Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser

Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser

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Lieutenant General Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser (1758 - 13 September 1809) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 General. He was known as Mackenzie until he took additional name of Fraser in 1803.

Family and early life

The family of Fraser of Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland and one of the grandest 'Castles of Mar'. It is located near Kemnay in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. The castle stands in over of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th...

, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland are descended, on the female side, from the Honorable Sir Simon Fraser of Inverallochy, second son of Simon, eighth Lord Lovat
Lord Lovat
Lord Lovat is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1458 for Hugh Fraser. The title descended in a direct line for nine sequential generations until the death of the ninth Lord in 1696. He was succeeded by his great-uncle, the tenth Lord...

, but on the male side their name is Mackenzie.

Military service

Educated at Aberdeen University, he was commissioned into the 73rd Regiment of Foot
71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot
The 71st Regiment of Foot was a Highland regiment in the British Army, which in 1881 became the 1st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry .- First formation :...

 in 1778. He distinguished himself at the Great Siege of Gibraltar
Great Siege of Gibraltar
The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence. This was the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, particularly the Grand Assault of 18 September 1782...

. He later served during the American war of Independence where he was wounded, and serving during the British Campaign in Flanders where he temporarily commanded a brigade under Duke of York
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany was a member of the Hanoverian and British Royal Family, the second eldest child, and second son, of King George III...

. He participated in the Cape of Good Hope expedition in 1796, and served in India from 1796 to 1800. From 1803 to 1805 he was assigned to the Home Staff, temporary commanding on the of the infantry brigades (Hanoverian) of the King's German Legion
King's German Legion
The King's German Legion was a British Army unit of expatriate German personnel, 1803–16. The Legion achieved the distinction of being the only German force to fight without interruption against the French during the Napoleonic Wars....

 in 1805. In 1806 he served under General James Henry Craig
James Henry Craig
General Sir James Henry Craig KB was a British military officer and colonial administrator.-Early life and military service:...

 in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Naples
Anglo-Russian invasion of Naples
The Anglo-Russian invasion of Naples was an invasion of Naples in 1805 by British and Imperial Russian forces during the War of the Third Coalition...

 during his service in Sicily.

He commanded the Alexandria expedition in 1807, invading Egypt on March 16, 1807 with 6,000 British troops. Mackenzie-Fraser did first occupy Alexandria to secure the port as a base for Mediterranean operations and to prevent the French from making strategic use of it. Attempts to push inland, however, were not a success, with Fraser losing the two engagements
Engagement (military)
A military engagement is a combat between two forces, neither larger than a division and not smaller than a company, in which each has an assigned or perceived mission...

 at Rosetta (modern Rashid) on 29 March and 21 April, with two battalions suffering very heavy casualties, particularly in the later ambush
An ambush is a long-established military tactic, in which the aggressors take advantage of concealment and the element of surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or behind hilltops...

. An agreement with Mohammed Ali
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

 for British troops to leave Egypt was finally signed on 19 September 1807.

After Egypt he was given command of the 1st Division which was intended to be sent to aid Sweden in 1808 during the Russo-Swedish War
Finnish War
The Finnish War was fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire...

 in that year.

During the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 Mackenzie-Fraser commanded the 3rd Division in Portugal and Spain during 1808-1809, and was present at the Battle of Corunna
Battle of Corunna
The Battle of Corunna refers to a battle of the Peninsular War. On January 16, 1809, a French army under Marshal Soult attacked the British under Sir John Moore...


He again commanded a division during the Walcheren Campaign
Walcheren Campaign
The Walcheren Campaign was an unsuccessful British expedition to the Netherlands in 1809 intended to open another front in the Austrian Empire's struggle with France during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Around 40,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses together with field artillery and two siege trains...

of 1809, dying from complications brought on by the illness he suffered there.