The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Cameron, General Sir Duncan Alexander

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Cameron, General Sir Duncan Alexander, G.C.B., son of the late Lieut.-General Sir John Cameron, K.C.B., was born in 1808, and entered the army in 1825, becoming captain in 1833, major in 1839, and colonel in 1854. At the Battle of the Alma, in the Crimean war, he commanded the 42nd Regiment, or Black Watch, and the Highland Brigade at Balaclava, at Kertch, and at Sebastopol. At the assault on the outworks, on June 18th, 1854, he was also in command, and for his services received a medal with three clasps, besides being made a C.B. and an officer of the Legion of Honour, and receiving the Sardinian and Turkish medal (third class) of the Medjidieh. In 1859 he was made major-general. In 1863 he was despatched to New Zealand to succeed General Pratt in charge of the twelve regiments in that colony at the time of the Maori war, being granted the rank of lieut.-general. Up to this moment there had been no absolute declaration of war between the Waikatos and the colonists; but on July 12th in that year, General Cameron crossed the Maungatawhiri with 380 men, and this was practically the beginning of the Waikato war. He it was who conducted the assaults upon Mere-Mere, Rangiriri, Rangiaohia, and the Gate Pa; and effectually brought to a conclusion the northern war. In Jan. 1864, General Cameron went to Wanganui, whither the war had extended. This was the occasion of an unfortunate quarrel between the Governor (Sir George Grey) and himself. General Cameron with 1100 men refused to attack a pa called Wereroa, the capture of which the Governor considered indispensable to a successful campaign, and alleged that his force was insufficient. In the issue the colonial forces, under Sir George himself, in conjunction with the friendly Maoris, attacked and took the pa; but the incident led, in Feb. 1864, to the retirement of the General, who went to England and laid his complaints before the War Office. His charge against the Governor was that he had encouraged subversion of discipline, and consequently confusion and disorder. Lord de Grey at the War Office espoused the cause of General Cameron, and Sir George Grey was somewhat curtly snubbed by the Colonial Office for his officiousness in taking the field. In 1864 General Cameron was created K.C.B., and in 1873 G.C.B. In 1868 he was promoted to the rank of lieut.-general, and in 1875 to that of general. From 1868 to 1875 he was Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was some time Vice-President of the Council of Army Education, and Hon. Colonel 1st Battalion Royal Highlanders. General Cameron married, in 1873, Flora, fourth daughter of Andrew Maclean, M.D., Deputy Inspector-General of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, who died in 1875. General Cameron died on June 8th, 1886.