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RAIT, Robert S.

The Life and Campaigns of Hugh First Viscount Gough Field-Marshal.

Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, 1903 Stock Code: 140528
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First edition of this "excellent biography" (Brice), for over a century the only full-length memoir of the man "said to have commanded in more general actions than any other British officer of the nineteenth century except the Duke of Wellington" (ODNB). Gough (1779-1869) was gazetted lieutenant in 1795, and posted to the 78th Highlanders at the Cape of Good Hope, with subsequent service with the 87th in the West Indies and in the Peninsular War; he was present at Talavera, Barossa, Tarifa, Vitoria, and Nivelle, where he was badly wounded. In 1837 he was "appointed to command the Mysore division of the Madras army. In the First Opium War Gough was sent to command the troops at Canton (Guangzhou) The forts defending Canton were captured on 26-7 May 1841, and Gough was made GCB. After the arrival of Admiral Sir William Parker in July, Gough commanded the troops in the combined operations which ended with the capture of the great fortified city of Chinkiang (Zhenjiang) and the signing of the treaty at Nanking (Nanjing) in 1842. For his part in these events Gough was created a baronet, and received the thanks of parliament and of the East India Company. He returned to Madras, having been made presidency commander-in-chief on 16 June 1841, and on 11 August 1843 was appointed commander-in-chief in India" (ibid.). He also led operations against the Sikhs in both the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars, obtaining victories at Mudki, Ferozeshahr, Sobraon, Ramnagar, and Chilianwala. The terrible losses at this last provoked questions about the competence of his command, but Gough re-established his reputation with a crushing defeat of the Sikhs at Gujrat on 21 February 1849, followed by their unconditional surrender to the pursuing force under General Gilbert. He vacated the command on 7 May 1849. "His courage, chivalry, and racy brogue all contributed to his popularity with his soldiers, despite his bull-headed tactics. Wellington described him as 'affording the brightest example of the highest qualities of the British soldier' (Fortescue, Brit. army, 12.473)" (ibid.).

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2 volumes, octavo. Original green cloth, gilt-lettered spines, Gough arms gilt to front covers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed.


Photogravure portrait frontispiece to each volume (with tissue guards), 8 other plates (5 of them photogravures), 21 folding maps and plans.


Bindings skillfully refurbished, extremities of spine and corners consolidated, gilt lettering retouched, scattered foxing. A very good set, bright and square.


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