Cut Off: The Final Days of General Ming Rui

The spring rains of 1768 have come to Burma. Pouring sheets of water mean thick mud at every turn, movement is impossible, but it doesn’t matter: The Manchu General Ming Rui has nowhere left to go. A retreat means crossing 400 km of treacherous terrain—including several high mountain passes—before reaching the relative safety of Yunnan. That is, if retreat were even possible. The armies of the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty have Ming Rui, and his few remaining soldiers, surrounded.

In November, Ming Rui had led an army of over 30,000 elite banner troops over the frontier and into Burma. He had pushed his men southward and divided his forces in a pincer attack that then stalled 50 kilometers northeast of the Burmese capital at Ava.

Now it is March, and only 2,500 of his men remain alive.