George Francis Robert Henderson

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Colonel George Francis Robert Henderson, CB (1854–1903) was a British soldier and military author.[1]

Early life[edit]

Henderson was born in Jersey in 1854. Educated at Leeds Grammar School, of which his father, afterwards Dean of Carlisle, was headmaster, he was early attracted to the study of history, and obtained a scholarship at St John's College, Oxford. But he soon left the University for Sandhurst, from where he was commissioned into the 84th Foot in 1878.

Military service[edit]

After a few months service in India, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and returned to England, and in 1882 he went on active service to Egypt, fighting in the battles of Kassassin and Tel el-Kebir.[2] During this time, he received numerous citations for bravery in combat, being promoted to captain in 1886. In 1885 he was seconded to the Ordnance Store Department. In 1889 appeared (anonymously) his first work, The Campaign of Fredericksburg. In the same year he became Instructor in Tactics, Military Law and Administration at Sandhurst. From this post he proceeded as Professor of Military Art and History to the Staff College (1892–1899), and there exercised a profound influence on the younger generation of officers. His study on the Battle of Spicheren had been begun some years before. Then in 1898 appeared, as the result of eight years work, his masterpiece: Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War.[3]

Later life and death[edit]

In the Second Boer War, Henderson served with distinction on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts, as Director of Intelligence, and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 23 December 1899. He received the local rank of colonel whilst in South Africa only weeks later, on 10 January 1900.[4] In a despatch dated 31 March 1900, Lord Roberts wrote that Henderson gave him "valuable and reliable information regarding the physical features of the country and the disposition of the enemy".[5]

But overwork and malaria broke his health, and he had to return home in January 1902,[6] being eventually selected to write the official history of the war. Failing health obliged him to go to Egypt, where he died at Assuan on 5 March 1903. He had completed the portion of the history of the South African War dealing with the events up to the commencement of hostilities, amounting to about a volume, but the War Office decided to suppress this, and the work was restarted by Sir F. Maurice.


Various lectures and papers by Henderson were collected and published in 1905 by Captain Malcolm, D.S.O., under the title The Science of War; to this collection a memoir was contributed by Lord Roberts.


  • Military profile
  • Henderson, G. F. R., Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2006,
    ISBN 0-7607-7954-6.


  1. ^ "Obituary. Lieutenant-Colonel George Francis Robert Henderson". Annual Register for 1903. Longmans, Green, and Co. 1904. pp. 125–126.
  2. ^ "HENDERSON, Col. George Francis Robert". Who's who biographies, 1901. p. 553.
  3. ^ Henderson, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, p. iv
  4. ^ "No. 27163". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 February 1900. p. 910.
  5. ^ "No. 27282". The London Gazette. 8 February 1901. p. 844.
  6. ^ "The War - return of troops". The Times (36679). London. 31 January 1902. p. 6.

External links[edit]

Military offices
New title
Start of Boer War
Director of Military Intelligence
For the Boer War

Succeeded by
C V Hume