, broadsheet. 3. ‘Further Evidences … of the Great Defection,’ Gloucester , 8vo.
[Selections from the Diary and Correspondence of Sargent, 1885; Journal of John Wilbur, 1859, pp. 547 sq.; Hodgson's Society of Friends in the Nineteenth Century, 1876, ii. 379 sq.; Modern Review, October 1884; Correspondence of William Hodgson, 1886, pp. 316 sq.; Smith's Catalogue of Friends' Books, 1867, and Supplement, 1893.]
SARGENT, JOHN NEPTUNE (1826–1893), lieutenant-general, was born on 18 June 1826, at sea, on board the East India Company's ship Atlas. He was by race an Irishman and a soldier. One of his ancestors had served under William III at the Boyne. His father, John James Sargent, was an officer of the 18th royal Irish, who, after more than thirty-one years' service as subaltern and captain, obtained a brevet majority for his conduct at the capture of Canton in 1841, and died about three years afterwards from the effects of the climate of Hong Kong. His mother, Matilda, born Fitzgerald, died in 1841.
Sargent obtained a commission by purchase in the 95th foot on 19 Jan. 1844, joined his regiment in Ceylon, and went on with it to Hong Kong in March 1847, having become lieutenant on 11 Dec. 1846. His company was sent to Canton to protect the factories after the outbreak in which six Englishmen were killed in December 1847, and he afterwards acted as assistant engineer at Hong Kong. He returned to England with his regiment in 1850, and was adjutant of it from 11 Nov. 1851 till 18 Nov. 1853, when he was promoted captain. In 1854 the regiment was ordered to Turkey, and by great efforts he escaped being left behind as junior captain. While the troops were at Varna he went on leave to the Danube, and was under fire there with General W. F. Beatson. At the Alma, in command of the leading company of the right wing of his regiment, he led the advance with ‘determined bravery,’ as his immediate commanding officer reported. He was wounded in the leg, but refused to be struck off duty, which was at that time heavy, as eighteen officers of the regiment were killed or wounded at the Alma.
He took part in the repulse of the Russian sortie on 26 Oct., for his regiment belonged to the second division; and he was in command of its outlying picket on the night before Inkerman. Kinglake has described how he noted and reported the sound of the Russian guns moving in the night towards the field, and prepared for the sortie which he anticipated. During the battle he was in command of the grenadier company, and he led the charge upon the head of the Russian column, mounting St. Clement's gorge, made by the right wing of the 95th. This body was for some time isolated, and so hard pressed that Sargent himself used a rifle. A successful charge by the Zouaves enabled him and his men to rejoin the troops on the ridge. He found himself in command of what remained of the 95th, and brought the regiment out of action.
He served throughout the siege, being the only captain of his regiment present with it from first to last, and he was wounded in the final attack on the Redan on 8 Sept. 1855. He was strongly recommended by his colonel as ‘a most zealous, meritorious, and brave officer,’ and was mentioned in despatches. He was given a brevet majority on 2 Nov. 1855, a meagre reward for his services. He received the Crimean medal with three clasps, the Turkish medal, the Medjidie (fifth class), and the Legion of Honour (5th class). He was appointed one of a committee of three officers to examine the equipment of other armies in the Crimea, and suggest improvements in the British equipment.
He was on half pay from 29 Feb. 1856 to 25 Aug. 1857, when he was given a majority in the buffs (second battalion). On 29 July 1859 he became second lieutenant-colonel in the first battalion, and served with it in the China war of 1860. He was appointed to command a provisional battalion for the garrison of Hong Kong, but was allowed to accompany his regiment when the expedition went north to take Pekin. He had charge of the advanced guard in the attack of Sinho on 12 Aug., and was present at the affair of Tanghoo, and during the storming of the north Taku forts on the 20th he commanded a mixed detachment which diverted the fire of batteries that would otherwise have taken the attacking troops in flank. When the army advanced on Pekin he was appointed British commandant at the Taku forts, and succeeded in establishing a market there which supplied the fleets.
Sir Hope Grant reported him as ‘one of the most active and useful officers in the field,’ and Sir Robert Cornelis (afterwards Lord) Napier [q. v.], under whom he served more directly, reposed the fullest confidence in ‘his good judgment and determination.’ He was made a C.B. on 27 Jan. 1862, and received the China medal with clasp.
On the voyage home the transport Athleta, with some companies of the buffs under his command, touched at the Cape, and the crew, tempted by higher wages or by the Australian