Sir Hugh Gough
Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough (1779 - 1869) was born at
Woodstown, Limerick.Having obtained a commission in the army in
August 1794, he served with the 78th Highlanders at the Cape of
Good Hope, taking part in the capture of Cape Town and of the
Dutch fleet in Saldanha Bay in 1796. His next service was in the
West Indies, where, with the 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers), he
shared in the attack on Puerto Rico, the capture of Surinam, and
the brigand war in St Lucia. In 1809 he was called to take part in
the Peninsular War, and, joining the army under Wellington,
commanded his regiment as major in the operations before Oporto,
by which the town was taken from the French.
At Talavera he was severely wounded, and had his horse shot under
him. For his conduct on this occasion he was afterwards promoted
lieutenant-colonel, his commission, on the recommendation of
Wellington, being antedated from the day of the dukes despatch.
He was thus the first officer who ever received brevet rank for
services performed in the field at the head of a regiment.
He was next engaged at the battle of Barrosa, at which his regiment
captured a French eagle. At the defence of Tarifa the post of
danger was assigned to him, and he compelled the enemy to raise the
siege. At Vitoria, where Gough again distinguished himself, his
regiment captured the baton of Marshal Jourdan. He was again
severely wounded at Nivelle, and was soon after created a knight of
St Charles by the king of Spain.
Gough was promoted major-general in 1830. Seven years later he was sent to India to take command of the Mysore division of
the army and shortly thereafter, Gough was appointed commander in-chief of the British forces in China. After the conclusion
of the treaty of Nanking in August 1842 the British forces were withdrawn; and before the close of the year Gough, who had
been made a G.C.B. in the previous year for his services in the capture of the Canton forts, was created a baronet. In August
1843 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in India, and in December he took the command in person
against the Mahrattas, and defeated them at Maharajpur, capturing more than fifty guns. In 1845 occurred the rupture with
the Sikhs, who crossed the Sutlej in large numbers, and Sir Hugh Gough conducted the operations against them, being well
supported by Lord Hardinge, the governor-general, who volunteered to serve under him. Successes in the hard-fought battles of
Mukdee and Ferozeshah were succeeded by the victory of Sobraon, and shortly afterwards the Sikhs sued for peace at Lahore.
Hugh Gough was well known for his singular habit of wearing a white coat into battle. The coat was a rallying point for his
troops and its appearance on the field promoted both fear and respect in opposition forces.
The services of Sir Hugh Gough were rewarded by his elevation to the peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Gough (April
1846). The war broke out again in 1848, and again Lord Gough took the field; but the result of the battle of Chillianwalla being
equivocal, he was superseded by the home authorities in favor of Sir Charles Napier; before the news of the supersession
arrived Lord Gough had finally defeated the Sikhs in the battle of Gujarat (February 1849). His tactics during the Sikh wars
were the subject of an embittered controversy. Lord Gough now returned to England, was raised to a viscountcy, and for the
third time received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament. A pension of £2000 per annum was granted to him by parliament,
and an equal pension by the East India Company. He did not again see active service. In 1854 he was appointed colonel of the
Royal Horse Guards, and two years later he was sent to the Crimea to invest Marshal Pléssier and other officers with the
insignia of the Bath.
Honours were multiplied upon him during his latter years. He was made a knight of St Patrick, being the first knight of the
order who did not hold an Irish peerage, was sworn a privy councillor, was named a G.C.S.I., and in November 1862 was made