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Lot number: 29175
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Title: Militairy manuscript map of the end of Yangzi River across Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang areas, with 3 red seals of the Ever-Victorious Army.
Published: China, ca 1862

Size: 40.1 x 63.0 inches.
101.9 x 160.0 cm.
Colouring: In attractive strong original colours.
Condition:  Manuscript map in brown, red and green ink and wash colour. More than thousand houses with a red flag are named in chinese, military camps, mountains, forests, and battle fields are drawn in. Many city and village names are translated in pingyin an written either in brown ink or lead pencil. In the lower left corner a inset map of the area covering of Songjiang District with Shanghai (265x355mm.). A few holes and paper missing on old foldings. The maps has been backed with thin paper for protective reason. Generally in good condition.
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In lower left corner an inset plan of Songjiang District with Shanghai with a grid and the area is divided with red doted border lines.
The map has three red seals of the "Ever-Victorious Army", being the first Chinese army to incorporate western style training and tactics, modern weaponry, and most important, the concept of light fast moving infantry units which could move faster than their opponents. Therefore acccurate map where of the highest importance !
The map is clearly a militairy map and has likely served the army when the Taiping rebels ruled the region and twice attacked Shanghai. The rebels destroyed the city's eastern and southern suburbs, but failed to take the city. It is not unreasonable to assume that the Ecer Victorious Army under Ward and Gordon saved Shanghai from destruction during the Taiping Rebellion.

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The Ever Victorious Army (Chinese 常勝軍 , pinyin : cháng shèng jūn) seal of Ever-Victorious Army
was the name given to an imperial army in late-19th century China. The Ever Victorious Army fought for the Qing Dynasty against the rebels of the Nien and Taiping Rebellions.
The Ever Victorious Army consisted of Chinese soldiers trained and led by a European officer corps. Though the Army was only active from 1860 to 1864, it was instrumental in putting down the Taiping Rebellion. It was the first Chinese army which was trained in European techniques, tactics, and strategy. As such, it became a model for later Chinese armies.

The Ever Victorious Army had its beginnings as a force formed under the command of Frederick Townsend Ward, a New England (American) shipmaster, in 1860. Ward introduced what were, for the time, radical ideas involving force structure, training, discipline, and weaponry. He believed that well trained, disciplined, mobile units could defeat larger forces lacking these qualities. He believed in a more flexible command structure.

The new force originally comprised about 200 mostly European mercenaries, enlisted in the Shanghai area from sailors, deserters and adventurers. Many were dismissed in the summer of 1861, but the remainder became the officers of 1,200 Chinese soldiers recruited by Ward in and around Sungkiang. The Chinese troops were increased to 3,000 by May 1862, all equipped with Western firearms and equipment by the British authorities in Shanghai. Throughout its four-year existence the Ever Victorious Army was mainly to operate within a thirty mile radius of Shanghai.
Following Ward's death in September 1862 after the Battle of Cixi, command of the Ever Victorious Army passed, after a short period of time, to Charles George Gordon.

The Ever Victorious Army numbered around 5,000 soldiers at its height. It often defeated rebel forces which were numerically much larger because it was better armed, better commanded, and better trained. It was the first Chinese army to incorporate western style training and tactics, modern weaponry, and most important, the concept of light fast moving infantry units which could move faster than their opponents.

Frederick Townsend Ward
Ward's career was a stormy one. During his early military service for the Imperialists he was summoned before the American Consul in Shanghai, charged with inducing the desertion of British and American sailors, many of whom, attracted by the promise of adventure and high pay, and perhaps loot, had joined his "Ever Victorious Army." Presumably to avoid trial, Ward renounced his American citizenship and became a subject of the Emperor.
Later, however, both British and Americans welcomed the help of Ward's army in keeping the Taipings out of Shanghai and he was hailed as a hero. Waged with the utmost ferocity by both Imperialists and rebels, the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1865) ravaged eleven of the richest provinces of China and caused the death of 20,000,000 people.

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Item category: Asia | China | China provinces

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Item category: Asia | China | China provinces

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