Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/106

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Cumming
Cunningham
94

the Cyclops steamer on the coast of Syria, where he repeatedly distinguished himself, especially at the storming of Sidon on 26 Sept.; his promotion to lieutenant was dated on the 28th. He was shortly after appointed to the Frolic brig on the coast of South America, and in September 1843 was cruising to the southward of Rio Janeiro in command of the Frolic's pinnace, when, on the 6th, off Santos, he fell in with the piratical slaver Vincedora, a large brigantine with a crew of thirty men. Finding the pinnace in a position to intercept her retreat, the brigantine attempted to run it down. At the last moment the slavers' hearts failed them, and the helm was put hard over. At the critical moment Gumming shot their captain, and in the consequent confusion got alongside of the brigantine and sprang on board, followed by a marine and six men. No more could get on board at the time; but Cumming with his seven men held the whole crew at bay, cowed them, drove them below, and put the hatches on. When the rest of his men got on board, he had the prisoners shackled to the chain cable, and took the prize to Rio. Two other slavers in company with the Vincedora might have put Cumming in a very awkward position, but they seemed to think themselves well off in being permitted to escape. Considering the very exceptional nature of the affair, and how easily, without great daring and coolness, it might have ended in disaster, Gumming always felt aggrieved in its being reported to the admiralty as the commonplace capture of a slaver with a cargo of slaves. He had hoped for promotion; all that he got was a severe attack of smallpox, which was raging on board the prize, and for which he was invalided.

He was promoted to be commander on 9 Nov. 1846; and from 1849 to 1851 commanded the Rattler on the west coast of Africa. On 19 April 1854 he was promoted to be captain of the Conflict, in which he rendered good service in the Baltic, especially at Libau and Riga. In the spring of 1855 he was appointed to the Glatton floating battery, which he took out to the Black Sea, and brought home again in the spring of 1856. From 1859 to 1863 he commanded the Emerald in the Channel fleet. He was nominated a C.B. on 13 May 1867; on 27 Feb. 1870 he was promoted to be rear-admiral, and from 1872 to 1875 was commander-in-chief in the East Indies. On 22 March 1876 he was made vice-admiral; admiral on 9 Jan. 1880; and K.C.B. on the occasion of the queen's jubilee, 21 June 1887. On 6 May 1882 he was put on the retired list, after which he lived for the most part at his seat, Foston Hall, near Derby. He died in London on 17 Feb. 1893. He married in 1853 Adelaide, daughter of Charles Stuart, and left issue.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. Dict. (2nd edit.); Army and Navy Gazette, 18 Dec. 1886, 25 Feb. 1893; Annual Register, 1893, pt. ii. 151; certificates of Servitude in the Public Record Office; Navy Lists; private information. The capture of the Vincedora is told in Hobart Pasha's 'Sketches of my Life,' and attributed to himself [see Hobart-Hampden, Augustus Charles]. Hobart was at the time in the Dolphin in latitude 42° 55′ N., long. 13° 18′ W. (Dolphin's log).]

J. K. L.

CUNNINGHAM, Sir ALEXANDER (1814–1893), soldier and archaeologist, second son of Allan Cunningham (1784–1842) [q. v.] and brother of Joseph Davey Cunningham [q. v.], Peter Cunningham (1816–1869) [q. v.], and Francis Cunningham [q. v.], was born in Westminster on 23 Jan. 1814. Together with Joseph, he received his early education at Christ's Hospital, and both brothers were given Indian cadetships through the influence of Sir Walter Scott. After passing through Addiscombe, Alexander obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the Bengal engineers on 9 June 1831, and then, according to the custom of those days, spent six months at Chatham for technical training, landing in India on 9 June 1833. His first three years were passed with the sappers at Delhi and in other ordinary duties. Lord Auckland, on his arrival in India as governor-general in 1836, appointed him to be one of his aides-de-camp. For four years he served on the staff, and his identity can be detected under his initials in Emily Eden's pleasant book of gossip 'Up the Country.' It was during this period that he paid his first visit to Kashmir, then almost a terra incognita. On his marriage in 1840 he was glad to accept the appointment of executive engineer to the king of Oudh. While laying out the new road from Lucknow to Cawnpore, he was called away in 1842 to his first active service. This was to assist in suppressing a rebellion in Bundelkhand, headed by the raja of Jaipur, who had risen on the news of British disasters in Kabul. He was next appointed to the new military station of Nowgong, in Central India. In December 1843 he was present at the battle of Punniar, fought against the rebellious troops of Gwalior, where he had the pleasure of turning the enemy's guns against themselves. For his services on this occasion he received a bronze star, six months' batta (extra pay), and the