Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge

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Field Marshal The Right Honourable
The Viscount Hardinge
Governor-General of India
In office
Monarch Queen Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel
Lord John Russell
Preceded by William Wilberforce Bird
As Acting Governor-General
Succeeded by The Earl Dalhousie
Personal details
Born (1785-03-30)30 March 1785
Wrotham, Kent, England
Died 24 September 1856(1856-09-24) (aged 71)
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Military service
Allegiance British Empire British Empire
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1799–1856
Rank Field Marshal
Commands Commander-in-Chief of the British Army
Battles/wars Peninsula War
Waterloo Campaign
First Anglo-Sikh War
Crimean War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge GCB, PC (30 March 1785 – 24 September 1856) was a British Army officer and politician. After serving in the Peninsula War and the Waterloo Campaign he became Secretary at War in Wellington's ministry. After a tour as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1830 he became Secretary at War again in Sir Robert Peel's cabinet. He went on to be Governor-general of India at the time of the First Anglo-Sikh War and then Commander-in-Chief of the Forces during the Crimean War.

Army career

Born the son of the Reverend Henry Hardinge, Rector of Stanhope,[1] and Frances Hardinge (née Best) and educated at Durham School, Hardinge entered the British Army on 23 July 1799 as an ensign in the Queen's Rangers,[2] a corps then stationed in Upper Canada.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant by purchase in the 4th Regiment of Foot on 27 March 1802[4] and transferred to the 1st Regiment of Foot on 11 July 1803[5] before becoming a captain of a company by purchase in the 57th Regiment of Foot on 21 April 1804.[6] In February 1806 he was sent to the newly formed Staff College at High Wycombe.[7]

The Battle of Orthez, at which Hardinge commanded the Portuguese brigade, during the Peninsular War

He saw action at the Battle of Roliça on 17 August 1808, at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, where he was wounded, and at Corunna on 16 January 1809 where he was by the side of Sir John Moore when the latter was killed.[3] He was promoted to major on 13 April 1809[7] and appointed deputy-quartermaster-general in the Portuguese army and was present at many of the battles of the Peninsular War.[3] Promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1811, he saved the day for the British at Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 by taking responsibility at a critical moment and strongly urging General Cole's division to advance.[3] He took part in the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813,[8] where he was wounded again,[3] and was also present at the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813[9] and the Battle of Nivelle on 10 November 1813.[10] He commanded the Portuguese brigade at the Battle of Orthez on 27 February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse on 10 April 1814.[3] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in January 1815.[7]

When war broke out again in 1815 after Napoleon's escape from Elba, Hardinge returned to active service as a brigadier.[3] He was present at the Battle of Ligny on 16 June 1815, where he lost his left hand by a shot, and thus was not present at Waterloo two days later.[3] Wellington presented him with a sword that had belonged to Napoleon.[3] He was promoted to brevet colonel on 19 July 1821[11] and to major-general on 22 July 1830.[12]

Political service

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Statue of Hardinge in Calcutta, circa 1860.

In 1820 Hardinge was returned to parliament as member for Durham.[3] On 4 April 1823 he was appointed Clerk of the Ordnance[13] and on 9 June 1828 he accepted the office of Secretary at War in Wellington's ministry.[14] Returned as Member of Parliament for St Germans in 1830,[15] for Newport in 1831[16] and for Launceston in 1832, he served as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1830 and 1834 to 1835.[3] He was Secretary at War once again in Sir Robert Peel's cabinet from 1841 to 1844.[17] He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1841.[3]

In May 1844 he succeeded Lord Ellenborough as Governor-General of India.[18] He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 1 July 1844.[19] Following the death of Maharajah Ranjit Singh tribal war broke out and the first Sikh War ensued in 1845.[3] Hardinge, waiving his right to the supreme command, offered to serve as second in command under Sir Hugh Gough.[3] At the Battle of Mudki on 18 December 1845 Gough commanded the right flank and Hardinge commanded the left flank.[20] After further British successes at the Battle of Sobraon on 10 February 1846, the Battle of Ferozeshah on 21 December 1845 and the Battle of Aliwal on 28 January 1846, Hardinge concluded the campaign with the Treaty of Lahore with Maharajah Duleep Singh on 9 March 1846[21] and the Treaty of Amritsar with Maharajah Gulab Singh on 16 March 1846.[22] He was created Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and of King's Newton in Derbyshire on 7 April 1846.[23]


The Crimean War, the conduct of which Hardinge directed as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces

Hardinge returned to England in 1848, and became Master-General of the Ordnance on 5 March 1852;[24] he succeeded the Duke of Wellington as commander-in-chief of the British Army on 28 September 1852.[25] While in this position he had responsibility for the direction of the Crimean War, which he endeavoured to conduct on Wellington's principles — a system not altogether suited to the changed mode of warfare.[3] He was promoted to brevet general on 20 June 1854[26] and field marshal on 2 October 1855.[27] A commission was set up to investigate the failings of the British military during the Crimean campaign.[3] As Hardinge was delivering the report of the commission to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he collapsed with a stroke.[3] Albert helped him to a sofa, where despite being paralysed on one side, he continued to deliver his report, apologizing for the interruption.[28]

He was also colonel of the 97th Regiment of Foot from 4 March 1833[29] and of the 57th Regiment of Foot from 31 May 1843.[30]

Hardinge resigned his office of commander-in-chief in July 1856, owing to failing health, and died on 24 September 1856 at South Park near Tunbridge Wells.[3] There is a memorial to him at St John the Baptist, Penshurst.[31]


In 1821 he married Lady Emily Jane, seventh daughter of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.[3] His elder son, Charles Stewart (1822–1894), who had been his private secretary in India, was the 2nd Viscount Hardinge. The younger son of the 2nd Viscount, Charles Hardinge (b. 1858), became a prominent diplomatist, and was appointed Viceroy of India in 1910, being created Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.[32]


  1. The London Gazette: no. 12833. p. 101. 24 February 1787. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 15161. p. 730. 20 July 1799. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 "Hardinge, Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12271.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. The London Gazette: no. 15464. p. 304. 23 March 1802. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 15600. p. 831. 9 July 1803. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 15694. p. 475. 17 April 1804. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Heathcote, p.171
  8. The London Gazette: no. 16887. p. 836. 19 April 1814. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 16934. p. 1850. 13 September 1814. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 16934. p. 1852. 13 September 1814. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 17727. p. 1510. 20 July 1821. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 18709. p. 1535. 23 July 1830. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  13. The London Gazette: no. 17911. p. 541. 5 April 1823. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 18477. p. 1118. 10 June 1828. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 18723. p. 1878. 3 September 1830. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 18805. p. 974. 20 May 1831. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  17. The London Gazette: no. 20015. p. 2247. 7 September 1841. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  18. The London Gazette: no. 20346. p. 1762. 24 May 1844. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  19. The London Gazette: no. 20363. p. 2418. 12 July 1844. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  20. The London Gazette: no. 20576. p. 721. 23 February 1846. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  21. The London Gazette: no. 20602. p. 1678. 8 May 1846. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  22. The London Gazette: no. 20602. p. 1681. 8 May 1846. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 20592. p. 1278. 7 April 1846. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  24. The London Gazette: no. 21299. p. 741. 9 March 1852. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  25. The London Gazette: no. 21362. p. 2573. 28 September 1852. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  26. The London Gazette: no. 21564. p. 1931. 22 June 1854. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  27. The London Gazette: no. 21792. p. 3652. 2 October 1855. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  28. Weintraub, Stanley (1997). Albert: Uncrowned King London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5756-9 Weintraub, p.334
  29. The London Gazette: no. 19028. p. 474. 8 March 1833. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  30. Heathcote, p.172
  31. "Church of St John the Baptist, Penshurst". British listed buildings. Retrieved 22 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst". Cracrofts Peerage. Retrieved 3 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Hardinge, Charles (1891). Viscount Hardinge. Forgotten Books. ASIN B008VNGNS6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-696-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Rait, Robert (1903). Life and Campaigns of Viscount Gough. Forgotten Books. ASIN B008ROL9TC.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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New creation Viscount Hardinge
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Charles Hardinge

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>