Frederick Townsend Ward (1831–1862) was an American sailor, mercenary, and soldier of fortune famous for his military victories for Imperial China during the Taiping Rebellion. Originally from New England, Ward rebelled against entering the family's mercantile trading business, and fought in several overseas wars, including the Crimean War (as a lieutenant in the French army) and several filibustering expeditions with William Walker in Central America. Ward resumed participating in the family trade, hoping to see a bit of China. While in Shanghai, he raised a volunteer force to fight the ever expanding threat of the Taiping Army. This force, originally called the Shanghai Volunteer Force, became the nucleas of the Ever Victorious Army, and force of predominantly Chinese volunteers trained to a deadly proficiency with Western arms and ammunition, using Western methods of training. Ward is venerated to this day in China, as the first Westerner to promote Chinese officers and western methods to create a truly unified field army. Ward was mortally wounded in the Battle of Cixi near Ningbo on September 21 1862, when he was shot in the abdomen. One version is that he was wounded at the base of the city wall. Another story is that he was shot when he stood on the city wall looking for the enemy with a telescope, and that his visibility made him an easy target. Ward survived 14 previous battlefield injuries. Many rumors circulated that his death had been pre-arranged for a price.
In the Steelhead universe, Ward is a larger than life figure from the distant past. His timeline and activities largely mirror the historical Ward, with some differences. China becomes the Celestial Kingdom, and instead of fighting the Taipings, Ward was fighting a coaltion of Chinese Warlords. It is clear from Hotspur O'Toole's reminiscences about the conflict that Ward exercised considerable power of personality over his men, both Chinese and Europeans alike Indeed, there are rumors that Ward was a wizard of considerable power in this universe, which accounts for both his success in battle and the easy way he had with command and strategy.
Ward does not show up in person in the Steelhead Universe, having died years ago. He does factor large in flashbacks.
Just like his real life counterpart, Ward was replaced by his second in command, Henry Burgrevine, in the Steelhead universe, who betrayed the EVA to the Warlords at the battle of Taku, in return for command of an army of his own. The EVA escaped the trap and was eventually commanded by Charles "Chinese" Gordon until being disbanded.