Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/347

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

SPENCER, Sir AUGUSTUS ALMERIC (1807–1893), general, was the third son of Francis Almeric Spencer, first baron Churchill, by Lady Frances Fitzroy, fifth daughter of Augustus, third duke of Grafton. George Spencer, fourth duke of Marlborough [q. v.], was his grandfather. He was born on 25 March 1807 at Blenheim, and served as one of the pages when Alexander I, emperor of Russia, visited Blenheim after the peace of 1815. He lived from 1817 at Cornbury, the seat of his father in Wychwood Forest, and was privately educated by the Rev. Walter Brown, rector of Stonesfield, Oxfordshire, formerly chaplain and librarian at Blenheim. In 1825 he entered the army as ensign of the 43rd light infantry, and was with the regiment at Gibraltar. In 1827 he was under Sir George de Lacy Evans [q. v.] in Portugal. A few years later he accompanied the regiment to Canada, and in 1836 married, at Fredericton, Helen, second daughter of Sir Archibald Campbell, governor of New Brunswick. In 1845 he was appointed to the command of the 44th, and served throughout the Crimean war (1854–5). He was present at the battles of Alma and Inkerman, the occupation of the cemetery and suburbs of Sebastopol (18 June 1855), where he was wounded, and as brigadier-general of the 4th division in the night attack at the fall of Sebastopol (8 Sept. 1855). In October 1855 he commanded the land forces in the expedition to Kinburn, in conjunction with General (afterwards marshal) Bazaine. He was thus with the army from the first landing at Varna until its return to England; was ten times mentioned in despatches, and received the medal with three clasps for the Crimean campaign, as well as the Sardinian and Turkish medals, and the third order of Medjidieh, and was made C.B. and officer of the Legion of Honour. After his return to England in 1856 he was placed in command of a brigade at Aldershot. In 1860 he was made major-general, and appointed to a division of the Madras army at Bangalore. In 1866 he was appointed to the command of the western district (Devonport), and in 1869 he was again in India as commander-in-chief of the Bombay army. In this year also he became colonel of his old regiment, the 43rd. Returning from India in 1874, he commanded the 2nd army corps in the manœuvres on Salisbury Plain in the following year, and was promoted to the rank of general. This was the close of his active service. He died on 28 Aug. 1893 in Ennismore Gardens, London.

[Times, 13 Aug. 1893; Hart's Army List.]

H. L. B.

SPENCER, Sir BRENT (1760–1828), general, born in 1760, was the son of Conway Spencer of Trumery, co. Antrim. On 18 Jan. 1778 he was commissioned as ensign in the 15th foot, which was sent in the course of that year to the West Indies, and took part in the capture of St. Lucia. He was promoted lieutenant on 12 Nov. 1779, and was taken prisoner in February 1782, his regiment being part of the small garrison of Brimstone Hill, St. Kitts, which had to capitulate after nearly a month's siege.

Returning to England, he was given a company in the 99th (or Jamaica) regiment on 29 July 1783, from which he exchanged back to the 15th on 4 Sept. In 1790 the regiment was again sent out to the West Indies, and on 6 March 1791 Spencer obtained a majority in the 13th foot, then stationed in Jamaica. He shared in the expedition to St. Domingo, and distinguished himself at the capture of Port-au-Prince in 1794, but went home soon afterwards to join the 115th, a newly raised corps, in which he had been made lieutenant-colonel on 2 May.

On 22 July 1795 he exchanged to the 40th (or 2nd Somersetshire) regiment, and went for a third time to the West Indies, landing at St. Vincent at the end of September. He commanded the regiment there in the operations against the Caribs, and afterwards in Jamaica and St. Domingo. In the latter island he was made brigadier on 9 July 1797, and had command of the troops at Grande Anse. In the early part of 1798 he had eight thousand British and colonial troops under him, and was actively engaged against Toussaint L'Ouverture until the evacuation of the island.

He had been made colonel in the army and aide-de-camp to the king on 1 Jan. 1798. At the end of that year he returned with his regiment to England, and in August 1799, when it had been raised to two battalions, he commanded it in the expedition to the Helder under the Duke of York. On 10 Sept. he defended the village of St. Martin ‘with great spirit and judgment,’ as Abercromby reported, against the Dutch troops which formed the right column of Brune's army. The republicans were attacked in their turn on the 19th, and Spencer with the 40th, forming part of Pulteney's column, drove the Dutch troops through Oudt Carspel, and along the causeway to Alkmaar. The advance had to be made along a dyke swept by artillery fire, and cost the regiment eleven officers and 150 men. The British troops had eventually to fall back, owing to the defeat of the Russians at Bergen. The