Glegg, John

John Baskerville (sometimes spelled Baskervyle) Glegg, soldier, military figure in the War of 1812 (b Cheshire, Eng, 1773; d 1861). John Glegg was the second son in a landed family of Thurstaston Hall. He entered the British army by purchase of commission in 1797 as an ensign in the 49th Regiment of Foot. He purchased a lieutenancy in 1798, and served with the 49th in a campaign in North Holland in 1799. In 1801 he was appointed aide-de-camp (ADC) to General Milner’s staff on the island of Jersey. On the reduction of staff in 1802, Glegg rejoined the 49th but remained in England on recruiting service when that regiment departed for Canada. Glegg was a student at the Royal Military College (now the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) from 1803-05.

Glegg purchased the rank of captain in 1803, and in 1805-06, he served again as ADC to General Milner. Glegg was sent by Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Brock, commanding officer of the 49th, to Ireland on recruiting service. He arrived at Québec in 1807, and in 1810 Brock appointed him as ADC.

Glegg in the War of 1812

Glegg accompanied Brock to Amherstburg on the campaign to capture Detroit, where he was appointed to the local rank of brevet major (which gave him greater authority than his rank as captain) in August 1812. He and Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell, Brock’s ADC, met with American General William Hull to accept his surrender of Detroit and to draw up the terms. Brock sent him with despatches and captured colours to Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost at Québec. In his report to Prevost, Brock praised Glegg for “his merit and length of service” and for his role in the capture of Detroit. As a result, Glegg received a gold medal and was promoted to major in the army in October 1812. (He signed orders in 1813-14 sometimes as captain, sometimes as major, and sometimes as lieutenant colonel.)

Glegg fought in the Battle of Queenston Heights and was praised for his role by Brock’s successor, Major General Roger Sheaffe. As Brock’s surviving ADC, as well as close friend, he had the principal role in arranging Brock’s funeral on 16 October. Subsequently, he was appointed acting ADC to Sheaffe.

Glegg was appointed to the position (not a rank) of brigade major to the forces of Upper Canada on 1 Nov 1812, and as such, he was responsible for all administrative matters for the general officer commanding in the area. In 1814 his position changed from brigade major to assistant adjutant general. In this new position, his responsibilities included looking after training, recruiting, ordering equipment for the troops and sending in regular reports to the deputy assistant adjutant general. He continued his fighting career in the Battle of Lundy’s Lane (despatches), the assault on Fort Erie (despatches), and the action at Cook’s Mill. He returned to Europe after the war ended.

Glegg Post-War of 1812

Glegg was appointed ADC to Major General John Wilson and accompanied him to Québec in 1816, but Wilson relinquished his command in Upper Canada and returned to Europe in 1817. Glegg rejoined the 49th in Ireland in 1818, and two years later became a major in the regiment.

Glegg became a brevet lieutenant colonel in 1825 and a year later, a regular lieutenant colonel on half pay. In 1836 Lieutenant Colonel Glegg went from unattached half pay to the position of captain and then lieutenant colonel in the Coldstream Guards, resigning and retiring in 1837. It is not known how he spent his remaining years.

Author: John R. Grodzinski