Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/238

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The regiment had seventeen killed, seventy-four wounded, and forty-eight missing that day, though its presence in the battle is not mentioned in the published history of the 28th foot. Bragg's was one of the regiments ordered home on the receipt of news of the rising in Scotland, and the Duke of Cumberland wrote on 20 Sept. 1745 that he was 'exceedingly sorry to lose Lord George [Sackville], as he has not only shown his courage, but a disposition to his trade which I do not always find in those of higher rank ' (De la Warre MSS. in Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 282). Bragg's regiment was sent to Ireland, and on 9 April 1746 Sackville was appointed colonel of the 20th foot (now 1st Lancashire fusileers), which he joined at Inverness just after the battle of Culloden. He was stationed at Inverness, Dundee, and elsewhere in Scotland until the summer of 1747, when he returned to Flanders, apparently in advance of his regiment (ib.) In 1748 he was sent by the Duke of Cumberland on a mission to Marshal Saxe (ib. 9th Rep. (iii.)). After the peace the 20th foot was at home, and the major commanding, James Wolfe, in a letter dated 2 Aug. 1749, deplores the expected transfer of Sackville to a colonelcy of dragoons. 'Unless Mr. Conway fall to our lot,' he says, 'no possible successor can in any measure make amends for his loss' (Wright, Life of Wolfe, pp. 133-4). In November that year Sackville was transferred to the colonelcy of the 12th dragoons (now lancers), and in 1750 to that of his old corps, the present 6th carabineers, by that time the 3rd Irish horse or carabineers. Sackville was first and principal secretary to the lord-lieutenant, and secretary of war for Ireland during his father's viceroyalty in 1751-6, and during part of the time sat for the borough of Portarlington, Queen's County, in the Irish House of Commons, retaining his English seat the while. Abstracts of Sackville's papers relating to Irish affairs during 1750-6 are given in 'Hist. MSS. Comm.' 9th Rep. (iii.), pp. 40-58. They furnish little of political importance. A letter is quoted in which Sackville is described as 'the gayest man in Ireland except his father.' Sackville became a major-general in 1755, and, after vacating the Irish secretaryship, was appointed to command a brigade of line encamped on Chatham upper lines. In 1757, Lieutenant-general Charles Spencer, duke of Marlborough, and Major-generals Lord George Sackville and Waldegrave were appointed by warrant under the royal sign manual, to inquire into the conduct of General Sir John Mordaunt in the Rochfort expedition, a precedent existing in the case of Sir John Cope at Prestonpans (Clode, Administration of Justice under Military Law, p. 172). The court reported unfavourably of Mordaunt's conduct; but the court-martial which followed took a different view. The same year Sackville was appointed lieutenant-general of the ordnance, and was transferred to the colonelcy of the 2nd dragoon guards (queen's boys). Another descent on the French coast having been decided on, the command was given to the Duke of Marlborough, with Sackville and Lord Ancram as his lieutenants. A force of thirteen thousand guards and line and six thousand marines sailed from Spithead in June 1758. Having reconnoitred St. Malo, they landed in the bay of Cancale a few miles distant, and marched across country to the port, in two columns, the first commanded by Sackville. After burning some shipping, they returned to Cancale, and, hearing of the approach of a powerful French force, re-embarked somewhat precipitately. On 29 June the expedition appeared off Cherbourg, but the weather proving tempestuous, the admiral (Howe) forbore to attack, and returned to the Isle of Wight, where the troops were put on shore for refreshment, and their leaders returned to London, vowing they would 'go buccaneering' no more. Sackville's account of the expedition will be found in 'Hist. MSS. Comm.' 9th Rep. (iii.) 71-4. Contemptible as a military operation, it appears to have had the effect of diverting French reinforcements from Germany, whither part of Marlborough's troops were sent as a British reinforcement to the allied army under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. The troops under Marlborough, with Sackville as his second in command, arrived in Hanover in September 1758. Marlborough died at Miinster soon after, of an epidemic which had broken out among the British soldiers, and was succeeded by Sackville as 'commander-in-chief of all his majesty's forces, horse and foot, serving on the Lower Rhine or to be there assembled with the allied army under the command of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, commander- in-chief of the said army' (see Proceedings of Sackville's Court Martial). Sackville was sworn of the privy council the same year. Haughty in official intercourse and of an exacting temper, Sackville, according to the popular story, was speedily on bad terms both with Prince Ferdinand and with his own second in command, Lord Granby. Nothing of special importance, however, occurred until the battle of Minden or Thornhausen, 1 Aug. 1759. The French attack on the allied army in position commenced soon after dawn, and before 10 A.M. six regiments of British foot and two of Hanoverians on the allied left,