Alexander MacDonald , CB, Major-General

Alexander MacDonald , CB, Major-General

b: 21 JAN 1776
d: 21 MAY 1840
From "Sketch of the Military Exploits of Lieutenant-General John Skinner and his sons", 1863:

[p. 70] "The late Major-General MacDonald CB and Knight of St Ann of Russia, having gone through the prescribed course of studies at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, was appointed a second Lieutenant of Artillery in the year 1794, and, during a career highly honourable to himself, had seen much actual service in various climates, and parts of the globe. He obtined a distinguished reputation in the service as a brave and excellent officer, with the esteem of all who knew him. In the West Indies, he served in the expeditionm under Sir Ralph Abercromby, to the Island of St Lucia; and was engaged in the siege and reduction of the Fortress of Morne Fortunee there; and afterwards at the attack of the Vigne, in St Vincent's, by which, the possession of that portion of the Island (of which we had been dispossessed,) was recovered; with much harassing service besides: and, during these operations, was very much in the field, day and night, and suffered many privations, and hardships. He was with the army, which landed at Ferrol, in 1800, as a second Captain; and served the Egyption campaign, in 1801, including the siege and surrender of Aboukir - the battle of March 21, - several affairs in the marches, - and capture of Cairo, with the capitulation of the French army in upper Egypt and the surrender of Alexandria, with the final evacuation of Egypt by the French army. The early surrender of the Fort of Aboukir, which took place when the batteries were under his direction, obtained for him the command of a Brigade of Horse Artillery, formed in the country; and his conduct and services during the campaign procured him a troop of Horse Artillery in England, immediately on his promotion to the rank of a first Captain in the Regiment. He received a gold medal for Egypt, and permission to wear on his helmet "The Sphinx." He served, likewise, in the expedition to Walcheren, in 1809; and in 1813 was attached, on a particular duty, to the army under the Duke of Wertemberg, which formed the siege of Dantzic, on the fall of which place, he was, for his services on the occasion, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, and honoured by the Emperor of Russia with the order of a Knight of St Ann of the second class. In the campaign of 1815 he commanded the troops of Horse Artillery attached to the Cavalry; on the 17th June covered the retiring movement of the Cavalry from Quatre Bras; and on the 18th bore his share of the arduous struggle at Waterloo, where he received a severe contusion, but did not quit the field, or allow himself to be returned wounded; he was also in the subsequent operations of the army. He was made a companion of the most honourable military Order of the Bath, in September, 1815; and commanded the Horse Artillery of the British contingent in France, during the time of the occupation. While in command of a troop, and after much experience in the movements of Cavalry, he introduced into the service, a system, highly approved of, for the movements of Horse Artillery, different in many respects from any before practised, and had the satisfaction of knowing, that his sytem had been productive of the most advantageous results to the service. He was promoted to the rank of Major-General, January 10th, 1837.

General MacDonald was of the family of Glencoe, born January 21st, 1776. His father, Donald MacDonald, was born at Invercoe, Glencoe, November 15, 1738; and was distinguished, as an officer, for his bravery and good conduct; received some very severe wounds while serving under Lord Cornwallis, in America; and during one period of the late war had three sons honourably engaged in defence of their country as officers in the army. He died February 12, and was buried February 17, 1821, in the Isle of Man, the burial place of the MacDonalds of Glencoe.

The General died at Leamington, Warwickshire, on the 21st May, 1840, and in cloncluding this brief memoir of his military career, and the high estimation in which, as an officer, he was held, it were unjust to him memory to omit, that in private life he was allowed to have been equally distinguished for all the best qualities of a son, a brother, and a friend.

R. McD

On page 73 is the text of a letter written by General MacDonald to his sister after the Battle of Waterloo:

"My dear Ippi, Waterloo, 19th June, 1815

You probably will receive this as soon as you do the Gazette announcement of the great victory we yesterday obtained over Buonaparte; and it is to inform you all, I am, thank God, safe and well. I shall write again soon, and shall now only add, that with love to all,

I always am, my dear Ippi, your truly affectionate brother,

Alexander MacDonald"

And on page 76: "While Major-General MacDonald resided in his native glen at Invercoe he read family prayers to his servants, morning and evening, in the Gaelic language, and always spoke to them in their native tongue; probably the last Highland gentleman who kept up a custom so gratifying to his dependents".
  • 21 JAN 1776 - Birth - ; Glencoe
  • 21 MAY 1840 - Death - ; Leamington, Warwickshire
  • 1794 - Fact -
  • 1815 - Fact -
  • 10 JAN 1937 - Fact -
Donald MacDonald
15 NOV 1738 - 12 FEB 1821
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Donald MacDonald
Birth15 NOV 1738Invercoe, Glencoe
Death12 FEB 1821
Marriageto Florance Maclean
FatherAlexander MacDonald
PARENT (F) Florance Maclean
Marriageto Donald MacDonald
MRonald MacDonald , Capt
Birth7 JUL 1783Glencoe, Scotland
Death28 JUL 1864Portobello, Edinburgh
Marriage1 APR 1799to Florance Maclean at Kilmalie (but see Ronald - Notes about the birth and marriage dates)
FIsabella MacDonald
FCharlotte MacDonald
MAlexander MacDonald , CB, Major-General
Birth21 JAN 1776Glencoe
Death21 MAY 1840Leamington, Warwickshire
MSon MacDonald
[S16279] 'Sketch of the Military Services of Lieutenant-General Skinner and his sons'