Sir Garnet Wolseley
Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley (1833– 1913) was the eldest son
of Major Garnet Joseph Wolseley of the King's Own Borderers (25th Foot.), he
was born at Golden Bridge, Co. Dublin. Educated at Dublin, he obtained a
commission as ensign in the 12th Foot in March 1852, and was transferred to the
80th Foot. with which he served in the Second Burmese War.
He was severely wounded on the 19th of March 1853 in the attack of Donabyu,
was mentioned in despatches, and received the war medal. Promoted to be
lieutenant and invalided home, he exchanged into the 90th Light Infantry, then in
He accompanied the regiment to the Crimea,, was wounded at the Quarries on
June 7, and again in the trenches on August 30. After the fall of Sevastopol
Wolseley was employed on the quartermaster-general's staff, assisted in the
embarkation of the troops and stores, and was one of the last to leave the Crimea
in July 1856. For his services he was twice mentioned in despatches, was noted
for a brevet majority, received the war medal with clasp, the 5th class of the
French Légion d'honneur, the 5th class of the Turkish Mejidie and the Turkish
After six months' duty with the 90th Foot at Aldershot, he went with it in March
1857, to join the expedition to China under Major-General Ashburnham. Wolseley
embarked in the transport "Transit," which was wrecked in the Strait of Banka.
The troops were all saved, but with only their arms and a few rounds of
ammunition, and were taken to Singapore; whence, on account of the Indian
Mutiny, they were despatched with all haste to Calcutta.
Wolseley distinguished himself at the relief of Lucknow under Sir Colin Campbell in November, and in the defence of the Alambagh
position under Outram, taking part in the actions of December 22, 1857, of January 12 and 16, and the repulse of the grand
attack of February 21.
In March he served at the final siege and capture of Lucknow. He was then appointed deputy-assistant quartermaster-general on
the staff of Sir Hope Grant's Oudh division, and was engaged in all the operations of the campaign, including the actions of Bari,
Sarsi, Nawabganj, the capture of Faizabad, the passage of the Gumti and the action of Sultanpur. In the autumn and winter of
1858 he took part in the Baiswara, trans-Gogra and trans-Rapti campaigns ending with the complete suppression of the rebellion.
For his services he was frequently mentioned in despatches, and having received his Crimean majority in March 1858, was in April
1859 promoted to be lieutenant-colonel, and received the Mutiny medal and clasp.
Wolseley continued to serve on Sir Hope Grant's staff in Oudh, and when Grant was nominated to the command of the British
troops in the Anglo-French expedition to China in 1860, accompanied him as deputy-assistant quartermaster-general. He was
present at the action at Sin-ho, the capture of Tang-ku, the storming of the Taku Forts, the Occupation of Tientsin, the battle of
Pa-to-cheau and the entry into Beijing. He was mentioned in despatches, and for his services received the medal and two clasps.
In 1865 he became a brevet colonel, was actively employed the following year in connexion with the Fenian raids from the United
States, and in 1867 was appointed deputy quartermaster-general in Canada and in 1870 he successfully commanded the Red River
expedition to establish Canadian sovereignty over the Northwest Territories and Manitoba and on his return home was made a
KCMG and a CB.
In 1873 he commanded the expedition to Ashanti, and, having made all his arrangements at the Gold Coast before the arrival of the
troops in January 1874, was able to complete the campaign in two months, and re-embark them for home before the unhealthy
season began. This was the campaign which made his name a household word in England.
In 1877, he went to South Africa to supersede Lord Chelmsford in command of the forces in the Zulu War, and as governor of
Natal and the Transvaal and high commissioner of South-East Africa. For his services in South Africa he received the Zulu medal
with clasp, and was made a GCB.
In 1882 he was appointed adjutant-general to the forces, and in August of that year was given the command of the British forces
in Egypt to suppress the Urabi Revolt. Having seized the Suez Canal, he disembarked his troops at Ismailia, and after a very short
and brilliant campaign completely defeated Arabi Pasha at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir, and suppressed the rebellion.
For his services he received the thanks of Parliament, the medal with
clasp, the bronze star, was promoted general for distinguished service
in the field, raised to the peerage as Baron Wolseley of Cairo and
Wolseley, and received from the Khedive the 1st class of the order of
In 1884 he was again called away from his duties as adjutant-general
to command the Nile Expedition for the relief of General Gordon and
the besieged garrison of Khartoum. The expedition arrived too late;
Khartoum had fallen, and Gordon was dead; and in the spring of 1835
complications with Russia over the Penjdeh incident occurred, and the
withdrawal of the expedition followed. For his services be received
two clasps to his Egyptian medal, the thanks of parliament, and was
created a viscount and a knight of St Patrick. He died in March 1913,
at Mentone, France.
Sir Garnet in his later years