Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 751 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
STAPLETON COTTON COMBERMERE, 1st VISCOUNT (1773–1865), British field-marshal and colonel of the 1st Life Guards, was the second son of Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton of Comber-mere Abbey, Cheshire, and was born on the 14th of November 1773, at Llewenny Hall in Denbighshire. He was educated at Westminster School, and when only sixteen obtained a second lieutenancy in the 23rd regiment (Royal Welsh Fusiliers). A few years afterwards (1793) he became by purchase captain in the 6th Dragoon Guards, and he served in this regiment during the campaigns of the duke of York in Flanders. While yet in his twentieth year, he joined the 25th Light Dragoons (subsequently 22nd) as lieutenant-colonel, and, while in attendance with his regiment on George III. at Weymouth, he became a great favourite of the king. In 1796 he went with his regiment to India, taking part en route in the operations in Cape Colony (July–August 1796), and in 1799 served in the war with Tippoo Sahib, and at the storming of Seringapatam. Soon after this, having become heir to the family baronetcy, he was, at his father's desire, exchanged into a regiment at home, the ,6th Light Dragoons. He was stationed in Ireland during Emmett's insurrection, became colonel in 1800, and major-general five years later. From 18o6 to 1814 he was M.P. for Newark. In 18o8 he was sent to the seat of war in Portugal, where he shortly rose to the position of commander of Wellington's cavalry, and it was here that he most displayed that courage and judgment which won for him his fame as a cavalry officer. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1809, but continued his military career. His share in the battle of Salamanca (22nd of July 1812) was especially marked, and he received the personal thanks of Wellington. The day after, he was accidentally wounded. He was now a lieutenant-general in the British army and a K.B., and on the conclusion of peace (1814) was raised to the peerage under the style of Baron Combermere. He was not present at Waterloo, the command, which he expected, and bitterly regretted not receiving, having been given to Lord Uxbridge. When the latter was wounded Cotton was sent for to take over his command, and he remained in France until the reduction of the allied army of occupation. In 1817 he was appointed governor of Barbadoes and commander of the West Indian forces. From 1822 to 1825 he commanded in Ireland. His career of active service was concluded in India (1826), where he besieged and took Bhurtpore—a fort which twenty-two years previously had defied the genius of Lake and was deemed impregnable. For this service he was created Viscount Combermere. A long period of peace and honour still remained to him at home. In 1834 he was sworn a privy councillor, and in 1852 he succeeded Wellingtion as constable of the Tower and lord lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets. In 1855 he was made a field-marshal and G.C.B. He died at Clifton on the 21st of February 1865. An equestrian statue in bronze, the work of Baron Marochetti, was raised in his honour at Chester by the inhabitants of Cheshire. Comber-mere was succeeded by his only son, Wellington Henry (1818-1891), and the viscountcy is still held by his descendants. See Viscountess Combermere and Captain W. W. Knollys, The Combermere Correspondence (London, 1866).

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.