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Field Marshal The Right Honourable
The Viscount Hardinge
Governor-General of India

In office
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel
Lord John Russell
Preceded by William Wilberforce Bird
As Acting Governor-General
Succeeded by The Earl Dalhousie
Personal details
Born (1785-03-30)30 March 1785
Wrotham, Kent, England
Died 24 September 1856(1856-09-24) (aged 71)
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Military service
Allegiance British Empire British Empire
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1799–1856
Rank Field Marshal
Commands Commander-in-Chief of the British Army
Battles/wars Peninsula War
Waterloo Campaign
First Anglo-Sikh War
Crimean War
Awards GCB

Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, GCB, PC (30 March 1785 – 24 September 1856) was a British field marshal and Governor-general of India.

Army career

Born the son of the Reverend Henry Hardinge, Rector of Stanhope,[1] and Frances Hardinge (née Best) and educated at Durham School, Hardinge entered the British Army on 23 July 1799 as an ensign in the Queen's Rangers,[2] a corps then stationed in Upper Canada.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant by purchase in the 4th Regiment of Foot on 27 March 1802[4] and transferred to the 1st Regiment of Foot on 11 July 1803[5] before becoming a captain of a company by purchase in the 57th Regiment of Foot on 21 April 1804.[6] In February 1806 he was sent to the newly formed Staff College at High Wycombe.[7]

He saw action at the Battle of Roliça on 17 August 1808, at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, where he was wounded, and at Corunna on 16 January 1809 where he was by the side of Sir John Moore when the latter was killed.[3] He was promoted to major on 13 April 1809[7] and appointed deputy-quartermaster-general in the Portuguese army and was present at many of the battles of the Peninsular War.[3] Promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1811, he saved the day for the British at Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 by taking responsibility at a critical moment and strongly urging General Cole's division to advance.[3] He took part in the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813,[8] where he was wounded again,[3] and was also present at the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813[9] and the Battle of Nivelle on 10 November 1813.[10] He commanded the Portuguese brigade at the Battle of Orthez on 27 February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse on 10 April 1814.[3] He was appointed KCB on January 1815.[7]

When war broke out again in 1815 after Napoleon's escape from Elba, Hardinge returned to active service as a brigadier.[3] He was present at the Battle of Ligny on 16 June 1815, where he lost his left hand by a shot, and thus was not present at Waterloo two days later.[3] Wellington presented him with a sword that had belonged to Napoleon.[3] He was promoted to brevet colonel on 19 July 1821[11] and to major-general on 22 July 1830.[12]

Political service

In 1820 Hardinge was returned to parliament as member for Durham.[3] On 4 April 1823 he was appointed Clerk of the Ordnance[13] and on 9 June 1828 he accepted the office of Secretary at War in Wellington's ministry.[14] Returned as Member of Parliament for St Germans in 1830,[15] for Newport in 1831[16] and for Launceston in 1832, he served as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1830 and 1834 to 1835.[3] He was Secretary at War once again in Sir Robert Peel's cabinet from 1841 to 1844.[17] He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1841.[3]

In May 1844 he succeeded Lord Ellenborough as Governor-General of India.[18] He was advanced to GCB on 1 July 1844.[19] Following the death of Maharajah Ranjit Singh tribal war broke out and the first Sikh War ensued in 1845.[3] Hardinge, waiving his right to the supreme command, offered to serve as second in command under Sir Hugh Gough.[3] At the Battle of Mudki on 18 December 1845 Gough commanded the right flank and Hardinge commanded the left flank.[20] After further British successes at the Battle of Sobraon on 10 February 1846, the Battle of Ferozeshah on 21 December 1845 and the Battle of Aliwal on 28 January 1846, Hardinge concluded the campaign with the Treaty of Lahore with Maharajah Duleep Singh on 9 March 1846[21] and the Treaty of Amritsar with Maharajah Gulab Singh on 16 March 1846.[22] He was created Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and of King's Newton in Derbyshire on 7 April 1846.[23]


Hardinge returned to England in 1848, and became Master-General of the Ordnance on 5 March 1852;[24] he succeeded the Duke of Wellington as commander-in-chief of the British Army on 28 September 1852.[25] While in this position he had responsibility for the direction of the Crimean War, which he endeavoured to conduct on Wellington's principles - a system not altogether suited to the changed mode of warfare.[3] He was promoted to brevet general on 20 June 1854[26] and field marshal on 2 October 1855.[27] A commission was set up to investigate the failings of the British military during the Crimean campaign.[3] As Hardinge was delivering the report of the commission to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he collapsed with a stroke.[3] Albert helped him to a sofa, where despite being paralysed on one side, he continued to deliver his report, apologizing for the interruption.[28]

He was also colonel of the 97th Regiment of Foot from 4 March 1833[29] and of the 57th Regiment of Foot from 31 May 1843.[30]

Hardinge resigned his office of commander-in-chief in July 1856, owing to failing health, and died on 24 September 1856 at South Park near Tunbridge Wells.[3]


In 1821 he married Lady Emily Jane, seventh daughter of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.[3] His elder son, Charles Stewart (1822–1894), who had been his private secretary in India, was the 2nd Viscount Hardinge. The younger son of the 2nd Viscount, Charles Hardinge (b. 1858), became a prominent diplomatist, and was appointed Viceroy of India in 1910, being created Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.[31]


  1. "No. 12833". 24 February 1787. 
  2. "No. 15161". 20 July 1799. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Howlett, David J.. "Hardinge, Henry, first Viscount Hardinge of Lahore (1785–1856)". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  4. "No. 15464". 23 March 1802. 
  5. "No. 15600". 9 July 1803. 
  6. "No. 15694". 17 April 1804. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Heathcote, p.171
  8. "No. 16887". 19 April 1814. 
  9. "No. 16934". 13 September 1814. 
  10. "No. 16934". 13 September 1814. 
  11. "No. 17727". 20 July 1821. 
  12. "No. 18709". 23 July 1830. 
  13. "No. 17911". 5 April 1823. 
  14. "No. 18477". 10 June 1828. 
  15. "No. 18723". 3 September 1830. 
  16. "No. 18805". 20 May 1831. 
  17. "No. 20015". 7 September 1841. 
  18. "No. 20346". 24 May 1844. 
  19. "No. 20363". 12 July 1844. 
  20. "No. 20576". 23 February 1846. 
  21. "No. 20602". 8 May 1846. 
  22. "No. 20602". 8 May 1846. 
  23. "No. 20592". 7 April 1846. 
  24. "No. 21299". 9 March 1852. 
  25. "No. 21362". 28 September 1852. 
  26. "No. 21564". 22 June 1854. 
  27. "No. 21792". 2 October 1855. 
  28. Weintraub, Stanley (1997). Albert: Uncrowned King London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5756-9Weintraub, p.334
  29. "No. 19028". 8 March 1833. 
  30. Heathcote, p.172
  31. "Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst". Cracrofts Peerage. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 


  • Hardinge, Charles (1891). Viscount Hardinge. Forgotten Books. ASIN B008VNGNS6. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Rait, Robert (1903). Life and Campaigns of Viscount Gough. Forgotten Books. ASIN B008ROL9TC. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Wharton
Michael Angelo Taylor
Member of Parliament for Durham
With: Michael Angelo Taylor
Succeeded by
Michael Angelo Taylor
Sir Roger Gresley
Preceded by
Charles Ross
James Loch
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Charles Ross
Succeeded by
Charles Ross
Winthrop Mackworth Praed
Preceded by
Jonathan Raine
John Doherty
Member of Parliament for Newport (Cornwall)
With: Jonathan Raine 1831
Viscount Grimston 1831–1832
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
James Brogden
Sir John Malcolm
Member of Parliament for Launceston
Succeeded by
William Bowles
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Ward
Clerk of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir George Clerk, Bt
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Secretary at War
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Leveson Gower
Preceded by
Lord Francis Leveson-Gower
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Edward Smith-Stanley
Preceded by
Edward Littleton
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Viscount Morpeth
Preceded by
Thomas Macaulay
Secretary at War
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Fremantle
Preceded by
The Marquess of Anglesey
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
The Lord Raglan
Government offices
Preceded by
William Wilberforce Bird, acting
Governor-General of India
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Succeeded by
The Duke of Cambridge
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Hardinge
Succeeded by
Charles Hardinge

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. Encyclopædia Britannica Cambridge University Press 

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