Yong-le: Year 4, Month 8, Day 1
12 Sep 1406
Orders were sent to the Cheng-guo Duke Zhu Neng, regional commander of the force being sent on expedition to punish Annam. The orders read:
"Annam is secluded in a little cranny in the ocean. Since ancient times, it has been an administrative division of China. Since the Five Dynasties (A.D. 907-960), China has been engaged with many things and has been unable to govern it. Throughout the Song Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty, it was rebellious and refractory and troops were used in an attempt to administer it, but without success. Now, the Li bandits have disobeyed orders and I have sent you and others at the command of armies to punish them. It is expected that you will succeed. The Song and the Yuan were unsuccessful in their attempts because their generals were overbearing and their soldiers timid. Also, they were greedy for riches and given to lust. You should take warning from that. The Fu-liang River is close to the bandits' Eastern capital and thus the bandits will be guarding it vigilantly. Once our army enters for any distance, it will be difficult to long sustain it. When you get to Jia-lin and you wish to cross, you will have to prepare boats and rafts, and at that time, it will be very difficult for the army. It would be better if, before you get there, you could repeatedly send cavalry to Jia-lin to confront the bandits. At the beginning use 100 mounted men and daily increase this until there are 1,000 men. Day and night, set fires and fire projectiles ( ) at them to delude them and, at the same time, secretly move troops to the shallow areas in the upper reaches of the Fu-liang River. Then join with the forces of the Xi-ping Marquis and cross the river. You will thus catch the bandits by surprise and you will be assured of victory. My idea is thus. However, it is difficult to make plans from the distance. You should utilize your own ideas in making plans. From ancient times, those skilled in war have always observed the movements of the enemy and thus ensured victory."
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 11, page 845