Roberts, Abraham (DNB00)

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ROBERTS, Sir ABRAHAM (1784–1873), general in the Indian army, and colonel of the royal Munster fusiliers, born at Waterford, 11 April 1784, was son of the Rev. John Roberts, whose family had long been connected with that town, by his wife, whose maiden name was Sandys. His uncle, Thomas Roberts [q. v.], is noticed separately. His grandfather, John Roberts, who married Mary Susannah Sautelle, of French extraction, was architect of the cathedral catholic chapel, the leper hospital, and the town-hall in Waterford.

Abraham Roberts was appointed to the Waterford regiment of militia in 1801; in 1803 he became ensign in the 48th regiment; and in 1804 he joined the East India Company's service. In India he served with distinction under Lord Lake (1805), Sir William Richards (1814–15), and others. In 1828 Lord Amherst, governor-general, presented him with a piece of plate for departmental services. He was lieutenant-colonel in 1832, and in the first Afghan war (1838–42) was appointed brigadier-general. Roberts commanded Shah Shuja's force in 1840, but resigned and returned to India because the precautions he wisely advised were not adopted. He foresaw the danger at Kabul, and had his advice been accepted the disasters of 1841–2 might have been averted. From 1852 to 1854 he commanded the Pesháwar division, where his judgment and calm observation obtained the acknowledgment of the government of India. His service extended over fifty years, during which he received numerous medals and orders; he was made K.C.B. in 1865, G.C.B. in 1873, and died at Clifton in December of that year, aged 89. Roberts married in 1830, as a second wife, Isabella, widow of Major Maxwell, and daughter of Abraham Bunbury, by whom he became father of Frederick Sleigh, first Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria, and Waterford.

[Documents and information kindly supplied by Lord Roberts; Addiscombe, by Colonel Vibart; see under Roberts, Thomas.]

W. B-t.