1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Halkett, Hugh, Freiherr von

HALKETT, HUGH, Freiherr von (1783–1863), British soldier and general of infantry in the Hanoverian service, was the second son of Major-General F. G. Halkett, who had served many years in the army, and whose ancestors had for several generations distinguished themselves in foreign services. With the “Scotch Brigade” which his father had been largely instrumental in raising, Hugh Halkett served in India from 1798 to 1801. In 1803 his elder brother Colin was appointed to command a battalion of the newly formed King’s German Legion, and in this he became senior captain and then major. Under his brother’s command he served with Cathcart’s expeditions to Hanover, Rügen and Copenhagen, where his bold initiative on outpost duty won commendation. He was in the Peninsula in 1808–1809, and at Walcheren. At Albuera, Salamanca, &c., he commanded the 2nd Light Infantry Battalion, K.G.L., in succession to his brother, and at Venta del Pozo in the Burgos retreat he greatly distinguished himself. In 1813 he left the Peninsula and was subsequently employed in the organization of the new Hanoverian army. He led a brigade of these troops in Count Wallmoden’s army, and bore a marked part in the battle of Göhrde and the action of Schestedt, where he took with his own hand a Danish standard. In the Waterloo campaign he commanded two brigades of Hanoverian militia which were sent to the front with the regulars, and during the fight with the Old Guard captured General Cambronne. After the fall of Napoleon he elected to stay in the Hanoverian service, though he retained his half-pay lieutenant-colonelcy in the English army. He rose to be general and inspector-general of infantry. In his old age he led the Xth Federal Army Corps in the Danish War of 1848, and defeated the Danes at Oversee. He had the G.C.H., the C.B. and many foreign orders, including the Prussian order of the Black Eagle and pour le Mérite and the Russian St Anne.

See Knesebeck, Leben des Freiherrn Hugh von Halkett (Stuttgart, 1865).

His brother, Sir Colin Halkett (1774–1856), British soldier, began his military career in the Dutch Guards and served in various “companies” for three years, leaving as a captain in 1795. From 1800 to the peace of Amiens he served with the Dutch troops in English pay in Guernsey. In August 1803 Halkett was one of the first officers assigned to the service of raising the King’s German Legion, and he became major, and later lieutenant-colonel, commanding the 2nd Light Infantry Battalion. His battalion was employed in the various expeditions mentioned above, from Hanover to Walcheren, and in 1811 Colin Halkett succeeded Charles Alten in the command of the Light Brigade, K.G.L., which he held throughout the Peninsula War from Albuera to Toulouse. In 1815 Major-General Sir Colin Halkett commanded the 5th British Brigade of Alten’s division, and at Waterloo he received four wounds. Unlike his brother, he remained in the British service, in which he rose to general. At the time of his death he was governor of Chelsea hospital. He had honorary general’s rank in the Hanoverian service, the G.C.B. and G.C.H., as well as numerous foreign orders.

For information about both the Halketts, see Beamish, History of the King’s German Legion (1832).