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Droogs, or hill forts, and at the siege of Seringapatam in 1791 and 1792; and likewise at the storming of Tippoo Sultaun's lines and camps on the island of Seringapatam. In 1793 he commanded a brigade of Europeans, and was present at the siege of Pondicherry. The 21st of August, 1795, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel. In October, 1797, he embarked at Madras with his regiment for Europe: in December he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope; when he was appointed Brigadier General, and placed on that Staff in command of a brigade. The 18th of June, 1798, he was appointed Major-General, and removed to the Staff in India. He sailed from the Cape for Madras in command of two regiments of foot and the drafts of the 28th dragoons, and arrived in January, 1799. The 1st of February he joined the army forming at Velore for the attack of Seringapatam, and commanded a brigade of Europeans. On the 4th of May he commanded the storming party with success; and in consequence was presented by the army, through LieutenantGeneral Harris, Commander-in-chief, with Tippoo Sultaun's state sword, and a dress sword from the field officers serving under his immediate command at the assault. In 1800, he was removed to the Bengal Staff, and commanded a brigade, &c. at Dynypore.
In 1801, he was appointed to command an intended expedition against Batavia, but which was sent to Egypt. He landed at Cosier in June with the army, crossed the desert, and embarked on the Nile: he arrived at Grand Cairo about the month of July, from thence at Rosetta, and joined Lieutenant-General Sir John Hutchinson's army a few days before the surrender of Alexandria. In May, 1801, he was appointed Colonel of the 54th regiment; in 1802, lie returned across the desert to India, in command of the Egyptian Indian army. He was removed to the Madras Staff in 1803, and commanded a large division of the army forming against the Mahrattas. He marched into the Mysore country, where the Commander-in-chief, Lieutenant-General Stuart, joined, and afterwards arrived on the banks of the river Jambudra,
in command of the line. Major-General Wellesley being appointed to the command of the greater part of the army, this officer proceeded into the Mahratta country; and finding that his services could be of no further use, he obtained permission to return to Britain. He sailed in March with his Staff from Madras, and was taken prisoner by a French privateer; in October he was re-taken as the ship was sailing into Corunna. He arrived in England the 3d of November, having given his parole that he should consider himself a prisoner of war; but shortly after he and his staff were exchanged for the French General Morgan and his staff.
Sir David Baird received the royal permission to wear the Turkish order of the Crescent, December 31.1803; he was knighted by patent dated June 19. 1804 ; and was nominated a Knight Companion of the Bath on the 18th of August following. In the same year he was placed on the Staff in England: he was appointed Lieutenant-General, October 30. 1805, and commanded an expedition against the Cape of Good Hope. He arrived there the 5th of January, 1806; made good the landing on the 6th; on the 8th, attacked the Dutch army and beat them; on the 10th, the castle and town of Cape Town surrendered; and on the 18th, General Janson surrendered the colony. In 1807, he was recalled. He sailed on the 18th of January on board a transport, and arrived on the 12th of April at Portsmouth. On the 19th of July he was removed from the Colonelcy of the 54,th to the Colonelcy of the 24th, and placed on the foreign Staff under General Lord Cathcart. He commanded a division at the siege of Copenhagen, where he was twice slightly wounded; and returned with the army in November.
In 1808, Sir David was placed on the Irish Staff, and commanded the camp on the Curragh of Kildare. In September that year he embarked at the Cove of Cork, in the command of a division consisting of about 5000 infantry for Falmouth, where he received reinforcements, and sailed in command of about 10,000 men for Corunna, where he arrived in the beginning of November, and formed a junction with the army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. He commanded the first division of that army; and in the battle of Corunna, on the 16th of January, 1809, he lost his left arm.
As senior officer after Sir John Moore's death, Sir David Baird communicated to Government the intelligence of the victory of Corunna in the following letter: —
"Villc de Paris, at Sea, January 18th, 1809.
"My Lord, — By the much lamented death of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, who fell in action with the enemy on the 16th instant, it has become my duty to acquaint your Lordship, that the French army attacked the British troops, in the position they occupied in front of Corunna, at about two o'clock in the afternoon of that day. A severe wound, which compelled me to quit the field a short time previous to the fall of Sir John Moore, obliges me to refer your Lordship for the particulars of the action, which was long and obstinately contested, to the enclosed report of Lieutenant-General Hope, who succeeded to the command of the army, and to whose ability and exertions in direction of the ardent zeal and unconquerable valour of his Majesty's troops is to be attributed, under Providence, the success of the day, which terminated in the complete and entire repulse and defeat of the enemy at every point of attack. The Honourable Captain Gordon, my Aid-de-Camp, will have the honour of delivering this despatch, and will be able to give your Lordship any further information which may be required.
"D. Baird, Lieut.-Gen."
On this occasion Sir David Baird, whose name had already been included in the Parliamentary votes of thanks for the operations of the army in India in 1799, for those of Egypt in 1801, and for the Danish expedition, again received the thanks of both Houses of Parliament,— an honour which he acknowledged by the following letters : —
"Portsmouth, January 29th, 1809.
"My Lord, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter, together with the gratifying inclosures it contained, which I have hastened to communicate.
"Allow me, through the medium of your Lordship, to return to the highest assembly ot this nation my own personal thanks, as well as those of the army in general, for the very honourable and flattering marks of approbation which the House has conferred upon our late conduct; an honour of which no one can be more fully sensible than myself, having had the good fortune to be deemed worthy of this eminent distinction on four several occasions; and I trust that God will still spare me to devote to my King and Country the remnant of that life hitherto spent in their service.
"I beg leave to offer to your Lordship, individually, my best thanks for the trouble that you have taken in communicating this satisfactory intelligence, and for your own congratulations upon the occasion.
"I have the honour to be, my Lord, with the utmost respect and gratitude, your Lordship's most devoted and very obedient humble servant,
"D. Baird, Lieut.-Gen. "The Right Honourable the Lord Chancellor,
"Portsmouth, 29th January, 1809.
"Sir, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, with its gratifying inclosures.
"I beg leave to request you will signify to the House of Commons the acknowledgments of the army under my command, as well as my own personally, for the very high honour and flattering marks of approbation which the assembly has thought fit to confer upon us.
"Allow me, Sir, to offer you individually my best thanks for your own congratulations upon this pleasing occasion.
"I have the honour to be, Sir, "Your very faithful and most obedient humble servant,
"David Baikd, Lieut.-Gen.
"The Right Honourable "The Speaker of the House of Commons."
In testimony of the royal approbation, General Baird was created a Baronet by patent dated April 13.1809; and received a grant of the following honourable armorial bearings: — Gules, in chief within an increscent an etoile of eight points Argent (in allusion to the badge of the Ottoman order), in base a boar passant Or; on a canton Ermine, rf*sword erect Proper, pommel and hilt Or. With two Crests: 1st, a Mameluke mounted on a horse, and holding in his dexter hand a cimeter, all Proper; 2d, on a wreath, a boar's head erased Or. And for Supporters: dexter, a grenadier in the uniform of the 50th regiment of foot, Proper; sinister, the royal tiger of Tippoo Sultaun, guardant, Vert, striped Or; from the neck, pendant by a riband, an escutcheon Gules, charged with an etoile of eight points within a decrescent Argent, and on a scroll under the said escutcheon the word Serin
Sir David Baird was promoted to the rank of General, June 4. 1814; and was appointed Governor of Kinsale on the death of General Sir Cornelius Cuyler in 1819; and of Fort George on the death of General Ross in 1827.
His own death took place on the 18th of August, 1829, at his seat, Ferntower, in Perthshire.
Sir David was married August 4. 1810, to Miss Preston Campbell, of Ferntower and Lochlane, Perthshire; but having no issue, he is succeeded in the Baronetcy, in pursuance of the patent, by his nephew, Captain (now Sir David) Baird, the son of his elder brother, the late Robert Baird,