Page:Tseng Kuo Fan and the Taiping Rebellion.djvu/64

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the mouth-piece of God the Father. Whether they were simply terrified at the gradual closing in of the imperial army or were urged to mutiny by men who desired to gain the leadership does not appear from the records.

The great deliverance that came inspired confidence throughout the entire army. No longer did they disobey their leaders or fear the imperialists. In the city of Yungan, while the imperialists slowly gathered their forces for the siege, the Taipings organised their kingdom. The provisional government instituted at Kint'ien gave place to the more permanent organisation; the new dynasty was proclaimed in Yungan, five kings besides the original two were created and appointed to their high duties. Ministers of state were likewise commissioned; army regulations were promulgated, and officers appointed, while some of the more essential portions of civil government were arranged. A new solar calendar was also adopted, dividing the year of 366 days into twelve months of thirty and thirty-one days each and abolishing leap years.

The discomfited imperialists gradually moved up to Yungan, which they proceeded to surround and besiege. Again the rebellion was in their hands. As early as November 4 the imperial commissioner, Saishanga, moved to Yangsoh, a commanding base near Yungan, and before the end of the year had completely encircled the town. Wulant'ai was to the south, Liu Chang-ch'ing, and later Hsiang Yung himself, was to the north, while sufficient forces occupied the hills east and west.

On the seventh of February, 1852, everything being in readiness, Saishanga (now degraded to the rank of t'ituh) moved from Yangsoh to Yungan to direct the siege in person. The rebels in the beleaguered town were short of gunpowder and probably of food as well. Sorties were attempted on February 17 and 19. The imperialists