Goddard, Thomas (DNB00)

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GODDARD, THOMAS (d. 1783), Indian general, born probably not later than 1740, is said by Jefferies (Memoir of the Goddards of North Wilts) to have been of the family of that name at Hartham Park in Wiltshire, and grandson of Thomas Goddard, a canon of Windsor. In 1759 he became a lieutenant in the 84th regiment of infantry, then raised for service in India, at the request of the court of directors of the East India Company, and placed under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Coote [see Coote, Sir Eyre, 1726–1783]. This regiment arrived at Madras on 27 Oct. 1759. Though destined for Bengal it was detained for service in the Madras presidency, and took a principal part in the campaign against the French which ended with the surrender of Pondicherry on 16 Jan. 1761. In the same year Goddard accompanied the 84th to Bengal, and took part in the campaign of 1763, at the end of which the regiment was disbanded, permission being given to the officers and men to enter the company's service. Goddard took advantage of this permission, and went in as captain in October 1763. Early in the following year he raised at Moorshedabad a battalion of sepoys, called subsequently the 1st battalion 7th regiment Bengal native infantry, which was long known as Goddard's battalion. Before Goddard's battalion could be armed it was ordered, in April 1764, to join the force marching to quell the mutiny at Patna, and in the following year it was sent, together with another native battalion, to Monghyr. In May 1766 Goddard was promoted to the rank of major, and in September 1768 to that of lieutenant-colonel. He took part with his battalion in 1770 at the capture of Burrareah, and was employed in 1772 in expelling the Mahrattas from Rohilcund. In September 1774 he succeeded to the command of the troops stationed at Barhampore in Bengal. Goddard's extant correspondence with Warren Hastings commences at this period, and continues until his departure from India. The governor-general placed the utmost confidence in his ability and tact. Goddard was in command of the troops at Chunar from January 1776 till the following June, when he was appointed chief of the contingent stationed with the nawab vizier of Oude at Lucknow.

When the supreme council determined in 1778 to despatch a force from Bengal to assist the Bombay army against the Mahrattas, Goddard was appointed second in command under Colonel Leslie. The expedition started from Calpee in May, and was delayed by the rains in the neighbourhood of Chatterpore, the capital of Bundelcund, from 3 July to 12 Oct. In that interval a detachment under the command of Goddard took the fortress of Mhow by storm. The supreme council, dissatisfied with Leslie's conduct of the expedition, decided to entrust the chief command to Goddard, but Leslie's death assured him this promotion (3 Oct.) before the orders arrived. Goddard energetically continued the march, and on 1 Dec. reached the banks of the Nerbudda, where he awaited instructions. He had already been employed by the governor-general in a semi-political capacity, and he was now invested with diplomatic powers to secure if possible an alliance with Mudaji Bhonsla, the regent of Berar. The negotiations proved futile, and on 16 Jan. 1779 he resumed his march. The conduct of the expedition increased in difficulty. The control, originally vested in the Bombay authorities, had been resumed by the supreme council, but Goddard's course was necessarily influenced by the fortunes of the Bombay army. For a long time he was left entirely without information from Bombay, and at length received two contradictory despatches, one advising his retreat and the other urging him to proceed. In this dilemma he waited at Burhanpur, on the banks of the Tapti, from 30 Jan. to 6 Feb., when, hearing from other quarters of the defeat of the Bombay army, he hastened to Surat, 223 miles from Burhanpur and 785 from Calpee, where he arrived on 25 Feb.

The Bombay council requested Goddard's assistance at its deliberations, and recommended him for the post of commander-in-chief on the next vacancy. Shortly afterwards he received from the supreme council of Bengal full powers to negotiate a peace with the Mahratta government of Poonah on the basis of the treaty of 1776, and which overruled the recent convention entered into by the Bombay council. Negotiations went on for some months, but the Mahratta government made impossible demands for the restoration of Salsette and the surrender of Ragoba, who had escaped from the custody of Scindia and taken refuge in Goddard's camp. Goddard recommenced hostilities in January 1780, and after some minor successes captured Ahmedabad on 15 Feb. He then marched against Holkar and Scindia, and routed the forces of the latter on 3 April. In November of the same year he attacked Bassein, which surrendered on 11 Dec.

The war had severely taxed the resources of the government, and Goddard received instructions from Bengal to use every means of bringing the Mahrattas to terms. He therefore determined to threaten Poonah itself. With this object he marched from Bassein in January 1781, and took possession of the Bhore Ghaut, which he held till April. His scheme was frustrated by the Mahrattas, who determined to burn Poonah and cut off a great portion of his supplies. Goddard retreated with great difficulty and loss. In August of the same year overtures on the part of Scindia led to a treaty on 13 Oct.

Goddard was subsequently promoted to the brevet rank of a brigadier-general, and remained in India until failing health obliged him to go home. He died on 7 July 1783, just as the ship reached the Land's End. His body was embalmed, landed at Pendennis Castle, Falmouth, and buried at Eltham in Kent.

[Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 29119, 29135–93; Philippart's East India Register; Mill's, Orme's, Thornton's, and Wilks's Histories of India; Broome's Bengal Army; Williams's Bengal Native Infantry; Dodwell and Miles's East India Military Calendar.]

E. J. R.