1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alten, Sir Charles

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ALTEN, SIR CHARLES [Karl] (1764–1840), Hanoverian and British soldier, son of Baron Alten, a member of an old Hanoverian family, entered the service of the elector as a page at the age of twelve. In 1781 he received a commission in the Hanoverian guards, and as a captain took part in the campaigns of 1793–1795 in the Low Countries, distinguishing himself particularly on the Lys in command of light infantry. In 1803 the Hanoverian army was disbanded, and Alten took service with the King’s German Legion in British pay. In command of the light infantry of this famous corps he took part with Lord Cathcart in the Hanoverian expedition of 1805 and in the siege of Copenhagen in 1807, and was with Moore in Sweden and Spain, as well as in the disastrous Walcheren expedition. He was soon employed once more in the Peninsula, and at Albuera commanded a brigade. In April 1813 Wellington placed him at the head of the famous “Light Division” (43rd, 52nd, 95th, and Caçadores), in which post he worthily continued the records of Moore and Robert Craufurd at Nivelle, Nive, Orthez and Toulouse. His officers presented him with a sword of honour as a token of their esteem. In 1815 Alten commanded Wellington’s 3rd division and was severely wounded at Waterloo. His conduct won for him the rank of Count von Alten. When the King’s German Legion ceased to exist, Alten was given the command of the Hanoverians in France, and in 1818 he returned to Hanover, where he became subsequently minister of war and foreign affairs, and rose to be field-marshal, being retained on the British Army list at the same time as Major-General Sir Charles Alten, G. C. B. He died in 1840. A memorial to Alten has been erected at Hanover.

See Gentleman’s Magazine, 1840; N. L. Beamish, Hist. of the King's German Legion, 2 vols. (1832–1837).