Cloëté, Abraham Josias (DNB00)

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CLOËTÉ, Sir ABRAHAM JOSIAS (1794–1886), general, one of the sons of Peter Laurence Cloëté, member of the council of the Cape of Good Hope, was born in 1794. He was appointed to a cornetcy in the 16th hussars 29 Jan. 1809, his subsequent promotions bearing date as follows: lieutenant, 17 May 1810; captain, 5 Nov. 1812; brevet-major, 21 Nov. 1822; lieutenant-colonel, 10 Jan. 1837; colonel, 11 Nov. 1851; major-general, 19 Jan. 1856; lieutenant-general, 12 Feb. 1863; general, 25 Oct. 1871. Joining the 15th hussars in England soon after its return from Corunna, Cloëté served with it during the Burdett riots of 1810 and the 'Luddite' disturbances in the Midlands and Lancashire of the following years. On 28 Oct. 1813 he exchanged to the late 21st light dragoons at the Cape, whither he returned as aide-de-camp to the newly appointed governor, Lord Charles Somerset. He commanded a military detachment, composed of volunteers from regiments at the Cape, sent to occupy the desert island of Tristan d'Acunha soon after the arrival of the Emperor Napoleon at St. Helena. Leaving the detachment there, Cloet resumed the performance of his duties as aide-de-camp, and during that time fought a duel with Surgeon James Barry (1795-1865) [q. v.] In 1817 he accompanied his regiment to India, and served with a squadron employed as a field force in Cuttack, on the frontiers of Orissa and Behar, during the Pindarree war of 1817-19. The 21st dragoons (a party at St. Helena excepted) was disbanded in England in May 1819, and Cloëté was placed on half-pay. In 1820 he was employed, with the rank of deputy-assistant quartermaster-general, in superintending the landing and settling on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony, in the now flourishing districts of Albany and Somerset, of a large body of government immigrants, known as 'the settlers of 1820.' In 1822 he was sent home with important despatches, and received the brevet rank of major, after which he was appointed town-major of Cape Town, a post he held until 1840. In 1836 he was made K.H., and at the time of his decease was the last surviving knight companion of the Guelphic order in the ' Army List.' In 1840 he was appointed deputy quartermaster-general at the Cape, and retained the post until 1854. In 1842 he was sent with reinforcements from Cape Town to relieve a small force under Captain Smith, 27th Inniskillings, which was besieged by insurgent Boers near Port Natal (Durban), when his firm and judicious action not only prevented a Boer war, but prepared the permanent settlement of the present valuable colony of Natal. He was quartermaster-general in the Kaffir war of 1846 and was mentioned in despatches, and in 1848 was made C.B. He was chief of the staff with the army in the field in the Kaffir war of 1851-3, including the operations in the Basuto country, and the battle of the Berea, where he commanded a division. He was mentioned in despatches in the 'London Gazette,' 4 May 1852, and knighted for his services in 1854. As major-general on the staff he commanded the troops in the Windward and Leeward Islands from 1855 to 1861. He was made colonel 19th foot, now Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire regiment, in 1861, and K.C.B. in 1862. He was placed on the retired list in 1877.

Cloëté married, 8 May 1857, Anne Woolcombe, granddaughter of the late Rear-admiral Sir Thomas Louis, baronet, by whom he had two children, a son, now a lieutenant royal artillery, and a daughter. He died at his residence in Gloucester Place, London, 26 Oct. 1886.

[Foster's Baronetage and Knightage; Army Lists; Colonial Office Lists; London Gazettes; Times, 28 Oct. 1886. Some account of the old 21st light dragoons will be found in Colburn's United Serv. Mag., July, August, 1876. Much interesting information respecting the government immigration of 1820 will be found in J. Centlivre Chase's Cape of Good Hope (London, 1843, 12mo). An excellent account of affairs in Natal in 1842 is given in Five Lectures on the Emigration of the Boers, &c. (Cape Town, 1856, 8vo), written by the late Henry Cloëté, LL.D., recorder of Maritzburg, brother of the general, a copy of which is in the Brit. Mus. Library.]

H. M. C.