And so it seemed as if many within the court were at a smirking standstill as they awaited the reply of the King of Korea. They knew well the Daoguang Emperor was serious about his request - if the Emperor did not declare war over the matter - if the Korean refused Imperial sovereignty - it would be a shame to the Emperor and his dynasty if he did not act to make the Koreans submit. His more recent ancestors had ignored these claims, bogged down with rebellions of their Chinese subjects in the south and far west the strange Mohammed-worshipping people of Xinjian, or, the West Countries.
Yet in the Daoguang Emperor's reign such was not a great issue and expansion could be a worthwhile enterprise. If the Middle Kingdom was to regain it's righteous and divine place as the supreme sovereign realm of the world as it is known, then the reinstatement of the tributes from China's neighbours was more than necessary. And if refused, the Emperor would act to show all the world that the Imperial Mandate still stood above all other law.
Naturally the small but relatively toughened Kingdom of Korea had refused the invitation to return to the old tribute system to the Middle Kingdom, much to the displeasure of the Daoguang Emperor. And as they were ignoring the laws and traditions of centuries of Chinese and now Manchurian Imperial dominance of Korea, the Lord of Ten Thousand Years proclaimed that they should be treated as the rebels they were.
So by Imperial command and to the great expense of the Imperial treasury which was not at a great summed amount to begin with, three smaller - by Imperial standards at least - armies were summoned to invade the Korean realm and end their defiance of the Emperor. The bold yet loyal General Yan Yi Jia commanded the Imperial Green Banner armies. Lord Chen Miao and Lu Jie were responsible for the command of the blue Imperial banner armies and the Manchu and Tartar cavalry reinforcements which would attack from the further north and east.
The march from the Imperial North Capital, Beijing, was long and arduous for the soldiers whom were used to their comfortable garrisons and half-ignored training in classical warfare. While some regiments of musketeers existed amongst the Qing imperial war host, it was minimal at best. Of course, the Koreans fared no better and were by no means famed for their armies in recent times.
The march through the Zhi Li highlands and into Manchuria exhausted the men, seeing as few roads of quality lead to the north, taking great care - and at great cost to the worried imperial bureaucrats - to supply the troops with reserves and stores of rice and easy to produce dumplings. Often soups were made, ensuring a steady flow of food - even if the rice had to be important from the south as it was too cool in the north. Such was a regularity of the Empire's economics and was dealt with. And so from these highlands the imperial Qing armies made their way on the eastern roads through the regions of Fengtian's valleys and grasslands and resting again near Shenyang. Then crossing the great river which fed the Manchurian plain and into the hill lands of Andong, that treacherous borders of the land of Korea.
Naturally the Korean authorities and their rebellious King anticipated that their refusal to honour their age old duties to the Middle Kingdom would result in a war - they relied on their hillsides and high walled cities... yet the Chinese and Manchu armies were far from inexperienced at scaling such walls. It would be the result of the battles that would determine the fate of the Kingdom of Korea.
Riding to the north, Lord Chen Miao at the head of the Imperial Blue Banner armies gathered and began a march south from the south Jilin plains of Manchuria into the Kangye mountain passes and clearings to rendezvous with General Yan Yi Jia there where they would certainly meet a Korean army of equal size to either of their own forces. At least this way, that army would face them from two fronts.
And yet the clever tactics did not end there.
General Zhang Wen had his own command of Mongol reinforcements stormed south to engage the Korean army in the hill countries of Chongjing under the command of Prince Sun Yook, a proud man whom was taught his lesson in humility when the Qing army outmaneuvered and beat back the much smaller armies of their rebellious state.
In the north west at Kangye the Qing armies had successfully routed the armies of General Jian and the King's own army of Korea and crushed their reinforcements from the city of Pyongyang. It seemed that the struggle to cross the border was over, and already the so called elites of the Korean army were in full flight, like a fox from a noble cast of hounds. Surely such a rebellion should be quelled, like an inflamed and corrupt house cooled by the rains of the spring.
At Chongjiang the ferocity of the Tartar onslaught was beyond measure - the subsequent raiding of the local towns and cities by those same Mongols terrorized the people of the region, though the imperial envoys told those diplomats whom approached the court that the Koreans had indeed brought such terrible wraith upon themselves, and surely they were ignoring the will of Heaven.
The Uprising of Lu Wang
Of course, things were not entirely well within the imperial armies. Since crossing the borders into the hillsides of north west Korea the supply lines from Shenyang had dwindled, and the sacking of Pyongyang did not ensure a future steady supply of the great numbers of Chinese soldiers stationed there after the city had been almost razed to the ground.
Left within the half ruined city was Lu Wang and and regiments of musketeers. Within the governor's palace the haughty commander complained to his men, "We have fought for the Emperor hard, and yet we do not share in the rewards?" His men shared in his complaints, and after some three weeks of the Qing armies reorganizing themselves and securing the north's cities and almost half ancient yet manned forts, by the month's end Commander Lu had secured the approval of all his officers and leaving the city, they opened fire on a supply wagon train bound east to resupply Zhang's armies. Furious with these events, Lu was declared a rebel and a traitor while on campaign.
Within Pyongyang Commander Lu cursed the Emperor for their starvation and poverty, shouting to his men, "We are the elite soldiers of the Empire, yet we live as beggars and dogs! Shame upon the dragon throne which ignores it's own sword hand!"
Followed by a murmurous cheer amidst his men, it seemed Lu would have the support of his loyal regiments.
Already while the imperial delegates to Seoul, the capital of the wretched Korean rebels negotiated matters of that Kingdom's surrender, Lu acted again against the imperial commander's authority. Learning of this from an envoy of Yan Yi Jie's, General Zhang was furious. He marched for Pyongyang.
Within the week General Yan had engaged Lu Wang's rebellious regiments, however they had made the best defence of the broken city they held. Pyongyang was made a fortress, with musketeers and archers on every rooftop, every street road blockaded. And the Tartar horsemen would be of little use in such street fighting.
After sending several contingents in to little avail of Lu's well organized defense, it was relief when Zhang's own battle hardened Manchu infantry arrived. Pouring into the city, by the end of the storming of the city Lu's head was brought out of the city and presented before the Generals who commended each other. The remaining rebels were pushed south and pursued, many cut down and traitors. And such was the fate of Lu and his band of traitors.
Of course the city of Pyongyang, battered with cannon and raided by men and force of arms twice now - including a cannon purchased from the British foreigners at great price -, was a shell of what it once was, though little to begin with by the opinions of the Manchu and Chinese commanders.
While two delegations had failed and negotiations soured - the Koreans claimed the Daoguang Emperor was asking for too much. The Generals on the Emperor's behalf would accept no less than total surrender to the Emperor's terms, and promised a more strict demand if the Koreans would refuse and wish to continue the war. And always in their pride and stubbornness, they did. And so the south was to be captured and secured on the Emperor's order, city by city.
The imperial armies converged thereafter and marched upon the capital city of Seoul, taking it within less than a month. The King of Korea was made a prisoner in his own palace, and before all the commanders present signed an accord of his error on behalf of his Kingdom and to reinstate the old tribute. Furthermore, the coastal region of Chongjian would be annexed to Manchuria as a sign of the Korean submittal to Manchu Imperial dominance and to pay for their errors of refusing their obligations to the Middle Kingdom.
Finally, the armies could march out of these hill lands of the north and back in the familiar lands where friendly people lived that they knew. The campaign, to the pleasure of the Daoguang Emperor, was over.