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Hamilton, John (1755-1835) (DNB00)

HAMILTON, Sir JOHN (1755–1835), first baronet of Woodbrook, co. Tyrone, lieutenant-general, inspector-general of the Portuguese army during the Peninsular war, was descended from Sir Claud Hamilton of Toome, brother of James, first earl of Abercorn [q. v.], who married and founded a family in Tyrone. He was son of James Hamilton of Woodbrook and Strabane, by his wife Elinor, sister of the first Earl (ninth lord) Castle-stewart, and was born on 4 Aug. 1755. In 1771 he was appointed to a Bengal cadetship, became ensign of Bengal native infantry 2 March 1773, lieutenant 22 March 1778, and captain 15 Oct. 1781. He was present at the reduction of various forts and the conquest of Cutch Behar, and commanded a sepoy battalion at the escalade of Gwalior and other operations against the Mahrattas in 1778 (for some account of which see Mill's Hist. of India, iv. 59-60, and footnote reference). In 1789 he was transferred to the king's service as captain, and served in the newly raised 76th foot under Cornwallis and Medows in the campaign against Tippoo Sahib in 1790-1. On 1 March 1794 he became brevet-major, and on 1 Feb. 1795 was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 81st foot, which he commanded in the campaigns in San Domingo in 1796-7, and at the Cape in the Kaffir war of 1800. He was made brevet-colonel in 1802, and after serving as a brigadier-general on the staff in Ireland became major-general in 1809, and was appointed inspector-general of the Portuguese army under Marshal Beresford on 27 Nov. that year (Gurwood, Well. Desp. iii. 608). He commanded a Portuguese division at Albuera in 1811 (ib. v. 34, 37, 38), and defended Alba de Tormes against Soult in November 1812 (ib. vi. 164, in which Hamilton's report is given in a footnote; also Napuer, Hist. Peninsular War, bk. xix. chap.v.) Rejoining Wellington's army in 1813 from sick leave he commanded a division in the battle on the Nivelle, when he received special commendation (Gurwood, vii. 134). He was appointed to the colonelcy of the 2nd Ceylon regiment in 1813, became a lieutenant-general and governor of Duncannon Fort in 1814, and was created a baronet 6 May 1815, and granted an honourable augmentation to his family arms. He was a K.C.B. and K.C.H., and after the disbanding of the 2nd Ceylon regiment was appointed colonel of the 69th foot. Hamilton died 24 Dec. 1835, at the age of eighty-two.

Hamilton married Emily Sophia, daughter of George Paul Monck and his wife Lady Araminta, daughter of Marcus Beresford, first earl of Tyrone, by whom, who survived him, he had a son, the second baronet, on whose death in 1876 the baronetcy became extinct, and five daughters.

[Philippart's Eoy. Mil. Calendar, 1 820, ii. 239,. which contains several errors; Gurwood's Well. Desp. ut supra; Supplementary Desp. vols. vi. vii. viii. xiii., notices indexed under 'Hamilton' in vol. xv.; Dodwell and Miles's Indian Army Lists, Bengal; Annual Army Lists; Gent. Mag. 1836, pt. i. 315.]

H. M. C.