Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, (30 September 1788 – 28 June 1855), known before 1852 as Lord FitzRoy Somerset, was a British Army officer. When a junior officer, he served in the Peninsular War and the Waterloo campaign, latterly as military secretary to the Duke of Wellington. He also took part in politics as Tory Member of Parliament for Truro, before becoming Master-General of the Ordnance. He became commander of the British troops sent to the Crimea in 1854: his primary objective was to defend Constantinople, and he was also ordered to besiege the Russian Port of Sevastopol. After an early success at the Battle of Alma, a failure to deliver orders with sufficient clarity caused the fateful Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. Despite further success at the Battle of Inkerman, a poorly coordinated allied assault on Sevastopol in June 1855 was a complete failure. Raglan died later that month, after suffering from dysentery and depression.
Born at Badminton House in Gloucestershire as the ninth and youngest son of Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort and his wife Elizabeth (daughter of Admiral the Hon. Edward Boscawen),Somerset was educated at Westminster School and was commissioned as a cornet in the 4th Light Dragoons on 16 June 1804.
Promoted to lieutenant on 1 June 1805, Somerset accompanied Sir Arthur Paget on his visit to Sultan Selim III of the Ottoman Empire, who had been aligning himself too closely with France, in 1807. He became a captain in the 43rd Regiment of Foot on 5 May 1808 shortly before his appointment as aide-de-camp to Sir Arthur Wellesley in July 1808. Somerset accompanied Wellesley's Army when it was sent to Portugal later that month. Somerset fought at the Second Battle of Porto in May 1809, the Battle of Talavera in July 1809 and the Battle of Bussaco (where he was wounded) in September 1810. He was appointed acting military secretary to Wellington in November 1810 and fought with him at the Battle of Pombal in March 1811, the Battle of Sabugal in April 1811 and the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro in May 1811. Promoted to brevet major on 9 June 1811, he also took part in the Battle of El Bodón in September 1811. He specially distinguished himself at the storming of Badajoz in March 1812 by being the first to mount the breach and by helping to secure the surrender of the French Governor and was duly promoted to lieutenant colonel on 27 April 1812.
Somerset was commissioned cornet, by purchase, in the 4th light dragoons on 9 June 1804, and became lieutenant, by purchase, on 30 May 1805. In 1807 he accompanied the mission of Sir Arthur Paget to the Ottoman empire, which sought unsuccessfully to detach the sultan from his alliance with France. Of Somerset, Paget wrote: 'He is a most excellent Lad—I have the sincerest Regard for him' (Sweetman, 19). Somerset obtained a company as captain in the 6th garrison battalion on 5 May 1808, and on 18 August was transferred to the 43rd foot. Meanwhile, in July 1808, through the duke of Richmond's influence, he went to Portugal with Sir Arthur Wellesley as aide-de-camp, and was at the battles of Rolica (17 August 1808) and Vimeiro (21 August 1808). In action for the first time at Rolica he responded to Wellesley's query 'how do you feel under fire?' with 'better, sir, than I expected' (Sweetman, 23). On 27 August Wellesley wrote: 'Lord FitzRoy has been very useful to me, and I have this day lent him to Sir H. Dalrymple to go to the French headquarters' (Sweetman, 24) to assist peace negotiations.
After the defeated French had left Portugal, Somerset went home with Wellesley, but returned to the Peninsula with him in the spring of 1809, and served on his staff continuously until the close of the war. He was bearer of the dispatches after Talavera (28 July 1809), and was wounded at Busaco (27 September 1810). Appointed military secretary to the duke of Wellington on 1 January 1811, he established direct relations with the battalion commanders, by means of which he acquired, Sir William Napier observed in his History, 'an exact knowledge of the moral state of each regiment, rendered his own office important and gracious with the army, and with such discretion and judgment that the military hierarchy was in no manner weakened' (Sweetman, 32). He secured a brevet majority on 9 June, after Fuentes d'Oñoro.
Somerset distinguished himself at Badajoz, where he helped to persuade the French governor to surrender, and at Wellington's special request he was made brevet lieutenant-colonel on 27 April 1812. During the siege of Pamplona he succeeded in deciphering a message from its governor to Marshal Soult which came into Wellington's hands, leading to allied success. After the victory at Toulouse on 10 April 1814 Somerset went with Wellington to the victory parade in Paris and on to Spain before reaching England. Somerset received the gold cross with five clasps and silver war medal, also with five clasps, for the Peninsula, and was made KCB on 2 January 1815. On 25 July 1814 he was transferred to the 1st guards as captain and lieutenant-colonel. On 6 August 1814 he married Emily Harriet (1792–1881), second daughter of Wellington's brother, William Wellesley-Pole (later third earl of Mornington).
Somerset went on to fight with Wellington at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812, the Siege of Burgos in September 1812 and the Battle of Vitoria in June 1813 as well as the Siege of San Sebastián in July 1813, the Battle of the Pyrenees in July 1813 and the Battle of Nivelle in November 1813. They also fought together at the Battle of the Nive in December 1813, the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814. Following Wellington's appointment as British Ambassador during the short period of Bourbon restoration, Somerset assumed a role as his secretary at the Embassy on 5 July 1814. Somerset transferred to the 1st Guards on 25 July 1814 and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 2 January 1815.
Somerset also saw action during the Hundred Days: he served on Wellington's staff at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815 and at the Battle of Waterloo two days later (where he had to have his right arm amputated and then demanded his arm back so he could retrieve the ring that his wife had given him).
After Napoleon's first abdication Wellington went to Paris as ambassador, and Somerset accompanied him as secretary to the embassy. He was left in charge of the embassy as minister-plenipotentiary from 18 January 1815, when Wellington went to Vienna, until Napoleon's return. On 14 March—the day Joseph Fouché made his remarkable prediction that the empire would be restored but would last only three months—Somerset wrote to Wellington: 'I see no reason why it should be at all expected that Napoleon should not succeed' (Sweetman, 51–2). On the 20th Napoleon reached Paris, and on the 26th Somerset left it to join Wellington in the Netherlands as his military secretary.
At the battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), while he was accompanying Wellington, about seven o'clock in the evening, Somerset's right elbow was hit by a bullet from the roof of La Haye-Sainte, and the arm had to be amputated. After the operation Somerset said, 'Hey, bring my arm back. There's a ring my wife gave me on the finger' (Sweetman, 65–6). Wellington wrote to Somerset's brother, the duke of Beaufort, 'You are aware how useful he has always been to me, and how much I shall feel the want of his assistance, and what a regard and affection I feel for him' (Sweetman, 66). He recommended him warmly soon afterwards for the appointment of aide-de-camp to the prince regent. This was given to him with the rank of colonel in the army on 28 August. He was awarded Austrian, Russian, Bavarian, and Portuguese orders.
Promoted to colonel and appointed an aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent on 28 August 1815, he was appointed a Knight of the Bavarian Military Order of Max Joseph on 3 October 1815. He remained with the Army of Occupation in France until May 1816 when he returned to the post of secretary at the British Embassy in Paris.
Somerset was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Truro in 1818 and became Wellington's secretary in the latter's new capacity as Master-General of the Ordnance in 1819. Heeding advice from Wellington, Somerset returned to the British embassy at Paris. When the allied armies were withdrawn from France, Wellington was made master-general of the ordnance in London, and, early in 1819, Somerset became his secretary. He accompanied Wellington to the congress of Verona in 1822. In January 1823 he was sent on a special mission to Spain to explain the duke's views upon the constitutional crisis to some of the leading politicians, in the hope of averting French intervention, but spent two months at Madrid ineffectually. Promoted major-general on 27 May 1825, in 1826 he went with Wellington on the accession of Nicholas I to St Petersburg, where negotiations were conducted for common action against Turkey on behalf of Greece. During this period Somerset twice sat in parliament as a tory MP for the corporation borough of Truro on the interest of his first cousin, Edward, fourth Viscount Falmouth—in 1818–20 and in 1826–9—but took no active part in any debate. Somerset demonstrated deep paternal interest in the welfare of his children, and Lady Somerset began to suffer the first of many ailments which thenceforth afflicted her.
Somerset lost his seat at the general election in 1820 but, having been promoted to major-general on 27 May 1825, regained his seat in Parliament in 1826. Following Wellington's appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in January 1827 Somerset became Military Secretary in August 1827. He stood down from Parliament in 1829 and was promoted to lieutenant-general on 28 June 1838. Advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 24 September 1852, he became Master-General of the Ordnance on 30 September 1852 and was raised to the peerage as Baron Raglan of Raglan in the County of Monmouthshire on 11 October 1852.
Raglan became commander of the British troops sent to the Crimea with the temporary rank of full general on 21 February 1854 and was promoted to the substantive rank of full general on 20 June 1854. While Raglan's primary objective was to defend Constantinople he was ordered by the Duke of Newcastle, who was at the time Secretary of State for War, to besiege the Russian Port of Sevastopol "unless it could not be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of success". An Anglo-French force under the joint command of Somerset and General Jacques St. Arnaud defeated General Alexander Menshikov's Russian army at the Battle of Alma in September 1854.
Having resigned from the Ordnance with Wellington in April, shortly after the duke became commander-in-chief on 28 August 1827, Somerset was made military secretary at the Horse Guards, a post that he held until 30 September 1852. He was noted for his quickness and accuracy, for impartiality, and for his tact and urbanity. In those twenty-five years he served Wellington and Rowland, first Viscount Hill, both of whom devolved more and more responsibility due to their increasing infirmity. He exercised considerable influence over military appointments, co-ordinated opposition to the proposal of Lord Howick in 1837 to enhance the powers of the secretary at war to the detriment of the commander-in-chief, and became officially embroiled in the controversial activities of James Thomas Brudenell, seventh earl of Cardigan, which attracted widespread press condemnation. Lady Somerset's health determined that he decline separately the offer of the captaincy of Cowes Castle and the post of governor-in-chief of British North America. Somerset was made colonel of the 53rd foot on 19 November 1830, and became lieutenant-general on 28 June 1838. He was awarded a DCL degree in June 1834 when Wellington was installed as chancellor at Oxford. On Wellington's death (14 September 1852) Lord Hardinge succeeded him as commander-in-chief and a disappointed Somerset became master-general of the ordnance on 30 September 1852. He was made GCB on 24 September 1852, a privy councillor (on 16 October), and Baron Raglan of Raglan, Monmouthshire, on 18 October. As master-general he continued Hardinge's policy of increasing the artillery and arming the horse and field artillery with heavier guns.
Victory on the Alma
In February 1854, when war against Russia seemed imminent, Raglan was selected to command the expeditionary force sent to the east. Though sixty-five he had the strength and vigour of a much younger man. He had never led troops in the field, but Hardinge pointed to his 'great professional experience under the Duke' (Sweetman, 169). His diplomatic skills, as well as his personal character and charm of manner, marked him out for an expedition with the difficulties of both combined operations and alliance warfare. On 27 March, Britain declared war. Raglan left London on 10 April, his primary task to defend Constantinople but warned by Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, fifth duke of Newcastle, secretary of state for war and the colonies, that 'no blow … would be so effective for this purpose as the taking of Sebastopol' (Sweetman, 179). After spending some days in Paris he reached Constantinople on 29 April. There he resisted attempts by the French commander (Marshal Saint-Arnaud) to assume overall direction of the allied forces, travelled to Schumla to meet the Turkish commander-in-chief (Omar Pasha) and agreed to move troops into Bulgaria, as Russian units were south of the Danube. By the end of June most of the British and French armies were in camp near Varna; but by then the Russian army had recrossed the Danube, and the European provinces of Turkey were no longer threatened.
On 29 June instructions were sent to Raglan that he should prepare to besiege Sevastopol, 'unless with the information in your possession, but at present unknown in this country, you should be decidedly of opinion that it could not be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of success' (Hibbert, 56). In view of Newcastle's comments in April this could not have completely surprised Raglan, but he and Saint-Arnaud had grave misgivings about the enterprise, and they had no such information as the letter mentioned. However, they regarded the instructions as 'little short of an absolute order', and they acquiesced. The ravages of cholera and the need to concentrate men, equipment, and sea transport caused some delay. Not until 14 September did the first troops land without opposition at Calamita Bay, on the west coast of the Crimea, a beach chosen by Raglan himself. Due to bad weather it took four days more to land the horses and guns, and to collect transport. Eventually, on 19 September, the invaders advanced south. That afternoon only Raglan's vigilance prevented the British cavalry from being attacked by superior enemy forces at the Bulganek River.
The following day, on 20 September 1854, the battle of the Alma was fought. The allies' right comprised 28,000 French and 7000 Turkish infantry, with sixty-eight guns; the left 23,000 British infantry, 1000 British cavalry, and sixty guns. The bulk of the Russian army—21,000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, and eighty-four guns—were in front of the British; while they had only 12,000 infantry, 400 cavalry, and thirty-six guns to oppose the French, whose advance could be supported by the fire of the fleet. Crucially, twenty-one guns in two redoubts on Kurgan Hill barred the British path. It was agreed, therefore, that the French should begin the battle, and turn (or threaten to turn) the Russian left. But before this movement was sufficiently developed to make itself felt, Raglan, partly because his waiting troops weDuring the campaign Raglan had the abstracted habit of referring to the Russian enemies as "the French". While this eccentricity is often cited as evidence of his unsuitability for high command, he did in fact speak fluent French and relations between the two allies in the field were good.
Victory on the Alma raised high hopes of the prompt capture of Sevastopol, both in the armies and at home. The enemy's works on the south side of the fortress were thought to be weak, whereas the strength of those to the north was obvious. The allied armies, therefore, marched east of Sevastopol to occupy upland to the south. Once established there, the commanders determined that a bombardment by siege guns must precede an assault. Already 172 guns were mounted on the works, and the garrison, after the withdrawal of the field army under Prince Menshikov, numbered 30,000, mostly seamen and marines. Trenches were dug and batteries built. The French, on the left, attacked the works of the town, and the British, on the right, those of the Korabelnaya suburb. On 17 October the allies opened fire with 126 guns, but by this time, through the energy of Lieutenant-Colonel Todleben, the enemy's works had been greatly strengthened, and 341 guns were mounted on them, of which 118 bore on the besiegers' batteries. Lack of co-ordination with the naval bombardment that day and early explosion of a French magazine signalled failure. All thoughts of an assault had to be postponed, and the allies needed to look to their own defence against the growing strength of the Russian field army. Raglan had both to protect the allied right flank and to hold his supply port of Balaklava.
Balaklava and the charge of the light brigade
On 25 October came the unsuccessful Russian attack on Balaklava, and the disastrous charge of the light brigade [see Nolan, Lewis Edward]. All agreed that 'some one had blundered'. Raglan, in his dispatch, blamed Lord Lucan: 'From some misconception of the order to advance, the lieutenant-general considered that he was bound to attack at all hazards' (Sweetman, 253). But he himself did not escape blame on the grounds that the wording of the order did not make his intention clear.
Victory at Inkerman
On 5 November the Russians concentrated on the allied right, sending 35,000 men onto the upland while another 22,000 manoeuvred on the plain below, and the battle of Inkerman was fought. Aware of British weakness in this area, Raglan had pleaded in vain for French reinforcements. The main attack, upon the 2nd division under Sir John Lysaght Pennefather, began at 6.30 a.m. Raglan was on the field an hour later, but he did not interfere with Pennefather in his conduct of the fight. However, he decisively ordered up two 18-pounder guns, which did much to reduce the Russian preponderance in artillery. He also sent off for French assistance, showing better judgement than two of his divisional generals, who declined Bosquet's offer of aid. He watched the course of the battle from the ridge which formed the main position, where Strangways, the artillery commander, was killed while talking to him, and Canrobert (Saint-Arnaud's successor) was wounded. 'I am not at all aware of having exposed myself either rashly or unnecessarily, either at Alma or Inkerman', he wrote afterwards in reply to Newcastle's remonstrances.
Raglan had been gazetted colonel of the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) on 8 May 1854, and had been promoted general on 20 June. He was made field marshal from 5 November. The notification was accompanied by a letter from the queen, in which she said:
The queen cannot sufficiently express her high sense of the great services he has rendered and is rendering to her and to the country by the very able manner in which he has led the bravest troops that ever fought.Martin, 3.154
It was a last ray of sunshine.
Winter in the Crimea
The allies had narrowly escaped destruction at Inkerman, after which wintering in the Crimea became inevitable, and want of men made it impossible to press actively the siege of Sevastopol. On 14 November a hurricane in the Black Sea wrecked twenty-one vessels laden with urgently needed stores. Next day Raglan informed Newcastle, 'you cannot send us too many supplies of all kinds'. Immediately afterwards the cold weather set in. The sufferings and losses of the troops increased, and criticism at home increased.
Unaware of Raglan's efforts to secure French reinforcements the Times correspondent, William Howard Russell, resentful of Raglan's ignoring him, had already attributed the absence of trenches covering the allies' right to indolence and overweening confidence. He alleged that if central depots had been established while the fine weather lasted, much, if not all, of the misery and suffering of the men and of the loss of horses would have been averted. Anonymous letters from officers and men added more complaints and before Christmas The Times charged Raglan and his staff with neglect and incompetence.
The commander of the forces had no direct responsibility for supply and transport. Up to 22 December, when a change was made, the commissariat was a branch, not of the war department, but of the Treasury, and so far as any one cause could be named for the terrible hardships of the troops, it was Treasury failure to comply with the requisitions it received for forage. The horses were starved, and there were inadequate means of transporting stores from Balaklava to the camps. But in face of the rising storm of indignation at home, the government blamed the staff in the Crimea. In an official dispatch of 6 January 1855, as in earlier private letters, the duke of Newcastle censured the administration of the army, and pointed especially to the quartermaster-general, James Bucknall Estcourt, and the adjutant-general, Richard Airey. But Raglan refused to make them scapegoats.
Raglan knew from his war experience under Wellington the importance of military intelligence. He had been sent to the East in 1854 without any intelligence organization, and it was lack of intelligence which had resulted in the fatal decision not to attack Sevastopol immediately from the south, and the British being surprised at the battle of Balaklava. Thereafter intelligence significantly improved, with the secret intelligence department improvised and run by Charles Cattley (alias Calvert)—a civilian member of Raglan's staff and formerly British vice-consul at Kerch, who died of cholera in July 1855—using largely Tartar agents and Polish deserters. Raglan encouraged and utilized competently Cattley's department, and British military intelligence was largely successful. Concerned to prevent the Russians gaining intelligence, Raglan complained to the government of W. H. Russell's reports which published information which 'must be invaluable to the Russians, and in the same degree detrimental to H. M.'s troops' (Hankinson, 99). In January 1855 he complained, 'The Enemy at least need spend nothing under the head of “Secret Service”' (Harris, 76).
On 30 January 1855 the Aberdeen government was defeated upon the motion of J. A. Roebuck for an inquiry into the condition of the army in the Crimea. It fell, and Palmerston formed a ministry, with Lord Panmure as secretary for war. On 12 February Panmure wrote to Raglan: 'It would appear that your visits to the camp were few and far between, and your staff seems to have known as little as yourself of the condition of your gallant men' (Sweetman, 284). He added in a private letter that a radical change of the staff was the least that would satisfy the public. In a long and dignified reply on 3 March, Raglan wrote:
I have served under the greatest man of the age more than half my life, have enjoyed his confidence, and have, I am proud to say, been ever regarded by him as a man of truth and some judgment as to the qualifications of officers, and yet, having been placed in the most difficult position in which an officer was ever called upon to serve, and having successfully carried out difficult operations, with the entire approbation of the queen, which is now my only solace, I am charged with every species of neglect; and the opinion which it was my solemn duty to give of the merits of the officers, and the assertions which I made in support of it, are set at naught, and your lordship is satisfied that your irresponsible informants are more worthy of credit than I am.Hibbert, 289–90
The charge brought against Raglan of not visiting the camps was vigorously rejected by homecoming wounded in press interviews. As regards his staff, Lieutenant-General Simpson (who was sent out to report upon it) declared to Panmure that Raglan was 'the worst used man I have ever heard of', the staff 'very much vilified'. According to Raglan's daughter Charlotte, 'Papa is a good deal annoyed' at the unwarranted slurs on his staff (Sweetman, 289). In 1855 he was awarded the order of the Mejidiye (first class).
Siege of Sevastopol
Siege operations were actively resumed at the end of February 1855. The French had been greatly reinforced, and were now much stronger than the British. Still responsible for the allied left, they had also taken over the extreme right, where the battle of Inkerman was fought. On 9 April the second bombardment began, and the assault was fixed for the 28th; but Canrobert drew back on the 25th. An expedition against Kerch, at the entrance to the Sea of Azov, was then arranged, to cut the line of communication of the Russians from the east, but it had no sooner started than Canrobert insisted on its recall. It was successfully carried out, though, at the end of May, when Pélissier had replaced Canrobert. Meanwhile, there had been a third bombardment of Sevastopol, the Mamelon (an advanced work in front of the Malakhov) had been taken by the French, and the Quarries before the Redan by the British. The 18 June, the anniversary of Waterloo, was chosen for the general assault.
It was to be preceded by two hours' bombardment, but Pélissier decided at the last moment to attack at 3 a.m., and Raglan reluctantly concurred. The result was disastrous. Due to a misunderstanding the French columns for the assault of the Malakhov, numbering in all 25,000 men, attacked piecemeal. They were met by a storm of fire and were driven back with heavy loss. Seeing their plight Raglan ordered the British forward against the Redan, though the chance of success there was much less. He knew that otherwise 'the French would have attributed their non-success to our refusal to participate in the operation' (to Panmure, 19 June). The two leading British columns, about 500 men each, 'had no sooner shown themselves beyond the trenches than they were assailed by a most murderous fire of grape and musketry. Those in advance were either killed or wounded, and the remainder found it impossible to proceed' (official dispatch).
Death and burial
Raglan described 'the failure' as 'a great affliction to me' and 'a great disappointment' (Sweetman, 315). On the 23rd one of the staff wrote: 'He looks far from well, and has grown very much aged lately'. He was further distressed by the death of Estcourt the following day. Although apparently suffering physically only from mild diarrhoea, Raglan's strength was undermined by all he had endured, and he was very depressed. On the 26th he wrote his last dispatch, and on the evening of the 28th he died, at camp before Sevastopol, 'the victim of England's unreadiness for war', Sir Evelyn Wood remarked. Apparently he died, in Victorian terms, of a broken heart. Raglan's unexpected death caused grief and gloom in the army. Pélissier, in his general order next day, paid tribute to Raglan's courage in battle and greatness of character. In the words of the general order issued from the Horse Guards,
By his calmness in the hottest moments of battle, and by his quick perception in taking advantage of the ground or the movements of the enemy, he won the confidence of his army, and performed great and brilliant services. In the midst of a winter campaign—in a severe climate and surrounded by difficulties—he never despaired.
This last characteristic well deserved emphasis. Saint-Arnaud had often been tiresome, Canrobert despondent, and Omar Pasha frequently at odds with his own government. One of Raglan's divisional commanders—Sir George de Lacy Evans—strongly urged him after Inkerman to give up the siege and embark the army. His capacity as a general was questioned, and he had been the object of much undeserved blame; but belatedly the nobility of his character had made itself felt even by those who had been loudest in complaint (for example, The Times, 2 July). His successor as British commander in the Crimea, Sir James Simpson, wrote: 'His loss to us here is inexpressible', and the prince consort observed: 'Spite of all that has been said and written against him, an irreparable loss for us!' Florence Nightingale wrote, 'It was impossible not to love him … He was not a very great general, but he was a very good man' (Hibbert, 342).
The body was embarked on the paddle gunboat Caradoc with full military honours, the 7 miles of road from his headquarters to Kazatch Bay being lined with troops. It reached Bristol on 24 July, and was buried privately at Badminton on the 26th. A pension of £1000 was voted to his widow (who died on 6 March 1881), and £2000 to his heir; £12,500 was subscribed for a memorial to him, and Kefntilla estate, near Usk, was bought and presented to his heir. He left one son, Richard Henry FitzRoy Somerset, second Lord Raglan (1817–1884), and two daughters, Charlotte Caroline Elizabeth and Katherine Anne Emily Cecilia. His eldest son, Major Arthur William FitzRoy Somerset, had died on 25 December 1845 of wounds received four days before at the battle of Ferozeshahr; Frederick John FitzRoy had died in infancy.
Of 'spotless reputation' (Sweetman, 338), 'the most modest and least vain of men' (Lady Westmorland, his sister-in-law, quoted in Sweetman, 348), with 'too good and kind a heart' (Captain H. Keppel RN, quoted in Sweetman, 348), Raglan was a devout high-church Anglican, socially popular, and an accomplished rider and shot. Of medium height, with, in his younger years distinctive ash blond hair, he was unostentatious and in the Crimea moved with a minimum of military display. With an average annual turnover of £4000 and credit balance of £800, he showed, his bankers noted, 'no sign of his having been embarrassed at any time or in any way'. In the Crimea he was a better general than his critics allowed. Balaklava did not fall on 25 October 1854. Had he lost that battle, either the Alma or Inkerman, the allies would have been faced with ignominious withdrawal from the peninsula. Shortly before his death Raglan referred to having 'served the Crown for above fifty years' (Sweetman, 338). Duty guided his public life, devotion to his family the private part.
W. H. Russell's and The Times's criticisms were long influential, and for many years Raglan was considered a blundering failure in the Crimea, an image repeated in cinematic portrayal. However, after 1960 revisionist studies—Christopher Hibbert's The Destruction of Lord Raglan (1961), John Sweetman's Raglan (1993), and Stephen Harris's British Military Intelligence in the Crimean War (1999)—have provided more balanced and favourable portrayals.
Raglan's nephew and aide-de-camp, Colonel Poulett George Henry Somerset (1822–1875), was the fourth son of General Lord Charles Henry Somerset (1767–1831), colonial governor and second son of the fifth duke of Beaufort, and Mary (d. 1860), daughter of the fourth Earl Poulett. He was born on 19 June 1822, was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, was commissioned as ensign in the 33rd foot on 20 March 1839, exchanged into the Coldstream Guards on 1 May 1840, and became captain and lieutenant-colonel on 3 March 1854. He acted as aide-de-camp to Lord Raglan in the Crimean War, received the order of the Mejidiye (fourth class), and was made CB on 5 July 1855.
His uncle declared himself 'very much pleased with Poulett', sending him, for example, after Russian withdrawal from Silistria 'to desire' Lord Cardigan to take the light brigade 'as far as he could in order to discover what the enemy's left was about'. Poulett rode for a short distance on that lengthy, painful reconnaissance towards the Danube. Once in the Crimea he lived at British headquarters, was present at Raglan's death, travelled home with his body to take part in the funeral procession through Bristol, and joined family mourners for the burial at Badminton. He had a narrow escape at Inkerman, where a shell burst in the body of his horse. Somerset exchanged into the 7th fusiliers on 2 February 1858, became colonel five years later, and went on half pay on 21 June 1864. He was a JP and Conservative MP for Monmouthshire from 1859 to 1871.
Somerset was twice married: first, on 15 April 1847, to Barbara Augusta Nora, daughter of John Mytton of Halston, Shropshire, who died on 4 June 1870; second, on 10 September 1870, to Emily, daughter of J. H. Moore of Cherryhill, Cheshire. There were two sons and one daughter from the first marriage, and one daughter from the second. He died at Homestead, Dundrum, near Dublin, on 7 September 1875.
Raglan's brother, Colonel Lord John Thomas Henry Somerset (1787–1846), the eighth son of Henry Somerset, fifth duke of Beaufort (1744–1803), and Elizabeth (1747–1828), daughter of Admiral the Hon. Edward Boscawen, was born on 30 August 1787. He attended Goodenough's School, Ealing, and Westminster School at the same time as his younger brother, FitzRoy. Commissioned as cornet in the 7th light dragoons on 4 August 1804, he advanced to lieutenant on 14 August 1805 and transferred to the 23rd light dragoons as captain on 15 April 1808. He served with the regiment in the Peninsula, taking part in the battle of Talavera (28 July 1809) with his brothers Edward and FitzRoy. He married, on 4 December 1814, Lady Catharine Annesley (d. 1865), daughter of the earl of Mountnorris, and they had one son and three daughters. Somerset joined the 60th foot on 15 May 1815, advancing to major on 18 June, the day that he fought at Waterloo, where he reputedly 'saved a brother officer's life' (Durant, 174). On 25 July he went on half pay, progressing to brevet lieutenant-colonel (19 July 1821), lieutenant-colonel (16 July 1830), and colonel (10 January 1837). In 1843 he was restored to full pay on appointment as inspecting field officer to Bristol recruiting district, a post that he held until his death. Suffering from a persistent cough and violent rheumatic pains in his shoulder and neck, he then developed a tumour between his legs, according to his younger brother 'due to the inactive state of his liver'. He moved from Bristol to Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, in the hope that the sea air would improve his health. However, he died there on 3 October 1846, to the grief of FitzRoy: 'I have lost an affectionate brother … the companion of my youth' (Sweetman, 135). FitzRoy believed that, although frugal, Somerset left little money because of his wife's extravagance. He was buried in a vault in the nave of Bristol Cathedral.
Raglan was blamed by the press and the government for the sufferings of the British soldiers in the terrible Crimean winter during the Siege of Sevastopol owing to shortages of food and clothing although this, in part, was the fault of the home authorities who failed to provide adequate logistical support. A piecemeal allied assault on Sevastopol on 18 June 1855 was a complete failure.The anxieties of the siege began to seriously undermine Raglan's health and he died unexpectedly on 28 June 1855, while suffering with dysentery and depression. His body was brought home and interred at St Michael and All Angels Church, Badminton.
Raglan had also served as honorary colonel of the 53rd Regiment of Foot and then as honorary colonel of the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards (The Blues). Cefntilla Court, Llandenny was built as a lasting memorial to Somerset in 1858: an inscription over the porch there reads:
This house with 238 acres of land was purchased by 1623 of the friends, admirers and comrades in arms of the late Field Marshal Lord Raglan GCB and presented by them to his son and his heirs for ever in a lasting memorial of affectionate regard and respect.
A blue plaque was erected outside Raglan's house at Stanhope Gate in London in 1911.
On 6 August 1814 Somerset married Lady Emily Harriet Wellesley-Pole (daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington, and niece of the Duke of Wellington). They had two sons:
- Arthur William FitzRoy Somerset (6 May 1816 – 21 December 1845)
- Richard Henry Fitzroy Somerset, 2nd Baron Raglan (24 May 1817 – 3 May 1884)
Raglan was portrayed by John Gielgud in the film The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968). Lord Raglin is a character in George MacDonald Fraser's novel Flashman at the Charge, in which he is described as a kindly, but ineffectual man, and completely unsuited for his command.
Initially, he worked as a salesman, but also took courses at the Amsterdam Stadstekenacademie. In 1805 he was appointed as drawing instructor at the artillery and engineering training centre in Amersfoort. He was particularly noted for his paintings depicting events from the history of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
His fame was established by a painting he did at the Villa Welgelegen, depicting the heroic acts of the Prince of Orange at the Battle of Quatre Bras, followed by a painting of the Battle of Waterloo. The latter found favor with the Duke of Wellington, who invited him to England, on several occasions, to do portraits.
In 1820 he was appointed as first director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten) in Amsterdam, a position he held until his death. He also served as an assistant director at the "Koninklijk Kabinet" (now the Mauritshuis). From 1844 to 1847 he was director of the Rijksmuseum which at that time was still housed in the Trippenhuis.
He played an important role as mentor and tutor to a group of young artists, one of whom was Jozef Israëls.Other pupils included: Christina Alida Blijdenstein, Jacob Bruggink, Gijsbertus Craeyvanger, Reinier Craeyvanger, Johannes Hinderikus Egenberger, Petrus Franciscus Greive, Lambertus Johannes Hansen, Louis Meijer, his son Nicolaas Pieneman, Jan Jacob Spohler and Willem Steelink.
Pieneman died on 8 April 1853 in Amsterdam.