Garrett, Robert (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

GARRETT, Sir ROBERT (1794–1869), lieutenant-general, colonel 43rd (light infantry) regiment, eldest son of John Garrett, of Ellingham, Isle of Thanet, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of J. Gore, of St. Peter's, Isle of Thanet, was born in 1794, educated at Harrow School, and on 12 March 1811 became ensign by purchase in the 2nd queen's foot. With his regiment he was present, at Fuentes d'Onoro, and in the attack on the forts of Salamanca,where he was the only surviving officer of his party, and received two wounds. He was promoted to a lieutenancy in the2nd garrison battalion on 3Sept. 1813, and on 2 Oct. following was transferred to the 7th royal fusiliers, with which he made the campaigns of 1813-14, and was again severely wounded in the Pyrenees. On 7 July 1814 he became captain by purchase in the old 97th (queen's own), and served with that corps in Ireland until it was disbanded, as the 96th foot, in 1818, when he was put on half-pay. He purchased on unattached majority in 1826, and in 1834, after nearly fifteen years on halfpay, was brought into the 46th foot, as major, and become regimental lieutenant-colonel in 1846. He served with the regiment, much of the time in command, at Gibraltar, in the West Indies and North America, and at home. He became brevet-colonel in January 1854.

When the 46th was doing duty, with Garrett in command, at Windsor in the summer of 1864, after the departure of the guards for the East, court-martials on two young officers of the regiment on charges arising out of a system of coarse practical joking at the expense of an unpopular subaltern, attracted much attention. The first case, which was virtually twice tried, gave much offence, as it was supposed to show that a poor officer had no security against the persecution of men of higher rank or wealth (Nav.and Mil. Gazette, 26 Aug. 1854). A clamour for further inquiry was met by the despatch of the regiment, a very fine body of men, under Garrett's command, to the Crimea, where it landed three days after Inkerman, and did much gallant service throughout the siege of Sebastopol.

Garrett, a familiar and well-remembered figure in the trenches, commanded a brigade of the 4th division from November 1854 to November 1855, when he succeeded to the command of that division, and held it until the British troops left the Crimea next year. He served as a brigadier at Gibraltar, and in the China expedition of 1857, and, becoming major-general in 1858, commanded a division in Bengal and afterwards in Madras until 1862, when he returned home. He was appointed to command the south-eastern district with headquarters at Shorncliffe in 1865, but resigned on promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general in 1866. In that year he was transferred to the colonelcy of the 43rd light infantry, from that of the late 4th West India regiment, to which he had been appointed in 1862.

Garrett was a K.C.B. and K.H., and had the orders of the Legion of Honour and the Medjidie, the Peninsular medal and four clasps, and the English and foreign Crimean medals. He was a J.P. and D.L. for Kent. He married, first, Charlotte Georgina Sophia, daughter of Lord Edward Bentinck, and granddaughter of the second Duke of Portland; she died in 1819. Secondly, Louisa, widow of Mr. Devaynes, by whom he left issue. A tough, hard-going veteran of the old school, Garrett died rather suddenly on 13 June 1869, aged 75.

[Walford's County Families, 4th edit., 1868; Army Lists and London Gazettes under date; Cannon's Hist. Records 2nd Queen's, 7th Royal Fusiliers, and 46th Foot (to 1848); Times, 27 July, 1 and 7 Aug. 1854; Nav. and Mil. Gazette, July–August 1854; W. H. Russell's Letters from the Crimea; Army and Navy Gazette, 19 June 1869; Illustr. London News (will), 29 Aug. 1869.]

H. M. C.