Burrard, Harry (DNB00)

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BURRARD, Sir HARRY (1755–1813), general, was the elder son of George Burrard of Walhampton, Hampshire, who was the third son of Paul Burrard, M.P. for Lymington from 1706 to 1736, and younger brother of Sir Harry Burrard, M.P. for Lymington from 1741 to 1784 and created a baronet in 1769. He was born at Walhampton on 1 June 1755, and became an ensign in the Coldstream guards in 1772. He was promoted lieutenant and captain in 1773, and in 1777 exchanged into the 60th regiment, in order to see service in the American war. With it he served under Sir William Howe in 1778 and 1779, and in 1780 returned to England on being elected M.P. for Lymington through the influence of his uncle Sir Harry. He served under Lord Cornwallis in America in 1781 and 1782, and after peace had been declared he returned to the guards in 1786 as lieutenant and captain in the grenadier guards, and was promoted captain and lieutenant-colonel in 1789. With the guards he served in Flanders from 1793 to 1795, and was promoted colonel in 1795, and major-general in 1798. In 1804 he became lieutenant-colonel commanding the 1st guards, and in 1805 he was promoted lieutenant-general. In 1807 he received his first command in the expedition to Copenhagen under Lord Cathcart, when he commanded the 1st division, and as senior general under Cathcart acted as second in command. He had very little to do in the expedition; yet on his return he was created a baronet, and also made governor of Calshot Castle. In 1808 he was selected to supersede Sir Arthur Wellesley. He arrived on the coast of Portugal on 19 Aug., and wisely decided not to interfere with Sir Arthur Wellesley's arrangements. On 21 Aug. Junot attacked Sir Arthur's position at Vimeiro, and was successfully beaten off, and the English general had just ordered Ferguson to pursue the beaten enemy, when Burrard assumed the chief command, and, believing the French had a reserve as yet untouched, forbade Ferguson to advance. The very next day Sir Hew Dalrymple assumed the chief command, and made the convention of Cintra, with the full concurrence of both Burrard and Wellesley. All three generals were recalled, and a court of inquiry was appointed to examine their conduct. Burrard succinctly declared the reasons for his course of action on 21 Aug. The result of the inquiry was to entirely absolve the generals. Burrard never applied for another command, but in 1810 as senior lieutenant-colonel he assumed the command of the brigade of guards in London. His latter years were marked by domestic troubles, for in 1809 one of his sons was killed when acting as aide-de-camp to Sir John Moore at the battle of Corunna, and in 1813 another son was killed at San Sebastian. Burrard himself died at Calshot Castle on 18 Oct. 1813. He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Charles, an officer in the navy, at whose death, in 1870, the baronetcy became extinct.

[Wellington Despatches, vol. iii.; Napier's History of the Peninsular War, vol. i. book ii.; Memorial written by Sir Hew Dalrymple. Bart., of his proceedings as connected with the affairs of Spain, and the commencement of the Peninsular War, 1830; the Whole Proceedings of the Court of Inquiry upon the conduct of Sir Hew Dalrymple relative to the Convention of Cintra, held in the Great Hall, Chelsea College, from Monday, 14 Nov., to Wednesday, 14 Dec. 1808.]

H. M. S.