Page:My life in China and America.djvu/157

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



character in Chinese history. He was regarded by his contemporaries as a great scholar and a learned man. Soon after the Taiping Rebellion broke out and began to assume vast proportions, carrying before it province after province, Tsang began to drill an army of his own compatriots of Hunan who had always had the reputation of being brave and hardy fighters. In his work of raising a disciplined army, he secured the co-operation of other Hunan men, who afterwards took a prominent part in building up a flotilla of river gunboats. This played a great and efficient part as an auxiliary force on the Yangtze River, and contributed in no small measure to check the rapid and ready concentration of the rebel forces, which had spread over a vast area on both banks of the great Yangtze River. In the space of a few years the lost provinces were gradually recovered, till the rebellion was narrowed down within the single province of Kiang Su, of which Nanking, the capital of the rebellion, was the only stronghold left. This finally succumbed to the forces of Tsang Kwoh Fan in 1864.

To crush and end a rebellion of such dimensions as that of the Taipings was no small task. Tsang Kwoh Fan was made the generalissimo