FORBES, John (1707–1759), army officer. ALS to Major General James Campbell 1741


FORBES, John (1707–1759), army officer. ALS to Major General James Campbell 1741

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FOUNDED & NAMED PITTSBURGH

FORBES, John (1707–1759), army officer. Autograph letter signed to the ‘Honourable Major General James Campbell to the care of John Aitkine Esq his Majestys Secretary of War at Edinburgh, North Britaine’, Wakefield, July 11th. 1741, 1 side on half of a folio sheet, folded, bearing an address panel, remains of a red seal and a double line Wakefield frank mark. Sending Campbell details of  “the strength of the Regiment whereby you may see that there is: eight men and eleven horses: wanting to compleat: sixty threeIn each Troop: beside several indifferent horses: on party In Sussex: the Regt wants skull caps: all the other Regts of Dragoons: have them:  you want Hautboys and horses to mount them:……… Capt Dalrymple wrot to me for leave to leave the Regt: I wrot to him I could not give him leave till I received Orders from you:……. We have had no rains in these parts these three weeks by past: and if we do not get raine soon our Grass will faile: ……. We shall be ready to march when we receive Orders”. Section of blank paper missing where the seal attached, and a paper hole where the seal was broken. Brown stains along the central fold.


John Forbes was born in 1707 in Edinburgh, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Forbes of Pittencrieff, Fife, and his wife, Elizabeth Graham. He purchased a cornetcy in the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (later the Scots Greys) in1735, and his regiment saw six years of service in the War of the Austrian Succession, during which Forbes gained rapid promotion, and he later served as captain and aide-de-camp to Sir James Campbell, who commanded the British cavalry at Fontenoy in May 1745. He was recalled to Scotland to help suppress the Jacobite rising of 1745 and participated in the battle at Culloden. Forbes was given the colonelcy of the 17th regiment of foot in 1757, was appointed brigadier-general by Pitt, and is remembered for his role in the French and Indian wars, most notably for the Forbes Expedition that captured the French outpost at Fort Duquesne and for founding and naming the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in honour of William Pitt.

Forbes’ correspondent  major-general James Campbell (c.1680–1745) was the third son of James Campbell, second earl of Loudoun. Having fought at Blenheim as a lieutenant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, Campbell became lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (later the Scots Greys) in 1706, whom he commanded at Oudenarde and at the battle of Malplaquet in 1709, where he greatly distinguished himself. He was made governor and constable of Edinburgh Castle in 1738 and promoted to major-general in 1739. Upon the declaration of war with France in 1742 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and accompanied George II to Germany as general commanding the cavalry. For his actions at the battle of Dettingen in 1743, he was invested a knight of the Bath before the army on the field of battle by George II. He continued to command the cavalry after the king returned to England until the battle of Fontenoy on 30 April 1745 where he was killed in action.(ODNB)

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