armthearmour:The beautiful blue and gilt Sabre…


The beautiful blue and gilt Sabre of Sir Archibald Campbell, England, ca. 1731-1791, housed at the National Museum of Scotland.

There is a possibility they have this attributed to the wrong Sir Archibald Campbell. Sir Archibald Campbell (1731-1791) died 12 years before this became this pattern became the regulation sabre for flank, light infantry, and rifles officers (Pattern 1803 Infantry Officer’s Sword). Although the P1803 style hilt did exist before it was made regulation, I have never seen one dating to the early 1790s. It is possible that if this sword did belong to Sir Archibald Campbell (1731-91) that the blade was re-hilted and used by another member of his family.

If the museum’s attribution is indeed incorrect, then this may be the sword of Lt.-Gen. Sir Archibald Campbell (1769-1843), who served in the correct time frame for this to have been his sword.

Campbell entered the army aged 18, in 1787 as an ensign. The next year he and his regiment, the 77th Regiment of Foot, left for India, where he took part in the campaign against Tipu Sultan in 1790. In 1791 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He served in the Mysorecampaign and the first siege of Seringapatam.

In 1795 his regiment was ordered to reduce the Dutch garrison of Cochin on the coast of Malabar. In 1799 he took part of the reduction of the island of Ceylon.

Later in 1799 he purchased the rank of captain in the 67th but exchanged into the 88th so that he could continue with his foreign service. However, he was required by ill-health to return home in 1801. He was appointed major in the 6th battalion of reserve, stationed in Guernsey.

He moved in 1805 to the 1st battalion which was leaving for Portugal. He fought in the battles of Rolica, Vimeiro and Corunna. In 1809 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and assisted General Beresford in organising the Portuguese army. In that capacity he was made full colonel and then brigadier. He was present through most of the fighting in the Peninsula.

In 1813 Campbell was appointed to the rank of major-general in the Portuguese army. In 1816 he was given command of the Lisbon division. He returned to the service of Britain in 1820, after a revolution in Portugal. Campbell was appointed colonel of the 38th Regiment of Foot (in which post he was succeeded by Field Marshal Sir John Forster FitzGerald, GCB) and went to India with it. For his Peninsula service, Campbell was awarded the Army Gold Cross with one clasp for the battles of Albuera, Vitoria, the Pyrenees, the Nivelle, and the Nive.