Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Campbell, Colin (1792-1863)

CAMPBELL, Sir COLIN, Lord Clyde (1792–1863), field-marshal, eldest son of John Macliver, a carpenter in Glasgow, and Agnes Campbell, of the family of the Campbells of Islay, was born at Glasgow on 20 Oct. 1792. He was educated at the expense of his mother's brother, Colonel John Campbell, and was by him introduced to the Duke of York, as a candidate for a commission in the army, in 1807. The commander-in-chief cried out, ‘What, another of the clan!’ and a note was made of his name as Colin Campbell, and when the boy was about to protest, his uncle checked him and told him that Campbell was a good name to fight under. On 26 May 1808 he was gazetted an ensign in the 9th regiment, and sailed with the 2nd battalion of that regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel John Cameron, for Portugal, with the expedition under Sir Arthur Wellesley. He was first under fire at the battle of Roliça, and was subsequently present at Vimeiro, and then served with his regiment in Sir John Moore's advance to Salamanca, and the retreat to Corunna. He served with the first battalion of the 9th regiment in the expedition to Walcheren, where he was attacked with the fever of the district, which troubled him all through his life, and in 1810 joined the 2nd battalion of his regiment at Gibraltar. He had been promoted lieutenant on 28 Jan. 1809, and commanded the two flank companies of the 9th at the battle of Barossa, where his gallantry attracted the notice of General Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, who never forgot him. He was then attached by Lieutenant-general Colin Campbell to the Spanish army under Ballesteros, and served with the Spaniards until December 1811, when he rejoined the 2nd battalion of his regiment in time to share in the glorious defence of Tarifa. In January 1813 he joined the 1st battalion of the 9th, under the command of his old chief, Colonel John Cameron [q. v.] His regiment formed part of Graham's corps, in which Campbell served at the battle of Vittoria and the siege of San Sebastian. On 17 July 1813 Campbell led the right wing of his regiment in the attack on the fortified convent of San Bartholomé, and was mentioned in despatches, and on 25 July he led the forlorn hope in the unsuccessful attempt to storm the fortress itself. ‘It was in vain,’ says Napier, ‘that Lieutenant Campbell, breaking through the tumultuous crowd with the survivors of his chosen detachment, mounted the ruins—twice he ascended, twice he was wounded, and all around him died’ (Peninsular War, book xxi. ch. iii.) For his gallant conduct Campbell was recommended for promotion by Sir Thomas Graham, and on 9 Nov. 1813 he was gazetted to a company without purchase in the 60th rifles. Before, however, he left the 9th, Campbell again distinguished himself. He left his quarters in San Sebastian before his wounds were healed or the doctors gave him leave, and headed the night attack of his regiment on the batteries on the French side of the Bidassoa after fording that river, and was again seriously wounded. Colonel Cameron severely reprimanded him for leaving his quarters without leave, but on account of his gallantry did not report his disobedience. His wounds and his promotion made it necessary for him to leave the army, and he reached England in December 1813, when he was awarded a pension of 100l. a year for his wounds, and ordered to join the 7th battalion of the 60th rifles in Nova Scotia.

Campbell had fought his way to the rank of captain in five years; it was nearly thirty before he attained that of colonel. He spent the years 1815 and 1816 on the Riviera on leave, and joined the 5th battalion 60th rifles at Gibraltar in November 1816. In 1818 he was transferred to the 21st regiment, or royal Scotch fusiliers, which he joined at Barbadoes in April 1819. In 1821 he went on the staff as aide-de-camp to General Murray, the governor of British Guiana, and as brigade-major to the troops at Demerara, and was continued in the same double capacity by Sir Benjamin D'Urban, who succeeded Murray in 1823. In 1825 an opportunity occurred for him to purchase his majority, and a generous friend in Barbadoes lent him the requisite sum. On 26 Nov. 1825 he was gazetted major, and in the following year resigned his staff appointment and returned to England. His gallantry at San Sebastian had assured him powerful friends at headquarters; his former commanders, Sir John Cameron and Lord Lynedoch, never forgot him, while Sir Henry Hardinge and Lord Fitzroy Somerset remembered his former services; and on 26 Oct. 1832 he was promoted to an unattached lieutenant-colonelcy on payment of 1,300l. Out of his scanty pay he contrived to support his family, but meanwhile continued to solicit the command of a regiment. In 1832 he went to the continent and watched the siege of Antwerp, of which he sent valuable reports home. At last, in 1835, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of his old regiment, the 9th, on condition that he should at once exchange to the 98th, of which he assumed the command on its return from the Cape in 1837. For some years he commanded that regiment in garrison in the north of England, and got it into such a state of efficiency as to win repeated encomiums from the general commanding the northern district, Sir Charles Napier. In 1841 Campbell was ordered to proceed to China with the 98th to reinforce the army there under Sir Hugh Gough. He reached Hong Kong on 2 June 1842, joined Sir Hugh Gough's army in North China, and was attached to Lord Saltoun's brigade. He covered the attack on Chin-keang-foo, and co-operated in the march on Nankin. At the peace his regiment, decimated by fever, was ordered to Hong Kong, where Campbell assumed the command of the troops. He was most favourably mentioned in despatches by the general, who had known him in the Peninsula, and was appointed aide-de-camp to the queen and promoted colonel, and made a C.B. In January 1844 he was made a brigadier-general, and took over the command of the brigade in Chusan from Major-general Sir James Schœdde, K.C.B. He remained at Chusan till 25 July 1846, and reached Calcutta on 24 Oct. 1846 at the head of his regiment.

Soon after his arrival in India, in January 1847, he was appointed to the command of the brigade at Lahore, and there made the acquaintance of Sir Henry Lawrence, the commissioner, whose intimate friend he became. Upon the insurrection of Moolraj and the siege of Mooltan Campbell advocated prompt measures, and was bitterly disappointed when he was not allowed to serve in the relief of the besieged fortress. At the close of the year he was appointed to the command of a division by Lord Gough, and offered the post of adjutant-general to the forces, which he refused owing to his earnest desire to return to England on the conclusion of the war. His services in the second Sikh war were most conspicuous; he covered the rout of the cavalry at Ramnuggur, and by a forward movement prevented the Sikhs from following up their first success at Chillianwallah. He commanded the right wing and the pursuit at the crowning victory of Goojerat. He commanded a brigade in Major-general Sir Walter Gilbert's pursuit of the Afghans, and afterwards received the command of the brigade at Rawul Pindi, and of the frontier division stationed at Peshawur. His services in the second Sikh war were recognised by his being made a K.C.B. in 1849. The great wish in Campbell's mind seems at this time to have been to retire and return to England, for he was now in a situation to save his family from any privation. ‘I am growing old and only fit for retirement,’ he wrote in his journal on 20 Oct. 1849 (Shadwell, Life of Lord Clyde, i. 239). The earnest requests of Lord Dalhousie and Sir Charles Napier, however, prevailed on him to remain, and he spent three years in the harassing work of a frontier post. In February 1850 he cleared the Kohat pass of the wild tribes which infested it, with a loss of nineteen killed and seventy-four wounded. In February 1852 he proceeded in command of a force of two guns and 260 sowars against the Momunds, and utterly defeated Sadut Khan, their leader, at Panj Pao on 15 April. In the following month he was ordered to punish the Swat tribes, and advanced into the mountains with more than 2,500 men and seven guns, and after many able operations and several engagements defeated over six thousand of them at Iskakote on 18 May 1852. He desired to follow up his victory, but the government refused to allow him to summon up the 22nd regiment to his assistance, and he had to return to Peshawur with his object unattained on 1 June, and resigned his command on 25 July. In March 1853 he reached England after an absence of twelve years, and at once went on half-pay, and took a year's holiday in visiting his many friends, including his ‘fellow-criminal,’ Sir Charles Napier.

On 11 Feb. 1854 Lord Hardinge, the commander-in-chief, offered him the command of one of the two brigades which it was at that time intended to send to the East. Campbell at once accepted, but by the time he reached Turkey the intended division had grown into an army, and he was posted to the command of the 2nd or Highland brigade of the 1st division, under the command of the Duke of Cambridge, consisting of the 42nd, 79th, and 93rd Highlanders. On 20 June 1854, while he was at Varna, he was promoted major-general. ‘This rank,’ he wrote in his journal, ‘has arrived at a period of life when the small additional income which it carries with it is the only circumstance connected with the promotion in which I take any interest’ (Shadwell, Life of Lord Clyde, i. 319). At the head of his brigade he landed in the Crimea, and rendered the highest service at the battle of the Alma. He led his brigade steadily against the redoubt which had been retaken by the enemy after being carried by the light division, and with his highlanders in line overthrew the last compact columns of the Russians. His horse had been shot under him, and he had won the victory, but the only reward he asked was leave to wear the highland bonnet instead of the cocked hat of a general officer. When the army encamped before Sebastopol, Campbell was appointed commandant at Balaclava. At home his services were recognised by his being made colonel of the 67th regiment on 24 Oct. 1854. As commandant at Balaclava he directed the famous repulse of the Russian infantry column by the 93rd Highlanders, but he was not engaged at Inkerman. In December 1854 he assumed the command of the first division, consisting of the guards and highland brigades, when the Duke of Cambridge returned to England, and encamped them around Balaclava, and continued to command at Balaclava and to do all in his power for the comfort of the army during the trying winter season. He received continual thanks for his services from Lord Raglan, at whose request he did not press for the command of the expedition to Kertch in May 1855, and he was made a G.C.B. on 5 July 1855. On 16 June 1855 he led the 1st division up to the front, and commanded the reserve at the storming of the Redan on 8 Sept. But his position had ceased to be a pleasant one. Lord Panmure first proposed that he should undertake the government of Malta, and then that he should serve under Codrington, his junior, who had never seen a shot fired until the battle of the Alma. This was too much for the veteran, and on 3 Nov. he left the Crimea on leave. Personal interviews with the queen, however, softened his resentment, and on 4 June 1856 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and again went to the Crimea to take command of a corps d'armée under Codrington. The latter would not organise the corps, and Campbell only commanded the highland division for a month, and then returned to England. He received many tokens of recognition for his services. He was made a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, a knight grand cross of the order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, and a knight of the first class of the order of the Medjidie. He received a sword of honour from Glasgow, his native city, and was made an honorary D.C.L. by the university of Oxford.

In July 1856 Campbell assumed the command of the south-eastern district, and in September was appointed inspector-general of infantry. In December 1856 he was charged with the honour of going to Berlin to invest the Prince of Prussia, afterwards the German Emperor, with the grand cross of the Bath. In March 1857 he was offered the command of the expedition then forming for China, which he refused. On 11 July arrived the news of the outbreak of the mutiny of the sepoys in India, and the death of General Anson, the commander-in-chief in India. On the same day Lord Palmerston sent for Campbell and offered him the command-in-chief. He accepted the position, and started the next day for India. He arrived at Calcutta in August, and heard at once the news of the recovery of Delhi by Major-general Archdale Wilson, of the capture of Cawnpore by Havelock, and his great preparations for the first relief of Lucknow. Campbell hurried up to Cawnpore the troops intended for the China expedition, which Lord Elgin [see Bruce, James] had wisely sent to Calcutta, and assembled there also certain picked troops from the army which had taken Delhi, and after two months of terribly hard work in organising the troops and clearing Lower Bengal, he assumed the command of the army at the Alumbagh, and, leaving General Windham to hold Cawnpore, started with 4,700 men and 32 guns to save Lucknow on 9 Nov. The army consisted entirely of European troops, with the exception of two Sikh regiments, and fought its way step by step to the residency of Lucknow. On 14 Nov. the Dilkoosha Palace was stormed, and on 16 Nov. the Secunder Bagh, and on 19 Nov. Campbell was able to concert further measures with Outram and Havelock. The operation of conveying four hundred women and children with more than a thousand sick and wounded men was one of immense difficulty, but was skilfully performed, and on 30 Nov. Campbell reached Cawnpore and was enabled to send off those whom he had rescued on steamers to Calcutta. Meanwhile his success had been endangered by the defeat of General Windham in front of Cawnpore, but he arrived in time to prevent a further disaster, and established his headquarters there. The winter months abounded in minor operations, all of which bore the trace of the guiding mind of Campbell, who, however, made up his mind that a thorough reduction of the mutineers in Oude must be the first great step towards re-establishing British ascendency. By March 1858 he had assembled 25,000 men for this purpose, and then began a campaign second only in interest to that of the preceding November. After ten days' hard fighting he finally reduced Lucknow on 19 March, and then by a series of masterly operations in Oude and Rohilkund restored entire peace in the north of India by the month of May. He then paused in his own personal exertions from ill-health; but it was owing to his careful organisation that Sir Hugh Rose was able to muster an adequate army for the campaign in central India, and to his combinations that the campaign was finally successful. Rewards were showered upon him. On 14 May 1858 he was promoted general; on 15 Jan. 1858 he was made colonel of his favourite regiment, the 93rd Highlanders; in June 1861, on the foundation of the order, he was made a K.S.I.; and on 3 July 1858 he was elevated to the peerage as Lord Clyde of Clydesdale. But his health was failing, and he felt it impossible to remain long at his post, and on 4 June 1860 he left India, where he had won so much glory, amidst every sign of regret.

The last few years of Lord Clyde's life abounded in honours. One of the last acts of the old East India Company was to vote him a pension of 2,000l. a year; in July 1860 he was appointed colonel of the Coldstream guards, in the place of Sir John Byng, Lord Strafford; and on 9 Nov. 1862 he was made a field marshal. In December 1860 he was presented with the freedom of the city of London; in 1861 he represented the Horse Guards at the Prussian manœuvres; and in April 1862 he commanded at the Easter volunteer review. Solaced in his last days by the respect of the whole people and the love of his family, the great soldier of fortune, who had saved the British empire in India, died on 14 Aug. 1863, and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 22nd. A great soldier and a great general, Lord Clyde has made a reputation in the military history of England absolutely unrivalled in the records of the middle of the nineteenth century.

[Shadwell's Life of Lord Clyde, 1881; Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea; Kaye's and Malleson's History of the Mutiny; Russell's Diary in India, and all books treating of the history of the Indian Mutiny.]

H. M. S.