General Hon James Murray


James Murray was born in Lothian at the family seat of Ballencrieff. He was the 5th son, and 14th child of Alexander Murray, 4th Baron Elibank. His first experience of military life was in in 1736, in Colonel Colyear's 3rd Scots Regiment in the Dutch service. He served also in Wynyard's Marines and gained a commission in the 15th Foot which he commanded in the raid on Rochefort. He also commanded at the siege of Louisbourg in 1758. He took part in the Canadian campaign under Wolfe, being given command of the force that harried the French fishing settlements along Miramichi Bay. A town called Burnt Church was named after the burning of a church at St Anne's by Murray's men. He played a prominent part in the capture of Quebec following the battle on the Plains of Abraham. Wolfe held him in high regard as he was courageous and 'desirous of glory'. His governorship of Quebec was marred by the sharing of responsibilities with Lieutenant-Governor Ralph Burton. Murray's character was flawed by arrogance, bad temper and snobbishness. He is blamed for retarding the economy of the Quebec region by imposing restraints on traders, and also hampering the anglicisation of Quebec. In 1774 he was lieutenant-governor of Minorca and raised to governor in 1776. In 1781 a Franco-Spanish army besieged Fort St Philip for 7 months. Murray was in command of the defence and was forced to surrender in 1782. After this he was known as 'Old Minorca' Murray. His first marriage to Cordelia was childless. She died in 1779 and he married again in 1780, to Anne Witham with whom he had 6 children, two dying in infancy. The portrait was painted in 1765.

1721 Born on 21 Jan At Ballencrieff, Scotland
1736 Cadet in Colyear's Regiment
1739 Ensign in Wynyard's Marines
1740 West Indies until Dec 1742
1741 Captain in Harrison's (15th Foot)
1745 Flanders
1745 Seriously wounded at Ostend
1746 Expedition to Lorient
1748 Married first wife Cordelia Collier, 17 Dec (she died 1779)
1749 Purchased the rank of Major
1750 Lieutenant-Col
1757 Rochefort with the 15th Foot, Sep.
1758 Served in North America until 1760
1758 Siege of Quebec
1759 Colonel of 2nd Battalion, 60th Foot, 24 Oct, up to 15 Dec 1767
1759 Governor of garrison of Quebec
1760 Governor of the District of Quebec
1760 Battle of Sainte-Foy, 28 April
1763 Governor of the Province of Quebec
1765 Major-General, 26 Mar
1766 Murray recalled from Quebec
1767 Colonel of 13th Foot, 16 Dec, up to 4 Jun 1789
1774 Lieutenant-Governor of Minorca
1776 Governor of Minorca, until 1782
1780 Married second wife Anne Witham,14 March
1781 Defence of Fort St Philip
1785 Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull
1789 Colonel 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, 5 June
1794 Died, 18th June


Regimental Details | Colonels




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by Stephen Luscombe