Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cadogan promised (and this is what the Internet is worth its weight in gold for), I've been reading further here and there on the background to the esteemed gentlemen who gave his name to that last unit of cavalry I've just painted..

The Cadogan family in question traces its descent from a Major William Cadogan, who was a cavalry officer in Oliver Cromwell's army. The Major's son (Henry) went into the law, and it was his son (also called William after his grandfather) who gave his name to the cavalry regiment.

The more I read about him, the more I understand how much Marlborough must have come to rely on him - along with Prince Eugene, it's clear that he was a critical and vital part of the success that Marlborough was to enjoy..

He joined the army in 1690 and first served in Ireland as a cornet of horse under William III, this was also the first time he served with Marlborough. He was present at the sieges of Cork and Kinsale, and by 1701 was a Major of the Inniskilling Dragoons and had caught the eye of Marlborough for his undoubted abilities..

In 1701, Marlborough appointed Cadogan to his staff following his appointment to command the English troops in the Low Countries - Cadogan's first job in this capacity was the complicated task of concentrating the grand army, formed by contingents from multitudinous states. He must have been successful in that role as Marlborough rewarded his services with the colonelcy of "Cadogan's Horse" (who are now the 5th Dragoon Guards).

As quartermaster during the campaign of 1704, he was one of the few entrusted with the truth of Marlborough's march from the Spanish Netherlands to the Danube at the start of the Blenheim campaign. He played a major role in the organisation of the march which, as well as the return march with its heavy convoys, he managed with consummate skill. In this campaign he fought at the battles of the Schellenberg where he was wounded and had his horse shot from under him (add "lucky" to "clever"!), and Blenheim, where he acted as Marlborough's chief of staff.

Soon afterwards he was promoted brigadier-general, and in 1705 he led Cadogan's Horse at the forcing of the Brabant lines between Wange and Elissem, capturing four standards (see my last post, "big men on big horses....", it raises the hair on the back of your neck!)

He then commanded the army's scouting party which located the French army on the morning of Ramillies, and acted as a senior messenger for Marlborough during the battle, recalling Orkney's British infantry from their diversionary attack so that they could assault the French centre around Ramillies itself. Immediately after the battle he was sent to take Antwerp, which he did without difficulty.

He was made major-general in 1706, and continued to perform the numerous duties of chief staff officer, quartermaster-general and colonel of cavalry, besides which he was throughout constantly employed in delicate diplomatic missions (so add "politican" to "lucky" and "clever"!). In the course of the campaign of 1707, when leading a foraging expedition, he fell into the hands of the enemy but was soon exchanged.

In 1708 he commanded the advanced guard of the army in the operations which culminated in the victory of Oudenarde, and was in charge of them when they established crossings over the River Scheldt. He later personally commanded the forces which broke through the French left towards the end of the battle.

On the 1st of January 1709 he was made lieutenant-general.

He fought at Malplaquet, and after the battle was sent off to form the siege of Mons and was wounded in the neck (to all intents this should have been mortal, but I think we may need to add "very" to the earlier "lucky"), but quickly recovered. During the breaking of the lines of Ne Plus Ultra, he again commanded the allied advance guard, and established a bridgehead across the lines prior to Marlborough's arrival with the main army.

After Marlborough's dismissal from his posts at the end of 1711 Cadogan remained with the army, but refused to return with it when Britain withdrew from war in 1712 (no surprise, and we should add "honourable" to the pot), going into voluntary exile with the Duke. His loyalty to the fallen Marlborough cost him, his rank, positions and pensions under the crown.

On his accession George I reinstated Cadogan.

His last campaign was the Jacobite insurrection of 1715-1716; first as Argyle's subordinate and later as commander-in-chief - not surprisingly, he was completely succesful.

In 1718 he was made Earl Cadogan, Viscount Caversham and Baron Cadogan of Oakley.

In 1722 he succeeded his old chief as head of the army and master-general of the ordnance, becoming at the same time colonel of the 1st or Grenadier Guards.

He died at Kensington in 1726.

...only one word to describe him really.... "outstanding".


  1. I like learning the "story behind things" like this. Thank you, sir.

    -- Jeff

  2. Nice piece of history, thanks

  3. Steve,

    Thanks for the info, especially the Teasers.

    I just found your other blogs, since there is no link to them from the Teasers (hint hint).

    By any chance do you have any of the other Charles Grant articles from "Battle?" The introduction to the first couple Teasers make it sound like a lot was already printed about his SYW projects.


  4. Hi Ed - hint taken... :o)

    Been visiting your Huzzah! pages for some time now, so thanks for the kind words, and the visit...

    Charles Grant (with the exception of possibly Don Featherstone) must have written more articles than any of the old stalwarts... I've seen a few of his articles on Ancients games (Pydna etc), but nothing SYW orientated.. I'm also still a little chairy about putting any more articles up, as I do worry about copyright... these guys worked hard and I wouldn't want to abuse their efforts by posting loads of articles no matter how good I think they are, and how much they deserve to be seen! :o)

  5. Steve,

    Glad you liked Huzzah! You probably have seen the other ones, too: Hesse-Fedora and The Texas Big Battalions.

    If you get a chance to look through your mags and see any articles on the Vereinigten Frei Stadten, let me know. I can always try to hunt down a copy of that magazine.


  6. More pictures and another play-run of a Table-top Teaser.

    This time #3.

    See all the fun at The Duchy of Mieczyslaw


  7. Very interesting, Steve.