Battle of Nanjing (1853)

The Battle of Nanjing (1853) (Chinese: 太平軍攻佔南京; pinyin: Taiping jun gongzhan Nánjīng; Wade–Giles: Nan-ching Pao-wei Chan) began after the fall of Wuhan on March 8, 1853, and ended with the fall of the capital city of Nanking on March 19, 1853, to Taiping troops, a few days after the Qing Government evacuated the city.[2][3]

Battle of Nanking (1853)
Part of the Taiping Rebellion
DateMarch 1853
Nanking and surrounding areas
Result Taiping troops victory, Fall of Nanjing, changed name of Tianjing (天京)
Qing dynasty Qing Dynasty
Green Standard Army
Eight Banners
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Lu Jianying 
Imperial Commissioner Xiang Rong
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Qin Rigang
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Yang Xiuqing
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Wei Changhui
40,000–60,000 men (included Eight Banners 20,000) 550,000 men
Casualties and losses
~30,000 10,000
~30,000 families of manchu bannermen killed[1] + 40,000 other manchu merchants or tourists

The remaining Qing garrison surrendered to the Taiping, but they were nonetheless executed.


Taiping forces captured Wuchang in January 1853, but instead of marching north and directly attacking Beijing they decided to head east and first take control of Nanjing with a force of 500,000+ men.[4] The floating bridges initially used to in the siege of Wuchang were burned and destroyed to delay Qing advances led by Xiang Rong. Taiping forces took Jiujiang and Anqing in Anhui province virtually unopposed.

The Taipings reached Nanjing on March 6, with a force that had grown to almost 750,000. The Taiping besieged the city for thirteen days, until three tunnels had been dug beneath city walls in order to plant explosives. Two of them exploded on time but the third one detonated late, killing many Taiping troops in friendly fire. On March 20, Taiping forces reached the Imperial City, the home of the Manchu Garrison and defended by more than 30,000 Manchu bannermen families. Qing forces were unable to contain a Taiping human wave attack and the Inner City fell quickly. The Taipings murdered about 30,000 manchu families of the defeated manchu soldiers after capturing the city.

During the battle the Taiping forces used spies disguised as Buddhist monks who successfully entered the city. They set fires alerting the Taiping where the weak points in the city were.


  1. ^ []
  2. ^ Spence, Jonathan D. (1996). God's Chinese Son (Reprint ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
  3. ^ The Taiping Rebellion By Shunshin Chin
  4. ^ Elleman, Bruce A. Modern Chinese Warfare, 1795-1989.