Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Furdan
FURDAN 傅爾丹, 1683–1753, Jan. 15, general, belonged to the Gûwalgiya clan and was a member of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner. As a great-grandson of Fiongdon [q. v.], he inherited in 1681 the rank of duke of the third class as well as the captaincy of the company to which his family belonged. After filling several posts, he was appointed in 1709 a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard. Six years later he was discharged for feigning illness to escape official duties and was ordered to lead a thousand Tumed soldiers in the cultivation of land at Ulan Gum 烏蘭固木 (north of Khobdo). Reinstated in 1717 to the rank of chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard, he was given the title of General Chên-wu (振武將軍) and appointed commander of the army in the Altai region (western Mongolia) to fight against the Eleuth King, Tsewang Araptan [q. v.]. Funinggan [q. v.] was simultaneously in command of the main army at Barkul which planned to attack from the East. As Tsewang Araptan was reported to have invaded Tibet, Funinggan and Furdan were ordered to enter Tsewang Araptan's territory in the hope of releasing the pressure on that region. But they made little headway and returned after several skirmishes.
Later Furdan was entrusted with the building of forts in western Mongolia to consolidate the positions already acquired and to protect the Mongols from further raids by the Eleuths. One of the forts, Chakan Sor 察汗搜爾 situated a little south of the present Uliasutai, was an important military base for guarding the route to the Altai region. In 1720, when troops were dispatched to recover Tibet (see under Yen-hsin), other armies invaded Tsewang Araptan's territory to prevent him from aiding his troops in Tibet. Furdan, in command of one of these armies, captured several hundred Eleuths. In 1725 he was recalled, and from 1726 to 1727 served as the military governor of Heilungkiang. For several months in 1728 he was acting president of the Board of Civil Office.
Preparations for a new campaign against the Eleuths were under way. The death of Tsewang Araptan and the succession to power of his son, Galdan Tseren (see under Tsewang Araptan), was taken by Emperor Shih-tsung as an opportune time to put an end to conflict in the northwest. Most of Shih-tsung's courtiers advised against war, but Chang T'ing-yü [q. v.] supported the emperor and recommended Furdan as one of the commanders of such a campaign. In 1729 Furdan was given the title Ching-pien Ta Chiang-chun 靖邊大將軍 and placed in command of the northern route army operating in the Altai region, while Yüeh Chung-ch'i [q. v.] commanded another army at Barkul on the Lanchow-Hami route. Furdan was seen off by the emperor in person and was granted all the honors appropriate to such an undertaking. But in 1730 Galdan Tseren begged for peace and the war was stayed for a time, although the Eleuths later attacked the Barkul army on several occasions. In 1731 Furdan built a fort at Khobdo which he used as his headquarters. Meanwhile, to his family hereditary dukedom was prefixed the designation, Hsin-yung 信勇. He had among his assistants nobles and high officials who were veterans of many wars, but he refused to listen to their advice. A report, perhaps purposely fabricated by the Eleuths to draw Furdan from his base, asserted that a small detachment of their vanguard was near. On July 12, 1731 Furdan set off with ten thousand soldiers towards the northwest of Khobdo in the hope of crushing the Eleuths before they could concentrate. But after winning a minor skirmish, he found himself (July 23) face to face with the enemy's main division which lay in wait for him in the mountains. After a day of fighting at Hoton Nor he realized his error and began to withdraw, but it was too late. When he reached Khobdo it transpired that nearly all his generals had either committed suicide or had been killed in action and that he had lost four-fifths of his men.
This defeat set back China's advance in the northwest for more than twenty years, and the Eleuths resumed their raids on the Mongols. The Emperor, hoping to retain the allegiance of the latter, commanded Furdan to retreat to Chakan Sor. Furdan ordered the enlargement of the garrisons, both at that post and along the Great Wall, and tried to encourage and console the Mongol princes. Meanwhile a victory over the Eleuths by Hsi-pao 錫保, (d. 1742), eighth Prince Shun-ch'êng (see under Lekedehun), and his Mongolian assistants, especially the Mongolian Prince, Tsereng [q. v.], temporarily checked the invaders. Hsi-pao, a general under Furdan, was now placed in command and Furdan was degraded to Hsi-pao's former rank. Marsai 馬爾塞, grandson of Tuhai [q. v.], was made commander of the garrisons at Jak and Baidarik (see under Tulišen) to guard the route from Kuei-hua-ch'êng to Chakan Sor. In 1732 Furdan suffered another defeat and was deprived of all ranks and offices. In 1733 Marsai, for his failure in the previous year to attack the fleeing Eleuths who were defeated and pursued by Prince Tsereng, was executed after a court martial.
In 1735 Furdan was involved, with two quartermasters of his army, on a charge of corruption and sentenced to immediate execution. But as the Emperor died before the sentence could be approved the new Emperor (Kao-tsung) commuted it to imprisonment awaiting execution. In prison Furdan discovered that his colleague, Yüeh Chung-ch'i, had already been jailed. The two were released in 1739, and nine years later were both engaged in the campaign against the Chin-ch'uan tribes. For a time Furdan was acting governor-general of Szechwan and Shensi but, when Fu-hêng [q. v.] commanded the forces against the Chin-ch'uan rebels, he reported that Furdan was too old for active service and engaged him as a member of his staff. In 1749 Furdan again served as the military governor of Heilungkiang and died at his post. He was canonized as Wên-k'o 温愨. He is described as tall of stature, with a handsome beard and a rather reddish complexion.
Furdan's son, Hadaha 哈達哈 (d. 1759), and Hadaha's son, Haningga 哈寧阿 (d. 1759), were both generals and both were humiliated for errors in military tactics. In 1778 the family hereditary rank was raised to duke of the first class in recognition of the exploits of the founder, Fiongdon.