John Moore (British Army officer)

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Sir John Moore
Sir John Moore by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg
Portrait, oil on canvas, of Sir John Moore
by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830)
Born13 November 1761
Glasgow, Scotland
Died16 January 1809(1809-01-16) (aged 47)
A Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Allegiance United Kingdom / British Empire
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1776–1809  (DOW)
RankLieutenant-General
Battles/wars American War of Independence

French Revolutionary Wars

Irish Rebellion of 1798

Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland

French campaign in Egypt and Syria

Peninsular War

Awards Order of the Bath
Other work MP for Lanark Burghs

Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, KB (13 November 1761 – 16 January 1809) was a British Army general, also known as Moore of Corunna. He is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which he repulsed [1] a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War. After the war General Sarrazin wrote a French history of the battle, which nonetheless may have been written in light of subsequent events, stating that "Whatever Buonaparte may assert, Soult was most certainly repulsed at Corunna; and the British gained a defensive victory, though dearly purchased with the loss of their brave general Moore, who was alike distinguished for his private virtues, and his military talents." [lower-alpha 1]

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Battle of Corunna battle

The Battle of Corunna took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army.

Peninsular War War by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom against the French Empire (1807–1814)

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

Contents

Early years

John Moore was born in Glasgow, the son of John Moore, a doctor and writer, and the older brother of Admiral Sir Graham Moore. He attended Glasgow High School, but at the age of eleven joined his father and Douglas, the young 16-year-old 8th Duke of Hamilton, (1756–1799), his father's pupil, on a grand tour of France, Italy and Germany. This included a two-year stay in Geneva, where Moore's education continued.

John Moore (Scottish physician) Scottish physician and writer

Dr. John Moore FRSE was a Scottish physician and travel author. He also edited the works of Tobias Smollett.

Graham Moore (Royal Navy officer) Royal Navy admiral

Admiral Sir Graham Moore, (1764–1843) was a Royal Navy officer. As a junior officer he took part in the Great Siege of Gibraltar during the American Revolutionary War. As captain of the frigate Melampus, he took part in the Battle of Tory Island in October 1798, capturing the French frigate Résolue two days later, during the French Revolutionary Wars. He went on to be First Naval Lord, then Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and, finally, Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. He was the younger brother of General Sir John Moore.

The High School of Glasgow is an independent, co-educational day school in Glasgow, Scotland. The original High School of Glasgow was founded as the choir school of Glasgow Cathedral in around 1124, and was the oldest school in Scotland, and the twelfth oldest in the United Kingdom until its closure in 1977. It remained part of the Church as the city's grammar school until coming under local authority control in 1872, and closed in 1977, when the private Drewsteighnton School adopted the name. The school maintains a relationship with the Cathedral, where it holds an annual service of commemoration and thanksgiving in September. It counts two British Prime Ministers, two Lords President and the founder of the University of Aberdeen among its alumni.

Military and political career 1776–1798

Sir John Moore Plaque Halifax, Nova Scotia SirJohnMoorePlaqueHalifaxNovaScotia1.JPG
Sir John Moore Plaque Halifax, Nova Scotia

He joined the British Army in 1776 as an ensign in the 51st Regiment of Foot then based in Menorca. He first saw action in 1778 during the American War of Independence as a lieutenant in the 82nd Regiment of Foot, which was raised in Lanarkshire for service in North America by the 8th Duke of Hamilton. From 1779-1781 he was garrisoned at Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1779, he distinguished himself in action during the Penobscot Expedition in present-day Maine, when a small British detachment held off a much larger rebel American force until reinforcements arrived.

The 51st Regiment of Foot was a British Army line infantry regiment, raised in 1755. Under the Childers Reforms it amalgamated with the 105th Regiment of Foot to form the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1881.

Menorca one of the Balearic Islands

Menorca or Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Majorca.

Douglas Hamilton, 8th Duke of Hamilton British noble

Douglas Hamilton, 8th Duke of Hamilton, 5th Duke of Brandon and 2nd Baron Hamilton of Hameldon, was a Scottish peer, nobleman, and politician.

After the war, in 1783, he returned to Britain and in 1784 was elected to Parliament as the Member for Lanark Burghs, a seat he held until 1790.

Lanark Burghs was a district of burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1708 to 1832, representing a seat for one Member of Parliament (MP).

In 1787, he was made Major and joined the 60th briefly before returning to the 51st. In 1791 his unit was assigned to the Mediterranean and he was involved in campaigning in the invasion of Corsica and was wounded at Calvi. He was given a Colonelcy and became Adjutant-General to Sir Charles Stuart. Friction between Moore and the new British viceroy of Corsica led to his recall and posting to the West Indies under Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1796. Moore played a leading role in the British reconquest of St. Lucia, which at the time had been occupied by a group of slave rebels under the nominal control of the local French Republican administrator Victor Hugues. He retook Fort Charlotte in 1796 with the 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers after 2 days of bitter fighting. As an honour the Fusiliers, regimental colour was displayed on the flagstaff of the captured fortress at Morne Fortune for an hour before being replaced by the Union Jack. [3] He participated in British efforts to repress the slave rebels until falling ill of yellow fever, upon which he returned to Britain. [4]

Invasion of Corsica (1794)

The invasion of Corsica was a campaign fought in the spring and summer of 1794 by combined British military and Corsican irregular forces against a French garrison, early in the French Revolutionary Wars. The campaign centred on sieges of three principal towns in Northern Corsica; San Fiorenzo, Bastia and Calvi, which were in turn surrounded, besieged and bombarded until by August 1794 French forces had been driven from the island entirely.

Siege of Calvi

The Siege of Calvi was a combined British and Corsican military operation during the Invasion of Corsica in the early stages of the French Revolutionary Wars. The Corsican people had risen up against the French garrison of the island in 1793, and sought support from the British Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet under Lord Hood. Hood's fleet was delayed by the Siege of Toulon, but in February 1794 supplied a small expeditionary force which successfully defeated the French garrison of San Fiorenzo and then a larger force which besieged the town of Bastia. The British force, now led by General Charles Stuart, then turned their attention to the fortress of Calvi, the only remaining French-held fortress in Corsica.

Ralph Abercromby 18th-century Scottish soldier and politician

Sir Ralph Abercromby was a Scottish soldier and politician. He twice served as MP for Clackmannanshire, rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army, was appointed Governor of Trinidad, served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, and was noted for his services during the Napoleonic Wars.

Moore in Ireland 1798

Moore's father, the 8th Duke of Hamilton, and a young John Moore, painted in Rome by Gavin Hamilton, 1775-6 8thDukeOfHamilton.jpg
Moore's father, the 8th Duke of Hamilton, and a young John Moore, painted in Rome by Gavin Hamilton, 1775-6

In 1798, he was made Major-General and served in the suppression of the republican rebellion raging in Ireland. His personal intervention was credited with turning the tide at the battle of Foulksmills on 20 June and he regained control of Wexford town before the ruthless General Lake, thereby possibly preventing its sacking. Although the rebellion was crushed with great brutality, Moore stood out from most other commanders for his humanity and refusal to perpetrate atrocities.

Irish Rebellion of 1798 Uprising against British rule in Ireland

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was an uprising against British rule in Ireland. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organising force behind the rebellion, led by Presbyterians angry at being shut out of power by the Anglican establishment and joined by Catholics, who made up the majority of the population. Many Ulster Protestants sided with the British, resulting in the conflict taking on the appearance of a sectarian civil war in many areas, with atrocities on both sides. A French army which landed in County Mayo in support of the rebels was overwhelmed by British and loyalist forces. The uprising was suppressed by British Crown forces with a death toll of between 10,000 and 30,000.

The Battle of Foulksmills, known locally as the Battle of Horetown and also known as the Battle of Goff's Bridge, was a battle on 20 June 1798 between advancing British forces seeking to stamp out the rebellion in County Wexford during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and a rebel army assembled to oppose them.

Wexford Place in Leinster, Ireland

Wexford is the county town of County Wexford, Ireland. Wexford lies on the south side of Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney near the southeastern corner of the island of Ireland. The town is linked to Dublin by the M11/N11 National Primary Route; and to Rosslare Europort, Cork and Waterford by the N25. The national rail network connects it to Dublin and Rosslare Europort. It had a population of 20,188 according to the 2016 census.

Another point of view on Moore is referenced - "Despite this, Moore issued orders for his troops to treat the locals as harshly as possible and to take any provisions they needed for three weeks. In May, British troops scoured West Cork searching for arms burning homes and generally terrorizing the common people. Moore himself wrote the moment a single redcoat appears, everyone flees. The official disarming of West Cork was completed by the 23rd of May. Moore and his troops had found 800 pikes and 3,400 firearms, and large numbers of suspected United Irishmen were arrested."

Moore and military training

In 1799, he commanded a brigade in the Helder Expedition, where the British campaign failed and he himself was seriously injured. He recovered to lead the 52nd regiment during the British campaign in Egypt against the French, having become colonel of that regiment in 1801 on the death of General Cyrus Trapaud. [5]

He returned to Great Britain in 1803 to command a brigade at Shorncliffe Army Camp near Folkestone, where he established the innovative training regime that produced Britain's first permanent light infantry regiments. He had a reputation as an exceptionally humane leader and trainer of men; it is said that when new buildings were being constructed at the camp and the architect asked him where the paths should go, he told him to wait some months and see where the men walked, then put the paths there.

Sir John Moore Barracks at Winchester, home of the Army Training Regiment, is named after him, as is the first-year training company of the Oxford University Officers' Training Corps.

Sir Arthur Bryant wrote, "Moore's contribution to the British Army was not only that matchless Light Infantry who have ever since enshrined his training, but also the belief that the perfect soldier can only be made by evoking all that is finest in man - physical, mental and spiritual".

War with France 1803–1808

When it became clear that Napoleon was planning an invasion of Britain, Moore was put in charge of the defence of the coast from Dover to Dungeness. It was on his initiative that the Martello Towers were constructed (complementing the already constructed Shorncliffe Redoubt), following a pattern he had been impressed with in Corsica, where the prototype tower, at Mortella Point, had offered a stout resistance to British land and sea forces. He also initiated the cutting of the Royal Military Canal in Kent and Sussex, and recruited about 340,000 volunteers to a militia that would have defended the lines of the South Downs if an invading force had broken through the regular army defences. In 1804 Moore was made a Knight Companion of the Bath [6] and promoted to Lieutenant-General. In 1806 he returned to active duty in the Mediterranean and then in 1808 in the Baltic to assist the Swedish. Disagreements with Gustavus IV led to his being soon sent home where he was ordered to Portugal.

Spanish War 1808–1809

Monument in Glasgow JohnMooreGlasgow.jpg
Monument in Glasgow

Moore took command of the British forces in the Iberian Peninsula following the recall of Harry Burrard of Lymington (1 June 1755 –17 October 1813), Hew Dalrymple (1750–1830), Governor of Gibraltar from November 1806 to August 1808, and Arthur Wellesley (1769–1852), later Duke of Wellington, who all faced an inquiry over the Convention of Cintra on the French troops' evacuation from Portugal. When Napoleon arrived in Spain with 200,000 men, Moore drew the French northwards while retreating to his embarkation ports of A Coruña and Vigo. Moore established a defensive position on hills outside the town, while being guarded by the 15th Hussars, and was fatally wounded at the Battle of Corunna, being "struck in his left breast and shoulder by a cannon shot, which broke his ribs, his arm, lacerated his shoulder and the whole of his left side and lungs". [7] He remained conscious, and composed, throughout the several hours. Like Lord Nelson he was mortally wounded in battle, surviving long enough to be assured that he had gained a victory. He said to his old friend Colonel Anderson "You know I always wished to die this way, I hope the people of Scotland will be satisfied! I hope my country will do me justice!". [8] He asked Colonel Anderson to speak to his friends and mother but became too emotional to continue, and changed the subject. [8] [lower-alpha 2] He asked if his staff were safe and was assured that they were, [lower-alpha 3] and where his will could be found. Casting his eyes around the room he spied Charles Banks Stanhope and asked him "Remember me to your sister, Stanhope". [9] [lower-alpha 4] He was then silent and died shortly afterwards. [11]

Moore was buried wrapped in a military cloak in the ramparts of the town. Moore's funeral was commemorated in the poem "The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna" by Charles Wolfe (1791–1823), which became popular in 19th century poetry anthologies. [12] The first verse runs:

Moore's tomb in San Carlos Garden at A Coruna Tumba de John Moore.jpg
Moore's tomb in San Carlos Garden at A Coruña
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

ending six verses later with:

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.

When the French took the town, a monument was built over his grave by the orders of Marshal Soult. [lower-alpha 5] The burial scene was rendered in oils by George Jones RA and commissioned by Moore's aide-de-camp, Adj.-Col. Paul Anderson. The painting was sold by the family in 2016. [13]

The monument was rebuilt and made more permanent in 1811. In his native Glasgow he is commemorated by a statue in George Square, and in England by a monument in St Paul's Cathedral. Houses are named for him at The High School of Glasgow and HM Queen Victoria School, Dunblane. Sir John Moore Avenue is in Hythe Kent near the Royal Military Canal.

See also

Notes

  1. 'France militaire': "Ayant neanmoins reunit les troupes a la Corogne, il repousse glorieusement les Francais, et meurt sur le champ de bataille." which translates as "Having nevertheless reunited the troops at Corunna, he [Moore] gloriously repulsed the French and died on the field of battle." [2]
  2. Colonel Paul Anderson, Acting Adjutant General (Kieran, p. 51)
  3. In fact Captain Burrard, the son of Sir Harry Burrard was also mortally wounded, but Anderson decided to keep that from Moore (Moore 1834, p. 228).
  4. Lady Hester Stanhope was the niece of the William Pitt the Younger, and became an intrepid Near East Asia traveller (Her niece suspected they might have considered marrying. [10] ).
  5. Moore was buried alongside "his gallant friend and companion" General Robert Anstruther who had died from fatigue and exhaustion the day before.
  1. Sarrazin 1815, pp. 358–359.
  2. Hugo 1838, p. 110.
  3. Trimble, p. 49
  4. Kellogg, Day (1902). The Encyclopædia Britannica: latest edition. A dictionary of arts, sciences and general literature, Volume 16. p. 804. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  5. Chichester 1894, p. 368.
  6. "No. 15754". The London Gazette . 13 November 1804. p. 1392.
  7. Moore (1834), p.221
  8. 1 2 Moore 1834, p. 227.
  9. Moore 1834, pp. 227–229.
  10. Cleveland 1914, pp. 72–73.
  11. Moore 1834, p. 229–230.
  12. Robson, Catherine. "Memorization and Memorialization: 'The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna'". Erudit.org. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  13. "Bonhams : George Jones, RA (British, 1786-1869) The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna". www.bonhams.com.

Bibliography

Further reading

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir James Cockburn, Bt
Member of Parliament for Lanark Burghs
17841790
Succeeded by
William Grieve
Military offices
Preceded by
Cyrus Trapaud
Colonel of the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot
1801–1809
Succeeded by
Sir Hildebrand Oakes

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