1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cathcart, Sir George

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CATHCART, SIR GEORGE (1794–1854), English soldier, third son of the 1st Earl Cathcart, was born in London on the 12th of May 1794. He was educated at Eton and Edinburgh University. In 1810 he entered the army, and two years later accompanied his father to Russia as aide-de-camp. With him he joined the Russian headquarters in March 1813; and he was present at all the great battles of that year in Germany, and of the following year in France, and also at the taking of Paris. The fruits of his careful observation and critical study of these operations appeared in the Commentaries on the war in Russia and Germany 1812–1813, a plain soldier-like history, which he published in 1850. After the peace of 1814 he accompanied his father to the congress of Vienna. He was present at Quatre Bras and at Waterloo, as an aide-de-camp to the duke of Wellington, and remained on the staff till the army of occupation quitted France. Reappointed almost immediately, he accompanied the duke to the congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle and Verona, and in 1826 to Prussia. Promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1826, he was placed on half-pay in 1834. He was recalled to active service in 1838, and sent as commander of the King’s Dragoon Guards to Canada, where he played an important part in suppressing the rebellion and pacifying the country. In 1844 he returned to England, and two years later was appointed deputy-lieutenant of the Tower, a post which he held up to the time of his promotion to major-general in 1851. In March 1852 he succeeded Sir Harry Smith as governor and commander-in-chief at the Cape, and brought the Kaffir war, then in progress, to a successful conclusion. He promulgated the first constitution of Cape Colony, and conducted operations against the Basuto. Cathcart was made a K.C.B. and received the thanks of both Houses for his services (1853). In December 1853 he was made adjutant-general of the army, but never entered upon his duties, being sent out to the Crimean War as soon as he arrived in England. He was even given a dormant commission entitling him to the chief command in case of accident to Lord Raglan, and the highest hopes were fixed on him as a scientific and experienced soldier. But these hopes were not to be fulfilled; for he fell at the battle of Inkerman (November 5, 1854). His remains, with those of other officers, were buried on Cathcart’s Hill. Sir George Cathcart married in 1824 Lady Georgiana Greville, who survived him, and by whom he had a family.

See Colburn’s United Service Magazine, January 1855; Correspondence of the Hon. Sir George Cathcart relative to Kaffraria (1856); A. W. Kinglake’s Invasion of the Crimea, vol. v.