Battle of Ningyuan

Battle of Ningyuan

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Ningyuan

partof=the Manchu conquest
date= 1626
place= Xingcheng, Liaoning
result=Ming victory
combatant1= Later Jin
combatant2= Ming Dynasty
Huang Taiji
commander2=Yuan Chonghuan
Man Gui
Zu Dashou
Zhu Mei
Zuo Fu

The Battle of Ningyuan (寧遠之戰) was a battle between the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty and the Manchurian Later Jin in 1626. The Ming won this battle. This battle marks the temporary resurgence of the Imperial Ming army after a long series of defeats.

Before 1626, the Imperial Ming army has been very badly defeated by the Manchus. Part of the Imperial Ming army's new strategy of defense after defeat was to develop Ningyuan into a military stronghold. Yuan Chonghuan, with the support of Sun Chengzong (孫承宗), was seriously strengthening the defense of Ningyuan in anticipation of a Manchu attack.

After Sun Chengzong (孫承宗) was replaced by a new commander, the new commander ordered all Ming Forces outside the Great Wall to retreat inside and abandon all land outside Shanhai Pass. Yuan Chonghuan objected stronglly and was thus left to command a lone army guarding Ningyuan (modern-day Xingcheng, Liaoning).

In 1626 Kundulun Khan Nurhaci, seeing all Ming forces leaving, decided to advance towards Ningyuan, personally leading a force of 100,000-130,000 (At least 60,000) (Nurhaci boasted an unrealistic 200,000).

Yuan Chonghuan had only 10,000 men under his command. He burnt everything outside Ningyuan and wrote an essay of defiance against Jin in his own blood; he also sent orders to guards at the Great Wall to execute any deserters from Ningyuan, thus greatly boosting City's morale.

20 days later, the Jin army arrived and immediately attacked the City. However, after two days of intense fighting, the citizens and soldiers of Ningyuan inflicted heavy losses on the Jin forces and Nurhaci himself was wounded by cannon fire and decided to retreat.

While retreating, Yuan Chonghuan chased the other and inflicted even more losses on the Jin army.Fact|date=September 2007 Nurhaci retreated back to Mukden and died from his wounds. His eighth son or the fourth Beilei (lord) Hung Taiji assumed the title of the Great Khan of the Later Jin Khanate. The Imperial Ming army adopted the same strategy of developing Jinzhou, which is further north of Ningyuan, into another military stronghold. Ningyuan became the headquarters of the Imperial Ming army with Yuan Chonghuan stationed there. Hung Taiji, like his father, was defeated in the Second Battle of Ningyuan about one year later. (Note added by a reader: The second Battle of Ningyuan was actually a very long and fierce battle involving both Ningyuan and Jinzhou. It was a great tactical and strategic defeat for the Manchus.) Then Hung Taiji plotted the death of Yuan Chonghuan. Please read the web page on Yuan Chonghuan for completeness.

On the whole, the Manchus did not manage to break the defense of the Ningyuan garrison even after the death of Yuan Chonghuan. However, in 1644, the Ming emperor ordered the Ningyuan garrison to give up Ningyuan and come to Beijing to fight a very strong rebel army. Before the Ningyuan garrison arrived, Beijing fell to the rebel army and the Ming emperor committed suicide. Subsequently, the Manchus defeated the rebel army and then after many more years of war conquered the whole China. The new Manchu empire was toppled by a revolution in 1911.

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