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James Hope Grant

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Category: Military
Reference No: 8621
Status: Available
Price: £25.00
  James Hope Grant

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British General with a brilliantly successful battlefield record, described in the Flashman novels of George MacDonald Fraser as “the deadliest fighter alive”.

Grant accomplished everything that he was sent to do, often in fiercely contested hand-to-hand combat and often against the greatest odds.

His military career began at the age of 18, when he joined the 9th Lancers as a very junior NCO. He rose steadily through the ranks from lieutenant in 1828 to captain in 1835, and fought in the First Opium War in China (1839–42), where he was promoted to Major for his bravery during the capture of Qin-Kiang.

In the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845–1846 he took part in the battle of Sobraon; and in the Punjab campaign of 1848–1849 he commanded the 9th Lancers, winning high praise in the viciously fought battles of Chillianwalla and Gujarat.

He took a leading part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, holding for some time the command of the cavalry division, and afterwards of a movable column of horse and foot.

After rendering valuable service in the operations before Delhi and in the final assault on the city, he directed the victorious march of the cavalry and horse artillery dispatched in the direction of Cawnpore to open up communication with the commander-in-chief Sir Colin Campbell. Campbell raised him to the rank of brigadier-general, and placed the whole force under his command during what remained of the perilous march to Lucknow for the relief of the residency (he had his horse shot from under him in this action). After the retirement towards Cawnpore he routed the rebel troops by making a detour which threatened their rear; and, following in pursuit with a flying column, defeated them with the loss of nearly all their guns at Serai Ghat.

After the recapture of Lucknow he was promoted to the rank of Major-General, and appointed to the command of the force employed for the final pacification of India. For this work he was knighted

In 1859 Grant was made Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong and led the British land forces in the Anglo-French expedition against China in the Second Opium War.

In China, Grant defeated the Chinese army three times in the open in three months, and dispersed it after battling not just the Chinese, but his recalcitrant French "allies" as well. The strong forts of Taku, mounting 600 guns, were captured. Peking surrendered. The China campaign was universally deemed the most successful and the best executed of England’s “little wars”.

In 1870 Grant was transferred to the command of Aldershot Division, where he took a leading part in the reform of the training systems of the forces, following the Franco-German War. The introduction of annual army manoeuvres was largely Grant’s work.

This is a fine ink signature, cut from the bottom of a letter on a piece measuring 3.5" x 1.5". In good condition. RARE.