Charles Colville

Charles Colville

Sir Charles Colville (7 August 1770 – 27 March 1843) was a British military leader who fought in the Peninsular War and in action near the Battle of Waterloo, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. He was the son of John Colville, 8th Lord Colville of Culross[1]

Among other battles, Colville led the 2nd Brigade in Picton's 3rd Division when it broke through at the Battle of Vitoria. Colville led the 4th Division at the time of the Battle of Waterloo.[2] They did not fight in that battle, but were based at Halle guarding the right flank of Wellington's Army. On 25 June they took the town of Cambrai.[1]

He was conferred with the honours Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order.[1]

From 17 June 1828 to 3 February 1833, Colville was 3rd Governor of Mauritius[3] when the population of 100,000 (two thirds in slavery) were in semi revolt against the crown.[4] In 1830 he reported that there was "a great deal of bad feeling against His Majesty’s Government continues to prevail and shew itself here… there is an almost total cessation in the payment of taxes..."[5]


There is a decorative bush, a member of the legume family which is called Colvillea racemosa in his honour, in fact the genus is called Colvillea[6]

In his novel Les Misérables Victor Hugo credits Colville (or Maitland) with asking for the surrender of the Imperial Guard and receiving General Cambronne's reply of "Merde".[7]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole
Governor of Mauritius
1828 – 1833
Succeeded by
Sir William Nicolay


  1. ^ a b c accessed 2 August 2008
  2. ^ Anglo-Allied Army in Flanders and France - 1815
  3. ^ Governors of Mauritius, accessed 2 August 2008
  4. ^ Recent Events in Mauritius, John Jeremie, John Reddie, 1835, Page 127, accessed 2 August 2008
  5. ^ Mauritius News, August 2008
  6. ^ Dictionary - Backyard gardener
  7. ^ Chapter XIV. The Last Square