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Ware, Hugh (DNB00)


WARE, HUGH (1772?–1846), colonel in the French army, born near Rathcoffey in Kildare in 1771 or 1772, was descended from the family to which Sir James Ware [q. v.], the historian, belonged. Hugh sympathised strongly with the Irish national movement, and was a member of the society of United Irishmen. On the outbreak of the rebellion in 1798 he raised a body of insurgents, and with them maintained a desultory warfare in Kildare. After the battle of Vinegar Hill he joined a detachment of the defeated insurgent force, and retreated towards Meath. They were dispersed by the government troops, but Ware and some of the other leaders were admitted to terms. He was imprisoned at Dublin in the Royal Exchange, and subsequently at Kilmainham until the treaty of Amiens in 1802, when he was released on condition of voluntary banishment for life.

On his release Ware proceeded to France, and in 1803, on the rupture of the peace of Amiens, he obtained the commission of lieutenant in the newly formed Irish legion. In 1804 he was appointed captain of grenadiers. After the breaking up of the camp at Boulogne, the legion served in Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Germany. Ware displayed undaunted courage on every occasion, and gained the regard of his superiors by his military talent. In 1810 the Irish regiment was sent into Spain. It took part in the siege of Astorga, and Ware had been selected to lead an assault, when the necessity was averted by the capitulation of the garrison. In the month of June, at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo by Ney, Ware was appointed by Junot to the command of a bataillon d'élite selected from his own regiment. He took part at the head of nine hundred men in a successful attack by General St. Croix on the British outposts, and for his share in the action was promoted to the rank of chef de bataillon (lieutenant-colonel).

After the disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 the Irish legion was transferred to Germany to reinforce the French army. Ware played a glorious part in the campaign of the following year. On 28 March he drove a party of cossacks out of Celle, inflicting heavy losses upon them. Under General Puthod he took part in the French victories at Bautzen and Gros Warschen, which gained for Napoleon the truce of 4 June. During the armistice Ware received the cross of the legion of honour. In the battle of Lowenberg on 19 Aug. the Irish regiment bore the brunt of the engagement, and Ware received three grapeshot wounds and had his horse killed under him. In the second battle of Lowenberg, two days later, the colonel of the regiment, William Lawless [q. v.], had his leg taken off by a cannon-shot, and the command devolved upon Ware, who conducted the regiment over the Bobr in the face of the enemy. At the battle of Goldberg on 23 Aug. he carried with the bayonet the hill of Goldberg, the key of the enemy's position, and had a second horse killed under him. At the conclusion of the action the French commander, General Lauriston, wrote from the field soliciting for him the rank of colonel. On the 29th of the same month he saved the eagle of the regiment from capture. After the retreat from Leipzig, Ware conducted his regiment (reduced to ninety men) to Holland, where the reserved battalion was stationed at Bois-le-Duc. He took part in the defence of Antwerp, and on 14 Jan. 1814 made a successful sortie on the British troops at the head of a thousand men.

Napoleon, on his return from Elba, promoted him to the rank of colonel. During the Belgian campaign the Irish regiment was in garrison at Montreuil-sur-Mer, and after Waterloo it was disbanded. Ware retired to Tours, where he died on 5 March 1846.

Ware was a man of gigantic strength, and noted for his unfailing hospitality to English prisoners, whom he eagerly sought out during the Spanish campaigns.

[Times, 27 March 1846.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.275
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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357 ii 12 Ware, Hugh: for Rathcoffrey read Rathcoffey