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British Field Marshal.
Originally commissioned as an infantry officer, Stapleton Cotton transferred to the cavalry in time for the Flanders Campaign of 1793-1794.
A lieutenant-colonel at the incredibly young age of 20, Cotton found his niche in the cavalry and led the 25th Light Dragoons in the Cape and India.
It was in India in 1799 that he met Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington.
Deployed to Portugal in April 1809, Cotton commanded a cavalry brigade in Wellesley's Army. He was both courageous and also splendidly dressed in battle throughout the Peninsular War and was nicknamed the "Lion d' Or" ("Lion of Gold"). He took part in the Second Battle of Porto in May 1809 and the Battle of Talavera in July 1809 and, having succeeded to his father's baronetcy in August 1809, returned home to view his estate.
Cotton returned to Portugal in May 1810 and, having been promoted to the local rank of lieutenant general and given overall command of the cavalry, fought at the Battle of Bussaco in September 1810 and then covered the withdrawal to the Lines of Torres Vedras later that year. After fighting at the Battle of Sabugal in April 1811 and the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro in May 1811, Cotton was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant general on 1 January 1812.
Second-in-command of the Army, he took part in the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812, leading a brilliant charge against Maucune’s division. Wellington famously shouted 'By God, Cotton, I never saw anything so beautiful in my life; the day is yours.'
Cotton went on to fight at the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813, the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814. For these services he was raised to the peerage as Baron CombermerePromoted to full general on 27 May 1825, Cotton became Commander-in-Chief, India.In that role on 18 January 1826, after a three week siege, he stormed the capital of the Princely state of Bharatpur with its fort, which had previously been deemed impregnable, and restored the rightful raja to the throne. For his success in India he was raised in the peerage as Viscount Combermere on 8 February 1827.
This is a fine signature in ink, cut from the bottom of a letter on a piece measuring 4" x 2.5". One horizontal fine crease but otherwise in good condition.