Lu Meng won his way with
his sheer strength in his youth, but Sun Quan inspired him to pursue
an education. He said, "Even Cao Cao studies the scholar."
As an educated general, he was highly respected as Lu Su. He learned
to be a clever strategist, and Sun Quan employed him for many important
tasks. Placed in opposition to Liu Bei and Guan Yu of Jingzhou, Lu Meng
fought as valiantly as Zhou Yu.
Lu Meng recruited an able general from
Huang Zu's army, Gan Ning, to serve Sun Quan. Then in the campaign against
Huang Zu, Lu Meng was appointed as Van Leader and he won the battle
quickly. Huang Zu was beaten and Jiangxia fell to Wu. He also advised
construction of a castle in Jiakou in the west, bordering on Wei, to
provide defense from Cao Cao. At the battle of Red Wall, Lu Meng participated
as a leader of troops and performed quite well.
After Lu Su, who had respected Liu Bei,
died, Lu Meng as his successor, proposed an attack on Jingzhou. He wanted
to win Jingzhou from Guan Yu. At that time Sun Quan was launching an
attack on Xuzhou, but Lu Meng convinced him to follow his own plan.
"Cao Cao is far away, north of the Yellow River, so you will take
the castle with ease. Note that Xuzhou is approachable from four directions,
but by the same reasoning it is a difficult land to defend. A myriad
of soldiers could not fend off Cao Cao. Therefore, I propose you attack
Guan Yu and take control of the Yangtze River basin. Once you hold Jingzhou,
you can evolve other schemes." Sun Quan decided to follow Lu Meng's
As he expected, Guan Yu pushed into Wei
territory, but Guan Yu had beacon towers erected at short distances
all along the Great River. He warned Sun Quan to build up his rear guard
by fortifying their castles bordering on Jingzhou. Then pretending he
was ill, Lu Meng withdrew to Lukou where he was soon visited by Lu Xun.
Lu Meng confessed that his illness was due simply to the efficiency
of the Jingzhou soldiers, which was worry for Sun Quan's army. As a
cure Lu Xun suggested a way to overthrow Guan Yu. According to the plan,
Lu Meng resigned his post and he had to name Lu Xun his successor because
of his illness. Lu Xun was an unknown leader, however, Sun Quan cooperated
and installed him. Their strategy was to promote a lesser general to
make Guan Yu drop his guard.
Guan Yu fell into their trap and moved
his troops northward, to Fancheng. Meanwhile, Lu Meng wove his way through
Jingzhou, he dressed a number of sailors as merchants and secretly allied
with the people to help him. In the end Lu Meng secured Jingzhou by
winning over the people's hearts. He traveled night and day by boat,
dispatching his troops in cities along the length of the Yangtze River.
When Guan Yu made his advance, he did not expect what he discovered-
the countryside was already won over to Wu. Moreover, Lu Meng's men
ambushed and captured Guan Yu and his entire sentry along the river.
Consequently, Guan Yu never found out where the Wu army was positioned.
Lu Meng prohibited his soldiers from ravaging
war spoils. He supplied provisions for the people and threatened his
own soldiers with execution if they assaulted the people in any way.
When one of his friends took a hat from a villager, he stood up for
the people and immediately executed him. He is honored for his ethical
treatment of captives and for bringing peace to normally bitter takeovers.