, Sun Quan regrouped his forces at the Ruxu naval base in preparation for a counterattack by land and sea.

Shortly after Sun Quan’s defeat at Hefei, Cao Cao shifted four hundred thousand men from Hanzhong to Hefei, and Chen Wu was ordered to keep the shore of Ruxu patrolled in the case of an attack. True enough, Cao Cao detailed five armies to strike Ruxu not long after, each army consisting of ten thousand men. Li Dian commanded one of these armies and Xu Sheng and Dong Xi, two southland commanders, launched a surprise attack on Dian’s camp as soon as he arrived. Chen Wu, hearing the cries of mayhem, brought his own troops up to aide his comrades. However, before Wu was able to reach Sheng and Xi’s location, he was confronted by the northern commander Pang De and a wild melee ensued. Chen Wu was cut off from support from the rest of the southern army and his forces were quickly starting to diminish against the much larger northern force. Wu continued to battle Pang De for some time, but when it became clear he was unable to stand against De’s forces, he attempted to flee into a gorge; Pang De pursued him. Time and again Chen Wu tried to turn and fight De, but bushes snagged his sleeves and Pang De cut him down before he could defend himself. Sun Quan grieved bitterly over the loss of Chen Wu and, after recovering his body from the gorge, had him buried together with Dong Xi, who had also been killed in the battle. (5)

Author’s notes:

(1): SGZ (San Guo Zhi) records that Chen Wu was only 18 at the time he joined Sun Ce.

(2): The other three commanders were Han Dang, Zhou Tai and Jiang Qin.

(3): Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei’s envoy to the south, had a Seven Star Altar constructed in order to supplicate the southeast wind, which would have been unlikely to occur in the dead of winter. However, there is no historical truth in this, and the southeast wind that blew the flames to the remainder of Cao Cao’s fleet was completely natural.

(4): The letter sent to Cao Cao read:
Your Excellency and myself act equally in the service of the court. Yet Your Excellency, giving no thought to his debt to the dynasty or the welfare of the people, resorts unreasonably to arms, causing dreadful suffering to the common people. Is this conduct of a humane man? Now that the spring floods have erupted, you should depart quickly, lest you suffer another Red Cliffs. Kindly give this your consideration.
On the back of the document was another sentence: “I shall have no peace while you live.”

(5): SGZ (San Guo Zhi) records that Sun Quan had developed a close friendship with Chen Wu and had personally attended his funeral.
Last edited by Sam on Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:43 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Unread postby Jon » Mon Nov 22, 2004 8:33 pm

Great job; excellent bio. Though, you did tend to use run-on sentences a few times. They are not detrimental to the bio itself, but it would read better if they were altered a bit.

lines 3-7 wrote:When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou, Chen Wu, in coordination with Sun Ce’s commander Zhou Yu, attacked Qu’e, Liu Yao’s home base, and succeeded in capturing the city, forcing Liu Yao to flee to Moling to request aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his aid in the expedition, Chen Wu was shown into audience with Sun Ce who, despite Chen Wu’s somewhat peculiar appearance, admired him greatly and appointed him as Commandant. (1)

When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou's home base in Qu'e, Chen Wu worked in coordination with Commander Zhou Yu in capturing the city. Liu Yao fled and retreated to Moling to seek aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his contributions, Chen was granted an audience with Sun Ce himself. Despite the odd appearance of the man, Bofu deeply admired him and awarded him the rank of Commandant.

17-19 wrote:Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce’s camp in preparation for Li’s attack and, true enough to Ce’s prediction, Xue Li, with generals Zhang Ying and Chen Heng, attacked that very day.

Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce's camp in preparation for Ce's predicted attack from Xue Li. Xue, accompanied by Zhang Ying and Chen Heng, attacked that same day.

25-26 wrote:He then began to climb the wall of Jianxian and, upon reaching the top, started a fire.

Subsequently, Chen Wu ascended the Jianxian walls and started a fire.

31-33 wrote:When he reached the bridge leading to the city, Han Dang, another commander of Sun Ce’s, had already arrived with Ce’s land force, but Yan Yu, the brother of Yan Baihu, had also arrived to oppose Dang.

By the time Zilie reached the bridge to the city, Han Dang had already arrived and the enemy captain Yan Yu (brother of Yan Baihu) had come to battle them.

34-36 wrote:Yu retreated before the onslaught and Han Dang, taking advantage of the opportunity given by Chen Wu, advanced on the west gate, driving the enemy into the city, where they remained for three days, refusing to give battle.

Yan Yu hastily retreated and Han Dang took the oppurtunity to advance on the west gate. Yan was forced into the city and remained there for 3 days without going to battle.

36-40 wrote:However, Yan Baihu saw the futility in trying to resist so fierce an army, and so attempted to sue for peace by sending his brother, Yu, to negotiate with Sun Ce, but when Yu revealed that his brother wished to have joint rule of the Southland with Ce, Ce had him killed and sent the head back into Wujun.

Yan Baihu realized that he could not defeat Sun's fierce army and attempted diplomacy via Yan Yu. Yu was recieved kindly, but was cut down by the feudal lord himself when he suggested that they split the riverlands; the head of the messenger was sent to Wujun.

41-42 wrote:Ce additionally captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji, and thus firmly established his kingdom, the kingdom of Wu, South of the River.

Sun Ce captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji. Yan Baihu was assassinated and his head was delivered to Sun Ce; the future kingdom of Wu had been formed.

I'll stop here, and finish tonight. These are just my opinions on how the sentences could be restructured to make it flow better. My main advice from now on is to just limit each sentence to like 3 lines and 3 commas. :)
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Unread postby Sam » Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:26 pm

lines 3-7 wrote:When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou, Chen Wu, in coordination with Sun Ce’s commander Zhou Yu, attacked Qu’e, Liu Yao’s home base, and succeeded in capturing the city, forcing Liu Yao to flee to Moling to request aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his aid in the expedition, Chen Wu was shown into audience with Sun Ce who, despite Chen Wu’s somewhat peculiar appearance, admired him greatly and appointed him as Commandant. (1)


Jiang Wenming wrote:When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou's home base in Qu'e, Chen Wu worked in coordination with Commander Zhou Yu in capturing the city. Liu Yao fled and retreated to Moling to seek aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his contributions, Chen was granted an audience with Sun Ce himself. Despite the odd appearance of the man, Bofu deeply admired him and awarded him the rank of Commandant.


I agree that, after having looked over the first paragraph, it needs altering, but your reconstruction doesn’t really fit into the bio. Sun Ce never actually attacked Qu’e; that attack was undertaken by Zhou Yu and Chen Wu alone. Also, the reader must have some idea of who Zhou Yu is, so instead of simply saying “Commander Zhou Yu”, the reader must be informed who he is. To name a person by their surname, as you did with “Chen”, was considered quite rude by Chinese standards, and so shouldn’t be put into the bio. Sun Ce’s style name, Bofu, should never be used as a reference to Ce, because the reader would not know who you’re referring to.

17-19 wrote:Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce’s camp in preparation for Li’s attack and, true enough to Ce’s prediction, Xue Li, with generals Zhang Ying and Chen Heng, attacked that very day.


Jiang Wenming wrote:Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce's camp in preparation for Ce's predicted attack from Xue Li. Xue, accompanied by Zhang Ying and Chen Heng, attacked that same day.


I don't quite agree with your edit, but I'll show how I'd personally edit it later.

25-26 wrote:He then began to climb the wall of Jianxian and, upon reaching the top, started a fire.


Jiang Wenming wrote:Subsequently, Chen Wu ascended the Jianxian walls and started a fire.


I don’t see the grammatical error in my original sentence.

31-33 wrote:When he reached the bridge leading to the city, Han Dang, another commander of Sun Ce’s, had already arrived with Ce’s land force, but Yan Yu, the brother of Yan Baihu, had also arrived to oppose Dang.


Jiang Wenming wrote:By the time Zilie reached the bridge to the city, Han Dang had already arrived and the enemy captain Yan Yu (brother of Yan Baihu) had come to battle them.


Yan Yu had arrived to oppose Han Dang alone, not Chen Wu, and therefore using the second-person narrative “them” is incorrect. Also, there is no indication of who Han Dang is in your sentence, which would confuse the first-time reader.

34-36 wrote:Yu retreated before the onslaught and Han Dang, taking advantage of the opportunity given by Chen Wu, advanced on the west gate, driving the enemy into the city, where they remained for three days, refusing to give battle.


Jiang Wenming wrote:Yan Yu hastily retreated and Han Dang took the oppurtunity to advance on the west gate. Yan was forced into the city and remained there for 3 days without going to battle.


I also agree that this sentence needs reconstructing, but “without going to battle” doesn’t get across the message that Yan Baihu refused to give battle.

36-40 wrote:However, Yan Baihu saw the futility in trying to resist so fierce an army, and so attempted to sue for peace by sending his brother, Yu, to negotiate with Sun Ce, but when Yu revealed that his brother wished to have joint rule of the Southland with Ce, Ce had him killed and sent the head back into Wujun.


Jiang Wenming wrote:Yan Baihu realized that he could not defeat Sun's fierce army and attempted diplomacy via Yan Yu. Yu was recieved kindly, but was cut down by the feudal lord himself when he suggested that they split the riverlands; the head of the messenger was sent to Wujun.


The Riverlands?

You have to state how Yan Baihu planned on achieving diplomacy instead of simply saying “via Yan Yu”. Also, splitting the Southland wasn’t merely a suggestion from Yan Yu - it was a statement. You have to make it clear to the reader who “the feudal lord” is.

41-42 wrote:Ce additionally captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji, and thus firmly established his kingdom, the kingdom of Wu, South of the River.


Jiang Wenming wrote:Sun Ce captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji. Yan Baihu was assassinated and his head was delivered to Sun Ce; the future kingdom of Wu had been formed.


Again, I don’t see the grammatical error in my original sentence. Also, saying “the future kingdom of Wu had been formed” should not be used in a biography because of the past tense used in the sentence structure.

I appreciate your comments, Jiang Wenming, but I don’t think all of your suggestions fit into the structure of a SGYY biography. Here is how I would edit the sentences you pointed out:

lines 3-7 wrote:When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou, Chen Wu, in coordination with Sun Ce’s commander Zhou Yu, attacked Qu’e, Liu Yao’s home base, and succeeded in capturing the city, forcing Liu Yao to flee to Moling to request aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his aid in the expedition, Chen Wu was shown into audience with Sun Ce who, despite Chen Wu’s somewhat peculiar appearance, admired him greatly and appointed him as Commandant. (1)


When Sun Ce attacked Liu Yao of Yangzhou, Chen Wu, in coordination with Sun Ce’s commander Zhou Yu, attacked Qu’e, Liu Yao’s home base. The two succeeded in capturing the city, forcing Liu Yao to flee to Moling to request aid from Xue Li and Ze Rong. For his aid in the expedition, Chen Wu was shown into audience with Sun Ce who, despite Chen Wu’s somewhat peculiar appearance, admired him greatly and appointed him as Commandant. (1)

17-19 wrote:Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce’s camp in preparation for Li’s attack and, true enough to Ce’s prediction, Xue Li, with generals Zhang Ying and Chen Heng, attacked that very day.


Chen Wu waited outside Sun Ce’s camp in preparation for Li’s attack and, true enough to Ce’s prediction, Xue Li attacked with generals Zhang Ying and Chen Heng that very day

25-26 wrote:He then began to climb the wall of Jianxian and, upon reaching the top, started a fire.


I don’t see any grammatical error in this and would leave it as is.

31-33 wrote:When he reached the bridge leading to the city, Han Dang, another commander of Sun Ce’s, had already arrived with Ce’s land force, but Yan Yu, the brother of Yan Baihu, had also arrived to oppose Dang.


When he reached the bridge leading to the city, Sun Ce's commander Han Dang had already arrived with Ce’s land force but Yan Yu, the brother of Yan Baihu, had also arrived to oppose Dang.

34-36 wrote:Yu retreated before the onslaught and Han Dang, taking advantage of the opportunity given by Chen Wu, advanced on the west gate, driving the enemy into the city, where they remained for three days, refusing to give battle.


Yu retreated before the onslaught and Han Dang, taking advantage of the opportunity given by Chen Wu, advanced on the west gate, driving the enemy into the city; Yan Baihu refused to give battle for the following three days.

36-40 wrote:However, Yan Baihu saw the futility in trying to resist so fierce an army, and so attempted to sue for peace by sending his brother, Yu, to negotiate with Sun Ce, but when Yu revealed that his brother wished to have joint rule of the Southland with Ce, Ce had him killed and sent the head back into Wujun.


However, Baihu saw the futility in trying to resist so fierce an army, and so attempted to sue for peace by sending his brother, Yu, to negotiate with Sun Ce. Ce received Yu but, after being informed that Yan Baihu wished for joint rule of the Southland, had Yu executed and his head sent back into Wujun.

41-42 wrote:Ce additionally captured Jianxing, Wucheng and Kuaiji, and thus firmly established his kingdom, the kingdom of Wu, South of the River.


Again, I’d keep this sentence as is.
Last edited by Sam on Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Jon » Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:29 pm

Yeah, agreed. I should proofread my own stuff before proofreading yours. Sorry! :P
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Unread postby Sam » Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:33 pm

Jiang Wenming wrote:Yeah, agreed. I should proofread my own stuff before proofreading yours. Sorry! :P


No apology needed - I'd have missed out my own mistakes if not for your post, so I really owe you a thank you. :)
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:42 pm

Well done Sam! This is another great bio, as I already know from your advanced copy to me. :wink: Chen Wu was a great general of Wu.

Perhaps you should add that bit of info about Sun Quan personally attending Chen Wu's funeral? It's up to you though. :wink:
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Unread postby Sam » Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:04 pm

Sima Hui wrote:Perhaps you should add that bit of info about Sun Quan personally attending Chen Wu's funeral? It's up to you though. :wink:


Well, it was taken from his SGZ Biography, so I was unsure whether it would fit into his SGYY bio. I'll happily add it if everyone thinks I should, though.
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Unread postby James » Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:29 pm

Forever Changes wrote:Well, it was taken from his SGZ Biography, so I was unsure whether it would fit into his SGYY bio. I'll happily add it if everyone thinks I should, though.

A wonderful use of footnotes. You can also mention the SGZ in the bio itself. Or you can say, “History records…”
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Unread postby Sam » Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:52 pm

I've completely revised the bio and added the extra footnotes mentioned in SGZ. Many thanks for your feedback, guys. :)
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