The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 James Thomas Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan

James Thomas Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan

Birth
Hambleden, Wycombe District, Buckinghamshire, England
Death 28 Mar 1868 (aged 70)
Deene, East Northamptonshire Borough, Northamptonshire, England
Burial Deene, East Northamptonshire Borough, Northamptonshire, England
Plot Brudenell family burials, South Chapel
Memorial ID 6302 · View Source
Suggest Edits

British Army General. During the Crimean War he commanded the British Army’s Light Brigade of cavalry, and led it in the suicidal charge against Russian artillery at the October 1854 Battle of Balaclava, a charge that was later immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade." The only son of Robert, sixth Earl of Cardigan, he was born at Hambleden, Buckinghamshire. Despite showing little ambition as a young man, much to the frustration of his parents, he became a largely appointed member of Parliament representing Marlborough. At age 28, to the chagrin of his father, he decided on a military career. He made full use of the sale commissions system then in use and his wealth came in handy as he quickly purchased his way up the chain of command becoming a Lieutenant Colonel leading to command of the 15th Hussars regiment. However, he was forced to resign because of his inability to command due to frequent conflicts with his fellow officers. Undaunted, he reemerged as the commander of 11th Hussars regiment. The unit was dispatched for duty in India, and on his arrival back in Great Britain, Brudenell found that his father had died and he now was the wealthy seventh Earl of Cardigan. He spent his money lavishly on outfitting the 11th Hussars and it immerged as the premier cavalry regiment in the army. However, his career was marked by petty conflicts with fellow officers, which often culminated in duels and trials. Promoted Major General as the specter of war loomed against Russia, at 57, General Cardigan was assigned to command a cavalry brigade under Major General George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan, his brother-in-law and someone who General Cardigan detested. Seeing little action initially, it was called upon to make a charge against Russian positions at Balaclava on October 25, 1854. As the result of miscommunication from General FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, commander of the British troops as his orders passed down the chain of command, Earl Cardigan led his men as ordered against an impregnable position lined by Russian cannons, which proceeded to devastate the British cavalry formations. Three hundred men were killed or injured in the disastrous, ill-fated charge, but Cardigan at the head of the pack, returned, astride his war horse, both unscathed. Despite the disaster he returned to England a hero, not for being victorious but because of his bravery, and was showered with honors. He was made Inspector General of Cavalry, Commander Legion of Honor and Knight, second class, Order of Medjidie. He was made honorary Colonel of the 5th Dragoon Guards, and was promoted to Lieutenant General. He rested on his laurels for the rest of his life insisting on being regarded as a hero. His retirement years were spent at Deene Park, his Northamptonshire seat. Oddly, he died from injuries caused by a fall from his horse while on a morning ride. He was interred at Deene St. Peter, the nearby church of the Brudenells in the south chapel which has been the burial place of the family since 1514. The church had a memorial window installed in 1869 that honored the famed leader who led the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


Family Members

Parents
Siblings

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was James Thomas Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan?

Current rating:

22 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Sep 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6302
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Thomas Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan (16 Oct 1797–28 Mar 1868), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6302, citing Saint Peter Churchyard, Deene, East Northamptonshire Borough, Northamptonshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .