SULTAN’S MEDAL FOR EGYPT 1801, 2ND CLASS, GOLD, 48MM. CONTEMPORARILY NAMED AROUND OBVERSE CYPHER ‘LIEUT. COL. JAMES STEWART R.H. OR 42ND REGT.’
James Stewart was born in 1758, younger son of Charles Stewart of Shambellie, co. Dumfries, and thus a descendant of one of the branches of the royal family of Scotland. He was appointed Lieutenant in the 42nd Regiment on 7 October 1777 and would see some 25 years active service with the 42nd in America, Holland, Spain, and Egypt, under Sir R. Abercrombie, Lord Moira and General Sir John Moore.
His first active service was during the American Revolution where as a Lieutenant in the Light Company he saw a great deal of action. During this period The Light Company was attached to the elite 1st Light Battalion under the then Lt Colonel Robert Abercromby, and although this battalion served side by side with the 42nd at times, they also saw much independent service, making Stewart’s service all the more interesting.
Stewart’s obituary claims he was present at the battles of Brandywine of 11th Sept 1777 although then his appointment as Lieutenant of the 42nd in October is a little at odds. What is clear though is in his own words, he was in North America during the latter phases of the 1777 campaign, being at the capture of Philadelphia, so his participation is possible. He would serve during the rest of the Philadelphia campaign, into 1778, including the battle of Monmouth on 22nd June. This the last great pitched battle between the British and Continental Army in the North. Here the Light battalion saw a great deal of fighting as they did during the next couple of years; although mainly consisting of smaller actions and raids. During March to May 1780, Lieutenant Stewart would take part in the siege of Charlestown, which resulted in great victory for the British (his parent Regiment, the 42nd were later reinforcements). However, Stewart and the Light battalion’s formed a part of Cornwallis’s British/German Army, that were taken at the siege of Yorktown in October 1799. The light Company of the 42nd being the only company of the 42nd present. After a severe struggle to take Yorktown, the Franco American forces forced the surrender of near 8,000 British troops and effectively ended land operations in the War. Stewart was taken prisoner and sent to France, not rejoining his regiment until 1785!...............
Lt Colonel Stewart retired on 19th September 1804 and died at Shambellie in 1819. This Gold medal being his only Military Award.
The Black Watch Regimental museum has in its collection a fantastic Marriage Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel James Stewart to Williamina Kerr, 1803.
Condition GVF, lacking chain and hook suspension. A rare Award in itself but made all the more interesting by the fact its named to an Officer who fought in one of the most famous British Regiments during many of the campaigns for which a medal was not Awarded.