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lated that he should be allowed to lead the principal column in the attack on Port-au-Prince, and did so ‘with the greatest gallantry’ on 4 June. He was sent home with despatches, and Major (afterwards Sir Brent) Spencer expressed, on behalf of the troops, their hope that they might again serve under an officer ‘who carries with him such universal approbation and so well earned applause’ (Trial, App. p. 67). He was made brevet colonel on 21 Aug. 1795, colonel of the 6th West India regiment on 1 Sept., and brigadier on 10 Sept. After further service in the West Indies he was appointed brigadier-general in Guernsey on 12 Jan. 1798, and lieutenant-governor of Portsmouth on 29 May 1799. He was promoted major-general on 18 June 1798, and lieutenant-general on 30 Oct. 1805. Shortly after this he was made inspector-general of recruiting.
In 1806 General Beresford [see Beresford, William Carr, Viscount Beresford], with only twelve hundred men, had gained possession of Buenos Ayres, but had been afterwards forced to surrender. The British government, in deference to the popular cry for new markets, determined to send a large force to recover it, and on 24 Feb. 1807 Whitelocke was appointed to the command. He was also to undertake the civil government of the province when recovered. More than five thousand men had already been sent to Rio de la Plata, under Sir Samuel Auchmuty [q. v.], and a corps of four thousand, under Brigadier Robert Craufurd, which was on its way to Chili, was to join them. Reinforcements from England would raise the total to eleven thousand men, of which not more than eight thousand were to be permanently retained. Whitelocke, accompanied by Major-general John Leveson-Gower as second in command, reached Montevideo on 10 May, and on 15 June Craufurd's corps arrived. Whitelocke did not wait for the troops from England. He left a garrison of 1,350 men at Montevideo, and on 28–9 June the army landed on the right bank of the river, at the Ensenada de Barragon, about thirty miles below Buenos Ayres. It consisted of nine battalions of infantry, two and a half regiments of cavalry (of which only 150 men were mounted), and sixteen field-guns, and numbered 7,822 rank and file.
The march was delayed by swamps, which caused a loss of guns and stores, but on 2 July the advanced guard under Gower forded the Chuello, drove the Spanish troops back into Buenos Ayres, and took up a position in the southern suburb. They were joined on the afternoon of the 3rd by the main body, which had been misled by their guide. The town had a garrison of about six thousand and a population of seventy thousand. It was cut up into squares by streets 140 yards apart, parallel and perpendicular to the river. It was unfortified, but the streets were barricaded. Whitelocke's intention had been to establish himself on the west of it, with his left on the river, land guns, and bombard it. But he wished to save time, as the rains were impending, and to avoid alienating the inhabitants, so he determined to take it by assault.
At 6.30 a. m. on the 5th eight battalions, formed in thirteen columns, entered the town with arms unloaded. They were to make their way, if possible, to the river by parallel streets, and occupy blocks of houses there. They were to avoid the central part of the town, the fort, and the great square, and to incline outwards, if at all. The columns on the right got possession of the Residencia, those on the left of the Plaza de los Toros; but in the centre the 88th regiment and the light brigade (under Craufurd) met with stouter resistance from troops in the streets, and from the inhabitants on the tops of their houses. They found themselves isolated, and unable to advance or retire, and at length surrendered. Next morning Whitelocke received a proposal from the Spanish commander, Liniers, that hostilities should cease, that the prisoners on both sides should be restored, and that the British should evacuate the province, Montevideo included, within two months. If the attack were renewed, Liniers could not answer for the safety of the prisoners. Of these there were 1,676, and the total British loss was 2,500. Doubtful whether a fresh attack would be successful, and convinced that if it were the object of the expedition was no longer attainable, and that the prisoners' lives would be sacrificed to no purpose, Whitelocke, after consulting Gower and Auchmuty, accepted Liniers's terms. The troops withdrew from Buenos Ayres on the 12th, and from Montevideo on 9 Sept. The indignation of soldiers and traders alike was unbounded. ‘General Whitelocke is either a coward or a traitor, perhaps both!’ was written up at the corners of the streets of Montevideo (Whittingham, p. 22). ‘Success to grey hairs, but bad luck to white locks,’ became a favourite toast among the men.
Whitelocke reached England on 7 Nov., and on 28 Jan. 1808 he was brought before a court-martial at Chelsea. He was charged with, first, excluding the hope of amicable accommodation by demanding the surrender of persons holding civil offices at Buenos Ayres; secondly, not making the military