Francis de Rottenburg


Francis de Rottenburg

Major-General Francis de Rottenburg, baron de Rottenburg (1757–1832) was raised in what is now Gdańsk in Poland to a Swiss family and became a British military officer and colonial administrator. He spent almost a decade in the French army which came to an end with the French Revolution. In 1795, de Rottenburg joined the British army serving in Hompesch’s Hussars, a unit of foreign-born troops. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the 5th Battalion of the 60th Regiment of Foot, the first rifle-armed unit of the British Army, commanding the unit during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and the capture of Suriname in 1799.

An expert in the use of light infantry he wrote the first British instruction manual on their use, though the manual had to be translated to English from German.

De Rottenburg was sent to British North America prior to the War of 1812 and became a major-general in command of the Montreal district.

He became the military administrator of Upper Canada in 1813. George Prevost, governor-in-chief of British North America and commander of British forces, appointed de Rottenburg after removing his predecessor, Roger Hale Sheaffe due to complaints from the establishment in the province. De Rottenburg proved to be a poor military commander due to his excessive caution in regard to using troops. His unwillingness to take risks resulted in Lake Erie being captured by the Americans.

De Rottenburg imposed martial law in the Eastern and Johnstown districts to force farmers to sell supplies to the army.

The arrival of Gordon Drummond allowed de Rottenburg to be moved to Lower Canada where he commanded forces south of the St. Lawrence River at Montreal.

In September 1814, when British forces invaded the United States de Rottenburg was put in command of three brigades (led by Manley Power, Thomas Brisbane, and Frederick Philipse Robinson) in the Lake Champlain campaign and the Battle of Plattsburgh. After briefly serving as acting administrator of Lower Canada he was recalled to Britain and left Quebec in July 1815. He apparently resided in England until his death, and accumulated various rewards: knight commander of the Royal Hanoverian Order in 1817, knight bachelor on 12 Feb. 1818, and lieutenant-general on 12 Aug. 1819.

External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=3106 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]


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