James Abbott (General)

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James Abbott

Sir James Abbott KCB (March 12, 1807 - October 6, 1896 in Ryde , Isle of Wight) was a British general who served in the North West Frontier of what was then British India .


James Abbott was the son of a trader who previously worked in Calcutta. He attended school in Blackheath near London , which Benjamin Disraeli attended at the same time . From 1821 to 1823 this was followed by military training at Addiscombe College near Croydon. At the end of 1823 he went to India as a lieutenant for the Bengal Artillery . Here he took part in the conquest of the fortress and state of Bharatpur in 1826 together with his older brother Augustus . In the following peace years he reached the rank of captain in 1838. That year he was involved in the British invasion of Afghanistan in the First Anglo-Afghan War . In April 1839 he entered Kandahar. In that year he was seconded to the Khiva Khanate as a military advisor via Herat to work there as a military advisor and emissary. After the British invasion of Afghanistan, the Khanate found itself exposed to increased pressure from Russia , which wanted to secure and expand its southern border in Central Asia. The occasion was provided by bands of robbers from the khanate, who repeatedly deported Russians into slavery. Abbott's mission, however, was only partially successful.

The Hazara Region, 1851 by James Abbott

Abbott was able to speak to Khan Allah Quli Bahadur , but was then sent with letters to the Tsar. However, on the way to Russia, Abbott was arrested by Kazakh robbers. During the attack he lost a few fingers of his right hand from a sword blow. Abbott's superiors, who could not find out anything about his whereabouts, then sent Richmond Shakespeare, another emissary to Khiva, who was able to convince the Khan of the release of the Russian slaves. Abbott was finally released from the robbers because of diplomatic letters to the Tsar and reached Russian soil on the Caspian Sea . From here he continued his journey to Saint Petersburg , where he delivered his letters. The reception there was very cool and the offers that had been made were rejected. Abbott finally arrived in Great Britain in August 1840. In September 1841 he returned to India, where he married Margaret Anne Harriet Hutchison in 1844, who died the following year after having a daughter. In 1845 Abbott was appointed representative for the Hazara district in what is now northwestern Pakistan, which actually belonged to the Sikh empire that had just been defeated in the First Sikh War .

When there was unrest among the Sikh troops there in 1848, at the beginning of the Second Sikh War , Abbott feared an uprising by the local provincial governor Chattar Singh Attariwalla . He went with local Muslim units against the governor and troubled Sikh troops and, cut off from the other British troops, put down the unrest. At the Marquella Pass he and his troops succeeded in stopping the advance of outnumbered troops of Sikhs and Afghans and holding the pass. For this he received the express thanks of the Governor General and both Houses of Parliament, as well as his appointment as major. He stayed in Hazara, where he was very successful. In 1852 he successfully carried out a punitive expedition for the murder of two British tax collectors. The city of Abbottabad in the district was named in his honor . In July 1857 he was appointed lieutenant colonel. In 1868 he married Anna Matilda de Montmorency . In 1877, when he retired from active service, he was given the rank of general. In 1894 he was made a Knight of the Order of Bath .

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