Harris, George, 1st Baron
HARRIS, GEORGE, 1ST BARON (1746-1829), British general, was the son of the Rev George Harris, curate of Brasted, Kent, and was born on the 18th of March 1746. Educated at Westminster school and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he was commissioned to the Royal Artillery in 1760, transferring to an ensigncy in the 5th foot (Northumberland Fusiliers) in 1762. Three years la.ter he became lieutenant, and in 1771 captain. His first active service was in the American War of Independence, in which he served at Lexington, Bunker Hill (severely wounded) and in every engagement of Howe's army except one up to November 1778. By this time he had obtained his majority, and his next service was under Major-General Medows at Santa Lucia in 1778-1779, after which his regiment served as marines in Rodney's fleet. Later in 1779 he was for a time a prisoner of war. Shortly before his promotion to lieutenant-colonel in his regiment (1780) he married. After commanding the 5th in Ireland for some years, he exchanged and went with General Medows to Bombay, and served with that officer in India until 1792, taking part in various battles and engagements, notably Lord Cornwallis's attack on Seringapatam. In 1794, after a short period of home service, he was again in India. In the same year he became major-general, and in 1796 local lieutenant-general in Madras. Up to 1800 he commanded the troops in the presidency, and for a short time he exercised the civil government as well. In December 1798 he was appointed by Lord Wellesley, the governor-general, to command the field army which was intended to attack Tipu Sahib, and in a few months Harris reduced the Mysore country and stormed the great stronghold of Seringapatam. His success established his reputation as a capable and experienced commander, and its political importance led to his being offered the reward (which he declined) of an Irish peerage. He returned home in 1800, became lieutenant-general in the army the following year, and attained the rank of full general in 1812. In 1815 he was made a peer of the United Kingdom under the title Baron Harris of Seringapatam and Mysore, and of Belmont, Kent. In 1820 he received the G.C.B., and in 1824 the governorship of Dumbarton Castle. Lord Harris died at Belmont in May 1829. He had been colonel of the 73rd Highlanders since 1800.
His descendant, the 4th Baron Harris (b. 1851), best known as a cricketer, was under-secretary for India (1883-1886), undersecretary for war (1886-1889) and governor of Bombay (1890- 1895).
See Rt. Hon. S. Lushington, Life of Lord Harris (London, 1840), and the regimental histories of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers and 73rd Highlanders.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)