Battle of Cixi

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The Battle of Cixi (no relation to the reigning Empress at the time) or Battle of Tzeki (慈溪之戰) was a victory for Qing imperial forces led by American soldier of fortune Frederick Townsend Ward against Taiping Rebels in late Qing Dynasty China. By 1862 Ward, who recently scored several victories for the imperial forces, had raised an army for the defense of Shanghai. On 20 September he attacked the walled city of Cixi (Tzeki) ten miles outside Ningbo. During the attack Ward was mortally wounded but remained in the field until victory was assured. He died the next day and command of his army eventually passed to Charles George Gordon.


When Shanghai was successively attacked by Taiping Rebels in 1862, western inhabitants favored removing the potential threat and cooperating with imperial forces; as a result, combined British and French naval troops under the command of Adm. James Hope were involved in military conflict with the Taiping Rebellion. One of the communities inhabited by the rebels was Ningbo, a port and walled city located south of Hangzhou Bay.

The imperial army laid siege to Ningbo’s occupiers on 6 May. Dismayed, the rebels opened fire at British and French ships docked at the harbor. The western ships returned fire and sent their crews into the city, overpowering rebel forces and turning over Ningbo to the imperial army. With Ningbo secure, Ward’s soldiers and the Qing forces began launching attacks in the surrounding areas against the rebels. During this time Cixi was one of the encircling cities ravaged by violence.


The Ever Victorious Army attacked Cixi on 20 September. As well as being trained in artillery and rifle usage, they were accompanied by the gunboats H.M.S. Hardy and Confucius.[1] Ward led from the front and was hit in the stomach by a musket ball. However, he remained on the battlefield until victory was certain.[2]


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  2. Grant, Reg G. (2011) 1001 Battles That Changed the Course of World History


  • Compton's Home Library: Battles of the World
  • Frederick "Wah" Ward
  • Hahn Boxer, E. (1963). China Only Yesterday

External links