Arthur Brooke (British Army officer)

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Sir Arthur Brooke
Born 1772
Died 26 July 1843
George Street, Portman Square, London
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1792-1843
Rank Lieutenant-General
Unit 44th Regiment of Foot
Battles/wars
Awards Knight Commander of the Bath

Sir Arthur Brooke KCB (1772 – 26 July 1843) was an officer of the British Army during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the Peninsular War and War of 1812. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general.

Family[edit]

Brooke was the third son of Francis Brooke of Colebrooke, co. Fermanagh. He was the younger brother of Sir Henry Brooke, who was created a baronet in 1822.

Military career[edit]

He entered the Army as an ensign in the 44th Regiment of Foot in 1792, at the commencement of the French Revolutionary Wars and served with this regiment throughout them, and the succeeding Napoleonic Wars, until the conclusion of the general peace in 1815. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1793, serving with the 44th Foot in Lord Moira's division in Flanders in 1794 and 1795. He was promoted to captain in 1795, serving with Sir Ralph Abercromby's army in the reduction of the West Indies, where his regiment remained until 1798. He was present throughout the Egyptian campaign of 1801. He was promoted to major in 1802 and lieutenant-colonel in 1804 and commanded the 44th in Malta from 1804 to 1812.

In 1813 he was promoted to colonel, and accompanied Lord William Bentinck to the east coast of Spain. Brooke, as senior colonel, took command of his regiment's brigade and distinguished himself in every action against Louis-Gabriel Suchet, and particularly at the Battle of Ordal. At the conclusion of the war with Napoleon in 1814, Brooke was gazetted an Companion of the Bath and ordered to march regiments from Bentinck's army across the south of France to Bordeaux, in order to embark at that port for an expedition against the United States of America, which was at war with Britain in the War of 1812. The force embarked consisted of three brigades, commanded by Colonels Brooke, William Thornton and Patterson. The expedition was under the general command of Major-General Robert Ross.

War of 1812[edit]

In the Battle of Bladensburg, victory was secured by the flank movement of Brooke’s brigade. The brigade consisted of the 4th Regiment, commanded by his brother, Francis Brooke, and his own 44th. After burning the Capitol and public buildings of Washington, the expedition re-embarked at St. Benedict and sailed to the mouth of the Patapsco River, where the troops were to land and advance on Baltimore, while the ship's boats were to force their way up the river. In the first skirmish of the Battle of Baltimore, the Battle of North Point, General Ross was killed and Brooke assumed command of the army.

"By the fall of our gallant leader," wrote the expedition's historian, "the command now devolved on Colonel Brooke, of the 44th, an officer of decided personal courage but perhaps better calculated to lead a battalion than to guide an army."[1] Brooke determined to carry out his predecessor’s plan. It was reported that Baltimore was defended by 20,000 American soldiers and militia. Brooke advanced and defeated a powerful force of militia on 12 September. Baltimore was then at his mercy but on finding that the sailors could not come up to his assistance he quietly retired after bivouacking on the scene of his victory. The fleet sailed southward, and was joined at sea by the 95th Gordon Highlanders, and by Major-General John Keane, who superseded Brooke, after delivering to him a most eulogistic despatch from the commander-in-chief.

At the close of the war, Brooke returned to England and in 1822 was rewarded by being made governor of Yarmouth. He was also promoted to major-general in 1819. He was made colonel of the 86th Regiment in 1837 and promoted to lieutenant-general that year. He was gazetted a Knight Commander of the Bath in 1883, and died on 26 July 1843 at his residence on George Street, Portman Square in London.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gleig, p. 95

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie, ed. (1886). "Brooke, Arthur (1772-1843)". Dictionary of National Biography 6. London: Smith, Elder & Co.