Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/235

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Forbes
Forbes
223

miles to Landman's Drift in twenty hours. Two days after his arrival there he appeared in a state of utter exhaustion before Pietermaritzburg, having ridden by way of Ladysmith and Estcourt, an additional 170 miles, in thirty-five hours. The news of Ulundi first reached England through his agency, he having completely outpaced the official despatch rider. He put in a claim for the Avar medal on the strength of this piece of service, but the request was refused with scant courtesy by the war office. Some of his criticisms of Lord Chelmsford were held in certain quarters to have been unnecessarily offensive. Forbes had seen war practically illustrated in all quarters of the globe, and he had outgrown any semblance of diffidence in passing judgment upon difficult military operations.

Forbes had already published several volumes of 'Daily News' war correspondence. That relating to 1870-1 was widely circulated. During his later years he collected a quantity of his various material and published it in book form. In 1884, upon the occasion of Gordon's mission to the Sudan, he brought out a tolerable sketch of his career, 'Chinese Gordon' (13th edit. 1886). This was followed by a volume of military sketches and tales, 'Barracks, Bivouacs, and Battles' (1891), and a brief tableau of 'The Afghan Wars' of 1839 and 1879 (1892, 8vo). Then came a version of Moltke's 'Franco-German War' ('revised by A. Forbes,' 1893), and 'The Great War of 189-,' a cleverly written forecast, in which Forbes collaborated with a number of other experts and special correspondents, such as Admiral Philip Howard Colorab [q.v. Suppl.], Colonel (Sir) Frederick Maurice, and others. In 1895 appeared the best volume of Forbes's autobiographical sketches, 'Memories and Studies of War and Peace.' In this he claimed, among 'The Soldiers I have known,' Wilhelm L. Moltke, General Grant, Sherman, Lord Napier of Magdala, Skobeleff, Osman Pasha, Sir Redvers Buller, and Lords Wolseley and Roberts. His readiness to prophesy no less than to judge suggests a rashness in forming opinions, inseparable perhaps from the profession that he followed; but he has some good stories, such as the one of General Skobeleff arresting his father (a miserly parent) for reporting himself in undress uniform. In 1896 Forbes collaborated in two handsome but ill-arranged quarto volumes of ' Battles of the Nineteenth Century,' and in the same year published his historical record of 'The Black Watch.' In 1898 he committed to the press a superficial 'Life of Napoleon III' (with portraits), based to a large extent upon the 'Life' by Blanchard Jerrold. Previous biographies by Forbes of similar calibre were those of the 'Emperor William' Til (1889), 'Havelock' (1890), and 'Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde' (1895, 'Men of Action' series).

After a life of perilous adventure, Forbes died peacefully at Clarence Terrace, Regent's Park, on 30 March 1900, and he was buried in the Allenvale cemetery, near Aberdeen. He left a widow, Louisa, daughter of Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, a military engineer and brigadier-general in the service of the United States. A portrait is prefixed to his 'Memories and Studies' (1895). A tablet with a medallion portrait is to be placed in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral.

[Hew Scott's Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ, iii. 220; Times, 31 March 1900; Daily News, 31 March 1900; Illustrated London News, 7 April 1900 (portrait); Men and Women of the Time, 15th edit. 1899; Yates's Recollections; Works in Brit. Museum Library.]

T. S.

FORBES, JOHN (1710–1759), brigadier, born in 1710, was a son of Colonel John Forbes of Pittencrieff, co. Fife. 'In his younger days he was bred to the profession of physic; but early ambitious of the military character he purchased into the regiment of Scots Greys, where by repeated purchases and faithful services he arrived to the rank of lieutenant-colonel' (Scots Magazine, xxi. 272) on 29 Nov. 1750. He had reached that rank in the army on 20 Dec. 1745. He was aide-de-camp to Sir James Campbell, Avho commanded the British cavalry at Fontenoy; and before the battle Forbes was sent to Brigadier Ingoldsby to point out where his attack was to be made. He was present with his regiment at Laffeldt, and was sent by Sir John Ligonier to inform the Duke of Cumberland that the French were about to attack. He was employed as quartermaster-general during the latter part of the war.

He was given the colonelcy of the 17th foot on 25 Feb. 1757. Soon afterwards he was sent to America as adjutant- general, and on 28 Dec. he was appointed a brigadier there. In the plan of operations for 1758 he was charged with the capture of Fort Du Quesne, which the French had built on the Ohio, and against which Braddock had failed so disastrously in 1755. He arrived at Philadelphia at the end of April, but had to wait there for troops and stores till the beginning of July. His force consisted of Montgomery's Highlanders, reckoned at 1,400 men, 400 men of the Royal Americans (now King's Royal Rifle Corps), and 40 artillery-