1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shaw-Kennedy, Sir James

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SHAW-KENNEDY, SIR JAMES (1788-1865), British soldier and military writer, was the son of Captain John Shaw, of Dalton, Kirkcudbrightshire. Joining the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Light Infantry in 1805, he first saw service in the Copenhagen Expedition of 1807 as a lieutenant, and under Sir David Baird took part in the Corunna Campaign of 1808-9. In the retreat Shaw contracted a fever, from the effects of which he never fully recovered. The 43rd was again engaged in the Douro and Talavera Campaigns, and Shaw became adjutant of his now famous regiment at the battle of Talavera. As Robert Craufurd's aide-de-camp he was on the staff of the Light Division at the Coa and the Agueda, and with another officer prepared and edited the “Standing Orders of the Light Division” (printed in Home's Précis of Modern Tactics, pp. 257-277), which serve as a model to this day. He was wounded at Almeida in 1810, but rejoined Craufurd at the end of 1811 and was with his chief at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812. At the great assault of January 19th Shaw carried his general, mortally wounded, from the glacis, and at Badajoz, now once more with the 43rd, he displayed, at the lesser breach, a gallantry which furnished his brother officer William Napier with the theme of one of his most glorious descriptive passages (Peninsular War, bk. xvi. ch. v.). At the siege and the battle of Salamanca, in the retreat from Burgos, Shaw, still a subaltern, distinguished himself again and again, but he had to return to England at the end of the year, broken in health. Once more in active service in 1815, as one of Charles Allen's staff officers, Captain Shaw, by his reconnoitring skill and tactical judgment was of the greatest assistance to Alten and to Wellington, who promoted him brevet-major in July, and brevet lieut.-colonel in 1819. During the occupation of France by the allied army Shaw was commandant of Calais, and on his return to England was employed as a staff officer in the North. In this capacity he was called upon to deal wilh ihe Manchester riots of 1819, and his memorandum on the methods to be adopted in dealing with civil disorders embodied principles which have been recognized to the present day. In 1820 he married, and in 1834, on succeeding, in right of his wife, to the estate of Kirkmichael, he took the name of Kennedy. Two years later Colonel Shaw-Kennedy was entrusted with the organization of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which he raised and trained according lo his own ideas. He remained inspector-general of the R.I.C. for two years, after which for ten years he led a retired country life. In 1848, during the Chartist movements, he was suddenly called upon to command at Liverpool, and soon afterwards was offered successively a command in Ireland and the governorship of Mauritius. Ill-health compelled him to decline these, as also the Scottish command a little later, and for the rest of his life he was practically an invalid. He became full General in 1862 and was made K.C.B. a year later. In 1859, at the time of the Orsini case, he published a remarkable essay on The Defence of Great Britain and Ireland, and in 1865 appeared his famous Notes on Waterloo, appended to which is a Plan for the defence of Canada. He died the same year.

See the autobiographical notice in Notes on Waterloo, also the regimental history of the 43rd and Napier, passim.