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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Hugh Henry Rose Strathnairn

HUGH HENRY ROSE STRATHNAIRN, 1st Baron (1801-1885), British field-marshal, third son of the Right Hon. Sir George Henry Rose of Sandhills, Christchurch, Hampshire (minister plenipotentiary at the Prussian court), was born at Berlin on the 6th of April 1801. He was educated at Berlin, and received military instruction at the cadet school. He entered the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders as an ensign on the 8th of June 1820, but was transferred to the 19th Foot, then quartered in Ireland, and took part in preserving order during the "Ribbon" outrages. He was promoted rapidly, to a lieutenancy in 1821, a captaincy in 1824, and an unattached majority at the end of 1826. He was brought into the 92nd Highlanders as a regimental major in 1829, and the following year was appointed equerry to H.R.H. the duke of Cambridge. The 92nd Highlanders were in Ireland, and Rose again found himself employed in maintaining law and order. He rendered important services in suppressing disaffected meetings, but his conduct was so courteous to the ringleaders that he incurred no personal hostility. In 1833 he accompanied his regiment to Gibraltar, and three years later to Malta, where he exerted himself with so much zeal during a serious outbreak of cholera in attending to the sick soldiers that his conduct elicited an official approval from the governor and commander-in-chief. In 1839 he was promoted, by purchase, to an unattached lieutenant-colonelcy. In the following year Rose was selected, with other officers and detachments of Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, for special service in Syria under the orders of the foreign office. They were to co-operate on shore, under Brigadier-General Michell, R.A. - in conjunction with the Turkish troops - with the British fleet on the coast, for the expulsion of Mehemet Ali's Egyptian army from Syria. Sir Stratford Canning sent Rose from Constantinople on a diplomatic mission to Ibrahim Pasha, commanding the Egyptian army in Syria, and after its execution he was attached, as deputy adjutant-general, to the staff of Omar Pasha, who landed at Jaffa with a large Turkish force from the British fleet. Rose distinguished himself in several engagements, and was twice wounded at El Mesden in January 1841. He was mentioned in despatches, and received from the sultan the order of Nishan Iftihar in diamonds, the war medal and a sabre of honour. The king of Prussia sent him the order of St John, and expressed his pleasure that "an early acquaintance" had so gallantly dis xxv. 32 a tinguished himself. Shortly after he succeeded to the command of the British detachment in Syria with the local rank of colonel, and in April 1841 he was appointed British consul-general for Syria. For seven years, amidst political complications and intrigues, Rose, by his energy and force of character, did much to arrest the horrors of civil war, to prevent the feuds between the Maronites and Druses coming to a head, and to administer justice impartially. On one occasion in 1841, when he found the Maronites and Druses drawn up in two lines and firing at each other, he rode between them at imminent risk to his life, and by the sheer force of a stronger will stopped the conflict. In the first year of his appointment his action saved the lives of several hundred Christians at Deir el Khama, in the Lebanon, and his services were warmly recognized by Lord Aberdeen in the House of Lords, and he was made C.B. In 1845, by his promptness and energy, at great personal risk, he rescued 600 Christians belonging to the American mission at Abaye, in the Lebanon, from the hands of the Druses, and brought them to Beirut. In 1848, during the outbreak of cholera at Beirut, he was most devoted in his attention to the sick and dying.

At the end of this year he left Syria on leave of absence, and did not return, as Lord Palmerston appointed him secretary of embassy at Constantinople in January 1851. In the following year he was charge d'affaires in the absence of Sir Stratford Canning during the crisis of the question of the "holy places," and he so strengthened the hands of the Porte by his determined action that the Russian attempt to force a secret treaty upon Turkey was foiled. During the war with Russia in 1854-56 Rose was the British commissioner at the headquarters of the French army, with the local rank of brigadier-general. At Varna he succeeded in quenching a fire which threatened the French small-arm ammunition stores, and received the thanks of Marshal St Arnaud, who recommended him for the Legion of Honour. He was present at the battle of the Alma, and was wounded on the following day. At Inkerman he reconnoitred the ground between the British and French armies with great sang-froid under a withering fire from the Russian pickets, and his horse was shot under him. He distinguished himself on several other occasions in maintaining verbal communication between the allied forces, and by his tact and judgment contributed to the good feeling that existed between the two armies. His services were brought to notice by the commanders-in-chief of both armies, and he received the medal with three clasps and the thanks of parliament, was promoted to be major-general, and was made K.C.B. and commander of the Legion of Honour. On the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 Rose was given command of the Poona division. He arrived in September, and shortly after took command of the Central India force. In January 1858 he marched from Mhow, captured Rathgarh after a short siege, and defeated the raja of Banpur near Barodia in the same month. He then relieved Saugor, captured Garhakota and the fort of Barodia, and early in March defeated the rebels in the Madanpur Pass and captured Madanpur and Chanderi. He arrived before Jhansi on the 10th of March, and during its investment defeated a relieving force under Tantia Topi at the Betwa on the 1st of April. Most of Rose's force was locked up in the investment, and to Tantia Topi's army of 20,000 he could only oppose 150o men; yet with this small force he routed the enemy with a loss. of 1500 men and all their stores. Jhansi was stormed and the greater part of the city taken on the 3rd, and the rest the following day, and the fort occupied on the 5th. Kunch was captured, after severe fighting in a temperature of Ire in the shade, on the 7th of May. Rose himself was only able to hold out by medical treatment, and many casualties occurred from the great heat. Under the same conditions the march was made on Kalpi. The rebels came out in multitudes on the 22nd of May to attack his small force, exhausted by hard marching and weakened by sickness, but after a severe fight under a burning sun, and in a suffocating hot wind, were utterly routed and Kalpi occupied the following day. Having completed his programme, Rose obtained sick leave, and Sir Robert Napier was appointed to succeed him, when news came of the defection of Sindhia's troops and the occupation of Gwalior by Tantia Topi. Rose at once resumed command and moved on Gwalior by forced marches, and on the 16th of June won the battle of Morar. Leaving Napier there, he attacked Gwalior on the 19th, when the city. was captured. The fortress was stormed and won the following day, and Napier gained a signal victory over the flying enemy at Jaora-Alipur on the 2 2nd. Rose then made over the command to Napier and returned to Poona. It was to Rose's military genius that the suppression of the Indian Mutiny was largely due; but owing to official jealousy his outstanding merit was not fully recognized at the time. For his services he received the medal with clasp, the thanks of both houses of parliament, the regimental colonelcy of the 45th Foot, and was created G.C.B. By a legal quibble the Central India force, after protracted litigation, was not allowed its share of prize-money, a loss to Rose of -f 30,000. Rose was promoted lieutenant-general for his "eminent services" in February 1860, and the next month was appointed commanderin-chief of the Bombay army, and on the departure of Lord Clyde from India in the following June he succeeded him as commanderin-chief in India. During his tenure of the command-in-chief Rose improved the discipline of the army, while his powerful assistance enabled the changes consequent upon the amalgamation of the East India Company's army with the Queen's army to be carried out without friction. He was created K.C.S.I. in 1861 and G.C.S.I. on the enlargement of the order. On his return home he was made an honorary D.C.L. of Oxford University.

Rose held the Irish command from 1865 until 1870, was raised to the peerage in 1866 as Baron Strathnairn of Strathnairn and Jhansi, transferred to the colonelcy of the 9 2nd Foot, and appointed president of the army transport committee. By a good organization and disposition of the troops under his command in 1866 and 1867 he enabled the Irish government to deal successfully with the Fenian conspiracy. He was promoted general in 1867. On relinquishing the Irish command he was made an honorary LL.D. of Trinity College, Dublin. For the rest of his days he lived generally in London. He was gazetted to the colonelcy of the Royal Horse Guards in 1869, and promoted to be field marshal in June 1877. He died in Paris on the 16th of October 1885, and was buried with military honours in the graveyard of the Priory Church, Christchurch, Hampshire. An equestrian bronze statue, by E. Onslow Ford, R.A., was erected to his memory at Knightsbridge, London. He was never married.

See Sir Owen Tudor Burne, Clyde ana Strathnairn," Rulers of India Series" (1891). (R. H. V.)

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Hugh Henry Rose Strathnairn'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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