1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clyde, Colin Campbell, Baron

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21529521911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6 — Clyde, Colin Campbell, Baron

CLYDE, COLIN CAMPBELL, Baron (1792–1863), British soldier, was born at Glasgow on the 20th of October 1792. He received his education at the Glasgow high school, and when only sixteen years of age obtained an ensigncy in the 9th foot, through the influence of Colonel Campbell, his maternal uncle. The youthful officer had an early opportunity of engaging in active service. He fought under Sir Arthur Wellesley at Vimiera, took part in the retreat of Sir John Moore, and was present at the battle of Corunna. He shared in all the fighting of the Peninsular campaigns, and was severely wounded while leading a storming-party at the attack on San Sebastian. He was again wounded at the passage of the Bidassoa, and compelled to return to England, when his conspicuous gallantry was rewarded by promotion without purchase. Campbell held a command in the American expedition of 1814; and after the peace of the following year he devoted himself to studying the theoretical branches of his profession. In 1823 he quelled the negro insurrection in Demerara, and two years later obtained his majority by purchase, In 1832 he became lieutenant-colonel of the 98th foot, and with that regiment rendered distinguished service in the Chinese War of 1842. Campbell was next employed in the Sikh War of 1848–49, under Lord Gough. At Chillianwalla, where he was wounded, and at the decisive victory of Gujrat, his skill and valour largely contributed to the success of the British arms; and his “steady coolness and military precision” were highly praised in official despatches. He was made a K.C.B. in 1849, and specially named in the thanks of parliament.

After rendering important services in India Sir Colin Campbell returned home in 1853. Next year the Crimean War broke out, and he accepted the command of the Highland brigade, which formed part of the duke of Cambridge’s division. The brigade and its leader distinguished themselves very greatly at the Alma; and with his “thin red line” of Highlanders he repulsed the Russian attack on Balaklava. At the close of the war Sir Colin was promoted to be knight grand cross of the Bath, and elected honorary D.C.L. of Oxford. His military services, however, had as yet met with tardy recognition; but, when the crisis came, his true worth was appreciated. The outbreak of the Indian Mutiny (q.v.) called for a general of tried experience; and on the 11th of July 1857 the command was offered to him by Lord Palmerston. On being asked when he would be ready to set out, the veteran replied, “Within twenty-four hours.” He was as good as his word; he left England the next evening, and reached Calcutta on the 13th of August. After spending upwards of two months in the capital to organize his resources, he started for the front on the 27th of October, and on the 17th of November relieved Lucknow for the second time. Sir Colin, however, considered Lucknow a false position, and once more abandoned it to the rebels, retaking it in March 1858. He continued in charge of the operations in Oudh until the embers of the revolt had died away. For these services he was raised to the peerage, in 1858, as Lord Clyde; and, returning to England in the next year, he received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament and a pension of £2000 a year. He died on the 14th of August 1863.

Though not a great general, and lacking in the dash which won England so many victories in India, Lord Clyde was at once a brave soldier and a careful and prudent leader. The soldiers whom he led were devotedly attached to him; and his courteous demeanour and manly independence of character won him unvarying respect.

See Sir Owen Tudor Burne, Clyde and Strathnairn (“Rulers of India” series, 1891); and L. Shadwell, Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1881).