Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vansittart, George Henry

VANSITTART, GEORGE HENRY (1768–1824), general, born on 16 July 1768, was the eldest son of George Vansittart, M.P., of Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, by Sarah, daughter of the Rev. Sir James Stonhouse, bart., of Radley, Berkshire. Henry Vansittart (1777–1843) [q. v.] was his younger brother. Henry Vansittart (1732–1770) [q. v.] and Robert Vansittart [q. v.] were his uncles. He was educated at Winchester, at a military academy at Strasbourg, and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on 7 Nov. 1785.

After obtaining a commission as ensign in the 19th foot on 18 Oct. 1786, he was allowed a year's leave to study military science at Brunswick and attend the Prussian manœuvres. He became lieutenant on 25 Dec. 1787, exchanged to the 38th foot on 12 March 1788, and obtained a company in the 18th foot on 23 June 1790. He joined that regiment at Gibraltar, went with it to Toulon in 1793, took part in the defence, and was one of the last men to leave the place. He became major in the New South Wales corps on 20 Nov. 1793, and lieutenant-colonel of the 95th on 21 Feb. 1794. He took part with it in the expedition to the Cape under Sir Alured Clarke in 1795. He was made colonel in the army on 26 Jan. 1797; but the 95th was broken up in the course of that year, and for the next three years he was on half-pay and in the Berkshire militia, which his uncle, Colonel Arthur Vansittart, had previously commanded.

On 10 April 1801 he became lieutenant-colonel of the 68th foot, went with it to the West Indies, and was present at the capture of St. Lucia in June 1803. On 25 Sept. he was promoted major-general, and served on the staff in England from 1804 to 1806, and in Ireland from 1806 to 1810, when he became lieutenant-general (25 July). While in command of the Oxford district he received the degree of D.C.L. on 26 June 1805. He had been given the colonelcy of the 12th reserve battalion on 9 July 1803, and was transferred to the 1st garrison battalion on 25 Feb. 1805. The colours of this battalion were afterwards presented to him, and now hang in the great hall in Bisham Abbey. He became general on 19 July 1821, and died on 4 Feb. 1824.

On 29 Oct. 1818 he had married Anna Maria, daughter and coheiress of Thomas Copson of Sheppey Hall, Leicestershire. She survived him, with one son, George Henry (1823–1885), and a second son, Augustus Arthur (1824–1882), was born posthumously. There is a portrait of him in uniform, by Sir George Hayter, at Bisham Abbey.

[Gent. Mag. 1824, i. 278; R. M. Calendar, ii. 176; Burke's Landed Gentry; private information.]

E. M. L.