Xuan-de: Year 3, Month 2, Day 8
22 Feb 1428
The persons sent by the Cheng-shan Marquis Wang Tong, regional commander of Jiao-zhi, and others, presented an urgent memorial which read: "Last year Li Li attacked and surrounded [the seat of] Jiao-zhi. I led troops in doing battle with him and scored successive victories. We killed the false Minister (司徒) Li Zhi and the false Minister (司空) Ding Li and others. Bandit followers in their tens of thousands were pursued to the Fu-liang River, where the number drowned was incalculable. The bandits were frightened and did not dare to attack again at that time. More recently, they again assembled the native people, adopted a false king to strengthen the resolve of the force, and frequently crossed the river to engage in plunder. We urgently awaited the Great Army which was coming to our aid. It was then heard that the An-yuan Marquis Liu Sheng had been killed in battle at Zhen-yi Pass, that the Bao-ding Earl Liang Ming and the Minister Li Qing had both died of illness, that when the Commissioner-in-chief Cui Ju, leading his troops, reached Chang River, they had been surprised and attacked by the bandits and that the Qian-guo Duke and Xin-ning Earl, on arriving at Gui-hua and other places had found that their way was blocked by the bandits and they were unable to advance. The troops under my command engaged in attacks day and night. Li Li, fearing that the Court would send more government troops to punish him, sent a person with a letter requesting to be allowed to surrender. He also led several major and minor chieftains to the Military Headquarters to admit guilt. Together with the false king Chen Hao, he sent people to memorialize the situation, admitting guilt and offering as tribute a gold human figure and a silver human figure representing themselves, as well as other goods. I thus sent the Commissioner-in-chief Cai Fu, the Commissioner Lu Zeng, together with 13,391 persons and 1,200 horses and mules back to the capital with the request that the army be withdrawn. Subsequently, he sent his son and nephew to the Military Headquarters with tribute to express their desire to come to allegiance and submit to the Court. I truly wanted to carry out my orders to eliminate the bandits and demonstrate my loyalty unto death. Thus, I continued to await reinforcements. However, the government troops within the city were few in number, were frightened and thus were without determination. The bandit forces then, with a force more violent than previously, attacked and occupied the strategic places on the water and land routes. Thus, even if reinforcements were on their way, they were certainly not going to be swift in arriving. I was afraid that the city would finally fall. Then it would be necessary to raise another army and, for the sake of this corner of land, suffering would be brought to all people under Heaven and this would lead to distress for the Emperor who is father of all. This is not what a minister loyal to the Emperor would wish. I discussed the matter with the troops and it was decided that it would be best to take the opportunity to lead the army to fresh territory from where to plan future initiatives. I have already led the government troops from the various guards in Jiao-zhi, back to Nan-ning in Guang-xi. It is humbly hoped that the Emperor will, on the pretext of determining whether Chen Hao is truly a descendant of the Chen family, send persons to observe the situation. If they are pretending, it might be considered sending further troops and cavalry so that we can carry out our attacks by both land and water. If we are again unsuccessful, we will be willing to submit to execution. We are humbly and respectfully awaiting orders. After reading the memorial, the Emperor gave instructions to his attendant ministers, saying: "The regional commander, while serving on expedition, has taken it upon himself to have dealings with the bandits and, without awaiting the Court's orders, has suddenly abandoned the city and returned. These are not the proper actions of a minister!"
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 18, page 0897/99