Biography (SGYY): Yan Baihu [White Tiger Yan]

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Yan Baihu
[White Tiger Yan]
Lifespan Unknown

Sanguo Yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Dong Zhou

Yan Baihu [White Tiger Yan]

Yan Baihu was known as the White Tiger, he called himself the King of East Wu, his capital at Wujun, his armies where stationed at Wucheng and Jiaxing. When Sun Ce had defeated Liu Yao, he led an army against Wujun, Yan Baihu sending his brother Yan Yu to Maple Bridge.

After a quick clash, Yan Yu was forced to retreat into the city where the brothers were besieged by land and water. Yan Baihu stayed beyond his walls so on the third day of the siege, Sun Ce summoned the warden of the gate. Instead he was met by an officer who began to rail at Sun Ce till Taishi Ci told his friends to see him hit the officers hand, the arrow finding its target accurately to the amazement of all who witnessed it.

Word of this exploit reached Yan Baihu “How can we hope to withstand an army with such leaders as this in it?” Deciding to sue for peace, the White Tiger sent Yan Yu to Sun Ce with an offer to share the territory. Yan Yu was killed, his head sent back so Yan Baihu, realising resistance was hopeless, fled towards Yuhang.

While Sun Ce quickly took Yan Baihu’s lands and pacified them, the White Tiger took to plundering until Ling Cao led some villagers to stop him. Yan Baihu fled to Kuaiji, gathering his forces at the Western Ford but Cheng Pu’s attack scattered Yan Baihu’s men.

The governor of Kuaiji, Wang Lang (1) led his army to Shanyin, joining forces with Yan Baihu. Engaging Sun Ce’s forces, they were surprised by an attack to the rear of the allies forces by Zhou Yu and Cheng Pu then had to face an attack to the flank. Yan Baihu, Wang Ling and Zhou Xin had to fight their way out, only just reaching Kuaiji where they prepared for a siege.

1: Wang Lang was advised by Yu Fan “No! No! Sun Ce as a leader is humane and upright, while the White Tiger is a savage ruffian. Rather capture him and offer his person as a peace offering to Sun Ce.”

With Sun Ce dividing his troops to attack the four gates, Wang Lang wished to try a sortie but Yan Baihu felt it was hopeless against such a strong force “We can only strengthen our position and remain behind the shelter of the ramparts until hunger forces the besiegers to retire.” For several days, Sun Ce’s vigorous assault was maintained but without success.

The defenders had stored most of their supplies at Chadu ten miles from Kuaiji so Sun Ce, on the advice of Sun Jing, decided to attempt to seize the supplies while leaving a force to maintain the appearance that Sun Ce was still attempting to take Kuaiji. Word that Sun Ce had left reached Wang Lang but on seeing “the fires blazing, the smoke rising, and the pennons fluttering in the breeze as usual” the governor was unsure.

Zhou Xin saw through the ruse and advised attacking, Yan Baihu realised that Sun Ce was going to attack Chadu so advised pursuit. With Zhou Xin, he led five thousand soldiers seven miles but in dense forest, they were ambushed. Sun Ce killed Zhou Xin and Yan Baihu fled to Yuhang while his men surrendered. Wang Lang would flee to the coastal regions, Sun Ce taking Kuaiji and restoring order. A few days later, Dong Xi brought the head of Yan Baihu (2) to Sun Ce and was made Commander.

2: The GOS mentions that Yan Baihu escaped twice more causing trouble on the urging of Chen Yu and later Chen Deng, the last one on the year of Sun Ce’s death.

Copyright © 2006 Dong Zhou. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms