William Cadogan first Earl of Cadogan

William Cadogan
Portrait of William Cadogan
William Cadogan by Louis Laguere
Died:17 July 1726

1 William Cadogan's family

The Cadogan family was Irish. Cadogan's grandfather Major William Cadogan had fought against the Irish in 1641 and had been governor of Trim near Dublin. His father Henry Cadogan (?-1715) was a Dublin barrister, his mother was Bridget Waller. William Cadogan had a brother Charles and a sister.

2 Cadogan in the Nine Years War

2.1 A tradition about Cadogan's early career

Tradition has it that William Cadogan saw his first service as a cornet or volunteer in one of the cavalry regiments which fought at the Boyne (1690). Due to his age he would probably have entered the army only a short time before. The same tradition has him present at the conquest of Cork and Kinsale, and Marlborough noticing his organizational talent during this late 1690 expedition. After the Ireland campaign Cadogan would have gone to the Low Countries to fight in the campaigns of the Nine years war.

The problem with this tradition is that it's quite hard to verify it from any contemporary source and some of it seems hardly credible. On the other hand we have his March 1694 commission as captain. In combination with Cadogan not being of an influential family this commission makes it likely that by 1694 Cadogan had already served in the army for 3-4 years.

2.2 The likely truth about Cadogan's early career

Therefore William Cadogan probably did serve as an ensign in the 1690 and 1691 campaigns in Ireland. He might also have have started as a volunteer, especially when this means as serving in one of the units raised by local protestants. For the statement that Marlborough noted his organizational talent during the late 1690 Cork and Kinsale expedition I've not found any source. Because Cadogan was in all likelyhood still a cornet or ensign at the time, and Marlborough Lieutenant-general, the statement seems a later invention. It is probable that after Ireland was subdued Cadogan went to Flanders as ensign/cornet or lieutenant in one of the regiments going to Flanders. He might have been present in such a capacity in one of the battles fought there in 1692 and 1693. My conclusion on Cadogan's early career would be that he started in the army in 1690 or 1691, fought in the Irish campaigns, and then served in Flanders in 1692 and 1693.

2.3 Cadogan serves as a captain in Flanders

On 4 March 1694 Cadogan was appointed captain of the company previously commanded by Edmond Bowyer in Thomas Erle's regiment of foot (later 19th Foot)1. We can therefore suppose that Cadogan fought in all the campaigns in which this regiment participated from 1694-1697. One of these was the 1695 Namur campaign, where his talent might have been noted.

2.4 Cadogan after the peace of Rijswijk

On 1 August 1698 William Cadogan became a major of the Inniskilling dragoons2. (To be more exact this was James Wynne's regiment of Enniskillen Dragoons, known as Charles Ross's regiment from 16 July 1695 onward.) His old company in Erle's regiment went to Lt-Colonel Freke3. A position as major or lieutenant-colonel enabled an officer to influence the state of a whole regiment. In this capacity as major William Cadogan's talents probably led to the Enniskillen dragoons appearing in a very good state at reviews. I therefore deem it likely that his organizational talent was noted by King William III or the Earl of Marlborough during this short peace.

3 Cadogan in the War of the Spanish Succession

3.1 Cadogan becomes a Brevet Colonel

On 1 June 1701 William Cadogan was appointed as brevet colonel (i.e. a colonel without having a regiment) of foot4. This commission was made to raise him somewhat in rank, because on 1 July 1701 he was made Quarter Master General5. These appointments were related to elements of the British army crossing to the United Provinces that year. Cadogan also served in Hamburg and elsewhere to facilitate the movement of Danish and W├╝rttemberg troops to the front.

3.2 Starts to work with Marlborough

When Marlborough arrived in Holland he started a close corporation with Cadogan, that would last throughout most of the war. After the successful 1702 campaign Cadogan, Cadogan was rewarded with his forst colonelcy. It was that of the 6th Horse (later 5th Dragoon guards), where he succeeded the Earl of Arran.

3.3 The march to the Danube

In 1704 Cadogan organized the famous march to the Danube, that ended in the Battle of Blenheim. This march as well as the return march were execellently organized, and earned Cadogan a lot of credit. He fought at the Schellenberg, where he had his horse shot under him, and was wounded. On 13 August Cadogan fought at Blenheim.

On 22 August 1704 Cadogan was made a Brigadier General6. He immmediately profited from this appointment, because he was on the reward list of Blenheim for 90 Pounds as a brigadier, 60 as quarter master general, and 123 as colonel and captain.

3.4 Cadogan at the lines of Brabant

When the lines of Brabant were forced in 1705 there was a large cavalry skirmish at Eliksem. Cadogan's dragoons distinguished themselves, and the tradition is that Cadogan charged at their head. Cadogan next performed mission to Hanover and Vienna.

3.5 Cadogan at Ramillies

Cadogan was in the Battle of Ramillies. He held no separate command in this battle, but afterwards he was sent with a detachment to captured Gent and to summon Antwerp. Both missions succeeded. Interesting is that the garrisson of Antwerp consisted of 6 Spanish and 6 French regiments.

On 1 June 1706 Cadogan became a Major-General. On 16 August he had the bad luck of getting captured while making a fourage near Tournay, but was soon exchanged. In 1707 Cadogan became envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Holland in the absence of Stepney. He arrived in Brussel(!) in that capacity on 29 November 1707.

3.6 Cadogan as M.P.

In 1705 Cadogan had been chosen as M.P. for New Woodstock, Oxfordshire. After the Union with Scotland he was rechosen for that borough in four succeeding parliaments.

3.7 At Oudenaarde

In February 1708 Cadogan oversaw the shipping of 10 regiments to England. In the Battle of Oudenaarde Cadogan played a conspicuous part by commanding the van that crossed the Schelde first. Here he made a lot of prisoners when the French command forgot to move the troops opposite of him out of the wat. Later Cadogan played a significant role by organizing the convoys from Oostende to the siege of Lille. On 1 January 1709 Cadogan became a lt-General.

3.8 Maplaquet and Mons

In 1709 Cadogan was in the Battle of Malplaquet. Afterwards he started the Siege of Mons, where he was dangerously wounded in his neck. In December 1710 Cadogan became Lieutenant of the Tower.

3.9 Follows Marlborough's disfavour

Cadogan owed his quick rise to Marlborough and intended to follow his fortune. At the end of 1710 Cadogan was removed from his diplomatic post. In December 1710 there was a rumour of Cadogan being dispossessed of the lieutenancy of the Tower to make way for Jack Hill, brother of the Queen's new favourite, Mrs. Masham, but that did not happen.

3.10 Douay

Cadogan now returned to his staff work. He was present at the Siege of Douay, and later that of Bouchain, captured in September 1711. In 1712 Cadogan did not get a command, but served a Quarter Master General. When the army reached Dunkirk, Cadogan retired to Holland. Marlborough followed him into exile in November 1712. On 3 January 17?? Cadogan was turned out of all his offices and replaced as lieutenant of the Tower7. He even sold his regiment for 3,000 Pounds.

4 Cadogan after the Succession War

4.1 After the death of Queen Anne

Cadogan had returned to London before Queen Anne died on 1 August 1714. He was reinstated as Lt-General, became Master of the Robes, Lieutenant of the Ordnance. On 11 October 1714 William Cadogan became colonel of the Coldstream Guards. He was also rechosesn for Woodstock.

4.2 Signs the Barrier Treaty

Cadogan now became envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the States General of Holland. On 16 November 1715 he signed at the Hague the (third) barrier treaty between England, Holland, and Germany, whereby the empire recognised the Hanoverian succession to the British crown.

4.3 Suppresses a rebellion in Scotland

In 1715 parts of Northern Scotland rose in favour of the Pretender. Cadogan obtained a detachment of 6,000 Dutch troops from the United Provinces. With these he embarked and pushed on to Scotland, to serve as second in command under the Duke of Argyll. Argyll had driven the rebels back, but Cadogan found him unwilling to act vigorously. On the urgent representations of Marlborough Argyll was then recalled, and Cadogan appointed to the chief command. The vigorous action that followed speedily ended the rebellion, and in early May 1716 Cadogan handed over the command to Brigadier Sabine and proceeded to London.

In April 1718 became Baron of Oakley, Viscount Caversham and Earl of Cadogan8. After that a long career in important offices followed.

5 Career, Service and Generalship of Cadogan

Career of William Cadogan
1694 March 4Captain in Thomas Erle's regiment of Foot (19th F)
1698 August 1Major of the Inniskilling Dragoons
1701 June 1Appointed as brevet colonel
1701 July 1Appointed as Quarter Master General
1704Brigadier General
1706 1 JuneMajor General
1707Envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Holland
1709 1 Jan.Lieutenant General
1709 Dec.Lieutenant of the Tower till Dec. 1715
1714 October 11Colonel of the Coldstream Guards.
Service record of William Cadogan
1690Present at the Boyne as a cornet
1695Namur Campaign
1702Meuse Campaing
1704Wounded in the Battle of the Schellenberg
1704Present in the Battle of Blenheim
1705Brabant Lines
1708Leads the van at Oudenaarde
1708Present in Siege of Lille
1709Battle of Malplaquet
1709Wounded in Siege of Mons
1710Siege of Douay
1711Siege of Bouchain
1715Suppresses Jacobite rebellion in Scotland

6 Sources

This biography was originally scraped together from various sources.

Later on information from Cadogan's biography on Dictionary of National Biography was added.

7 Notes

1) English Army Lists vol. 3 page 371 has William Cadogan appointed as captain to Thoms Erle's regiment on 4 March 1694.
2) English Army Lists vol. 4 page 199 has William Cadogan appointed as Major to the Inniskilling dragoons on 1 August 1698.
3) English Army Lists vol. 4 page 207 has lt-col Robert Freke succeeding to Cadogan's company in Erle's Foot on 1 August 1698.
4) English Army Lists vol. 4 page 266 has William Cadogan appointed as brevet colonel on 1 June 1701.
5) English Army Lists vol. 4 page 265 has William Cadogan appointed as Quarter Master General on 1 July 1701.
6) Luttrell Vol. V. page 458 under 22 August 1704 has Cadogan's appointment as Brigadier General
7) The Political State of Great Britain Volume XV printed in Londond 1718, page 419
8) The British Chronologist London, 1775, page 479