1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kempt, Sir James

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

KEMPT, SIR JAMES (1764–1854), British soldier, was gazetted to the 101st Foot in India in 1783, but on its disbandment two years later was placed on half-pay. It is said that he took a clerkship in Greenwood’s, the army agents (afterwards Cox & Co.). He attracted the notice of the Duke of York, through whom he obtained a captaincy (very soon followed by a majority) in the newly raised 113th Foot. But it was not long before his regiment experienced the fate of the old 101st; this time however Kempt was retained on full pay in the recruiting service. In 1799 he accompanied Sir Ralph Abercromby to Holland, and later to Egypt as an aide-de-camp. After Abercromby’s death Kempt remained on his successor’s staff until the end of the campaign in Egypt. In April 1803 he joined the staff of Sir David Dundas, but next month returned to regimental duty, and a little later received a lieutenant-colonelcy in the 81st Foot. With his new regiment he went, under Craig, to the Mediterranean theatre of operations, and at Maida the light brigade led by him bore the heaviest share of the battle. Employed from 1807 to 1811 on the staff in North America, Brevet-Colonel Kempt at the end of 1811 joined Wellington’s army in Spain with the local rank of major-general, which was, on the 1st of January 1812, made substantive. As one of Picton’s brigadiers, Kempt took part in the great assault on Badajoz and was severely wounded. On rejoining for duty, he was posted to the command of a brigade of the Light Division (43rd, 52nd and 95th Rifles), which he led at Vera, the Nivelle (where he was again wounded), Bayonne, Orthez and Toulouse. Early in 1815 he was made K.C.B., and in July for his services at Waterloo, G.C.B. At that battle he commanded the 28th, 32nd and 79th as a brigadier under his old chief, Picton, and on Picton’s death succeeded to the command of his division. From 1828 to 1830 he was Governor-General of Canada, and at a critical time displayed firmness and moderation. He was afterwards Master-General of the Ordnance. At the time of his death in 1854 he had been for some years a full General.