|General Charles Ashe Windham
Cdv of General Charles Ashe Windham, the Hero of the Redan in the Crimea
War and the commander of a column in the Indian Mutiny which saw heavy
fighting at the Battle of Cawnpore, when the Gwalior Contingent was
This photo is said to have been taken in 1865 at the time the General was
invested as a Knight Commander of the Bath (a similar photo is shown in
Plate iii of Charles Ashe Windham, A Norfolk Soldier, by H. O. Mansfield).
General Windham is wearing the medal for the Crimea with four clasps, the
Turkish Crimea medal, a no clasp Indian Mutiny medal, the breast badges of
the K.C.B., the Second Class Order of the Medjidie, and the Military Order
of Savoy and the neck badges of the Legion of Honour and the Military
Order of Savoy.
The photographer is shown as W. Notman, a Canadian photographer which
means that most likely, this photo was reproduced for the Canadian market
while General Windham was in stationed in Canada in command of H.M.
North American Forces.
The Times, Feb 08, 1870; pg. 10; Issue 26668; col D
Death of General Windham.
We have to record today the death of another, and by no means the oldest, of the heroes of the Russian War and of the Indian
Mutiny, - Major-General Sir Charles Ashe Windham, K.C.B., whose name was so familiar to our ears some fifteen years ago as the
“Hero of the Redan.”
The gallant Genera1 was the third son of the late Vice Admiral Windham, and brother of the late Mr. William Henry Windham, of
Felbrigge, Norfolk (who was M.P. for East Norfolk in the first Reformed Parliament), by Anne, daughter of Mr. Peter
Thelltusson, of Plaistow, Essex. His uncle, the Right Hon. William Windham, many years M.P. for Norwich, St. Mawes, New
Romney, Higham Ferrers, & etc., will long be remembered as having been Secretary of State for the War and Colonial
Departments in Lord Grenville’s Ministry of “All the Ta1ents.” The family name was Lukin, until it was exchanged about half a
century ago for that of Windham; and the Windhams or Wynondhams have been seated in Norfolk, according to Sir Bernard
Burke, since the twelfth century.
The future General was born in Norfolk in the year 1810, and received his early education at the Royal Military College,
Sandhurst. In December, 1826, we find him gazetted to a commission as Ensign and Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards. He was
promoted to Lieutenant and Captain in May, 1833, obtained his majority in November, 1846, and was promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel the following month. He obtained these steps by purchase, as also his Colonelcy in June, 1854, a few weeks after the
proclamation of the War against Russia.
In the same summer he accompanied the British Forces to the Crimea and during the earlier part of the Campaign he acted as
Assistant-Quartermaster-Genera1 to the Fourth Division. A vacancy, however, occurring, General Simpson, who had lately
succeeded Lord Raglan in the chief command, appointed Colonel Windham to a brigade in the Second Division. It will be within the
memory of many of our reader that after the battle of the Alma, Lord Raglan resolved, following the advice of Sir John
Burgoyne, to make a flank march on Balak1ava, and to send Admirals Dundas and Lyons, requesting them to support that movement
by bringing the fleet around to that point. Colonel Windham was the officer selected for the duty of carrying the despatch on
that occasion. He was subsequently engaged at Inkerman, where he was public1y thanked by Sir George Cathcart for his gallant
services; he was by the side of that General when he received his mortal wound; and on his death the command of a division
devolved upon him.
It was not, however, till a subsequent date that his name came to be known far and wide in England.
On the 8th of September, 1855- just a year after the battle of the Alma- the tricolor flag was waved from the Malakoff as the
signal for the English to advance against the Redan. General Windham was the first to enter the stronghold, and amid the shower
of bullets and cannon balls that flew around him he seemed to bear about him a charmed 1ife. At length, finding it hopeless to
obtain support by sending messengers, he coolly wa1ked across the open space before the ramparts in the midst of a well-
sustained fire, to demand assistance in person. The “Royals” were then placed at his disposal; but no sooner were they put in
formation then the men in the Redan were obliged to abandon the work. The opportunity had been lost.
The correspondents of the press were not slow in recording the heroic bravery of Windham on this occasion, and on the arrival of
General Codrington’s despatches at the Horse Guards, the subject of this memoir was rewarded by promotion to the rank of
Major-General, for his distinguished conduct in having, with the greatest intrepity and coolness, headed the column of attack
which assaulted the enemy’s defences on the 8th of September, 1855. For the same service he received the honour of the usual
medal with clasps; and he was immediately appointed by the Commander-in-Chief to the command of Karabelnaia,- the British
portion of Sebastopol. On the retirement of Sir Henry Bentinck he was nominated to the permanent command of the Fourth
On the resignation of the late Sir Henry W. Barnard, in the November following, General Windham was appointed Chief of the
Staff of the Army in the East, and in virtue of his office became the responsible head of the two departments of the Adjutant-
Genera1 and the Quartermaster -General. On his return to Eng1and at the conclusion of the war, General Windham was received in
London with all appropriate honours, and in his own county he was presented with a handsome sword, a subscription for the
purpose of a testimonial among the gentlemen and yeomen of Norfolk having in a few days reached 1,000 pounds.
At the General Election of April, l857, his native county again showed its appreciation of his public character, for the
constituency of East Norfolk returned him to Parliament in the Liberal interest without a contest. On that occasion he professed
himself an advocate of electoral, lega1, and military reform, and of the permanent embodiment and establishment of the militia. In
Parliament he took part in several discussions relating to army commissions, and advocated the system of public competition
instead of private patronage. For a fuller enunciation of his sentiments we must be content to refer our render to our columns of
July 29 and 30, 1857.
In the following month of August General Windham left England for India a few days after Lord Clyde, in order to undertake the
command of a column. His services in support of Lord Clyde at Cawnpore and at the Relief of Lucknow, when he defeated the
Gwalior Contingent, and subsequently as Commander at Lahore in the Punjaub, must be fresh in the minds of our readers.
He was promoted in 1863 to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and nominated a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in
1865; Colonel of the 46th Foot in 1861, and in l861 was appointed to the command of the British Forces in North America.
Sir Charles Windham was twice married- firstly, in 1849 to Marianne Catharine Emily, youngest daughter of the late Vice-
Admiral Sir John Poo Beresford, K.C.B., M.P., who died in 1865; and second1y, in 1865, to Charlotte Jane, daughter of the late
Rev. Henry Des Voeux.