Colquhoun Grant (British cavalry general)

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For his contemporary and namesake, who was one of the intelligence officers employed by the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War, see Colquhoun Grant (British intelligence officer).
John Colquhoun Grant
Nickname(s) The Black Giant
Born 1764
Died 1835
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch United Kingdom British Army
Years of service 1793 to 1835
Rank British Army lieutenant-general
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars

Lieutenant General Sir John Colquhoun Grant KCB (1764–1835) was a British soldier.

Military career[edit]

Sir Colquhoun Grant[1] joined the 36th Foot as an ensign in 1793, exchanging (some years later) to the cavalry (25th Light Dragoons), with which he served at Seringapatam, but returning to the infantry in 1802 to command the 72nd Foot, which he led for six years. He exchanged to the 15th Hussars in 1808, and took part in Sir John Moore's expedition, being wounded at Sahagún. He returned to Spain in January 1813, in command of a cavalry brigade; serving in this capacity, with one interruption, until the end of the campaign. Wellington was less than impressed with the performance of Grant's hussar brigade at the Battle of Vitoria and Grant was eventually replaced in command. However, Grant's political influence meant that he soon returned to the Peninsula to take over command of the light dragoon brigade of Robert Ballard Long. He was appointed KCB in 1814. At Waterloo, Grant commanded the 5th Cavalry Brigade, consisting of the 7th and 15th Hussars with the 13th Light Dragoons attached, which was stationed in the centre of the allied position; during the battle he had five horses shot under him.[2] Grant was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1830, and he served as a Tory Member of Parliament (MP) for the rotten borough of Queenborough from 1831 until the borough was disenfranchised under the Reform Act 1832.[3]

Grant was a groom of the bedchamber to Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, later King of Hanover. He was reputed to have been the strongest man in the British Army, and was given the nickname "The Black Giant."[4] He was appointed colonel of the 15th Hussars in 1827, succeeding the Duke of Cumberland, a post he held until his death.


  1. ^ In common with a number of contemporaries, such as Sir Richard Hussey Vivian, he made use of a distinctive middle name in place of a common first name when knighted.
  2. ^ Wood, p. 111
  3. ^ Stooks Smith, Henry. (1973) [1844-1850]. Craig, F. W. S., ed. The Parliaments of England (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 523. ISBN 0-900178-13-2. 
  4. ^ The nickname became popular when he commanded the hussar brigade in 1813, his towering frame and swarthy looks contrasted with the appearance of his constant companion, a diminutive red-headed brigade major. The descriptive phrase "The Black Giant with his Red Dwarf" became commonplace within the brigade.


  • Wood, Evelyn, Sir, (1895) Cavalry in the Waterloo Campaign, London, S. Low, Marston, and Company.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Gladstone
John Capel
Member of Parliament for Queenborough
With: John Capel
Constituency abolished