Man Chong Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

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Man Chong Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:15 pm

It's probably immature and disrespectful, but there is no better name than Man Boning.

Man Chong (Boning)

Man Chong was a man from Shanyang. He is first mentioned in 196 as a retainer of the warlord Cao Cao. In 196, after Cao Cao took custody of Emperor Liu Xie (Emperor Xian) he moved the capital to Xu city. At this time, Man Chong was appointed Magistrate of Xu (that is Xu county, the county in which the capital city was located). As the magistrate of the capital county, he had particular responsibility for issuing imperial justice.[1]

One of Cao Cao's most trusted officers was his cousin, Cao Hong. Because some of Cao Hong's clients repeatedly broke the law, Man Chong arrested them. Cao Hong wrote to Man Chong on behalf of his clients, threatening Man Chong, but Man Chong ignored the letters. Cao Hong went over Man Chong's head and complained to Cao Cao. When Man Chong received a summons to speak with Cao Cao, he feared that Cao Cao would pardon the criminals in consideration of Cao Hong's services. In order to prevent this from happening, Man Chong executed the criminals. Cao Cao was reportedly pleased by his attention to duty.[2]

In 197, Yuan Shu declared himself Emperor of Zhong.[3] A man named Yang Biao was related to Yuan Shu through marriage. Yang Biao had previously served as Grand Commandant.[4] Because of his relation to Yuan Shu, Cao Cao did not trust Yang Biao and feared that he had plans to aid his in-law. Several ministers protested these accusations, but Cao Cao ordered Man Cong to investigate the matter. According to the law of the time, such an investigation was to involve flogging the suspect to obtain information. Kong Rong and Xun Yu urged Man Chong to be merciful with Yang Biao and only ask him questions and not flog him. Man Chong did not respond to their requests and carried out his investigation according to the law. Several days later he returned to report his findings to Cao Cao. Man Chong informed his leader that Yang Biao still insisted that he was innocent of all charges. He further advised Cao Cao not to punish Yang Biao without concrete proof, as it would turn the other officials against him. Acting on Man Chong's advice, Cao Cao pardoned Yang Biao. After this, other officials thought more highly of Man Chong because he showed impartiality in the matter, first flogging Yang Biao and then defending him.[5]

By 219, Man Chong was Grand Administrator of Runan. When Guan Yu was besieging Fan city (in Nanyang commandery, Jing province), there was severe flooding, which weakened the walls of the fortress. Cao Ren was in command of the defense and many of his officers urged him to flee by night while Guan Yu's encirclement was incomplete. Man Chong had brought troops to reinforce Cao Ren[6] urged him to maintain the defense. He pointed out that the flooding had occurred quickly and would most likely recede quickly. Guan Yu had already sent a detachment to Jia county (in Yingchuan commandery, Yu province), which was only 80 km west of Xu city.[7] The reason he had not advanced on the capital was because he feared that Cao Ren's army would cut off his rear. If Cao Ren abandoned Fan city, Guan Yu would be free to assault the capital.[8] Accepting Man Chong's logic, Cao Ren dug in and held out in Fan until Xu Huang arrived with reinforcements and drove off Guan Yu.[9]

In 228, Zhou Fang of Sun Quan's army pretended to defect to Wei. Cao Xiu rode south to receive him. Hearing of this, Man Chong sent a memorial to Emperor Cao Rui warning that the terrain into which Cao Xiu was entering was dangerous – it was easy to advance and difficult to retreat. He urged the court to advise Cao Xiu to be cautious. While Man Chong's memorial was still awaiting reply, Cao Xiu fell into an ambush and was forced to retreat, narrowly escaping.[10] Later that year, Cao Xiu died. Cao Rui appointed Man Chong as Chief Controller of Yang province, the position now vacant due to Cao Xiu's death.[11] This put him in charge of all military affairs of that province.

The fortress of Hefei county (Jiujiang commandery, Yang province) had long been an insurmountable obstacle for Sun Quan's army. He had tried and failed to take the fortress on several occasions. In 231, Sun Quan announced that he was going to attack the fortress again. Man Chong memorialized Cao Rui to summon soldiers from Yan and Yu provinces to help defend the city. Shortly after the troops arrived, Sun Quan retreated without attacking the city. One of Cao Rui's advisers, Xu Xuan, warned that this was their plan all along and that as soon as the troops were dispersed, Sun Quan would attack again. After around ten days, Sun Quan returned to besiege Hefei but Man Chong was fully prepared and easily repelled the assault.[12]

Later in 231, Sun Quan decided that since he had so much success with Zhao Fang's false defection he would try the exact same thing again. Sun Quan ordered his relative Sun Bu to pretend to defect to Wei in order to lure the Governor of Yang, Wang Ling, into a trap. Sun Quan set soldiers in ambush at Fuling. Sun Bu asked Wang Ling to send soldiers to take him to Wei. Wang Ling, in turn, requested permission from his superiors to do so. One of those superiors was Man Chong, who did not believe that Sun Bu's defection was true. Man Chong sent a letter (on behalf of Wang Ling) to Sun Bu saying that he was very pleased to hear that Sun Bu wanted to defect. He said, however, that he feared that if he sent too few troops, Sun Bu would not be protected and if he sent too many it would attract undue attention. Finally, he urged Sun Bu to think of some way to flee from Sun Quan quietly. At this time, Man Chong was commanded to visit Cao Rui. He ordered his Chief Clerk not to give Wang Ling soldiers with which to receive Sun Bu. Wang Ling could not obtain a large number of troops and so was able to send only a very small force to Sun Bu. They were ambushed and defeated, but due to Man Chong's foresight, the loss was negligible.[13]

As mentioned above, Man Chong was summoned to court. This was due to a memorial issued by Wang Ling, who evidently did not get along well with his superior. Wang Ling accused Man Chong of being too old and too fond of wine to be such an important administrator. Cao Rui summoned Man Chong so that he could judge for himself. When he met Man Chong, Cao Rui determined that he was perfectly fit for his work and sent him back to his position.[14]

In 232, Lu Xun of Sun Quan's army was leading soldiers towards Lujiang (Yang province). Many believed that they should hurriedly reinforce the defenses of the commandery. Man Chong was of the opinion that the defenses were already adequate. Because of the distance Sun Quan's army was forced to march overland, their retreat would be cut off. His real worry was that Lu Xun would retreat before they suffered a major defeat. So Man Chong gathered his soldiers and began to march towards Lu Xun's army. Hearing of this, Lu Xun retreated.[15]

Shortly after that, in 233, Man Chong memorialized that there were problems with the fortress at Hefei, specifically that it was too close to water. He proposed destroying it and building another one on top of a hill not far from the fortress's current location. Man Chong further argued that by doing so, they would appear weak and would invite Sun Quan to attack them. Because the fortress's new location would force Sun Quan's army to march overland, they would have a difficult time retreating and could be easily defeated. Cao Rui accepted this proposal.[16]

Later that year, events proceeded as Man Chong predicted. Sun Quan believed that the destruction of the fortress was a sign of weakness and mobilized his army to attack the new fortress. Because the new fortress was distant from the water, Sun Quan waited on his boat for 20 days, afraid to cross the land to join the siege. Eventually he was convinced to leave the boat. When he landed on the bank, he fell into an ambush that Man Chong had set. Sun Quan fled and his army withdrew.[17]

In 234, Sun Quan attacked Hefei again while several other generals led major attacks against other key positions.[18] Man Chong requested permission to lead his soldiers to defend Hefei. He also requested that officers and soldiers on leave be mobilized to defend the territories that were under attack. Tian Yu suggested that Sun Quan was using the attack on Hefei as bait to draw out the main body of Wei's army. He suggested letting Sun Quan attack Hefei in order to dissipate his initial energy. He believed that if they waited for Sun Quan's forces to fail in taking the city, they could be easily defeated.[19] As an alternative, an official named Liu Shao proposed sending a light force to cut off Sun Quan's supply line, with extra banners and drums to make the army appear more numerous than it was. He intended to scare Sun Quan away. Cao Rui accepted this proposal.[20]

Following these discussions, Man Chong suggested abandoning Hefei and lure Sun Quan's army to Shouchun, so that Man Chong could fight them on his own terms. Cao Rui refused to accept his plan, in part because abandoning Hefei seemed almost sacrilegious to him. Instead, he went personally to oversee the defense.[21]

After these discussions, Man Chong assembled an elite force and rode to the defense of Hefei. He attacked Sun Quan's position and destroyed his siegeworks. Furthermore, he shot and killed Sun Tai, a nephew of Sun Quan.[22] When Cao Rui arrived with the main body of reinforcements, Sun Quan fled.[23]

In 239, Man Chong was appointed Grand Commandant [taiyu].[24]

Between April and May of 242, Man Chong passed away due to illness.[25]

Man Chong served the Cao family for nearly fifty years as an adviser, administrator, and general. In the later years of his life, he did not participate in the political games and backstabbing that infected the court. He proved himself to be a logical, level-headed tactician who did not made foolish mistakes. He showed remarkable foresight in tearing down the old fortress at Hefei and reestablishing it at Xincheng. And he proved his skill in battle by defending it on numerous occasions. Man Chong rose to become the highest of the Three Excellencies and should be remembered as one of the most talented officials and generals of Wei.

[1] de Crespigny, ZZTJ Jian'an 2, note 43
[2] ZZTJ Jian'an 1, Y
[3] ZZTJ Jian'an 2, G
[4] The Grand Commandant was, technically speaking, the highest of the Three Dukes/Excellencies, the Emperor's chief advisers and cabinet members. Yang Biao resigned from his position around October of 196 (the year prior to this incident and shortly after Cao Cao took possession of the emperor).
[5] ZZTJ Jian'an 2, G
[6] de Crespigny, ZZTJ Jian'an 24, note 33
[7] de Crespigny, ZZT Jian'an 24, note 34
[8] ZZTJ Jian'an 24, P
[9] ZZTJ Jian'an 24, BB
[10] ZZTJ Taihe 2, 27
[11] ZZTJ Taihe 2, 32
[12] ZZTJ Taihe 4, 20
[13] ZZTJ Taihe 5, 16
[14] ZZTJ Taihe 5, 17
[15] ZZTJ Taihe 6, 20
[16] ZZTJ Taihe 6, 20
[17] ZZTJ Qinglong 1, 17
[18] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 10
[19] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 11
[20] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 12
[21] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 13
[22] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 17
[23] ZZTJ Qinglong 2, 18
[24] ZZTJ Jingchu 3, 17
[25] ZZTJ Zhengshi 3, 3
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Re: Man Chong Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:20 pm

capnnerefir wrote:It's probably immature and disrespectful, but there is no better name than Man Boning.

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