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The Coastal Campaign or East Route

Earlier, as the summer of 1926 had begun and Canton launched the expedition by way of Hunan, the First Army under General Ho Ying-ch’in gathered along Kwangtung’s border with Fukien. As one of Sun Ch’uan-fang’s United Provinces, Fukien posed a danger in the event Sun entered the war. Ho concentrated his troops at Swatow on orders to either defend the border or, if feasible, invade Fukien. In September, once the fighting began in Kiangsi, the First Army and Sun’s Fukien allies engaged in skirmishes along the border. Although Sun then ordered his Fukien subordinate, Chou Ying-jen, to attack Kwangtung, Chou stalled until late September.1

When Chou did attack Swatow, Ho blocked the offensive with a well-prepared defense line along the rugged coastal terrain, although his force was outnumbered.2 The tardiness of Chou Ying-jen’s offensive charac­terized the poor coordination among elements of Sun Ch’uan-fang’s mili­tary machine—a weakness not lost to the NRA. In another tactical blunder, Sun’s navy, operating off Fukien simultaneously with Chou’s attack, did not even bombard the port of Swatow.3 In fact the admiral was quietly negotiating with the KMT on the possibility of his defection (see chapter 30).

In late September, Ho’s First Army answered the Fukien threat. The well-timed defection of two of Chou Ying-jen’s brigade commanders across the Kwangtung border provided General Ho with vital intelligence on troop placements and defenses.4 The NRA offensive from Kwangtung into 94Fukien also served to threaten Sun’s southern flank. The coastal road led to Shanghai. On October 9, 1926, to distract a Fukien force penetrating Kwangtung near Sung-k’ou, Ho moved his troops across the Fukien border to take Yungting, an action that was accomplished the following day. Although Chou held Sung-k’ou from October 9 to 13, Ho’s counterattack had so threatened his rear lines of communication that he retreated north­east back into Fukien.5

95During the rest of October, the First Army infiltrated the lightly de­fended hills of back-country Fukien. There the political workers, some of whom were Hakkas, contacted the local militias (min-t’uan). Chafing under the exploitative rule of Sun and Chou Ying-jen, the local people, including Hakkas, looked with hope toward the invading NRA. The good reputation of the nearby Revolutionary Base and the NRA had preceded the invading army, which eased the collaboration with local people. The min-t’uan contribution to the taking of Fukien was considerable, for they numbered over 10,000 provincials who knew well all the shortcuts and possible hiding places in the rugged uplands.6 The NRA warmly accepted these Fukienese as additions to their group; the Fukienese comprised three divisions, one independent brigade, and three regiments.7 With this Fukienese help, the NRA quickly forced Chou down out of the hills. The last fortified high point, Tingchou, fell before a joint attack of the Fukienese elements and the Fourteenth Army, which had arrived recently from Juichin, Kiang-si.8 As he pulled back, Chou Ying-jen lost 500 rifles and machine guns, five cannon, and ammunition, all of which helped to arm the new NRA ele­ments. In the unfamiliar mountain heights, Chou’s northern troops in their straw footwear were ill-suited to defend themselves against the hit-and-run tactics of the min-t’uan. In the valleys, his communications were too easily severed.9

Along the coast, Chou’s efforts also failed. Not only had his attack aimed at the ports of Ch’ao-an or Swatow been halted, but by October 14 Chou had been pushed back to Changchou well inside Fukien. The NRA pressed its offensive both along the coast and down the valleys from the interior so that Chou’s defense of Changchou crumbled on November 8.10 Digging in farther up the coast at T’ung-an, Chou held out there until October 20, whereafter the NRA maintained the momentum of attack and took Chüanchou the next day, and then Hsienyu and Yangtai on the twenty-sixth. Thus, from late September until December, Ho Ying-ch’in pressed along the southern, most populated, sector of the Fukien coast until the only holdout was the walled provincial capital, Foochow, across the broad Min River.

The defensibility of the city was subverted from within its beleaguered walls. The morale of Chou’s subordinates wavered and vanished as Chou’s pleas to Sun Ch’uan-fang for reinforcements went unanswered. Ousted from the portions of Kiangsi adjacent to Fukien and preoccupied with reconsolidating his authority in Chekiang, Sun was without means of easy access to Fukien.11 Chou and his subordinates in Fukien had to defend themselves as best they could. Some key commanders chose another 96alternative—the Fukien navy and its marine brigade not only defected but joined in the shelling of Chou’s troops as they retreated into Foochow along the Min River banks.12 Likewise, the commander of Foochow’s garrison, Li Sheng-chün, opened the city gates to the NRA, leaving Chou without a sanctuary.13

Thus, the thorny problem of capturing a city containing a foreign conces­sion was solved when Foochow surrendered without a struggle on De­cember 9, 1926. Trapped in the city, the dumbfounded Fukien governor exclaimed as he was arrested: “I don’t understand what has happened! Our forces and weapons were superior but you have captured me!”14 With less than 2,000 troops left of his original 60,000, Chou and his remnants limped quickly toward the Chekiang border.15 Part of the credit for the smooth­ness of the Fukien campaign rightfully belongs to the First Army’s Political Department. Their effective dealings with the leaders of Fukien’s min-t’uan brought invaluable local support. Had the invasion from Kwang-tung elicited hostility and resistance, the numerically superior forces of Chou Ying-jen might not only have defended Fukien but pressed over the border into the Revolutionary Base.

Regrouping the Revolutionary Movement

From mid-November through the end of 1926, both the national re­volutionaries and their opponents paused to take stock and consolidate. Chiang had carried his offensive well down the Yangtze but tensions within the movement stirred the desire to slow down and regroup. Sun Ch’uan-fang had already received again the offer of peaceful inclusion in the National Revolution—a prospect for which he had little understanding or optimism. With Kiangsi and much of Fukien lost, Sun turned instead, however reluctantly, to the military governors of North China for aid. His fellow warlords had been fighting amongst themselves for years and had in common only the desire to preserve their holdings plus a new anxiety over the National Revolution. They had all come to wish the destruction of the “Red Army” from Kwangtung. However, calling in a fellow warlord often allowed him his foot in the door and the opportunity to grab what he could. Thus, on November 8, 1926, Sun Ch’uan-fang, with foreboding and in desperation, boarded the train in Nanking bound for Tientsin far to the north.

At Tientsin, Sun met with the generals of the Peiyang Clique, Chang Tso-lin of Manchuria and Chang Tsung-ch’ang of Shantung. They re­viewed the earlier fate of Wu P’ei-fu against the NRA in Hunan and Hupei, and Sun painfully reported on his failures in Kiangsi and Fukien. Finally the northern warlords had to admit to the strange powers of the NRA against numerically superior troops and firepower. Not even the north­erners’ control of the railroads seemed to throw the balance in their favor. They decided to pool their resources to quarantine the Red disease in the south. Despite the improbable nature of the bedfellows, Sun agreed grimly to the alliance as his mind raced back over the roster of his “allied subordi­nates” in the United Provinces. Plagued by defection in Kiangsi and 97Fukien, Sun could not afford feelings of insecurity over his control in Chekiang or the rich Yangtze delta.

With regard to Wu P’ei-fu, the first of their kind to suffer at the hands of the NRA, the Tientsin conferees decided to do what they could to reinforce him in Honan so that he might strike back toward Wuhan. They agreed also that if Wu refused their aid, their intervention might be necessary to protect North China from invasion through Honan.

To reinforce Sun in the southeast, northern troops would be sent, but their expenses would demand payment.16 Chang Tsung-ch’ang looked covetously southward from impoverished Shantung and envied the wealth accrued by his fellow Shantungese at Shanghai, glittering on the southern horizon. Sun managed to hold Chang Tsung-ch’ang down to a guarantee of C$500,000 in silver collected from Chekiang and Anhui taxes in return for reinforcement with Chang’s Shantung troops.17

On November 24, while Sun’s forces in Fukien reeled under the NRA attack, the Tientsin conference agreements began to bear fruit. Chang Tsung-ch’ang’s Shantung units rolled south across Sun’s province of Anhui on board the Tientsin-P’u-k’ou Railroad bound for the Yangtze delta.18 The 60,000 troops included crack White Russian units and armored train artil­lery. Within a week’s time they came to represent part of a new combined warlord force—the Ankuochün (National Pacification Army).19 The idea of engaging in war to achieve peace had been traditional among conquering founders of dynasties striving to unify a war-torn China. Chang Tso-lin “accepted” the authority of commander-in-chief, and on December 1 appointed Sun Ch’uan-fang and Chang Tsung-ch’ang his deputy com­manders with headquarters in the P’u-k’ou-Nanking area. The new C-in-C promised to save China—familiar cry—from the “Red menace.”20 At his disposal was a numerically impressive force of half a million troops.

Sun’s portion, however, was the weakest link with significant elements from southeastern China opposed to collaborating with the northern troops. In Sun’s territory, the movement for provincial self-rule still un­dermined his security. Arriving Shantung units found a cool reception among the local people, stemming in part from their reputation of being among the most rapacious of all Chinese soldiery (certainly a distinguishing notoriety). The KMT and CCP capitalized on the misgivings of the delta peoples and promoted a movement to block the entry of the northerners. The movement especially captured the enthusiasm of Kiangsu and Shang­hai merchants, as well as gentry and students, when the newcomers tactlessly tried to force the natives to accept the Shantung bank notes of Chang Tsung-ch’ang.21 Sun’s response to this organized subversion was immediate and direct. He executed conspicuous KMT workers in Shanghai and elsewhere, so that overt opposition failed to materialize except in Chekiang. Sun’s authority there was too tenuous to seek out the disloyal. In fact, defected subordinates Ch’en Yi and Chou Feng-ch’i supported with their troops Chekiang leaders who declared themselves independent of Sun’s United Provinces.

Although Sun had been weakened, NRA C-in-C Chiang did not feel 98secure enough to follow up the advantage of the Kiangsi victory. At his Nanchang headquarters in Kiangsi, Chiang watched with anxiety the prob­lems within the revolutionary ranks. Borne out was his earlier warning that Sun Yat-sen’s northern expedition of 1921 had been defeated not at the Shaokuan front but to the rear in Canton. Back in July 1926, Commander Chiang had postponed his movement to the northern front, hoping to see an end to the divisive Hong Kong Strike. When later in September Chiang had demanded an end to the strike, he had still been frustrated because strike supporters managed to salvage the powerful strike organization to lead an expanded national voluntary boycott of British goods in the newly liberated territory.

By November the news reaching the front was again that of strikes and disorders in Canton. Strikes occurred on the arterial Canton-Hankow Railroad in Kwangtung and spread into Hunan. At the revolutionary capital, the Cantonese workers at the Shih-ching and the mortar arsenals struck, and the CCP agitated the seamen and other unions to join the strike.22 Even outside the Government House in Canton, excited workers stormed about demanding higher wages. The level of turbulence in the Revolutionary Base perplexed the KMT military at the front but delighted “counter-revolutionaries” such as the Western merchants of Shanghai. On Chiang’s order, the head of the NRA’s Political Departments, Teng Yen-ta (Tse-sheng), traveled back from the front in late November to observe and reconcile the fractious elements if possible. In December, a temporary lull vanished in an outbreak of strikes and disorders in which armed pickets closed up rice shops and the banks.23

From the reports that reached him at the front, Chiang feared that the war materiel Canton did produce was now endangered. In his December 8 speech, Chiang pointed out the regrettable enervation that resulted from conflict within the revolutionary movement.24 Following his speech, Chiang acted: he appointed garrison commander Ch’ien Ta-chün to act concurrently as Canton’s police chief with the task of pacifying the city. Meeting with Chiang at Kuling, Kiangsi members of the KMT Central Political Council passed an order restraining labor violence and prohibiting strikes in Canton against strategic activities, such as communications, banks, and the supply of food and other “vital necessities.”25

The tri-city area of Wuhan, once the NRA had arrived with its Political Department organizers and auxiliaries from the Hong Kong Strike, also became the scene of an even more disruptive labor movement. Echoing the experience at Canton, the unionizers pulled the workers out on strikes for higher wages and better working conditions. After this the strikers became dependent on the newly formed unions. With strikes and frequent work stoppages for union demonstrations, by late 1926 Wuhan’s produc­tion was in decline.26 KMT leaders became increasingly apprehensive as they saw unfolding a replay of Canton’s troubles. When the news of plans for a general strike of Wuhan on December 3 reached Chiang Kai-shek, he moved to intervene. Besides protesting against the imperialist employers of the three cities, the general strike was intended to bring pressure for 99higher pay and improved working conditions. Chiang quickly called to­gether at Nanchang various KMT cadre and Borodin, who with other leaders had just arrived from Canton.27

The group discussed Chiang’s proposal to “regulate” the labor move­ment and the movement of the National Government north to Wuhan from Canton.28 From Wuhan the united response of employers heightened the tension when the Chamber of Commerce gathered 10,000 demonstrators opposed to union pressure who threatened a general lockout unless the unions lowered their demands. Borodin recommended that the CCP cooperate in restraining the union disorders. Political Department per­sonnel proposed disbanding 1,000 armed pickets who were operating in Wuhan in the manner of the Hong Kong Strike pickets of Canton.29 Especially at Hankow, the union violence stirred in Chiang’s imagination the spectre of foreign marines swarming ashore from the large fleet of gunboats anchored in the Yangtze to protect the concerns of their nationals.30

The radicalism stimulated a reaction within the KMT Right. In an effort to defuse the polarization of the Right, the Party appointed many of these dissidents to the new government at Wuhan.31 In a move complementary to this effort, Mme. Sun Yat-sen (supposedly a Leftist) pleaded for the release of Wu T’ieh-ch’eng, the anti-CCP casualty of the postcoup com­promises of April and May.32 Thus, that winter, the KMT responded to its internal strains with a combination of repression and compromise. Sun Ch’uan-fang also had to act to hold his conglomerate empire together.

The Expedition Enters Chekiang

Despite the failure of Governor Hsia Ch’ao’s rebellion and the presence of Sun’s troops in Chekiang, the provincial autonomy movement of Oc­tober retained its following even if no uprising materialized.

During late October 1926, Sun’s forces moved through Chekiang and again attempted to create a regime that would harmonize arbitrary force with some conciliation of provincial feelings. Chou Feng-ch’i gained his transfer back to Chekiang, his division being so ineffective in defense of Kiangsi. Sun retained hope that, within his remaining provinces, his provincial lieutenants might prove the best defenders of their home areas. His own propaganda corps spread the word that the Cantonese army was bestial in its treatment of civilians and aimed at breaking up the family system. To further placate the Chekiang autonomists, Sun brought Ch’en Yi and his division back to Hangchow and by October 31 installed him as the successor to Civil Governor Hsia Ch’ao.33 At the same time Sun kept his own personal retainer, Lu Hsiang-t’ing, Chekiang’s military governor. In Shanghai, en route back to Chekiang, Chou Feng-ch’i showed his flexi­bility when he declared that Sun had ordered him to defend his home province against the southern invaders.34 Upon his arrival at Hangchow, Chou stated that he did not sympathize with the National Revolution, and that rumors of his desertion in Kiangsi were given the lie by the fact that it had been Chiang who had fallen back before him. At a welcoming reception 100on November 25, Chou echoed his executed mentor, Hsia Ch’ao, when he said that while he would sacrifice anything for Chekiang, “… neither the Northern Army nor the Southern Army were his friends and that any who invaded Chekiang automatically became his enemy ….”35

Although Sun claimed to be promoting provincial self-defense, he frigh­tened many southeastern provincials when he consented in November to combine with Chang Tso-lin. Sun accepted Manchurian reinforcements as part of a massive military conglomerate of warlords against the NRA. Although inclusion in the Ankuochün may have enhanced Sun’s military position, it also lost him the credibility with provincials he needed. As for the issue of provincial autonomy, he did not appear to be as flexible as the KMT.

Expanding its peace movement against Sun Ch’uan-fang, the KMT integrated the All-Chekiang Association with the Affiliated Association of Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Anhui—the provinces remaining under Sun. KMT members from Chekiang included Ts’ai Yüan-p’ei and C.T. Wang, the drafter of Chekiang’s autonomous constitution of 1921. To bring peace to the southeast, the association called for self-rule for the provinces. They proposed, from within the sanctuary of the Shanghai settlement, a federal system within which provincials would handle their own affairs while the national assembly would manage larger concerns.36 In early December 1926, within Chekiang, the provincial military met with proponents of self-rule and considered means of implementing Chekiang’s constitution. At the same time, the association continued a steady dialogue with both Sun’s Nanking headquarters and the NRA, camped just over the border in Kiangsi.

Gambling that provincialism would defend Chekiang against the south­ern Reds, Sun decided to remove one pretext for the NRA invasion. He ordered Civil Governor Ch’en Yi to declare Chekiang independent, a move calculated to offset the NRA claim that Chekiang was under oppres­sive northern rule.37 Chiang had stated that the NRA would not enter a Chekiang that had broken with Sun, if there remained no northern troops.38 Sun had already publicly vowed to the Ankuochün that he would defend to his last man his remaining territory against the NRA.39 Rumors that the support of northern reinforcements pouring into Kiangsu and Anhui would require new tax levies in Chekiang further prejudiced Chekiangese against Sun.40

Once again, a group claiming to represent all of Chekiang met in Shanghai’s foreign settlement to create an independent provincial regime. Convening on December 8, the body set about electing a Provincial Government Committee—a form favored by the KMT. Among the nominees were seasoned provincial autonomists, some of whom had led the Ningpo Rebellion in 1924. (The Ningpo Rebellion of September and October 1924 had been an attempt by local gentry and their military allies to set up their own local self-rule, independent of northern overlords at Hangchow.) Highest in status was KMT Party member and ex-Chekiang governor Chiang Tsung-kuei, who had led the abortive Ningpo venture 101 and who most recently had acted as intermediary between fellow class­mates from the Shikan Gakko, Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Ch’uan-fang.41 Also elected to the nine-man committee were Civil Governor Ch’en Yi, still ambitious with regard to the National Revolution, and Chou Feng-ch’i, whose troops manned the key western mountain passes by which Chekiang could be defended. Also significant was the participation of Party member Ch’u Fu-ch’eng, veteran of Ningpo, proponent of a federalism that would bring together de facto provincial leaders in a national commission,42 and member of the All-Chekiang Association and the Affiliated Association of Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Anhui. Canton’s agent, Ma Hsu-lün, also a native, worked behind the scenes to bring together the diverse provincial ele­ments against Sun.

102On December 11, during the Shanghai conference, Chou Feng-ch’i declared his defection to the National Revolution and thereby added to the momentum of the break with Sun. With his field headquarters at Ch’ü-chou astride the western passes, Chou gained promotion first to commander of the Twenty-sixth Army in the NRA (his old Chekiang division) and then to field commander for the ensuing operations in Chekiang.43 Kuomintang agents continued their efforts to win over Civil Governor Ch’en Yi. The Provincial Assembly chairman and the head of the Hangchow Chamber of Commerce each decided in favor of the KMT version of provincial autonomy and pressed Governor Ch’en to make a similar commitment.44 Ch’en and his spokesmen traveled between Hangchow and Nanking seeking some settlement, but Sun adamantly refused to remove his troops from their station within the Chekiang bor­der at Chiahsing because Chou had already joined the NRA and its van­guard had been reported to be within the province.45

On December 17, Ch’en Yi accepted from Chiang Kai-shek the NRA designation of his division as the Nineteenth Army and the promise of a worthy post in the new Chekiang administration.46 Then, on the Nineteenth, the Shanghai convention announced that Chekiang was inde­pendent of Sun’s United Provinces, and that it was an autonomous pro­vince, which would: 1) implement self-government for Chekiang with provincial personnel; 2) oppose militarists who might seek to carve out their own “autonomous” areas; 3) make public the provincial government affairs; 4) subordinate the Chekiang military to the Provincial Government; 5) provide for the civil freedoms of assembly, press, organization, and speech; and 6) abolish all unconstitutional taxes. According to the Shanghai press, this declaration was delivered to both Sun Ch’uan-fang and Chiang Kai-shek.47

This latest effort toward autonomy lacked the unified support of gentry and military; the support of the military was particularly necessary in the absence of NRA reinforcements. The collaborators were former provincial rivals and antagonists, and many of its civilian leaders postponed returning to Chekiang from Shanghai in fear of Sun’s retaliation. Among the nine electees, seven had military training. Four were Shikan Gakko classmates, while two were graduates of the Chekiang Military Academy. Chou 103Feng-ch’i for one did not stay to defend Hangchow, but withdrew swiftly to the safety of his highland retreat at Ch’ü-chou. Still preoccupied with the takeover of Fukien and Kiangsi, the NRA did not commit more than a vanguard in support.

Sun gathered his four best divisions at the Chekiang border. Gaining the agreement of his Ankuochün allies and subordinates in Kiangsu and Anhui to guard his flank, Sun acted with resolution and hurled his forces into Chekiang’s fertile lowlands. In a fast march, a tactic for which Sun was rightfully famous, Sun’s field commander, Meng Ch’ao-yüeh, forced the Chekiang divisions out of the valleys and nearly to the Kiangsi border. Maintaining the offensive throughout January 1927, Sun seemed to have succeeded again in gaining Chekiang by force. Within the first day of the attack, Governor Ch’en Yi was captured and replaced by Sun’s loyal followers.48

When Meng Ch’ao-yüeh’s pursuit reached the upland, it halted ap­prehensively, allowing the Twenty-sixth Army and the few NRA units that reinforced it to maintain an enclave at the head of a valley on the Fukien border.49 There at Ch’ü-chou the rebel force dug in, providing the NRA with a gateway into Chekiang from Fukien.

Another wing of Sun’s pacification force sought out the remnants of rebel Ch’en Yi’s Nineteenth Army, eastward along Hangchow Bay’s south shore. At the Ts’ao-o River, the pursuers met the Chekiang rebels who, short of bullets, were forced to fall back until they were decisively defeated at Chuchi. From there the remaining rebels fled through the southwestern hills until they met up with the other force holding out at Ch’ü-chou. When Sun’s forces again moved toward Ch’ü-chou in mid-January, the KMT’s Chekiang operation had not been going at all well.

Included in Sun’s offensive were remnants of the Fukien troops of defeated Chou Ying-jen. Sun’s troops had pushed to within ten miles of the rebel stronghold at Ch’ü-chou when the rebel towns Lanchi and Chinhua fell on January 10.50 At this point General Ho over the border in Fukien had to either concede the loss of his easy entry to Chekiang or rush in massive reinforcements.

Mobility again gave the NRA an advantage as First Army units rushed over the border hills to besieged Ch’ü-chou before Sun’s offensive came within cannon range. On January 20, Pai Ch’ung-hsi took over direction of the NRA’s various allied forces, and by the twenty-ninth he had launched a counterattack down out of the highlands.51 Under the guidance of locals familiar with the terrain, the NRA marched down tributary valleys leading into the broad Ch’ient’ang plain where the provincial capital, Hangchow, could be seen in the distance. The opponents were now more nearly equal, and, when they engaged at Lanchi and Chinhua on January 29, a bloody battle raged. When the smoke of battle cleared on February 1, the tide of military power in Chekiang had turned. In their defeat at Lanchi-Chinhua, Sun’s forces lost vital leadership—killed were the commanding officers of a brigade, regiment, and three battalions, as well as 2,000 soldiers. The NRA captured a haul of weapons, including three precious large cannon.52 The 104battle decided the campaign in Chekiang so that Sun’s side never regained the highlands or the offensive.

Pai Ch’ung-hsi, military director of the campaign for the NRA, divided his strength into two prongs aimed at Hangchow. When Meng Ch’ao-yüeh attempted to fight back up the main valley, the NRA stood fast, flanked the counterattack, and by February 11 at T’unglu sent Meng in flight down the valley.53 Meng then tried to hold Fuyang, fortifying his line with artillery and reinforcements, but failed.

Defeat undermined the morale of the northern side to the point where Chou Ying-jen lost control of the Fukien units. Apparently mercenaries did not stand up well, unless victorious. As retreating soldiers panicked and broke ranks, the civilians, from Fuyang down to Hangchow, packed up and fled toward Shanghai. Their towns were looted and battered as the de­feated soldiers sought to steal enough to pay their way home, to North China for most of them.54

When the battle at T’unglu went against Sun’s forces, they began to pull back out of all inland garrisons and coastal sectors toward Hangchow. Hangchow at least offered the security of the rail line back to Shanghai and the north. In one sector, as the NRA pincers closed on Hangchow, it caught one body of 8,000 troops waiting to be ferried from the east bank of the Ch’ient’ang over to Hangchow on the west bank.55

Sun Ch’uan-fang ordered more reinforcements into Chekiang, but they did not cooperate with field commander Meng Ch’ao-yüeh who had simi­larly not gained the cooperation of the Fukien units.56 Thus, rather than risk another stand to hold the last northern corner of Chekiang at Hangchow, Meng ordered his 20,000 troops into a general retreat into Kiangsu—one of Sun’s last two provinces. Boarding trains jammed with troops, General Meng Ch’ao-yüeh and Sun’s civil governor of Chekiang left dejectedly for Shanghai on February 17, 1927.57

Even the retreat out of Chekiang was plagued from within. Meng could not easily keep discipline among his dejected troops. By the time they had rolled the fifty some miles to Chiahsing in cold cattle cars, many had become mutinous. As the train halted there, the town elders pleaded with Meng to keep his men on board and pass through peacefully. Meng would not risk the confrontation with his troops, so numbers of them scrambled off the train into the town, bent on helping themselves to its resources, human and material. Meng, trying his best to stay ahead of the advancing NRA, reboarded his train and resumed his passage to Shanghai. What he left behind in Chiahsing illumines one of the basic differences between the National Revolutionary Army and the more traditional personal armies of the warlords.

Armed northern soldiers broke down the barricades quickly nailed up by the terrified shopkeepers, ransacked the interiors, and made off with whatever valuables they could carry. The pillage of Chiahsing was by no means unique. Entering the looted cities, the NRA was in marked contrast disciplined and well-behaved, which made an indelible impression on the Chinese townsmen. The pragmatic Chinese tend to weigh actions more 105heavily than propaganda. In Chiahsing, where only a few of the town dignitaries had pro forma seen Sun’s officials off as they withdrew, when the NRA vanguard marched in, a greatly relieved welcoming crowd waved flags in greeting.58

By February 23, the NRA had cleared Chekiang of Sun’s allies—most of whom had withdrawn behind a defense line west of Shanghai. That line centered on the Hangchow-Shanghai rail line at Sungchiang. With Hsia Ch’ao dead and Ch’en Yi held by Sun, Chou Feng-ch’i emerged as the Chekiang militarist most valuable to the National Revolution. From his command of the Chekiang front, Chou quickly advanced to the chairman­ship of Chekiang’s Military Committee and membership in the Chekiang Government Committee.59


1. Kuowen (August 30, 1926), n. p.

2. SCMP (September 9, 1926), p. 9.

3. SCMP (September 20, 1926), p. 9.

4. Ta-shih chi, pp. 226-228.

5. N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 575-576.

6. Ibid., pp. 574-590.

7. Interview with Liao Wen-yin, December 22, 1965, Taipei. See also N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 592-593.

8. N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 592-593.

9. Liu Chien-ch’ün, “Pei-fa ch’ien-hou ku-jen ch’ün” [Old friends from the northern expedition], Chüan-chi wen-shüeh [Biographical literature] (Taipei, 1966), pp. 22-27.

10. Kuowen (November 7, 1926), p. 3. N. Exp., vol. 3, p. 588.

11. Kuowen (November 21, 1926), n. p.

12. N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 589-590. Kuowen (December 5, 1926), n. p., and (December 12, 1926), n. p.

13. New York Times (December 3, 1926), p. 4.

14. From an interview with Liao Wen-yin, December 22, 1965, Taipei.

15. Ta-shih chi, p. 234. N. Exp., vol. 2, p. 593.312

16. Kuowen (November 28, 1926), n. p.

17. Kuowen (December 12, 1926), n. p. SCMP (November 26, 1926), p. 12, and (November 27, 1926), p. 12.

18. Ta-shih chi, p. 233.

19. Kuowen (November 28, 1926), n. p.

20. Kuowen (December 5, 1926), n. p.

21. CKHT, p. 176, and HTSL, vol. 3, pp. 174-176.

22. 1st Workers’ Movement, pp. 329-330, copied from “Yueh-Han t’ieh-lu kung-jen ta pa-kung” [The Canton-Hankow railroad workers’ strike], Chan-shih chou-pao (November 21, 1926). See also SCMP (November 22, 1926), p. 8, and CCP before the War, p. 28.

23. SCMP (November 29 and 30, and December 10, 1926), n. p.

24. Min-kuo shih-wu-nien yi-ch’ien-chih Chiang chieh-shih hsien-sheng, vol. 20, p. 19.

25. SCMP (December 10, 1926), p. 9. New York Times (December 10, 1926), p. 4.

26. New York Times (December 1, 1926), p. 1.

27. Chiang Yung-ching, Pao-lo-t’ing yü Wuhan cheng-ch’üan [Borodin and the Wuhan regime] (Taipei: Chung-kuo Hsüeh-shu Ch’u-tso Chiang-tsu Wei-yüan Hui, 1963), p. 33. Hereafter cited as Borodin.L’Humanité (December 4, 1926) on the general strike plan.

28. SCMP (December 7, 1926), p. 8.

29. Kuowen (December 12, 1926), p. 1. SCMP (December 8, 1926), p. 9.

30. New York Times (December 1, 1926), p. 1.

31. Kuowen (December 12, 1926), p. 1.

32. SCMP (December 7, 1926), p. 8.

33. U.S. Shanghai Consul C.E. Gauss to the Peking Legation, December 6, 1926 (State Dept. Record Group 84, 800: Chekiang).

34. Kuowen (November 28, 1926), “Report on the War, Nov. 19-25.”

35. Shen Pao (November 26, 1926), p. 6.

36. U.S. Shanghai Consul C.E. Gauss to the Secretary of State, December 6, 1926 (893.00/7990), in which Gauss interpreted the movement as one coordinated by the KMT to weaken Sun’s hold on the United Provinces. See also HTSL vol. 3, pp. 174-176.

37. U.S. Nanking Consul J.K. Davis to Minister MacMurray, December 15, 1926, U.S. National Archives (893.00/8033).

38. Shen Pao (December 14, 1926), p. 5.

39. Kuowen (November 28, 1926), n. p.

40. U.S. Nanking Consul J.K. Davis reported to Minister J. MacMurray, December 11, 1926 (893.00/8032), that the Manchurian allies were to receive C$250,000 monthly from Chekiang (plus similar amounts from Kiangsu and Anhui) for their reinforcements.

41. Hsin chung-kuo jen-wu chih: Fen-sheng [A record of personalities of new China: by provinces] (Hong Kong, 1930), p. 272.

42. NCH (April 4, 1925), p. 2.

43. Ta-shih chi, p. 235.

44. U.S. Shanghai Consul Gauss to Minister MacMurray, December 14, 1926, U.S. National Archives (893.00/8036).

45. U.S. Shanghai Consul Gauss to Secretary of State, December 6, 1926, U.S. National Archives (893.00/7990).

46. Ta-shih chi, p. 236.

47. Kuowen (December 26, 1926), n. p.

48. Kuowen (January 2, 1927), p. 3. U.S. Shanghai Consul Gauss to Minister MacMurray, December 28, 1926, National (893.00/8109). Ta-shih chi, p. 237.

49. HTSL, vol. 3, pp. 26-27.

50. Kuowen (January 16, 1927), n. p. New York Times (January 24, 1927), p. 1. N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 629-631.

51. Kuowen (January 23, 1927), n. p.

52. N. Exp., vol. 2, pp. 623-627.

53. Ibid., pp. 627-628; Kuowen (February 13, 1927), n. p.

54. Kuowen (February 20, 1927), n. p.

55. Ibid.; N. Exp., vol. 2, p. 628.313

56. Kuowen (February 20, 1927), “The War in Chekiang.”

57. Ibid., and Kuowen (February 27, 1927), n. p.

58. Kuowen (March 13, 1927), “A Week’s Record of the Disorderly Retreat through Chiahsing.” HTSL, vol. 3, pp. 34-35.

59. Ma Hsü-lun, pp. 106-107. Ta-shih chi, p. 246.

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