Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/K'ung Yu-tê

3642430Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — K'ung Yu-têGeorge A. Kennedy

K'UNG Yu-tê 孔有德, d. Aug. 7, 1652, Chinese bannerman in the Plain Red Banner, was a native of Liaotung. He is reported in one source to have been a descendant of Confucius, his ancestors having emigrated earlier from Shantung. He served under Mao Wên-lung [q. v.] in Korea where he was a member of the band of ninety-seven (some sources say one hundred and ninety-seven) who captured Chên-chiang 鎮江, on the Yalu River, in 1621. When later in the year the Manchus retook the lost territory, he accompanied Mao to his island retreat. But after the execution of the latter in 1629 he refused to serve his successor, deserting instead to the standard of Sun Yüan-hua [q. v.] in Shantung where he became a lieutenant-colonel. When the Manchu attack on Ta-ling-ho began in 1631 he was sent with 800 cavalry to join in the defense. On his way there a mutiny took place among the troops under him, whereupon he embarked on an independent career, and after plundering many smaller towns in Shantung, laid siege on February 11, 1632 to the city of Têng-chou. This city he took eleven days later with the help of Kêng Chung-ming [q. v.]. When he had been joined by forces from Lü-shun (Port Arthur) and from the islands in the Gulf of Chihli, K'ung made plans to take the city of Lai-chou, but after a siege of more than six months he was forced by Ming troops to abandon the effort.

Early in 1633 Têng-chou was taken from him, and K'ung escaped across the sea to Liaotung where on May 24 he offered his services to the Manchus. Emperor T'ai-tsung received him in audience, treated him with honor, and appointed him a commander in the army. Kung applied himself with energy to the Manchu cause; he shared in all the important expeditions with rank equal to a beile and acquired in 1636 the title of Prince Kung-shun 恭順王. When in 1642 the organization under Banners was extended to the entire Chinese army on the Manchu side, K'ung became attached to the Plain Red Banner. In 1644 he joined in the pursuit of Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.], after which he took part in the war against Ming adherents in Kiangnan. In 1646 he was appointed to combat the movement in support of the Ming Prince of Kuei (see Chu Yu-lang) in Hunan. His successes there were overwhelming. Returning in 1648, he was loaded with honors and after receiving the title of Prince of the Pacified South (Ting-nan wang 定南王) was dispatched in the following year at the head of 20,000 soldiers to subdue Kwangsi. Through the next two years he drove the Ming armies steadily back, but in 1652 he was outflanked by Li Ting-kuo [q. v.] who cut off his line of retreat through Hunan and shut him up in Kuei-lin, where, seeing that the loss of the city was imminent, he committed suicide on August 7. He was given the posthumous name Wu-chuang 武壯, and was buried with honors outside the gate, Chang-i mên 彰儀門, Peking. For his daughter, K'ung Ssŭ-chên, see biography of Sun Yen-ling.

[1/240/1a; 2/78/2a; 4/6/1a; 四王合傳 Ssŭ-wang ho-chuan, p. 38; Mao Pin [q. v.], P'ing p'an chi; Haenisch, E., T'oung Pao, 1913, p. 85.]

George A. Kennedy