James Abercrombie (British Army officer, born 1706)
General James Abercrombie, by Allan Ramsay
Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland
|Died||23 April 1781 (aged 74 or 75)
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Years of service||1717 - 1772|
|Commands held||North America|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Fort Ticonderoga|
General James Abercrombie or Abercromby (1706 – April 23, 1781) was a British Army general and commander-in-chief of forces in North America during the French and Indian War, best known for the disastrous British losses in the 1758 Battle of Carillon.
Abercrombie was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, Scotland  to a wealthy family, and was appointed an ensign in the 25th Regiment of Foot at age eleven. He was promoted to captain in 1736, and purchased a major's commission in 1742. He was promoted to colonel in 1746 and served in the Flemish Campaign of the War of Austrian Succession. With the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, he was promoted major general and ordered to America as second in command to Lord Loudoun for the upcoming campaigns against the French. Abercrombie commanded a brigade at Louisbourg in 1757 and became Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in North America after Loudoun's departure in December.
That summer, he was ordered to lead an expedition against Fort Carillon (later known as Fort Ticonderoga), to prepare to take Montreal. Abercrombie was a genius at organization but vacillated in his leadership to the point where, after his defeat, he was called Mrs. Nanny Cromby. He managed the remarkable feat of assembling fifteen thousand troops and moving them and their supplies through the wilderness. Then, after losing George Howe, 3rd Viscount Howe, his second-in-command, in a skirmish had 7 July while reconnoitring, on 8 July he directed his troops into a frontal assault on a fortified French position, without the benefit of artillery support. More than two thousand men were killed or wounded. Eventually his force panicked and fled, and he retreated to his fortified camp south of Lake George.
This disaster caused in September 1758 his recall to Great Britain and his replacement by General Jeffery Amherst. Despite his failure, he was promoted to lieutenant general in 1759, and general in 1772. On his return to Britain, he sat as a member of Parliament, and supported the coercive policy toward the American colonies.
He is virtually unknown in Britain today. A reference to "General Abercrombie" is almost certainly to be taken as a reference to the Scots soldier Sir Ralph Abercrombie.
- Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abercrombie, James". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- There is discrepancy on his exact date of death with sources vacillating between the 23rd and the 28th of April
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- Parkman, Francis: "Montcalm and Wolfe"
- DCB: "Abercrombie, James"
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, James Abercrombie
- ABERCROMBY, James (1706-81), of Glasshaugh, Banff. at The History of Parliament Online
|Parliament of Great Britain|
|Member of Parliament for Banffshire
The Earl of Loudoun
|Commander-in-Chief, North America
The Lord Amherst