Ralph Abercromby (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Abercromby enjoyed considerable success in lesser campaigns but is best remembered for reforms that led to a more efficient and professional army by the end of the Napoleonic period.
Ralph Abercromby was born at Tullibody, Scotland, and purchased a commission in the Third Dragoon Guards in 1756. Serving under Ferdinand, duke of Brunswick, in Hanover during the Seven Years’ War, he was promoted to captain by 1762. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1773, his advancement during the American Revolution was blocked because of his pro-American sympathies. He quit the army to stand for Parliament for Clackmannan but left after serving six years (1774-1780). He reentered the army upon the outbreak of the French Revolution. Serving under the duke of York, he distinguished himself in the French Revolutionary Wars at the Battle of Furnes (1793) and the Siege of Valenciennes (1793), and was made knight of the Bath upon his return to Britain in 1795.
Abercromby was next given command of the West Indies Expedition (1795-1796), which relieved the Siege of St. Vincent, and successfully captured most of France’s Caribbean possessions, including St. Lucia, Demerara, and Trinidad. In the Caribbean, he displayed reforming instincts, dismissing dishonest and inefficient officers and adopting lightweight cotton uniforms for use in the tropics.
Returning to Europe, he became the commander of...
(The entire section is 383 words.)
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