7th Hussars

Richard Hussey Vivian

Richard Hussey Vivian appears in this portrait, from a painting in the Exeter Museum, in the uniform of a General officer of Hussars. The jacket and breeches are scarlet, decorated with gold lace and braid, while the pelisse is blue and gold and the boots are of yellow leather. He holds his brown fur busby in his left hand. Vivian's first campaign was as an infantry officer in Flanders in 1794 where he was with Lord Moira's reinforcements. He was at Nimeguen, Thiel and Geulder Malsen.

He took part in the Helder campaign, sailing from Deal on 13th Aug 1799. He was under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and attended the battles of Bergen and Alkmaar. In 1808 he commanded the 7th Hussars in the initial disastrous Peninsula campaign which ended in the retreat to Corunna. At the beginning of the campaign he met with senior French officers whose superb uniforms impressed him greatly. His preference for flamboyant hussar dress must have been influenced by this. Vivian wrote of his experiences throughout his military career, of the constant rearguard actions of his cavalry regiment, and gives a harrowing account of the suffering experienced by the soldiers during the terrible journey to Corunna.

He also commanded a cavalry brigade in the later part of the Peninsula War, at Olite, Nivelle, the passage of the Nive, St Pierre, Gave de Pau, Orthes, and on the height of St Boes. He entered Bordeaux on 12th March 1814 and joined Wellington's advance on Toulouse. He led a brave cavalry charge of the 18th Hussars and 2nd KGL on a larger body of French cavalry at Croix d'Orade, taking 100 prisoners and sustaining a bad wound. Following this the 18th presented him with a sword of honour. He was at Waterloo and received more honours after the battle, including a knighthood. He reached the rank of Lieutenant-General, and was made Lord Vivian a year before his death in 1842.

1775 July 28th born in Truro
1793 articled to a solicitor
1793 Oct 30th Lieutenant 54th Foot
1794 May 7th Captain 28th Foot
1794 Service in Flanders
1796 Aug. Gibraltar
1796 Exchanged to 7th Light Dragoons
1799 Service in Helder
1803 Major Mar 9th
1804 Lieutenant-Colonel 25th Light Dragoons
1804 Dec 1st exchanged back to 7th LD
1808 Oct. Sailed to Spain as CO of 7th (now Hussars)
1810 Ireland
1812 Feb 20th. Colonel
1812 ADC to Prince Regent (later equerry)
1813 Service in Spain in command of 7th Hussars
1813 Colonel on Staff and in command of a Cavalry Brigade (10th H and 14th LD)
1814 Jan 1st command of Cavalry Brigade ( 18th H and German Hussars)
1814 June 4th Major-General
1815 Jan. KCB
1815 April 16th. command of Cavalry Brigade (7th, 10th and 18th H)
1815 July. Thanked by parliament and KCH
1819 Newcastle riots
1820 MP Truro
1825 Inspector-General of Cavalry (until 1830)
1826 MP for Windsor (until 1831)
1827 Jan 22nd Colonel of 12th Lancers (until Jan 1837)
1827 June 22nd Lieutenant-General
1828 Baronet
1830 Groom of the Bedchamber
1831 July 1st Command of Forces in Ireland
1835 May 4th Master General of Ordnance
1835 Privy Councillor
1837 Jan 20th Colonel 1st Royal Dragoons
1837 May 30th GCB
1837 MP for East Cornwall (until 1841)
1841 created Baron Vivian (took seat in Upper House)
1842 Died in Baden-Baden Aug 20th. Buried at Truro.

Regimental details | Commanding Officers

Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames

by Stephen Luscombe