Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ponsonby, Henry

PONSONBY, HENRY (d. 1745), of Ashgrove, major-general, was the second son of Sir William Ponsonby by Mary, sister of Brabazon Moore, of the family of Charles, second viscount Moore of Drogheda [q. v.] His father, third son of Sir John Ponsonby, who accompanied Cromwell to Ireland in 1649 as colonel of a regiment of horse, sat in the Irish parliament as member for co. Kilkenny in Anne's reign, was called to the privy council in 1715, and was raised to the peerage of Ireland as Baron Bessborough in 1721. In the preamble of his patent his services as a soldier during the siege of Derry are particularly mentioned. He was made Viscount Duncannon in 1723, and died on 17 Nov. 1724 at the age of sixty-seven.

Henry Ponsonby was made a captain of foot on 2 Aug. 1705, and became colonel of a regiment (afterwards the 37th or North Hampshire) on 13 May 1735. He represented Fethard in the Irish parliament in November 1715, and afterwards sat for Clonmeen, Inistioge, and Newtown. In February 1742, when Great Britain was preparing to take part in the war of the Austrian succession, he was made brigadier, and in April he embarked for Flanders with the force under Lord Stair. He was present at Dettingen, and was promoted major-general in July 1743. At the battle of Fontenoy on 11 May 1745, as one of the major-generals of the first line, he was at the head of the first battalion of the 1st footguards, and therefore in the forefront of the famous charge made by the British and Hanoverian infantry. He was in the act of handing over his ring and watch to his son, Chambré-Brabazon, a lieutenant in his own regiment, when he was killed by a cannon-shot. By his wife, Lady Frances Brabazon, youngest daughter of the fifth Earl of Meath, he left one son and one daughter.

[Lodge's Peerage of Ireland; Gent. Mag. 1742–5; Campbell McLachlan's Duke of Cumberland, p. 183.]

E. M. L.