Sir Herbert Stewart KCB (June 30, 1843 – February 16, 1885), was born at Sparsholt, Hampshire the eldest son of the Reverend Edward Stewart, and was educated at Brighton College and then Winchester College before entering the army in 1863.
After serving in India with his regiment (37th Foot) he returned to England in 1873, having exchanged into the 3rd Dragoon Guards. In 1877 he entered the staff college and also the Inner Temple. In 1878 he was sent out to South Africa, served in the Anglo-Zulu War, and against the Pedi king Sikukuni. As chief staff officer under Sir George Pomeroy Colley during the Transvaal War, he was present at Majuba (February 27, 1881), where he was made prisoner by a Boer patrol and detained until the end of March.
In this photograph, he wears a miniature version of the 1877-79 South Africa Medal for his service during the Anglo-Zulu War.
In August 1882 he was placed on the staff of the cavalry division in Egypt. After Tel-el-Kebir (September 13, 1882) he headed a brilliant advance upon Cairo and took possession of the town and citadel. He was three times mentioned in despatches and made a brevet-colonel, CB, and aide-de-camp to the queen. In January 1884 he was sent to Suakin in command of the cavalry under Sir Gerald Graham and took part as a brigadier in the actions from El Teb to the advance on Tamaneb. His services were recognized by the honour of KCB, and he was assistant adjutant and QMG in the south-eastern district in England from April to September 1884.
He then joined the expedition for the relief Gordon at Khartoum, and in December, Lord Wolseley decided to send a column across the desert of Metemma, Stewart was entrusted with the command. On January 16, 1885, he found the enemy in force near the wells of Abu Klea, and brilliantly repulsed their fierce charge on the following morning. Leaving the wounded under guard, the column moved forward on the 18th through thornbush country towards Metemma, 23
miles off. Meanwhile, the enemy continued their attacks, and on the morning of the 19th Stewart was wounded and obliged to hand over the command to Sir Charles Wilson.
He lingered for nearly a month, living long enough to hear of his promotion to the rank of major-general "for distinguished service in the field." He died on the way back from Khartoum to Korti on the 16th of February and was buried near the wells of Jakdul. In the telegram reporting his death, Lord Wolseley summed up his character and career in the words: "No braver soldier or more brilliant leader of men ever wore the Queen's uniform." A bronze cenotaph was erected in St Paul's Cathedral, London.
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