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General James Abercrombie, by Allan Ramsay

James Abercrombie or Abercromby (1706 – April 23, 1781) was a British Army general and commander-in-chief of forces in North America during the French and Indian War, best known for the disastrous British losses in the 1758 Battle of Carillon.


Early life

He was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland [1] to a wealthy family, and purchased a major's commission to enter the army in 1742. He was promoted to colonel in 1746, and major-general in 1756.

Seven Years War

Abercrombie commanded a brigade at Louisbourg in 1757 and became commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America after the departure of John Campbell in March of 1758 (see Commander-in-Chief, North America).

That summer, he led an expedition against Fort Carillon (later known as Fort Ticonderoga). Abercrombie was a genius at organization, but vacillated in his leadership to the point where his troops called him Mrs. Nanny Cromby. He managed the remarkable feat of assembling 15,000 troops and moving them and their supplies through the wilderness. Then, on July 8, he directed his troops into a frontal assault on a fortified French position, without the benefit of artillery support. More than 2,000 men were killed or wounded. Eventually his force panicked and fled, and he retreated to his fortified camp south of Lake George. This disaster caused his replacement by General Jeffrey Amherst and his recall to England in 1759. On his return to England, he sat as a member of parliament, and supported the coercive policy toward the American colonies.

See also


  1. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.  

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Duff
Member of Parliament for Banffshire
1734 – 1754
Succeeded by
James Duff
Military offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Loudoun
Commander-in-Chief, North America
Succeeded by
The Lord Amherst


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