Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Huang Tê-kung

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HUANG Tê-kung 黃得功 (T. 滸山, 虎山), d. 1645, June 15, Ming loyalist general, was a native of K'ai-yüan, (Liao-ning), to which place his ancestors had moved from Ho-fei, Anhwei. His original patronymic was Wang 王, but he changed it to Huang when he was adopted by a family of that name. At a very early age he enrolled in the garrison of Liaoyang and in 1636 was appointed assistant brigade general of the garrison at Peking. In recognition of his distinguished services in the campaign against bandits in Honan, he was promoted to the rank of honorary brigade general (1638) and four years later was made brigade general of Fêng-yang, Anhwei. Late in 1642 the allied forces of Huang Tê-kung and Liu Liang-tso [q. v.] seriously defeated Chang Hsien-chung [q. v.] at Chʻien-shan, Anhwei. The last emperor of the Ming dynasty (see under Chu Yu-chien) gave Huang the title of Count Ching-nan 靖南 (1644), and in the same year (June 20) his rank was elevated by the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung) to that of Marquis.

When, in order to revive the tottering dynasty, Four Guardian Generals (see under Kao Chieh) were appointed at the request of Shih K'o-fa [q. v.], Huang was made one of them with headquarters at Lu-chou, Anhwei. Later he was transferred to Yangchow, Kiangsu, in order to check the impetuosity of Kao Chieh [q. v.], the guardian at Kua-chou, Kiangsu. Huang and Kao Chieh were on bad terms, and owing to some misunderstanding, Kao sent his troops to attack Huang at T'u-ch'iao, Kiangsu (October 1). Huang suffered a loss of some three hundred men and himself narrowly escaped death. Highly enraged, Huang decided to wage war against Kao, but Shih K'o-fa assuaged his wrath by compensating him for his financial losses from his own funds. On hearing, in February 1645, of the death of Kao Chieh, Huang hurried to Yangchow to take that city which had formerly been a bone of contention between them. Again Shih succeeded in diverting Huang and directing his attention to their common foe, the Ch'ings. Huang's headquarters were transferred to Lu-chou where he had originally been appointed. In April Tso Liang-yü [q. v.] raised an army on the pretext of "clearing the court of corrupt elements,” but died later in the same month in Kiukiang. His son, Tso Mêng-kêng (see under Tso Liang-yü), took his father's place, but Huang crushed him in May at T'ung-ling and at Pan-tzŭ-chi, both in Anhwei. For this victory Huang Tê-kung was given the title of Prince. As the Ch'ing forces under Dodo [q. v.] were approaching Nanking on June 3 (just two weeks after the fall of Yangchow) the Prince of Fu fled terror-stricken to Huang's camp at T'ung-ling, much to the dismay of Huang who realized that this thoughtless exodus meant the loss of the most important base which the Ming forces possessed. Huang's camp was soon surrounded by a detachment of the Ch'ing army led by Liu Liang-tso, a renegade, who tried to persuade him to surrender. Huang indignantly rejected the offer and was pierced by an arrow. Realizing that the wound would be fatal, he committed suicide on the spot. His remains were buried beside those of his mother on Fang-shan near Yangchow, Kiangsu, in consideration of his filial piety to her.

Huang Tê-kung was illiterate, but having a frank and affable disposition, he maintained, unlike his opponent, Kao Chieh, excellent discipline in his army. The people of the districts where his troops were stationed showed their gratitude by erecting temples to his memory. Emperor Kao-tsung granted him the posthumous name Chung-huan 忠桓.

[M.1/268/9a; M.35/13/1a; M.59/21/1a; 明季南略 Ming-chi nan-lüeh 3/7b; 鹿樵紀聞 Lu-ch'iao chi-wên (痛史) 上/12b.]

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