Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dundas, Francis

DUNDAS, FRANCIS (d. 1824), general, of Sanson, Berwickshire, colonel 71st highland light infantry, was second son of Robert Dundas of Arniston the younger [q. v.], who held various important judicial posts in Scotland and died in 1787, by his second wife, Jean, daughter of William Grant, lord Prestongrange (see Foster's Peerage, under ‘Melville’). He was appointed ensign 1st foot guards 4 April 1775, and became lieutenant and captain in January 1778. In May 1777 he was one of the officers of the guards sent out to relieve a like number in America (Hamilton, Hist. Gren. Guards, ii. 225). He fought at Brandywine and Gormantown, in the attack on the Delaware forts, and in the action of Monmouth during the march from Philadelphia to New York. He was frequently employed on detached services during the campaigns of 1778–9, and being appointed to the light company of his regiment, formed for service in America—the regiments of guards did not possess permanent light companies until some years later—commanded it under Lord Cornwallis in Carolina and Virginia, where it formed the advance guard of the army, and was daily engaged with the enemy. He was one of the officers who surrendered with Cornwallis at York Town, 19 Oct. 1781 (ib. ii. 255). He became captain and lieutenant-colonel 11 April 1783, exchanged as lieutenant-colonel to 45th foot, and thence in 1787 to 1st royals, a battalion of which he commanded in Jamaica from 1787 to 1791. He was adjutant-general with Sir Charles Grey at the capture of Martinique and Guadaloupe in 1794. He was made major-general in 1795. In October 1794 he became colonel-commandant of the Scotch brigade—formed out of the Scotch brigade in the service of the United Provinces of Holland, which was taken into British pay, and soon constituted the 94th foot—for which he raised an additional battalion. The same year he was ordered to the West Indies with the expedition under Sir Ralph Abercromby, but, being driven back by stress of weather to Southampton, was countermanded and appointed to command the troops at the Cape of Good Hope, whither he proceeded in August 1796. The chief events of his military command in South Africa were the mutiny on board the men-of-war in Table Bay in 1797, and the Kaffir war on the Sundays river in 1800. Together with the command of the troops he held the post of acting governor from Lord Macartney's departure in November 1798 until the arrival of the new governor, Sir George Yonge [q. v.], in December 1799, and again from the recall of the latter in 1801 until the colony was restored to the Dutch in 1803. He commanded the Kent division of the army collected on the south coast of England under Sir David Dundas [q. v.] during part of the invasion alarms of 1804–5, commanded a division under Lord Cathcart in the Hanover expedition of 1805–6, and again commanded on the Kentish coast after his return. He became lieutenant-general in 1802, and general in 1812.

In 1809 Dundas had been appointed colonel of the 71st highland light infantry. He was also transferred from the governorship of Carrickfergus, to which he was appointed in 1817, to that of Dumbarton Castle. He was never on half-pay.

Dundas married Eliza, daughter of Sir J. Cumming, H.E.I.C.S., by whom he had two sons and one daughter. He died 15 Jan. 1824.

[Foster's Peerage, under ‘Melville;’ Philippart's Roy. Mil. Cal. 1820, i. 388; Gent. Mag. xc. pt. i. 378. Particulars of the military operations in which Dundas took part will be found in Hamilton's Gren. Guards, ii. 225–55, London, 1872; Cooper Willyams's Campaign West Indies in 1794, London, fol.; Bunbury's Narrative of some Passages in the War, pp. 174–80, London, 1852. Some account of affairs at the Cape during his command will be found in Allardyce's Life of Admiral Elphinstone, Viscount Keith (Edinburgh, 1883), in Sir John Barrow's writings on the Cape, in Theodore Hook's Life of Sir David Baird, in the Journal of Lady Anne Barnard (printed in the Earl of Balcarres's Lives of the Lindsays, London, 1858), and in Extraordinary Military Career of John Shipp (London, 1843), vol. i.]

H. M. C.