Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Pao Ch'ao

PAO Ch'ao 鮑超 (T. 春霆), 1828–1886, a native of Fêng-chieh, Szechwan, was one of the bravest generals who fought in the campaign to suppress the Taiping rebellion. Beginning his career as a soldier, he became in 1853 head sentry in the river boats of Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.]. With extraordinary valor he commonly led the van in the attack on the Taipings at Yochow, Wuchang and other places. Thus he attracted the attention of Hu Lin-i [q. v.] who recommended him to the throne for promotion. Hence after the capture of Wuchang (December 19, 1856) he was advanced to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel and was ordered to recruit 3,000 soldiers from Hunan. Thereafter he was no longer connected with the naval forces but with the army.

Though repeatedly wounded in 1857, Pao Ch'ao played a prominent part in stemming the advance of the Taipings on Hupeh—in many engagements at Huang-mei and Hsiao-ch'ih-k'ou. From September 1858 to the spring of 1860 he fought chiefly at T'ai-hu, Anhwei, where on one occasion he defeated, with a small detachment, overwhelming numbers in a bloody engagement. Finding himself unable to co-operate well with To-lung-a 多隆阿 (T. 禮堂, 1817–1864), he requested a few months' leave and this was granted. To-lung-a was a Manchu general of considerable experience in fighting the Taipings and the Nien banditti, particularly in the taking of Lu-chou (May 13, 1862) and in ending the life of Ch'ên Yü-ch'êng [q. v.].

When Pao Ch'ao was urged to resume his task, his force, which came to be known as the T'ing-chün 霆軍, was increased from 3,000 to 10,000, and he was assigned to guerrilla warfare, attacking here and there as the situation required. He engaged in the relief of Ch'i-mên, Anhwei, where Tsêng Kuo-fan was hard-pressed (1860-61). Thereafter he was sent to Kiangsi where Li Hsiu-ch'êng [q. v.] had conquered more than twenty cities and towns, all of which Pao Ch'ao reconquered in the short period from August 7 to September 27, 1861.

In 1862 Pao Ch'ao was appointed t'i-tu 提督 or provincial commander of Chekiang, though he fought continually here and there to interrupt communications of the Taipings with Nanking, Soochow, and Ch'ang-chou. As a reward for his merit he was granted the hereditary title, Yün-ch'i-yü. At that time he was so occupied that he had no chance to take leave, even when his mother died at the close of 1862. After the conquest of Nanking in 1864 his contribution to the campaign was rewarded with the rank of Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü; and for his exploits in pursuing the discomfitted Taipings from Kiangsi to Fukien he was granted the hereditary rank of viscount of the first class (1864). Thereupon he was given two months' leave to inter his mother's remains. But meanwhile the fleeing Taiping remnants became united again in Chia-ying-chou, Kwangtung, and Pao Ch'ao was sent there to reinforce the local troops in suppressing them. With an army of 3,000 veterans from Hunan he proceeded to the front, took part in the battle of February 4, 1866 and met a counter-attack the following day. During that month the fifteen years' campaign against the Taipings finally terminated.

After the Taipings were suppressed Pao Ch'ao was engaged in crushing the Nien banditti (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in) on the borders of Hupeh, Honan and Shensi (1866–67). But unable to work harmoniously with Liu Ming-ch'uan [q. v.], he was granted leave to retire on the plea of ill health. Hence he lived at home from 1867 to 1880. In the latter year he was recalled from retirement to prepare for possible hostilities with Russia, with whom China was then engaged in boundary disputes (see under Tsêng Chi-tsê). After the signature of the Sino-Russian treaty on February 24, 1881, Pao Ch'ao was reappointed provincial commander of Hunan, but soon resigned (1882) on grounds of ill health. When the Franco-Chinese conflict over Annam occurred in 1884, he was once more ordered to enroll troops in Hunan and to proceed to Yunnan. He encamped this newly-organized force at Pai-ma kuan 白馬關 on the Yunnan-Annam border until the Franco-Chinese treaty was signed at Tientsin on June 9, 1885. He died at his home in the following year. The Court granted him the title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent and the posthumous name, Chung-chuang 忠壯. Pao Ch'ao was impressive in appearance and, among the generals of the Hunan Army, he was second only to T'a-ch'i-pu [q. v.] in personal bravery.


[1/415/7a; 2/50/16a, 56/26b; 5/67/5b; 8/11 hsia/1a; Li Shu-fan 李叔璠, 鮑公年譜 Pao-kung nien-p'u (1873); Li Tsung-pin 李宗賓, 多忠勇公勤勞錄 To Chung-yung kung ch'in-lao lu (1877).]

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