Sir James Carmichael-Smyth, 1st Baronet

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This article concerns the colonial administrator. For his father, the Scottish physician, see James Carmichael Smyth (physician)
Sir James Carmichael-Smyth, Bt
Sir James Carmichael-Smyth, 1st Baronet.jpg
Born (1779-02-22)22 February 1779
London, England
Died 4 March 1838(1838-03-04) (aged 59)
Georgetown, Guyana

Sir James Carmichael-Smyth, 1st Baronet, KCH, CB (22 February 1779 – 4 March 1838) was a British Army officer and colonial administrator.


Carmichael-Smyth was born in London the eldest son of doctor and medical writer, James Carmichael Smyth and Mary Holyland. He was educated at Charterhouse School and the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, London before joining the Royal Engineers in March 1795 as a second lieutenant. One of the chief engineering officers of the British Army in Southern Africa between 1795-1808, he then went to Spain under Lieutenant-general Sir John Moore in 1808-9. From 1813-15 he was stationed in the Low Countries and was present at the ill-fated Siege of Bergen op Zoom in 1814 before going on to command the Royal Corps of Engineers & Sappers at Waterloo.[1] Prior to the battle, Smyth had created a plan of the ground that allowed Wellington to place his troops rapidly and advantageously.[2]

In 1818 he was on Wellington's staff at the Board of Ordnance and was made a baronet in August 1821. He was sent by Wellington in 1823 to survey the defences in the Low Countries and the British West Indies and in 1825 to repeat the operation in British North America.[1]

He was promoted major-general in May 1825 and, after carrying out some engineering works in Ireland, was made Governor of the Bahamas in May 1829. In June 1833 he was transferred to be Governor of British Guiana, where he had to deal with the problems of the emancipation of slaves [1]

He died of an illness on 4 March 1838 in Georgetown, Guyana. Between 1815 and 1831 He had published eight volumes on the subjects of military engineering, defence, and slavery.


Carmichael Smyth married Harriet Morse, daughter of Robert Morse, on 28 May 1816 and they had one son.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Raudzens 1988
  2. ^ Dalton 1904, p. 229.


Further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Lewis Grant
Governor of the Bahamas
Succeeded by
Blayney Balfour
Preceded by
Sir Benjamin d'Urban
Governor of British Guiana
Succeeded by
Henry Light
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Nutwood)
Succeeded by
James Robert Carmichael