Baird, David (1757-1829)

Baird, Sir David, general, was born 6th December 1757, at Newbyth, Haddingtonshire. He entered the service in 1772, and in 1779 sailed to India as captain in a Highland regiment. In July 1780 Hyder Ali burst into the Carnatic at the head of 100,000 men, disciplined and commanded by French officers. A portion of the English army fell into an ambuscade and was cut to pieces; among the few prisoners was Baird, who endured a captivity of nearly four years at Seringapatam. In March 1784 he was released, and after a two years' visit to England (1789-91), he took part in several important sieges, attacks, and skirmishes, till in 1799, now a major-general, he led the storming column at the victorious assault of Seringapatam. He commanded an expedition sent from India to Egypt in 1801 to aid in the expulsion of the French, and marched across the desert to the Nile. On his return to India in 1802, he found that the Wellesley star was in the ascendant, and applied for leave of absence. Knighted in 1804, in 1805-6 he commanded the expedition which finally wrested from Holland the Cape of Good Hope. In 1807 he commanded the first division at the bombardment of Copenhagen ; and in 1808 was sent to Spain with 10,000 men, to assist Sir John Moore. In the battle of Corunna, January 16, 1809, his left arm was shattered, and had to be amputated. Created a baronet, he retired from active service in 1810, and in 1820 was made commander of the forces in Ireland. He died at Crieff, 18th August 1829. See Lives by Theodore Hook (2 vols. 1832) and W. H. Wilkin (1913).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 61.

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