Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet
Sir George Nugent, Bt
|Born||10 June 1757|
|Died||11 March 1849 (aged 91)|
Westhorpe House, Buckinghamshire
|Commands held||97th Regiment of Foot|
13th Regiment of Foot
4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
French Revolutionary Wars
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Field Marshal Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet, GCB (10 June 1757 – 11 March 1849) was a British Army officer. After serving as a junior officer in the American Revolutionary War, he fought with the Coldstream Guards under the Duke of York during the Flanders Campaign. He then commanded the Buckinghamshire Volunteers in the actions of St. Andria and Thuyl on the river Waal and participated in the disastrous retreat from the Rhine. He went on to be commander of the northern district of Ireland, in which post he played an important part in placating the people of Belfast during the Irish Rebellion, and then became Adjutant-General in Ireland. He went on to be Governor of Jamaica, commander of the Western District in England, commander of the Kent District in England and finally Commander-in-Chief, India.
Born the illegitimate son of Lieutenant Colonel the Hon. Edmund Nugent (who was the only son of Robert Nugent, 1st Earl Nugent) and a Ms Fennings, Nugent was educated at Charterhouse School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.
He was commissioned as an ensign in the 39th Regiment of Foot on 5 July 1773 and was posted to Gibraltar. He transferred the 7th Regiment of Foot at New York with promotion to lieutenant in September 1777 and saw action at the Battle of Forts Clinton and Montgomery in October 1777 and then took part in the Philadelphia campaign during the American Revolutionary War. He continued to serve in North America and became a captain in the 57th Regiment of Foot on 28 April 1778 and a major in the same regiment on 3 May 1782.
Flanders and Ireland
Promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1783, Nugent was appointed commanding officer of the 97th Regiment of Foot and returned to England, but in the post-war cost reductions the regiment was disbanded and he instead became commanding officer of the 13th Regiment of Foot in 1787. He became an aide-de-camp to his brother-in-law, the Marquess of Buckingham, who was serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in November 1787. On Buckingham's departure from Ireland, Nugent became commanding officer of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards in 1789. Nugent became Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1790. He exchanged into the Coldstream Guards as a company commander in October 1790 and served at the Siege of Valenciennes in May 1793, the Battle of Lincelles in August 1793 and the Siege of Dunkirk also in August 1793 under the Duke of York during the Flanders Campaign.
The War Office recalled Nugent to supervise the raising of the Buckinghamshire Volunteers in March 1794. He commanded the regiment under Sir Ralph Abercromby in the actions of St. Andria and Thuyl on the river Waal and participated in the disastrous retreat from the Rhine. Promoted to major general on 1 May 1796, he became Captain of St Mawes Castle on 5 November 1796. He went on to be commander of the northern district of Ireland in 1798, in which post he played an important part in placating the people of Belfast during the Irish Rebellion that year, and became Adjutant-General in Ireland in August 1799. He also represented Charleville in the last Irish House of Commons before the Acts of Union 1800.
Nugent became Governor of Jamaica in April 1801 with promotion to local lieutenant general on 29 May 1802. While serving there, he strengthened the fort that the Spanish slave agent in Jamaica, James Castillo, had built in 1709 in Harbour View. Named Fort Nugent, the fort guarded the eastern entrance of the city of Kingston Harbour, although all that remains there now is a Martello tower that was added after Nugent's departure. Promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant general on 25 September 1803, Nugent returned to England in February 1806 and became commander of the Western District in England in August 1806. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Aylesbury on 3 November 1806 and created a baronet of Waddesdon in the county of Buckinghamshire on 11 November 1806. He bought Westhorpe House in Buckinghamshire in October 1808 and became commander of the Kent District in England in July 1809.
Nugent stood down from his seat in Parliament to become Commander-in-Chief, India in January 1811 and, having been appointed a Knight of the Order of the Bath on 1 February 1813 and promoted to full general on 4 June 1813, he was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Lord Moira in October 1813. Nugent was relegated to the role of Commander of the Bengal Army but instead chose to return to England in October 1814. On return he unleashed a "skin-full of venom" against Lord Moira who in turn complained to the Prince Regent about Nugent's hostile behaviour. He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 2 January 1815 and, having been elected Member of Parliament for Buckingham again in July 1818, he was awarded an honorary DCL by the University of Oxford in 1819. He finally retired from Parliament in 1832.
Nugent also served as honorary colonel of the 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Regiment of Foot, then as honorary colonel of the 62nd Regiment of Foot and later as honorary colonel of the 6th Regiment of Foot. Promoted to field marshal on 9 November 1846, he died at Westhorpe House on 11 March 1849 and was buried at St John the Baptist Church in Little Marlow.
Nugent married Maria Skinner, a daughter of Cortlandt Skinner, the Attorney-General of New Jersey and a descendant of the Schuyler family and Van Cortlandt family of British North America, in Belfast on 16 November 1797; they had three sons and two daughters. Lady Nugent wrote a journal of her experiences in Jamaica first published in 1907.
- "Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
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- Heathcote, p.232
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- Heathcote, p.233
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- Smith, p.4.
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- Clements, p. 125
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- "No. 15973". The London Gazette. 8 November 1806. p. 1466.
- "No. 16699". The London Gazette. 30 January 1813. p. 228.
- "Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet". History of Parliament. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- "No. 16972". The London Gazette. 4 January 1815. p. 18.
- "No. 17376". The London Gazette. 7 July 1818. p. 1218.
- "No. 15877". The London Gazette. 31 December 1805. p. 4.
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- "No. 20660". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 November 1846. p. 3987.
- Burke, Bernard. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 2. London: Harrison 1871, page 1270
- "Lady Maria Nugent [Skinner]". Dukes of Buckingham. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Clements, William (1999). Towers of strength: the story of the Martello towers. Leo Copper. ISBN 978-0850526790.
- Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals, 1736–1997: A Biographical Dictionary. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-696-5.
- Smith, Henry Stooks (1851). An alphabetical list of the officers of the Eighty-Fifth, Bucks Volunteers, the Kings Light Infantry Regiment from 1800 to 1850. London: Simpkin, Marshall. ISBN 978-1110157846.
- Wright, Philip (2002). Lady Nugent's Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805. University of the West Indies Press. ISBN 1-84415-143-3.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir George Nugent