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'Sir David Baird Bart GCB, KC Colonel of the 24th Regiment', 1811

Mezzotint by T Hodgetts and Sons, 1812 (c), after Sir Henry Raeburn RA (1756-1823), 1811 (c). Published by Alexander Hill, 1820.

This full length portrait of Baird (1757-1829) in a colonel's uniform depicts him standing beside his horse, hiding his missing arm which he broke and had amputated at Corunna. Baird joined the Army in 1772 and was sent to India with the 73rd Highlanders. In 1779 while serving as a captain in India he took part in the 2nd Mysore War (1780-1784). At the Battle of Polilur (1780) a Britsh force of 4000 was almost totally destroyed. Baird was wounded and captured. He was taken to Seringapatnam where he spent nearly four years in a dungeon.

He was promoted to major in 1787 and purchased a Lieutenant-Colonelcy in 1790. Baird served under Lord Cornwallis at Seringapatam in 1792 during the 3rd Mysore War (1789-1792). He captured Pondicherry from the French in 1793 and was promoted colonel in 1795. Baird also served at the Cape of Good Hope as a brigadier-general, and he returned to India as a major-general in 1798. During the 4th Mysore War (1798-1799) he commanded the final assault on Seringapatnam. He went on to command an expedition of Indian soldiers against the French in Egypt in 1801. In 1804 his military contributions earned him a knighthood.

As a lieutenant-general Baird commanded the successful expedition against the Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope (1806), but the failure of the Buenos Aires Expedition (1807) led to his recall. Despite this setback, he was quickly re-employed as a divisional general in the Copenhagen Expedition (1807) where he was again wounded. Shortly after his return, Baird was sent to Spain as Sir John Moore's second-in-command. At the Battle of Corunna (1809) he succeeded to the command after Moore's death, but shortly afterwards his left arm was shattered, and the command passed to Sir John Hope. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath and a baronet in 1809.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1998-10-240-1


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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