Catalogue description War Office: Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Joseph Wolseley, Adjutant General of Army: Papers

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Details of WO 147
Reference: WO 147
Title: War Office: Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Joseph Wolseley, Adjutant General of Army: Papers

An accumulation of some of the private papers of Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley including accounts of the war with China, 1860, the Ashanti (1873-1874) and Zulu (1879) wars and the Sudan expedition of 1884. The series also contains a Cavalry Brigade Order Book of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Pyndar Beauchamp Walker, a colleague of Wolseley on the China expedition. and some entry books of telegrams for the period when Wolseley was Adjutant General of the Army.

Some of the papers were for Wolseley's personal use, and were bound into volumes which contain manuscript material, either written by Wolseley himself or transcribed by a clerk.

Date: 1860-1889
Related material:

For further Adjutant General records see Division within WO

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, 1833-1913

Physical description: 64 volume(s)
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 1940 Royal United Services Institution

Custodial history: The papers were presented to the War Office in 1940 by the Royal United Services Institution.
Unpublished finding aids:

Most of the volumes include at the beginning a manuscript contents list, describing broadly the subject matter therein. A comprehensive index to to each volume is available in the Reader Enquiry Room, Public Record Office, Kew.

Administrative / biographical background:

Garnet Joseph Wolseley was born in Dublin on 4 June 1833. In March 1852 he was commissioned into the 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot, transferring to the 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) shortly after. Following service in the Burmese War he was invalided home. He was promoted to lieutenant and - after a short period with the 84th (York and Lancaster) Regiment - moved to the 90th Light Infantry (Perthshire Volunteers), with which he served in the Crimea.

By the time he was 45 years of age Wolseley was a lieutenant-general, and had seen further service in India during the mutiny (1857-1858); during the China War (1860-1861); in Canada during the Fenian raids (1866) and the Riel rebellion (1870); in Africa during the Ashanti War (1873-1874), the Zulu campaign (1879), the Egyptian expedition (1882) and the Sudan Expedition to relieve General Gordon. For his services in Africa he was thanked three times by both houses of parliament, and was first raised to the peerage and later created a viscount. During Wolseley's time in Canada he wrote The Soldier's Pocket-Book for Field Service, which was published in 1869 and revised many times subsequently; latterly, the British army's field service regulations owed much to Wolseley's original.

On his return to England Wolseley was appointed adjutant-general to the forces. While in office he founded the intelligence department, was a firm supporter of the staff college and suggested - at the time in vain - the creation of a general staff and a ministry of defence. After commanding the army in Ireland (1890-1894) he was promoted to field-marshal and became commander-in-chief in 1895. He resigned from office in 1901 - during the latter stages of the Boer War - handing over to Lord Frederick Roberts. Wolseley died in France on 25th March 1913, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

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