50%

Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Hugh Gough, Viscount Gough

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GOUGH, Hugh Gough, Viscount (1779-1869), British field-marshal, was of Irish origin, and was a descendant of Francis Gough, who was made bishop of Limerick in 1626. He was born at Woodstown, Limerick, November 3, 1779. After holding for a short time a commission in his father s regiment of militia, he was transferred to the line as ensign in August 1794, and was very soon after promoted lieutenant. In the following year he served with the 78th Highlanders at the Cape of Good Hope, taking part in the capture of Cape Town and of the Dutch fleet in Saldanha Bay. His next service was in the West Indies, where, with the 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers), he shared in the attack on Porto Rico, the capture of Surinam, and the brigand war in St Lucia. In 1809 he was called to take part in the Peninsular War, and, joining the army under Wellington, commanded his regiment as major in the operations before Oporto, by which the town was taken from the French. At Talavera he was severely wounded, and had his horse shot under him. For his conduct on this occasion he was afterwards promoted lieutenant-colonel, his commission, on the recommendation of Wellington, being antedated from the day of the duke s despatch. He was thus, as pointed out in Harfs Army List, the first officer who ever received brevet rank for services performed in the field at the head of a regiment, He was next engaged at the battle of Barossa, at which his regiment captured a French eagle. At the defence of Tarifa the post of danger was assigned to him, and he compelled the enemy to raise the siege, At Vittoria, where Gough again distinguished himself, his regiment captured the baton of Marshal Jourdan. He was again severely wounded at Nivelle, and was soon after created a knight of St Charles by the king of Spain. In recognition of his services the citizens of Dublin presented him with the freedom of the city and with a costly sword. At the close of the war he returned home and enjoyed a respite of some years from active service. He next took command of a regiment stationed in the south of Ireland, discharging at the same time the duties of a magistrate during a period of agitation. Gough did not attain the rank of general officer till 1830, when he was pro moted major-general. Seven years later a new epoch opened for him ; he was sent to India to take command of the Mysore division of the army. But not long after his arrival in India, the difficulties which had arisen between the Chinese and British Governments, and which led to the first Chinese war, made the presence of an energetic general on the scene indispensable, and Gough was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in China. This post he held during all the operations of the war ; and by his great achievements and numerous victories in the face of immense difficulties, he at length enabled the English plenipotentiary, Sir H. Pottinger, to dictate peace on his own terms, and on terms of perfect equality with the emperor. After the conclusion of the treaty of Nanking in August 1842 the British forces were withdrawn; and before the close of the year Gough was created a baronet, and was invested with the grand cross of the Bath. He also received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. Returning to India, he was appointed (August 1843) commander-in- chief of ths British forces in India. In December 1843 he took the command in person against the Mahrattas, and defeated them at Maharajpore, capturing more than fifty guns. He defeated them again at Punniar, and peace was then concluded at Gwalior. In 1845 occurred the rupture with the Sikhs, who crossed the Sutlej in large numbers, and Sir Hugh Gough conducted the operations against them. In this campaign he was well supported by Lord Hardinge, the governor -general, who had been his comrade in the Peninsula, and now volunteered to serve under him, The Sikhs were defeated in three great battles in rapid succession at Moodkee, Ferozeshah, and Sobraon, and submitted to make peace soon after at Lahore. The services of Sir Hugh Gough on these occasions were rewarded by a vote of thanks from both Houses of Parliament, and by his elevation to the peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Gough (April 1846). The war broke out again in 1848, and again Lord Gough took the field. With unabated energy he defeated the Sikhs at Ramnuggar, and at Chillianwallah, and finally broke their power by his decisive victory at Gujrat (February 1849). He was now succeeded as commander-in-chief by Sir Charles Napier, and, returning to England, was raised to a vis- countcy, and for the third time received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. A pension of 2000 per annum was granted to him by parliament, and an equal pension by the East India Company. He did not again see active service. In 1854 he was appointed colonel of the Royal Horse Guards, and two years later he was sent to the Crimea to invest Marshal Pelissier and other officers with the insignia of the Bath. Honours were multiplied upon him during his latter years. He was made a knight of St Patrick, being the first knight of the order who did not hold an Irish peerage, was sworn a privy councillor, was named a knight grand commander of the Star of India, and in November 1862 was made field-marshal. He was twice married, and left children by both his wives. He died at his seat near Dublin, March 2, 1869.