Grant, James (1720-1806) (DNB00)

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GRANT, JAMES (1720–1806), of Ballindalloch, Banffshire, general, brother of Colonel William Grant, laird of that ilk, who raised one of the original companies of the Black Watch, was born in 1720, and after studying the law obtained a commission in the army in 1741, and became captain in the 1st battalion 1st royal Scots 24 Oct. 1744. The battalion in question joined the army In Flanders soon after Dettingen; it fought at Fontenoy and at Culloden, was again in Flanders in the campaigns of 1747-8, and afterwards many years in Ireland. All that is known of Grant is that he served with the battalion in Flanders and in Ireland, and was aide-de-camp to General St. Clair, colonel of the royal Scots, on his mission to Vienna in 1747. Grant became major in the newly raised 77th or Montgomery highlanders (at first called the 1st highland battalion) in February 1757, with which he proceeded to America. In September 1758 he was sent with eight hundred men to reconnoitre Fort Duquesne. Dividing his force to draw the enemy into an ambuscade he was himself surprised and defeated with the loss of a third of his party killed, wounded, and missing. Grant and nineteen officers were captured (Parkman,ii. 151-5). He became lieutenant-colonel of the 40th foot in 1760, and was appointed governor of East Florida. In 1761 he was despatched by Amherst, with a force of thirteen hundred regulars, against the mountaineers of Carolina. In May the same year he led an expedition against the Cherokees, and defeated them in a severe battle at Etchoe.

Grant succeeded to the family estate on the death of his nephew, Major William Grant; in 1772, as lieutenant-colonel commanding the 40th foot in Ireland, he became brevet-colonel; in 1773 he was returned in parliament for Wick burghs, and at the general election of the year after for Sutherlandshire. In December 1775 he was appointed colonel of the 55th foot.

In 1776 Grant went as a brigadier to America with the reinforcements under Howe. He commanded two British brigades at the battle of Long Island, was employed by Howe on special services in New Jersey at a critical period, accompanied the expedition to Philadelphia, and commanded the 1st and 2nd brigades of British at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. In May 1778 he was sent with a strong force to cut off Lafayette on the Schuykill, but was unsuccessful. He commanded the expeditionary force sent from New York to the West Indies which captured St. Lucia in December 1778, and gallantly defended the island against a desperate attempt to recapture it made by a French force under the Count d'Estaing. Grant became a major-general in 1777, lieutenant-general in 1782, general in 1796. He was transferred from the 55th to the colonelcy of the 11th foot in 1791, and was governor in succession of Dumbarton and Stirling Castles. In 1787 he appears to have claimed a share of the compensation paid to the Florida loyalists.

Grant was again returned to parliament for Sutherlandshire in 1787, 1790, 1796, and 1801. He was noted for his love of good living, and in his latter years was immensely corpulent. He died at Ballindalloch 13 April 1806, in his eighty-sixth year. Having no descendants his estate went to his maternal grand-nephew, George Macpherson of Inverness-shire, who assumed the surname of Grant and was made a baronet in 1838.

[Appleton's Dict. American Biog.; Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe, vol. ii. and footnote references there given; Calendar Home Office Papers, 1760-5, pars. 5, 961, 999, 1034, 2114; Foster's Members of Parliament (Scotland); Beatson's Nav. and Mil. Memoirs, vols. ii-vi.; Army Lists; Cornwallis Corresp. i. 257-64, 286-93. Anderson (Scottish Nation, ii. 362) gives a biographical notice of Grant, which, although otherwise correct, contains the misstatement that he was second in command of the expedition against Havana in 1762. Eliott, afterwards Lord Heathfield, was second in command, and the only general officer of the name of Grant present was Brigadier Francis Grant, son of Sir James Grant of Luss, bart., and afterwards a general and colonel of the 63rd foot, and sometime M.P. for Elgin and Forres (see ib. ii. 361-2). Family correspondence relating to the Grants of Ballindalloch form Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 25405-15; a memorial from Grant to the treasury is Addit. MS. 24322, f.14; and his letters to General Haldimand are Addit. MSS. 21673 ff. 23, 58, 21728 ff. 368, 377, 21729 ff. 146, 168. According to Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 238, a large number of Grant's letters are preserved among the Marquis of Lansdowne's papers.]

H. M. C.