General Gwak Jae-u (1552–1617) was a Korean military general and patriot from Uiryeong. In 1592, nine days into the Imjin war, he formed a militia to fight against the Japanese army. He was originally a commoner, but King Seonjo of Joseon granted him a government position.
Raising an army
Gwak Jae-u disrupted Japanese supply lines around the Nakdong River in many guerrilla actions. Gwak also had the distinction of winning Korea's first land victory of the war in the Battle of Uiryeong. In part of a two-pronged offensive into Jeolla, Ankokuji Ekei led 6th division men from the south. Ankokuji needed to cross the Nam River to reach Uiryeong, an objective. He had his men find the shallowest parts of the river and mark them with stakes. While Ankokuji's army slept, Gwak's men moved the stakes to deeper sections of the river. When the crossing began, the Japanese soldiers foundered in the deep water, and Gwak's army attacked them. In multiple attempts to cross the river, Ankokuji suffered many losses, and was forced to abandon his attack on Uiryeong. The battle gave the Korean government respect for Gwak's abilities, and he was placed in command of the Korean forces in and around Uiryeong and the nearby Samga.
He was called the "Red Robe General" (천강홍의장군, 天降紅衣將軍) after his habit of wearing red costumes and riding a white horse in battle.
There is a statue of Gwak Jae-u in Mangu Park in Daegu.
- "Mangu Park" (PDF). Your Guide to a Successful Campus Life at Yeungnam University. Archived from the original on 2006-04-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20060408222011/http://www.yu.ac.kr/english/intl/data/Guidelines_for_International_Students_20050615.pdf. Retrieved 2006-08-09.
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