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James Edward Alexander

(1803-1885), Soldier and author

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Laurena Grant

17 April 2016, 10:37

General Sir James Edward Alexander of Westerton, Bridge of Allan (16 October 1803 - 2 April 1885). Soldier, traveler and author.

James was born in Stirling, Stirlingshire Scotland - source: '19. At Stirling, Mrs Edward Alexander, a son.' Source: The Scots Magazine - Tuesday 01 November 1803. He died at Surrey Lodge, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire on 2 April 1885.
'DEATH OF GENERAL SIR JAMES E. ALEXANDER. We have to announce that the veteran General Sir James Edward Alexander, C.8., F.R.S. Edin., K.C.L.S., of Westerton, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, died on Thursday last at Ryde, Isle of Wight, at the age of 82. The late general was the eldest son of the late Mr. Edward Alexander, of Powis, Clackmannanshire, who was descended from the Alexanders of Menstie, afterwards Earls of Stirling, by his second wife, Catharine, daughter of Mr. John Glas Provost of Stirling, and niece of Major General Sir A. Bryce, K.C.H. He was born in 1803, was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and for a short time before entering the British army served in the Madras Light Cavalry. In June, 1820, he was gazetted a cornet in the 13th Light Dragoons, receiving his lieutenant's commission in the following November, and being transferred to the 16th Lancers in October 1827. He was present with the armies in the field during the first Burman, the Persian, Turkish, Portuguese, and Kaffir wars, and on the personal staff as aide-de-camp to General Sir Benjamin D'Urban, when Governor of the Cape Colony, and as aide-de-camp to the late Field-Marshal Sir William Rowan, when that officer was commanding the forces in Canada; was employed on Government expeditions in exploring and surveying in Africa and America. In the African expedition in 1836-37 he penetrated to the interior of that continent, and was created a Knight Bacchelor for his service. Receiving his commission as a lieutenant- colonel in June, 1854, he served in the Crimean campaign. He received the medal with clasp, the Sardinian and Turkish medals, and the 5th Class of the Medjidie. Reaching the rank of colonel in October, 1858, he commanded the troops in the province of Auckland, New Zealand, for some time during the Maori war of 1860-1, for which he also received the medal, and was appointed a major-general March, 1868 ; a lieutenant-general October, 1877, when he was placed on the retired list, and was subsequently advanced to the rank of general. Altogether, the late general received seven war medals, was awarded a distinguished service reward in February, 1864, and the Companionship of the Bath (military division) in May, 1873. Sir James Alexander had also received the distinction of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Lion and the Sun of Persia and of St. John of Jerusalem; was an officer in the Portuguese service, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and also of the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Asiatic Societies, and of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries, and was in the commission of the peace and a deputy lieutenant for the county of Stirling. He was also well known in the literary world, being the author of several volumes of travel. In 1837 he married Eveline Marie, third daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cornwallis Michell, K.H., surveyor-general at the Cape of Good Hope. It is in great measure to the public spirit of Sir James that the public are indebted for the preservation of the Egyptian obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle.' Source: Morning Post - Tuesday 07 April 1885.

For a list of the many books he wrote - see:

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