Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Slade, John

SLADE, Sir JOHN (1762–1859), baronet, general, born in 1762, was the son of John Slade of Maunsel Grange, Somerset, a commissioner of the victualling board, by Charlotte, daughter of Henri Portal of Freefolk, Hampshire. He obtained a commission as cornet in the 10th dragoons on 11 May 1780, became lieutenant on 28 April 1783, captain on 24 Oct. 1787, major on 1 March 1794, and lieutenant-colonel on 29 April 1795. On 18 Oct. 1798 he exchanged to the 1st dragoons (Royals). He was appointed equerry to the Duke of Cumberland in 1800, and became colonel in the army on 29 April 1802. In June 1804 he was made brigadier, and gave up the command of his regiment.

He saw no active service until, in October 1808, he was sent to Coruña in command of the hussar brigade. He led the 10th in the cavalry affair at Sahagun on 20 Dec., shared in the arduous work of the cavalry during Moore's retreat, and served as a volunteer at the battle of Coruña, when the cavalry had embarked. He was employed on the staff in England for six months, but returned to the Peninsula in August 1809 with a brigade of dragoons, and served there continuously for four years. He was present at Busaco and at Fuentes d'Onoro, and was included in the thanks of parliament for those battles. He commanded the cavalry division, in Cotton's absence, during Masséna's retreat from Portugal in the spring of 1811. He was said to have missed opportunities, but Wellington mentioned him favourably in his despatch of 14 March.

On 11 June 1812, when he was employed under Hill in Estremadura, he was beaten by General Lallemand in a cavalry action at Llera. Each had two regiments. The British had the advantage in the first encounter, and followed headlong in pursuit through a defile, beyond which they found the French reserve drawn up. Their own reserve had joined in the pursuit and lost its formation; and the whole brigade was seized with a panic, was pursued by the French for several miles, and lost more than one hundred prisoners. Wellington wrote: ‘I do not wonder at the French boasting of it; it is the greatest blow they have struck.’ Slade had ridden with the leading squadrons, instead of attending to the supports, and much blame fell on him.

In May 1813 his brigade was transferred to General Fane, and he went home, and was employed for a year in Ireland. He received a gold medal and one clasp for Coruña and Fuentes d'Onoro. Before his death he also received the silver medal with clasps for Sahagun and Busaco. He had been promoted major-general on 25 Oct. 1809, and became lieutenant-general on 4 June 1814, and general on 10 Jan. 1837. In 1831 he was given the colonelcy of the 5th dragoon guards and was made a baronet, and in 1835 he received the grand cross of the Guelphic order. He died at Monty's Court on 13 Aug. 1859. He married, first, on 20 Sept. 1792, Anna Eliza Dawson, who died in 1819; secondly, on 17 June 1822, Matilda Ellen, second daughter of James Dawson of Fork Hill, co. Armagh. He had eleven sons and four daughters; he was succeeded in the baronetcy by his third son, Frederic William Slade (1801–1863), Q.C. and bencher of the Middle Temple. Admiral Sir Adolphus Slade [q. v.] was his fifth son.

[Gent. Mag. 1859, ii. 307; R. M. Calendar, ii. 343; De Ainslie's Historical Record of the 1st Dragoons; Wellington Despatches, Suppl. vii. 348, ix. 472, xi. 307; Tomkinson's Diary of a Cavalry Officer in the Peninsula.]

E. M. L.