A younger brother of Sir Patrick’s was Colin, a boy of an
extremely adventurous disposition. So eager was young Colin for a
seafaring life that at the age of sixteen he ran away from Perth
Academy, where he was at school, and made his way alone to London. The
journey occupied several weeks, and his adventures on the way were
innumerable. In spite of hardships he pushed on, and, arriving in
London, made his way to the docks, where he managed to have himself
entered as seaman on board a vessel bound for the West Indies.
The life was rougher than he had expected, and had it not
been for the feeling of adventure he might have found himself, once or
twice, wishing that he were at home again.
Kingston was reached at last, and our hero was eager to
go ashore and see all the new scenes. Wandering in the fruit market one
day, he came face to face with his brother Patrick, then a middy on
It is hard to say which of the brothers was the more
“You, Colin!” cried Patrick at last; "how did you get
“Came on board the Sally” replied the youngster, jerking
his elbow in the direction of the harbour.
“The Sally” echoed his brother, with a glance towards the
assemblage of shipping in the bay; “and who sent you on board of her?”
"No one,” replied Colin, looking rather uncomfortable; “I
“Ran away!” shouted Patrick; “you young idiot, do you
mean to say father and mother don’t know where you are?”
Colin reddened guiltily, remembering that he had not sent
news to his parents.
He was silent.
“Look here,” said Patrick sternly, “just you come with
me, and we’ll see what can be done. No nonsense now!”
Colin was strongly inclined to resist, but he knew that
Pat usually got his own way. So it was now, and the meeting ended in the
youngster following his brother to the Blonde, where he was made to tell
his story to Patrick’s superior officers.
These gentlemen listened with some curiosity, smiled
sternly, and entered the lad on the ship’s books, making him work his
News having been sent to his parents, his reception on
reaching Perthshire went off better than might have been expected. His
experiences had not daunted the young adventurer in the least, and he
never ceased urging his parents to allow him to go to sea again. They
let him have his way, and at the age of seventeen he became a midshipman
on board the Dari of Chesterfield. Some adventurous voyages followed,
and then Colin exchanged the navy for the army, his first commission
being in his uncle’s regiment, the Breadalbane Fencibles.
At the age of twenty-three he was serving in the West
Indies as brigade major, and three years later he exchanged into the
78th Highlanders, and accompanied his regiment to India. There the 78th
joined the army of General Wellesley, afterwards the Duke of Wellington,
and proceeded upon an expedition against the Maharajah Scindia and the
Rajah of Nagpore, who were giving trouble.
Several forts, held by rebel chiefs, were reduced; and in
August of the same year Lieutenant Campbell was in one of the companies
ordered to storm the fortress of Ahmednuggur in the Deccan, one of the
strongest fortresses in India. The place was besieged for two days ; and
on the second day, determined that the British should not be beaten,
Colin put himself at the head of a party, and tried to carry it by
In the very thick of the assault he contrived to struggle
to the top of the high wall of the inner fortress.
"There’s a plucky young fellow,” said Wellesley to
himself, watching the fight. “Good heavens, how they thrust at him !
they’re pushing him off— ah, he’s down ! He must be killed; there’s a
brave officer gone!”
But the next minute, to his relief, he saw the young
fellow swarming up the ladder once more, comparatively little injured.
Wellesley watched with interest as Lieutenant Campbell
succeeded in getting within the fort, followed by a rush of men. Once
inside he managed to form up his company in perfect order, and held the
enemy in check until the others forced their way to his assistance.
Entering the town, Wellesley recognized the young officer by the
blood-stained handkerchief which bound his head, and was greatly struck
by his plucky conduct throughout the fight.
When all was over, the general inquired the name of the
brave officer, whom until then he had not even known by sight; and on
the following morning, very early, Lieutenant Campbell was greatly
surprised at being sent for by Wellesley.
“The general wishes to see me,” he repeated, raising
himself on one elbow and staring at the messenger; “what can that be
He began to wonder which of his misdeeds had come to the
chief’s ears, and was more than surprised, on entering the general’s
tent, at being commended for his bravery, and appointed brigade major on
Wellesley’s own staff. This was the beginning of a friendship which
lasted throughout the life of Colin Campbell, who was often reminded by
the duke that the first time he had ever seen him was “in the air.”
In September 1803 he was with his chief at the battle of
Assaye, where he behaved with great gallantry. Two horses were killed
under him, and he was carried from the field severely wounded. In the
same battle he lost one of his brave soldier-brothers, Lome. “He was
twice wounded in the leg,” wrote Colin, “but persisted in going on. He
at last, I believe, poor fellow, fainted, and was left behind when the
troops were returning, being picked up by the cavalry.” General
Wellesley mentioned the gallant conduct of both brothers in dispatches.
Colin Campbell followed Wellesley throughout the Deccan
campaign, distinguishing himself in the battle of Argaum and the
storming of Guzzalgum. On the departure of his old chief, now Sir Arthur
Wellesley, for England, he was appointed aide-de-camp to his brother,
the Marquis of Wellesley.
Three years later he was serving under Sir Arthur in
Denmark, and behaved with conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Kioge,
being thanked by his chief in General Orders after the action. The
expedition to Portugal followed; and Colin Campbell was chosen by Sir
Arthur to carry home dispatches announcing the victory of Roli9a on the
17th of August. Campbell embarked, but the vessel was wind-bound, and on
the 24th, hearing a cannonade in the distance, he became convinced that
the enemy was attacking our position at Vimiera. “I’m not going to stay
here doing nothing,” he cried; and left the ship at once, made his way
to the field of battle, and joined in the fight. The British carried the
day, and when he returned to his ship the young officer carried with him
an account of both victories. For those services he was appointed major
of the 70th Regiment.
Numerous actions followed in the Peninsula, where Major
Campbell continued to distinguish himself. After nine general actions,
followed by the siege and storming of Badajos, he received a cross and
In 1814 Major Campbell was promoted to the rank of
colonel, and in the following year was still serving under his old chief
in the Netherlands. He followed the Duke of Wellington through Quatre
Bras, and at Waterloo had a horse killed under him. After the Hundred
Days he entered Paris with the allied army in triumph, and when peace
was made he became a K.C.B. and Knight Commander of the Portuguese
military order of the Tower and Sword. From his sovereign he received
eleven medals, and among foreign orders bestowed upon him were those of
Maria Theresa of Austria, Knight of St. George of Russia, and Maximilian
Joseph of Bavaria.
In his later years Sir Colin served his country as
governor of Nova Scotia, and afterwards of Ceylon. When he was in the
latter island, his faithful friend the Duke of Wellington wrote: “We are
both getting old; God knows if we shall ever meet again. Happen what
may, I shall never forget our first meeting under the walls of
A nephew of the gallant Sir Archibald Campbell of
Inverneil, James Campbell showed the true fighting spirit. At the age of
seventeen he received his commission, and by the time he was twenty had
served through the two last campaigns of the American War of
Independence. At the conclusion of peace he was promoted to the rank of
captain, and joined the 73rd in India, where he acted as aide-de-camp to
his uncle, Sir Archibald.
Captain James went through three years of hard fighting
in Lord Cornwallis’s campaign against Tippoo Sahib, and at the end of
the war received his majority. For several years he served in the
Mediterranean, taking part in every action and winning a reputation as a
brave and capable soldier, and his opportunity came when the British
were holding Sicily against Napoleon’s forces.
The army in Sicily was under the command of General
Stuart, while the enemy were gathering in great force in Calabria. The
coast was well watched by the English sentinels, and the enemy
dared not attempt a
landing. For two months the > armies remained facing each other across
the narrow passage. The British began to dread the long nights which
were approaching, and to wonder whether it would be possible to continue
this untiring watchfulness all through the winter.
At last the time of trial came. During the night of the
17th of September 1810, General Cavaignac managed to convey two
battalions of Corsicans and four of Neapolitans—between three and four
thousand men in all—secretly across the Straits of Messina. The landing
was instantly detected by the British patrols; by a quarter-past four in
the morning the news had reached headquarters, and Major-General
Campbell galloped down to assume command of his troops. The dawning
light showed that Murat’s soldiers were taking ship along the whole
length of the straits from Pezzo to Scylla. Guided by the sound of
firing, General Campbell galloped towards Mili, where he found two
companies of German auxiliaries engaged in preventing the landing of the
French, a battalion of the German Legion supporting them in the rear.
Daylight revealed forty large vessels farther to the
south, and a body of infantry pushing on towards the cliffs.
"They’re going to fall upon our main body,” shouted
Campbell. "Send up troops to occupy all the passes.”
This was done. The firing soon attracted the notice of
the peasants, who came to join the defenders. A galling fire was poured
upon the enemy, whose advance was checked. A forward movement of the
British drove them back towards the boats, seeing which Campbell sent a
whole company upon them ; and the French rushed to their boats and
pushed off, followed by a heavy fire. Two hundred of their number who
were left behind, being surrounded, threw down their arms and begged for
mercy, while the eight hundred and fifty men who had reached the hill
had no alternative but to surrender. The military flotilla pursued the
boats and captured four of them, and the attack upon Sicily was
completely frustrated. Forty-three officers and more than a thousand men
were taken prisoners in this brilliant achievement, which was performed
at the cost of three wounded on the side of the British.
For his services Major Campbell was made a
lieutenant-general, and in 1814 he was ordered to take possession of the
Ionian Islands. The French governor resisted the demand, and refused to
hand over the government; but General Campbell threatened to open fire,
and the Frenchman was forced to yield. For two years General Campbell
remained in the islands as governor and commander-in-chief; then he
returned to England, and was rewarded with a baronetcy.
Colin Campbell, son of John Campbell of the , Citadel,
entered the army at seventeen, and began active service in the American
War of Independence. At the age of twenty-nine he was a major, and when
in New York he married the daughter of Colonel Grey Johnstone, a sturdy
Loyalist who lost most of his property by taking the king’s side in the
quarrel with the mother country.
When war broke out with France, Major Campbell’s regiment
was dispatched to the West Indies, where he saw some years of hard
fighting, and distinguished himself under Sir Charles Grey.
His true opportunity came when he was sent to Ireland
with his regiment. In 1798 nearly the whole country broke out into
rebellion. Napoleon Bonaparte, who was not in the least interested in
the Irish for themselves, stirred up discontent, with the idea of using
the country as a base for an invasion of England. French fleets hovered
around, and the malcontents were encouraged to believe that the time had
come to rise for the independence of their country. Lord Camden wrote to
the English Government,
“A landing, even of a small body of French, will set the
country in a blaze, and I think neither our force nor our staff equal to
the very difficult circumstances they will have to encounter.”
The fighting for some months was very fierce, and lawless
deeds were committed on both sides.
Towns and villages were set on fire, and prisoners were
massacred by the insurgents.
In this crisis Colin Campbell proved himself a born
leader, and was successful in putting down every attempt at rebellion in
his part of the country.
Lord Cornwallis was sent over as commander-in-chief, and
gradually the regular troops gained the mastery. At Vinegar Hill the
rebel forces were crushed after a desperate struggle, in which the enemy
lost five or six hundred men against less than one hundred on the part
of the Loyalists.
In this battle Colin Campbell rendered signal service. A
small body of French, who landed a few weeks later, were insufficiently
supported by the rebels, and Colin served under Lord Cornwallis when the
little band was surrounded at Ballinamuck, and compelled to surrender
after a short but determined struggle. The crushing out of the rebellion
probably saved Ireland for the United Kingdom.
Having been promoted to the rank of major-general,
Campbell was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. In this
position he rendered his country important services during the most
critical time of the war. The town was occupied by about twelve thousand
souls—Spaniards, French, Moors, and others who could not be trusted—and
merchandise was stored there to the value of about two millions
sterling. A bombardment would soon have destroyed the place, and
opposite was the island of Ceuta, garrisoned by disloyal troops and
galley-slaves. The ' works were neglected, and the island was at the
mercy of any body of French troops that could cross the straits.
Campbell saw the danger, and also that if the enemy could
gain possession of the place, they could use it as a base for obtaining
supplies from Barbary.
He wrote urgent letters home, and after some delay an
English garrison was posted in Ceuta, and reinforcements were sent for
the defence of Gibraltar. Campbell drove French foragers from Tarifa and
garrisoned that town, which Marshal Soult might have used as a port for
bringing supplies from Morocco.
These important measures were not carried through without
difficulty. Frequently the governor came into collision with the Duke of
Wellington, who sent to requisition the garrison which Campbell thought
it necessary to maintain in Gibraltar. It was not until much later that
the duke found that Campbell had been wise as well as brave, and then he
did him full justice.
Marshal Soult wrote that the taking of Tarifa would be
“more hurtful to the English and to the defenders of Cadiz than the
taking of Alicante, or even Badajos, where I cannot go without first
securing my left and taking Tarifa.”
Seven hundred Spanish and nearly two thousand British
were in the fortress when the siege took place.
A spirited defence was made, and such volleys of fire
were poured down upon the attacking party that they were obliged to
retreat. The French dead strewed the slopes in front of the rampart, and
a heavy storm completed the work the British bullets had begun. Tarifa
was saved at the cost of about one hundred and fifty of the besieged,
while the loss to the enemy approached a thousand men.
Campbell’s representations were not always received with
the attention they deserved. General Lacy had been sent with a body of
troops to help the Serranos, or armed peasants, of the Ronda, who had
risen under two British officers from Gibraltar. Campbell happened to be
aware of the weak position of the French garrison in Malaga, where they
were cooped up in the citadel—an ancient Moorish castle, dependent for
its water-supply upon the town. The French were only two thousand
strong, with twelve guns ; whereas in Malaga there were twenty thousand
men, ready to rise in support of the British, and capable of bearing
arms. General Campbell offered to reinforce Lacy from the Gibraltar
garrison if he would attack Malaga; but Lacy asked instead for eight
hundred men to carry out some movements of his own. The men were sent,
but the general’s tactics proved unsuccessful: he was cut off from
Gibraltar, and the opportunity was lost.
General Campbell died before his countrymen could see the
results of his wise foresight and devotion to duty. His loyal support
had prepared the , way for his country’s triumph, and he deserves the
gratitude which has been rendered to his memory.
The eldest son of the Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar,
Guy Campbell, entered the army at an early age. His first experiences of
warfare were gained in Ireland, where he served under his father,
following him through all his engagements during the rebellion.
After a year’s service in Canada, Guy was promoted to be
captain of the 6th Regiment and dispatched to the Peninsula. The 6th was
present, under Wellesley, at the battles of Roliga and Vi-miera, and
then formed part of Sir John Moore’s expedition into Spain.
This was the darkest time for the British forces in
Spain. More than three hundred thousand of Bonaparte’s troops were in
the Peninsula, and the Portuguese did not rise, as was expected, to
support the armies sent by England to their help. Difficulties of every
kind beset Moore: there was no money to pay the troops, and the
Portuguese in the army were discontented and insubordinate. Marching and
countermarching on bad roads exhausted the men, and repeated
disappointment disheartened them.
Sir John had decided to retreat to Portugal when a
message came begging him to advance to the defence of Madrid. Moore
responded by a wonderful march, and had arrived within two hours of the
enemy when a letter was brought showing that Madrid had already fallen,
that Bonaparte himself was in the city, and that the French had cut off
the line of retreat into Portugal.
The British were in a terrible position. If they were
unable to retire upon Vigo or Corunna they were lost.
The skill and patience of the officers were taxed to the
utmost in the endeavour to convey the men through two hundred and fifty
miles of difficult country in mid-winter while harassed by the enemy,
who were in hot pursuit. Snow-covered mountains were crossed; bridges
broken down after the troops had passed ; and seven engagements were
fought with the advance guard of Marshal Soult’s army. More than once
the guides lost their way in storms of wind and blinding sleet. Men and
animals fell down on the way, exhausted with cold and hunger, and
perished in the snow.
At length the exhausted and dispirited army reached
Corunna, only to discover that the English fleet had not arrived, having
been detained at Vigo by stress of weather.
Five days passed, and the French were collecting in force
when the transports hove in sight. The work of embarkation was beginning
when Marshal Soult ordered an attack. All day the British held the enemy
at bay, but the defence cost the life of Sir, John Moore.
The French had been driven back, and with heroic bravery
the remaining officers conveyed the troops and baggage on board the
transports during the night. They sailed next morning, and an army was
saved for England.
In all these operations Captain Campbell had borne his
part with the best, and he was rewarded with further opportunities of
serving his country. Having been promoted major, he once more
accompanied his regiment to the Pyrenees, where the 6th formed part of
Barnes’ Brigade. Campbell was present at the hard-fought battle of
Vittoria in the Pyrenees, where his regiment was in the hottest of the
fight. During a fierce cannonade the colonel fell, severely wounded, and
Campbell had to assume command of the 6th. Stubborn fighting continued
all day, but gradually the British gained the mastery. The French fought
with desperate valour, but fresh troops flung themselves upon their
ranks; the defeat became a rout, and when darkness fell King Joseph’s
army was in full flight, leaving stores, guns, and treasure to fall into
the hands of the British.
The next opportunity of the 6th under Campbell was when
Barnes’ Brigade took a distinguished part in the battle of Sorauren, or
the Pyrenees, which was fought among the rocks and precipices of the
On the 2nd of August the French under Marshal Clausel,
and the British troops under Wellington, were again facing each other at
Echallar. The enemy, six thousand in number, occupied a strong position
on the heights, when Barnes’ Brigade, arriving in advance of the rest,
immediately attacked Marshal Olausel’s division. A tremendous fire was
poured from the heights, but the fifteen hundred men climbed the steep
and rocky slope in the face of the rain of bullets, and drove the enemy,
still fighting desperately, to a ridge on the other side of the pass.
Evening was coming on, but the sounds of the retreat under Clausel and
the firing of the victorious pursuers roused the weary troops under
Colonel Barnard to a magnificent attack upon another position. They were
successful; and the day ended in a complete victory for the allies.
In this battle Guy Campbell was severely wounded, but his
gallant conduct caused him to be singled out for promotion. Three weeks
after the battle, of Echallar he became a lieutenant-colonel, and at the
close of the war received a gold medal for the battle of the Pyrenees,
and was made a C.B. He served at the battle of Waterloo, and in 1815 was
created a baronet as a reward for the important services rendered by
himself and his father, who had died a year previously.
A brave soldier and a wise administrator was Neil
Campbell. As a mere lad he held the position of commanding officer in
the Caicos or Turks Islands, and was publicly thanked by the inhabitants
for his services.
On returning to England he joined the newly formed Rifle
Corps. A strong and active man, he was particularly fleet of foot; so
also was his great friend Sir John Moore, and it is related that in a
race run by the two at Shorncliffe the victory fell to Campbell.
After some years of service in England and Jamaica, Neil
was sent to the West Indies, where the English and French were fighting
for the mastery of the islands. He distinguished himself at Martinique,
the Saintes Islands, and Guadeloupe. His gallant conduct was favourably
noticed, and on his return home he was sent to Portugal with strong
recommendations to Marshal Beresford, who was in command of the British
forces in that country. As colonel of a regiment of Portuguese he
rendered splendid service at the blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo, and
distinguished himself at the battle of Salamanca, but was wounded, and
obliged to return home before the end of the war.
His next service was under Lord Cathcart, British
Minister to Russia, and Military Commissioner with the Russian army in
Poland. Campbell was not content to be merely a civilian, but served as
a soldier under the Russian general Wittgenstein, and took every
opportunity of fighting the French. In the battle of Fere-Champenoise,
fought on March 24, 1814, he headed a charge of Russian cavalry. The
encounter was a fierce one, and in the thick of the fight one of the
Cossacks on his own side mistook the Scottish officer for a French one,
and attacked and wounded him severely. A few days later the allies
entered Paris, and Campbell was raised to the rank of colonel, while the
Tsar acknowledged his services by making him a knight of three Russian
orders. In the same year he was made a C.B., and knighted by the king.
The next step in Campbell’s adventurous career was to be
sent to accompany the Emperor Napoleon to Elba. The emperor always loved
a good fighter, and he took a fancy to the brave Scotsman who had fought
so long and determinedly against him. At Napoleon’s request Campbell
promised to remain with him ; but taking advantage of the temporary
absence of his Scottish guardian, the prisoner contrived to make good
The Hundred Days followed, and Campbell was once more in
the field as the enemy of Napoleon, serving as major in his old
regiment. He took part in the battle of Waterloo, and afterwards headed
the column which carried the Valenciennes gate at the storming of
Peace followed, and the fate of the African traveller
Mungo Park roused Neil Campbell’s keen interest. He made a journey
through the wilds in the hope of discovering sonic trace, of the
traveller, but met with no success.
Although growing an elderly man Sir Neif loved an active
career as much as ever. He applied for a staff appointment, and the
first to fall vacant was the governorship of Sierra Leone. His family
begged him not to risk his life in that deadly climate; but in the month
of May 1826 he arrived on the scene of his new labours. He had
overestimated his strength, and fell a victim to fever in August 1827,
being only a little over fifty years of age.