Lu Yi

From Academic Kids

Lu Yi (陸毅) (183245) was a general of the Kingdom of Wu, during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He is more commonly known by his name Lu Xun. When he became more renown he changed his name to Lu Yi as Xun was not a noble name.

Lu Yi began his career as a clerk under Sun Quan, ruler of Wu (who was then still a general and provincial warlord). He was soon given a minor post as commandant and civil officer, where he distinguished himself as both a skilled civil leader, and as a military commander, pacifying several rebellions by bandits and minority tribes.


Military career

Taking Jingzhou

In AD 208, the alliance of Sun Quan and Liu Bei defeated the warlord Cao Cao at the Battle of Chibi, halting Cao Cao's southern expansion and cementing Wu's place in the Three Kingdoms. Liu Bei, however, was without a territory. Sun Quan agreed to lend Bei the province of Jingzhou until such time as Bei managed to take the states of Ba and Shu. By AD 219, Bei had taken Ba-Shu, but balked at returning Jing. Sun Quan schemed to get his province back.

Lu Yi, seeing an opportunity, met with Wu's current commander-in-chief, Lu Meng, to discuss a plan on how to take back Jing. The Shu commander holding Jing, Guan Yu, was known to be a great warrior; however, he was campaigning against the north at the time. Since Lu Meng was ill at the time, and Guan Yu was known to be arrogant, and his attention was focused northward anyway, Yu's guard would relax, making it possible to take the territory by surprise.

Sun Quan was informed of the idea, and the plan was fleshed out. Lu Yi pretended to take command of the armed forces and sent a flattering letter to Guan Yu, stating his awe in being allowed to work alongside such a great general and that he desired to depend on Yu's skill. Guan Yu bought it, and dropped his guard. Lu Meng and Lu Yi then secretly led an army into Jingzhou and snatched away the province before Yu knew what was happening. Jingzhou was retaken, and Guan Yu was captured and executed.

The Battle of Yiling

When Liu Bei found out that Jingzhou had been taken, and that Guan Yu, who was his sworn brother, had been executed, he was enraged. He led an army eastward to reclaim Jing and avenge his brother. Lu Yi was given command of the Wu army and ordered to counter this threat.

Few generals were happy with the choice of Lu Yi as supreme commander; many were hardened veterans from the days of Sun Ce, whereas Lu Yi was someone new and something of an unknown. They wished to attack Liu Bei while he was fresh off the march, hoping to take advantage of the exhaustion of his forces; Lu Yi denied them, stating that he discerned that Bei had planned for that, and open battle would be too risky. Liu Bei sent some forces forward to lure the Wu army into an ambush; the generals wished to fight, but Lu Yi, spotting the ambush, once again denied them.

Instead, he waited. After several months of inactivity, Lu Yi suddenly struck, ordering forces to move forward with torches and set fire to Liu Bei's camps, and then followed up by a devastating attack from three sides by all of the Wu forces. Liu Bei's army was destroyed. Bei fled west and died shortly thereafter. Afterwords, few Wu generals criticized him, seeing how he had devised most of the winning strategies of the battle.

The Wu army prepared for a follow-up campaign into Shu, but Lu Yi perceived that Cao Pi, Emperor of Wei, would take the opportunity to attack Wu, and held off. Sure enough, Wei led armies against Wu shortly thereafter.

Later campaigns

Lu Yi had cemented his position as head of the army, and was also given a chief advisory position to Sun Quan. Sun Quan wished to defeat the Wei military commander-in-chief, so he had a regional governor feign defection, and led him right into an ambush set up by Lu Yi.

At a later date, Wu launched a campaign northward, but one of their trusted couriers was captured and news of their military plans leaked out. Zhuge Jin, one of the generals leading the campaign, began to panic and sought advice on how to retreat from Lu Yi; Yi did not reply, but instead spent his time playing chess and planting beans. Jin, perplexed, went to find out what Yi was up to. Yi explained that if they fled immediately, the army would be in chaos and the enemy would be able to take advantage, pursue, and destroy them. Instead, by acting calm, they would suspect some ploy by Yi and thus hesitate, allowing the Wu forces to quietly withdraw. Just as he said, the enemy hesitated and the Wu forces were able to withdraw safely.

Lu Yi was a highly respected advisor to Sun Quan; he was known for his virtue and humility, as well as his keen insight. After Sun Quan named himself Emperor, Lu Yi was made Prime Minister.

Ignoble end

A dispute arose between two of Sun Quan's sons: Sun He, then heir to the throne, and Sun Ba, Prince of Lu. Sun He's position as Crown Prince was threatened by Sun Ba, who received a great deal of favor from his father. Lu Yi sided with He and begged Quan to firmly establish He as Crown Prince, stating that Ba's power was a threat to the stability of the kingdom. He sent letter after letter; they were all ignored. Furthermore, he was dismissed from office, and Quan repeatedly sent officers to reprimand him. Filled with grief, Lu Yi fell ill and died at the age of 63.

He was father to Lu Yan and Lu Kang; Kang eventually re-established his father's name, and went on to become one of the last great generals of Wu.

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