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Ligonier, John

LIGONIER, JOHN (JEAN Louis) LIGONIER, EARL (1680- 1770), British Field Marshal, came of a Huguenot family of Castres in the south of France, members of which emigrated to England at the close of the 17th century. He entered the army as a volunteer under Marlborough. From 1702 to 1710 he was engaged, with distinction, in nearly every important battle and siege of the war. He was one of the first to mount the breach at the siege of Liege, commanded a company at the Schellenberg and at Blenheim, and was present at Menin (where he led the storming of the covered way), Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet (where he received twenty-three bullets through his clothing and remained unhurt) . In 1 7 1 2 he became governor of Fort St Philip, Minorca, and in 1718 was adjutant-general of the troops employed in the Vigo expedition, where he led the stormers of Fort Marin. Two years later he became colonel of the " Black Horse " (now yth Dragoon Guards), a command which he retained for 29 years. His regiment soon attained an extraordinary degree of efficiency. He was made brigadiergeneral in 1735, major-general in 1739, and accompanied Lord Stair in the Rhine Campaign of 1742-1743. George II. made him a Knight of the Bath on the field of Dettingen. At Fontenoy Ligonier commanded the British foot, and acted throughout the battle as adviser to the duke of Cumberland. During the " Forty-Five " he was called home to command the British army in the Midlands, but in January 1746 was placed at the head of the British and British-paid contingents of the Allied army in the Low Countries. He was present at Roucoux (nth Oct. 1746), and, as general of horse, at Val (ist July 1747), where he led the last charge of the British cavalry. In this encounter his horse was killed, and he was taken prisoner, but was exchanged in a few days. With the close of the campaign ended Ligonier's active career, but (with a brief interval in 1756-1757) he occupied various high civil and military posts to the close of his life. In 1757 he was made, in rapid succession, commanderin-chief, colonel of the 1st Foot Guards (now Grenadier Guards), and a peer of Ireland under the title of Viscount Ligonier of Enniskillen, a title changed in 1762 for that of Clonmell. From 1759 to 1762 he was master-general of the Ordnance, and in 1763 he became Baron, and in 1766 Earl, in the English peerage. In the latter year he became field marshal. He died in 1770. His younger brother, Francis, was also a distinguished soldier; and his son succeeded to the Irish peerage of Lord Ligonier.

See Combes, J. L. Ligonier, une etude (Castres, 1866), and the histories of the 7th Dragoon Guards and Grenadier Guards.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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