Paget, Edward (DNB00)

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PAGET, Sir EDWARD (1775–1849), general, born on 3 Nov. 1775, was fourth son of Henry Paget, earl of Uxbridge, who died in 1812 [see under Paget, Henry, first Earl of Uxbridge, ad fin.] His brothers Henry William, Arthur, and Charles, are noticed separately. Edward entered the army on 23 March 1792 as cornet in the 1st lifeguards. On 1 Dec. 1792 he was captain in the 54th foot, on 14 Nov. 1793 major, and on 30 April 1794 became lieutenant-colonel of the 28th foot. He served in Flanders and Holland till March 1795, when he was ordered with his regiment to Quiberon, was recalled, and ordered to the West Indies under Sir Ralph Abercromby. Twice driven back by storms, he finally landed at Portsmouth in January 1796, and in July went to Gibraltar, and, remaining on the Mediterranean station, was present on 14 Feb. 1797 at the action off Cape St. Vincent. On 1 Jan. 1798 he was made colonel in the army and aide-de-camp to the king; the same year he was at the capture of Minorca, and in 1801 served through the Egyptian campaign, his regiment being in the reserve under Sir John Moore. He was in the actions of 8, 13, and 21 March 1801, and was wounded in the last; was present at the investment of Cairo and Alexandria, and was given as a hostage to the French army at Cairo till they embarked in July 1801. Having returned to England late in 1801, he was in October 1803 appointed brigadier-general on the staff at Fermoy in Ireland; on 2 July 1804 he removed to England, and was made major-general on 1 Jan. 1805; for most of that year he was stationed at Eastbourne, and proceeded in October with his regiment to Cuxhaven and Bremen, returning in February 1806. In June he was sent to the Mediterranean, and placed in command of the reserve in Sicily, whence, in January 1808, he returned with the part of the army which was under Sir John Moore [q. v.] On 23 Feb. he became colonel of the 80th foot, and in April accompanied Sir John Moore to Sweden in command of the reserve. On his return to England in June he was immediately ordered to Portugal, and placed by Sir Hugh Dalrymple in command of the advanced corps of his army. But again joining Sir John Moore in Spain, he commanded the reserve at Coruña on 16 Jan. 1809, and was responsible for the victorious issue of the battle. For his part in this victory he received a medal, and was appointed to the staff of the Peninsular army under Wellesley, with the local rank of lieutenant-general, and command of the left wing of the army. He conducted the advance from Coimbra to Oporto, and on 12 May 1809, in the action before Oporto, lost his right arm. He was mentioned in the despatches on this occasion as having borne the first brunt of the enemy's attack and rendered most important service. On 4 June 1811 he was promoted lieutenant-general. After a rest in England, he returned to the Peninsula as second in command to Wellesley; but within a few months, while reconnoitring alone, fell into an ambush, and was made prisoner, so that he lost the rest of the campaign.

On 26 Dec. 1815 Paget was removed to his old regiment, the 28th foot. On 31 Oct. 1818 he was made captain of Cowes Castle, where he resided for a time; but on 4 Nov. 1820 he received a commission as governor of Ceylon, and administered the colony uneventfully from August 1821 to March 1823. Meanwhile, on 3 Jan. 1822, he had been appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in the East Indies, and took up his new duties as soon as he was relieved in Ceylon. He was responsible for the conduct of the Burmese campaigns of 1824–5. His action in regard to the Barrakpur mutiny in 1825 was also severely criticised, and the ministry of the day contemplated his recall. The Duke of Wellington, however, intervened on behalf both of him and Lord Amherst, defending their proceedings (Duke of Wellington's Despatches, 2nd ser. vol. ii.) Paget became full general on 27 May 1825. He returned to England in 1825, and retired to Cowes, where he resided at the castle till his death on 13 May 1849. He was buried in the cemetery at Chelsea Hospital, of which he was a governor, on 21 May. He is described as handsome, courteous in manner, firm in demeanour, and personally very brave.

Paget received the Portuguese order of the Tower and Sword on 29 April 1812, and was made a G.C.B. on 12 June of the same year. He was a commissioner of the Royal Asylum, and was made governor of the Royal Military College on 25 March 1826.

Paget married, first, on 1 May 1805, the Hon. Frances Bagot, fourth daughter of William, first lord Bagot, who died in 1806 at the birth of her child, Francis Edward Paget [q. v.]; secondly, in 1815, Lady Harriet Legge, fourth daughter of the third Earl of Dartmouth, who bore him three sons and five daughters.

Two portraits belong to the family.

[Cole's Memoirs of British Generals distinguished during the Peninsular War, vol. i.; Gent. Mag. 1849, vol. ii.; Army Lists; official records.]

C. A. H.