John Fox Burgoyne
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British army officer.
Commissioned into the Royal Engineers as a Second Lieutenant in 1798, Burgoyne took part in the expedition to the Mediterranean in 1800 and was actively involved in the blockade and subsequent capture of Malta, then in French hands.
Actions in Sicily and Egypt between 1805 and 1807 brought him a mention in despatches and a growing reputation and in 1808 he was transferred to Portugal under Sir John Moore, later killed during the battle of Corunna in Spain in 1808.
In the Corunna campaign Burgoyne held the key position of chief of engineers with the rear-guard of the British army. He was with Wellesley at the Douro in 1809, and was promoted captain in the same year, after which he was engaged in the construction of the lines of Torres Vedras in 1810. He blew up Fort Concepcion on the river Turones, and was present at Busaco and Torres Vedras. In 1811 he was employed in the unsuccessful siege of Badajoz, and in 1812 he won successively the brevets of major and lieutenant-colonel for his skilful performance of engineer duties at the historic sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. He was present in the same year (1812) at the siege and battle of Salamanca, and after the battle of Vittoria in 1813 he became commanding engineer on Wellington's staff.
In the American War of 1812, he fought under General Pakenham as a Lieutenant Colonel and participated in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
In the winter of 1853/54, with the Crimean War looming, Burgoyne – at the astonishing age of 71 - was sent to Constantinople to report on the measures he considered necessary for the defence of that area. Appointed Lieutenant General on the staff of the Army in the East, he played a major role in the strategies and operational planning of the opening phases of the Crimean war. Lord Raglan acknowledged freely just how much he was indebted to Burgoyne for the advice and assistance given at the battle of the Alma. The same happened at Inkerman and Lord Raglan proposed his promotion to General, which was confirmed following the fall of Sebastopol. Elevation to the rank of Field Marshal came in 1868.
Two years later, tragedy struck. His only son, Captain Hugh Talbot Burgoyne R.N., who had been one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross, was lost in HMS Captain when she foundered under his command in the Bay of Biscay, 6 Sep 1870. Burgoyne never recovered from the loss.
This is a very fine signature in black ink, cut from the bottom of a letter on a piece measuring 4.5" x 2.75". In very good condition.