Campbell, John (1816-1855) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 08
Campbell, John (1816-1855)

by Henry Morse Stephens
The date of birth should be 1807 (ODNB).

CAMPBELL, Sir JOHN (1816–1855), general, only son of Lieutenant-general Sir Archibald Campbell of Ava (1769-1843) [q. v.], by Helen, daughter of John Macdonald, of Garth, co. Perth, was born on 14 April 1816. He entered the army as an ensign in the 38th regiment, which his father then commanded, in 1821, and joined it in India. He served as aide-de-camp to his father throughout the first Burmese war, and on 1 July 1824 he was promoted a lieutenant, without purchase, and in 1826 thanked by the governor-general in council for his services. On 11 July 1826 he was promoted to a company and remained in Burmah in a civil capacity till 1829, when he returned to England and joined the depôt of his regiment. From 1831 to 1837 Campbell acted as aide-de-camp to his father when lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, and in the latter year he purchased the majority of his regiment. In 1840 he purchased the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 38th, and commanded it continuously in the Mediterranean, the West Indies, and Nova Scotia, until he was selected, as an ardent and successful regimental officer, for the command of a brigade in the expeditionary force intended for the East in 1854. In 1843 he had succeeded to the baronetcy, on 11 Nov. 1851 he had been promoted colonel by brevet, and on 24 March 1854 he was posted to the command of the 2nd brigade of the 3rd division under Major-general Sir Richard England, with the rank of brigadier-general. With that command he was present at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, and on 12 Dec. 1854 he was promoted major-general. After the battle of Inkerman as the senior brigadier-general with the army, he was posted to the temporary command of the 4th division. On 7 June 1855 he was superseded by Lieutenant-general Bentinck, and on hearing of the intended assault upon the Great Redan he volunteered to lead the detachments of the 4th division to the attack. On 18 June he displayed 'a courage amounting to rashness,' and after sending away his aides-de-camp, Captain Hume and Captain Snodgrass, the latter the son of the historian of his father's war, he rushed out of the trenches with a few followers, and fell at once in the act of cheering on his men. Had he survived, Campbell would have been rewarded for his services in the winter, for in the 'Gazette' of 5 July it was announced that he would have been made a K.C.B. He was buried on Cathcart's Hill. He married, 21 July 1841, Helen Margaret, daughter of Colonel John Crowe. His eldest son, Archibald Ava, became third baronet.

[See Gent. Mag. and Colburn's United Service Journal for August 1855; Nolan's Illustrated History of the War in the East, 2 vols. 1855-7; and W. H. Kussell's British Expedition to the Crimea.]

H. M. S.