Brooke, Arthur (1772-1843) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06
Brooke, Arthur (1772-1843)

by Henry Morse Stephens
1904 Errata appended.

BROOKE, Sir ARTHUR (1772–1843), lieutenant-general, was the third son of Francis Brooke of Colebrooke, co. Fermanagh, and the younger brother of Sir Henry Brooke, who, after representing Fermanagh for many years in the House of Commons, was created a baronet in 1822. He entered the army as an ensign in the 44th regiment in 1792, at the very commencement of the great war, and never left that regiment until the conclusion of the general peace in 1815. He was promoted lieutenant in 1793, and served with the 44th in Lord Moira’s division in Flanders in 1794 and 1795. He was promoted captain in 1795, and served with Sir Ralph Abercromby’s army in the reduction of the West Indies, where his regiment remained till 1798. He was then ‘present through the Egyptian campaign of 1801, and purchased his majority in 1802. He purchased his lieutenant-colonelcy in 1804, and commanded the 44th in garrison in Malta from 1804 to 1812. In 1813 he was promoted colonel, and accompanied Lord William Bentinck to the east coast of Spain. Brooke, as senior colonel, at once took the command of the brigade to which his regiment was assigned, and distinguished himself in every action against Suchet, and particularly at the combat of Ordal. At the conclusion of the war with Napoleon, Brooke was gazetted a C.B., and ordered to march his own and certain other regiments from Lord. William Bentincks army across the south of France to Bordeaux, in order to embark at that port for an expedition against the United States of America. The whole force embarked consisted of three brigades, commanded by Colonels Brooke, Thornton, and Patterson, and the expedition was under the general command of Major-general Ross [q. v.] In the daring action at Bladensberg victory was secured by the flank movement of Brooke’s brigade, which consisted of the 4th regiment, commanded by his brother, Francis Brooke, and his own, the 44th. After burning the Capitol and public buildings of Washington, the expedition re-embarked at St. Benedict and sailed down to the mouth of the Patapsco, where it was arranged that the troops were to land and advance on Baltimore, while the ships’ boats were to force their way up the river to co-operate. In the first skirmish that took place after landing, and before the advance commenced, Generad Ross was killed. ‘By the fall of our gallant leader,’ says the historian of the expedition, ‘the command now devolved on Colonel Brooke, of the 44th, an officer of decided personal courage, but perhaps better calculated to lead a battalion than to guide an army’ (Gleig, p. 96). Brooke determined to carry out his predecessor’s plan, and though it was reported that Baltimore was defended by 20,000 men, he pushed steadily on, and defeated a powerful force of militia on 12 Sept. Baltimore was then at his mercy; but on finding that the sailors could not come up to his assistance he quietly retired after bivouacking on the scene of his victory. The fleet sailed southward, and was joined at sea by the 95th Gordon Highlanders, and by Major-general Sir John Keane, who superseded Brooke, after delivering to him a most eulogistic despatch from the commander-in-chief. At the close of the war Brooke returned to England was rewarded by being made governor of Yarmouth. He was also promoted major-general in 1817. He never again saw service, but was made colonel of the 86th regiment, gazetted a K.C.B. in 1833, and promoted lieutenant-general in 1837. He died on 26 July 1843 at his residence, George Street, Portman Square.

[Gleig's Campaigns of the British Army at Washington aud New Orleans; Royal Military Calendar; Gent. Mag. 1843, pt. ii. 434-5; Records of 44th Reg.]

H. M. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.37
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
416 ii 13-12f.e. Brooke, Sir Arthur: for and was rewarded read In 1822 he was rewarded
10f.e.  for 1817 read 1819
9f.e.  after regiment insert in 1837