Biography (SGZ): Ding Feng (Chengyuan)

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Ding Feng (Chengyuan)
丁奉 (承淵)

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
Translated by Han Xin
Edited by Jeremy O.

Ding Feng, styled Chengyuan, was originally from Anfeng County in Lujiang prefecture. Early in his career, because Ding Feng had shown that he was strong and brave, he was given the rank of a minor unit commander working under Gan Ning, Lu Xun, and Pan Zhang. On many occurrences, Ding Feng, with others to attack and punish the enemies, often went in with the frontal force. Ding Feng often killed the enemy’s flag bearing generals and was usually wounded in battle. Ding Feng was later promoted to Pian Jiangjun. By the time Sun Liang succeed the throne, Ding Feng was promoted to General of the Frontal Force (Guanjun Jiangjun), and bestowed the title of Marquis of the Capital District (Douting Hou).

When Wei ordered Zhuge Dan and Hu Zun to attack Dongxing, Zhuge Ke mobilized his troops to defend against them. All the generals suggested, “If the enemy heard of Taifu’s [Zhuge Ke] arrival, then they would surely abandon their camp on the upper shore and flee.” Ding Feng replied, “Not really. The enemies over the river are mobilizing the great forces of Xu Chang and Luo Yang to come here, and they’re determined to succeed. Would such army retreat? As a General, one must not rely on the enemies retreat, but we must rely on our ability to defeat them.” When Ding Feng arrived with Zhuge Ke on the upper shore, Ding Feng, Generals Tang Zi, Lu Ju and Liu Zan then moved to occupy the west side of the mountain. Ding Feng said, “Currently, our force has moved very slowly; if the enemy was able to occupy the strategic ground, then we’ll be hard pressed to take it from them.” He then orders his army down from the road, and personally led 3000 men to advance secretly. At that time, the north wind was blowing and Ding Feng ordered his troops to set sail; within two days they had managed to occupy Xutang. The weather was cold and icy, and the enemy generals had gathered together to drink wine. Ding Feng observed many of the enemy troops guarding the frontal camp were missing, and so Ding Feng said to his troops, “I shall take the Marquis title today!” Then he ordered his troops to take off their heavy armor and helmet, armed only with a short sword. The enemy was in the middle of a gathering and not fully on guard, so Ding Feng ordered his troops to attack and completely destroyed the frontal garrison of the enemy. The others arrived to join up with Ding Feng while Wei’s force was scattered. Ding Feng was promoted to General Who Destroys the Criminals and also bestowed the title of Marquis of the Greater Capital District (Douting Xiang Hou).

During Wei’s general Wen Qin’s false defection, Ding Feng was promoted to General of Tiger Prestige (Huwei Jiangjun) and together with Sun Jun, arrived at Shouchun to greet Wen Qin. Ding Feng battled the pursuing enemy at Gaoting. With his horse and halberd, he entered the enemy battle array killing hundreds and capturing an abundance of military wares. Ding Feng was then promoted to Marquis of Anfeng.

Taiping 2nd year (AD 257), Wei’s Great General Zhuge Dan occupied Shouchun and offered his submission to Wu but was besieged by Wei’s army. Zhu Yi and Tang Zi were sent over to assist Zhuge Dan, and Ding Feng and Li Fei were sent to break the siege. Ding Feng set up his garrison in Lijiang, fought bravely, and was promoted to General of the Left.

Sun Xiu become ruler of Wu and was planning with Zhang Bu to kill Sun Chen. Zhang Bu said, “Ding Feng is not talented as the secretariat’s clerk, but his ability to hatch a plan surpasses everyone. He could handle such an important matter.” Sun Xiu summoned Ding Feng and said, “Sun Chen is holding all the power of the country and obstructing the businesses of the Generals. I wish that you and I would kill him.” Ding Feng replied, “The Prime Minister [Sun Chen] had many brothers and associates and their power is very stable. Fearing the indifferences of other people, they would not allocate troops to anyone else. Your majesty should hold a great gathering, then use the soldiers there to kill him.” Sun Xiu agreed to use Ding Feng’s plan and ordered a gathering, in which Sun Chen’s crime was exposed. Ding Feng and Zhang Bu ordered the guard to carry out the execution. Ding Feng was then promoted to Great General (Da Jiangjun) and Left-Right Protectorate (Zuoyou Douhu). In Yongan 3rd year (AD 260), Ding Feng was made Provincial Grand Administrator of Xuzhou. In the sixth year (AD 263), Wei attacked Shu, and Ding Feng mobilized his force to attack Shouchun to rescue Shu, but Shu was destroyed and Ding Feng withdrew his army.

Sun Xiu died, and Ding Feng, Prime Minister Puyang Xing, and other officers arrived at Wanyu following the reading of the will to welcome Sun Hao and enthrone him. Ding Feng was promoted to Da Sima of the Right and Military Consult of the Left. In the Baoding third year (AD 268), Sun Hao ordered Ding Feng and Zhuge Jing to attack Hefei. During that time, Ding Feng and Jin’s Great General Shi Bao exchanged letters and agreed on the border. Shi Bao then withdrew. Jianheng first year (late AD 269), Ding Feng again personally lead an army to take Xutang, attacking Jin’s prefecture of Guyang. The people of Guyang knew, so all of them escaped. Ding Feng could not captured anyone. Sun Hao was angry killing, Ding Feng’s guide. Third year (AD 271), Ding Feng died. Ding Feng’s younger brother Feng reached his highest rank of General of the Rear just before Ding Feng’s death.

Copyright © 2003 Han Xin
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi