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George Augustus Howe, 3rd Viscount Howe (c. 1725 – at Trout Brook, Ticonderoga, 6 July 1758) was a career officer and a Brigadier General in the British Army. He was described by James Wolfe as "the best officer in the British Army". He was killed in the French and Indian War while trying to capture Fort Carillon.

Contents

Background

Howe's father was Emanuel Scrope Howe, 2nd Viscount Howe, and mother was Mary Sophia von Kielmansegg (A niece of King King George I), and he had two notable brothers, the older Richard Howe, Earl Howe and the younger William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe, as well as seven other siblings. George was born either on the Howe estate at Langar, Nottinghamshire, or at the Howe home on Albemarle Street, London.

Early career

Howe joined the army as an Ensign of the 1st Foot Guards in 1745 and saw service during the Flanders campaign of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1746 he was made an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland who led the Allied Army in Flanders. In 1747 Howe fought at the Battle of Laufeld. He was promoted to Leuitenant Colonel in 1749 following the end of the war.[1]

Light Infantry reforms

George Howe is credited with the introduction of Light Infantry Companies in the British Army. When he commanded the 5th Regiment of Foot, he developed two of these companies in response to the requirements of wilderness and Indian campaigns. The companies carried less and lighter equipment than line companies, their jackets were shortened, and their belts changed from white to black.

They drilled in skirmishing and rapid manoeuvre. Eventually, each line regiment had one or two light infantry companies. For larger battles, these would be grouped into a light infantry battalion to attack flanks or otherwise take advantage of their manoeuvrability. This was quickly adopted by other European armies and later by the American Continental Army.

Seven Years War

On 2 February 1757, Howe was appointed Colonel, 3rd Battalion of the 60th Foot (the Royal Americans, later the King's Royal Rifle Corps), but transferred to command the 55th Regiment of Foot-{later the King's Own Royal Border Regiment}- 28 September 1757 while at Halifax. In December he was promoted to Brigadier General.

In 1758 he and the regiment were part of General James Abercrombie's failed attack at Ticonderoga. On 6 July Abercrombie's force marched north from the shore of Lake George in four columns. Howe led one of these columns, with the 55th regiment accompanied by a unit of Connecticut militia, with Major Israel Putnam as a scout and guide. They made contact with a French unit and a sharp skirmish ensued. They fought well, taking 148 prisoners, and causing an estimated 300 enemy casualties with limited losses to their own number. But one of those casualties was General Howe, who died in Putnam's arms.

Aftermath

Howe was widely mourned on both sides of the Atlantic. The Massachusetts Assembly (or general court) later voted £250 to place a monument in Westminster Abbey something for which Howe's brothers were extremely grateful.

Genealogy

George Augustus was brother to Admiral Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe, 4th Viscount and Sir William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe. The Family of Hoge quotes The Encyclopaedia Britannica as having this to say about the Howes:

"The friendliness of the brothers, Admiral Richard Howe and General William Howe, to the colonies led to their selection for the command of the British forces in the Revolutionary War. It was thought that they could negotiate a settlement with the American forces."

References

  1. ^ Stoetzel p.214-215

Bibliography

  • Stoetzel, Donald I. Encyclopedia of the French & Indian War in North America, 1754-1763. Heritage Books, 2008.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Plumptre
Sir Charles Sedley
Member of Parliament for Nottingham
with Sir Charles Sedley 1747–1754
Sir Willougby Aston 1754–1758

1747–1758
Succeeded by
Sir Willougby Aston
William Howe
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Emanuel Howe
Viscount Howe
1735–1758
Succeeded by
Richard Howe
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