Douglas, James Dawes (DNB00)

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DOUGLAS, Sir JAMES DAWES (1785–1862), general, the elder son of Major James Sholto Douglas, who was first cousin of the fifth and sixth Marquises of Queensberry, by Sarah, daughter of James Dawes, was born on 14 Jan. 1785. He entered the army as an ensign in the 42nd regiment, or Black Watch, and was at once taken on the staff of Major-general Sir James Duff, commanding at Limerick, where he became an intimate friend of his fellow aide-de-camp, William Napier, afterwards the military historian. He did not long remain there, for in 1801 he was promoted lieutenant and joined the Royal Military College at Great Marlow. He was promoted captain in 1804, and, being pronounced perfectly fit for a staff situation, was appointed deputy-assistant quartermaster-general with the force sent to South America in 1806. His conduct was praised in despatches, and in 1807 he was nominated in the same capacity to the corps proceeding to Portugal under Sir Arthur Wellesley, and was present at the battles of Roliça and Vimeiro. He advanced into Spain with Sir John Moore, and served with the 2nd division all through the disastrous retreat from Salamanca and at the battle of Corunna. When Beresford was sent to Portugal in 1809 to organise the Portuguese army, Douglas was one of the officers selected to accompany him, and he was in February 1809 promoted major in the English army and appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 8th Portuguese regiment. He soon got his regiment fit for service, and was present at the brilliant passage of the Douro in May 1809, and at the close of the year his regiment was attached to Picton's, the 3rd division, and brigaded with the 88th and 45th regiments. At the battle of Busaco this brigade had to bear the brunt of the French attack, and Douglas's Portuguese received merited praise for its conduct, which was specially mentioned in Lord Wellington's despatch. He commanded this regiment all through the campaign of 1811, and in 1812, when the Portuguese were considered sufficiently disciplined to be brigaded alone, it formed part of Pack's Portuguese brigade. This was the brigade which distinguished itself at the battle of Salamanca by its gallant though vain attempt to carry the hill of the Arapiles, and Douglas's name was again mentioned in despatches. At the beginning of 1813 Major-general Pack was removed to the command of an English brigade, and Douglas, who had been promoted lieutenant-colonel in May 1811, succeeded him in the 7th Portuguese brigade, which formed part of Sir John Hamilton's Portuguese division. At the head of this brigade he distinguished himself at the battles of the Pyrenees, where he was wounded, of the Nivelle, the Nive, Orthes, and Toulouse, where he was again twice most severely wounded and lost a leg. At the conclusion of the war he received a gold cross and three clasps for the battles in which he had been engaged with a regiment or brigade, was made K.T.S. and K.C.B. on the extension of the order of the Bath. He was deputy quartermaster-general in Scotland (1815–22) and in Ireland (1825–30). Douglas was promoted colonel in 1819 and major-general in 1830, when he received the command of the south-western district of Ireland. From 1837 to 1842 he was lieutenant-governor of Guernsey. He was promoted lieutenant-general in 1838, and was made a G.C.B. in 1860. He had been made colonel of the 93rd foot in 1840 and of the 42nd highlanders in 1850, and was promoted general in 1854. After leaving Guernsey he retired to Clifton, where he died on 6 March 1862, aged 77.

[Royal Military Calendar; Gent. Mag. April 1862.]

H. M. S.