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Li Hsü-pin


Li Hsü-pin 李續賓 (T. 克惠 H. 迪菴) d. 1858, Nov. 15, age forty-one (sui), a native of Hsiang-hsiang, Hunan, was one of the leaders of the "Hunan Braves." Shy and reserved as a youth, he became a pupil of Lo Tsê-nan [q.v.] and a senior licentiate. When his teacher organized, in 1852, a militia to suppress the Taipings, Li Hsü-pin volunteered to assist him-bringing to his task skill in archery and a powerful physique. Soon afterwards he was made commander of a battalion to fight the enemy in Kiangsi, Hunan and Hupeh (1853-54). He and T'a-ch'i-pu [q.v.] both possessed extraordinary bravery and usually fought at the front in places of greatest danger. Needless to say Li was repeatedly promoted. In 1855 he was stationed in Kiangsi and Hupeh. He recovered several cities in the latter province and participated in the attack on Wuchang which then, for the third time, was firmly in the grip of the rebels.

The untimely death of Lo Tsê-nan on April 12, 1856--eight months before Wuchang was taken--dealt a severe blow to the morale of the troops in the latter encounter. But Li Hsü-pin took over the command, and by his unsnlfrshness, his capability, and his bravery soon revived the spirit of his soldiers. The aid which the Taiping leader, Shih Ta-k'ai[q.v.], attempted to bring to the rebels was frustrated after twenty-eight encounters. The resistance of the Taipings was further weakened by a long and deep trench filled with water which effectually cut off provisions and prevented communication. In due time these tactics proved effective and Wuchang was taken (December 19, 1856). The Taipings were driven to Kiukiang, and there Li resorted to the same method of digging a trench about ten miles long, at the same time repelling other in-[464] surgents who came from Anhwei to relieve the situation (1857). After prolonged fighting Kiukiang was taken on May 19, 1858. Li Hsü-pin was rewarded with the title of governor and after a brief interval was ordered to proceed to Anhwei where, in a short time, he gained possession of four cities. While marching an army of some 5,000 men to the provincial capital, Lu-chou (present Ho-fei), Li encountered strong resistance at San-ho-chên, a strategic town about eighty li south of his destination. Though he destroyed many of his opponents' barracks, his detachment was hemmed in by the rebel leader, Ch'ên Yü-ch'êng [q.v.], and after desperate fighting Li Hsü-pin, the majority of his officers and many of the Hunan Braves lost their lives. The Emperor, moved by the loss of so valorous a general, granted to Li the posthumous rank of governor-general, the name Chung-wu 忠武, and the hereditary ranks of Ch'i-tu-Yüand Yün-ch'i-yü<> In 1864 the hereditary rank was raised to a baron of the second class which was inherited by his son, Li Kuang-chiu 李光久. The latter was also awarded the degree of chü-jên (1858) and later served as provincial judge of Chekiang.

Li Hsü-pin left a collection of memorials to the throne, entitled 李忠武公奏 Li Chung-wu kung tsou-i, 1 chüan ; and literary remains, entitled, Li Chung-wu kung i-shu ( 遺書), 4 chüan. Though Lo Tsê-nan is celebrated as the organizer of the Hunan Braves, Li Hsü-pin was regarded by Tsêng Kuo-fan[q.v.] as the one who led the army to fame. Command of the troops passed into the hands of Li's brother, Li Hsü-i 李續宜 (T. 克讓 H. 希菴 d. 1863, age 41 sui), who was also a famous general. Though less popular, he was less hasty and more circumspect than his brother. In 1859 he led the re-organized Hunan Braves in repelling the invasion of Shih Ta-k'ai at Pao-ch'ing, Hunan, and in 1860 he took part in the campaign in Anhwei, a province in which he served as governor, in 1861 and again in 1862-63. In the meantime he was governor of Hupeh for a few months. He was canonized as Yung-i 勇毅.

[ 1/414/la, 4b; 2/43/6a, 49/17b; 5/56/14a, 26/2b; 7/26/13b; 8/9/la, 14 下 /la; Hu Lin-i [q.v.], Hu Wên-chung kung i-chi, chüan 32 (1875); Huang P'êng-nien [q.v.], T'ao-lou wên-ch'ao 4/3b.J