Memoirs and Correspondence of Major-General Sir William Nott


Sir William Nott (1782–1845) was an army officer in the East India Company who commanded British and Anglo-Indian forces in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–42). He was born into a farm family of modest means in Glamorganshire, Wales, and received a limited elementary education. He embarked for India in 1800, and received a commission in the army of the East India Company. For many years he commanded a succession of native infantry regiments. Throughout his military career he appreciated the military qualities of the sepoy (Indian soldiers serving in the army of the East India Company), which he compared favorably with those of the British soldier. A colonel before the Anglo-Afghan War began, Nott soon was promoted to general. He commanded British and native troops in several successful engagements and on January 13, 1842, was appointed commander of all British and Anglo-Indian troops in Lower Afghanistan and Sind. He won a major victory over Afghan forces near Ghazni on August 30, 1842, which led to the capture of Kabul and ultimately termination of the war. After service as resident at the court of Lucknow, Nott returned to England, where within two years he died. This book was compiled posthumously by J.H. Stocqueler, the author of several books of biography and British military history, using documents in the possession of Nott’s daughters. Volume two of the work has a long appendix containing documents relevant to Nott’s activities in Afghanistan, some by Nott himself but most by other officers. Nott is regarded by historians as by far the best British general in the Anglo-Afghan War.

Last updated: July 27, 2016