Two engraved portraits of Major General Sir Robert H Sale GCB; A Letter from Lady Sale to Mrs West (Afghanistan, c.1844)

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Sepia ink on light blue paper
Mss Letter signed Florentina Sale Rbt Sale and Alexandrina Sturt
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Mss Letter signed Florentia Sale Rbt Sale and Alexandrina Sturt and dated 1st Decr 1844 sepia ink on light blue paper:

My Dear Mrs West

I have to apologise for not sooner having thanked you for your kind note and the wishes therein expressed. Pray accept our united best regards and believe us to remain yours very sincerely

Florentia Sale
Rbt Sale
Alexandrina Sturt

Mudeford House (1)
1st Decr 1844

Alexandrina Sturt was the daughter of Major General Sir Robert and Lady Florentina Sale.

SALE, Sir Robert Henry, major-general, the “Hero of Jellalabad”; b. 1782; served at storming of Seringapatam, 1799; at Travancore, 1809; at capture of Mauritius, 1816; of Rangoon, 1824; besieged at Jellalabad, 12 Nov. 1841-7 April 1842; made a sortie and routed besieging army under Akbar Khan, 7 April 1842; wounded at Moodkee, 18 Dec 1845; d 28 Feb. 1846.


Among the many brave men who have perished in our last Indian conflict, Sir Robert Sale, whose name is connected with the whole history of the East – from the days of Seringapatam, down to the conflict in which, after more than half a century of service, he has found a soldier’s death. Sir Robert Henry Sale was the son of Colonel Robert Sale, of the East India Company’s service, and was born in India, on 12th September 1782. At the early age of fourteen, he had the honour of carrying his majesty’s colours, as an Ensign in the 36th Foot, to which he was gazetted on 24th February 1795. Within two years of the time he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant, and immediately proceeded to India.

In the course of the next year he exchanged into the 12th, and served with the army that Lord Harris commanded at the battle of Malavelly, which memorable action took place on the 27th March 1799. Again, on the 4th of May, in the same year, we find his name mentioned with honour as being much distinguished at the battle of Seringapatum, although still a subaltern. He served throughout the whole campaign of 1801, under General Stevenson; yet it was not until the month of March, 1806, that he became a Captain, being then in the 24th year of his age.

In little more than three years from that time, he married Florentina, daughter of the late George Wynch, Esq. within a few months after his marriage, we find that he formed part of the army which, under the command of Colonel Chambers, stormed the Travancore lines; and again, under General Abercrombie, he added the capture of Mauritius. Notwithstanding the activity and the efficiency of Captain sale, his promotion proceeded slowly; he had passed through a distinguished career of eighteen years before he reached the rank of field officer, his majority bearing date in the year of 1813. The regiment to which he belonged was the second battalion of the 12th; and that having been reduced in 1818, Major Sale was placed on the half-pay list.

After three years of inaction, he exchanged into the 13th Light Infantry, and with that regiment proceeded in 1823, to the scene of his earlier services; and once more we find him engaged in the military operations then going forward in India under Sir Archibald Campbell. He was present at the capture of Rangoon, in 1824, and in many of the subsequent operations of the war; the gallantry and ability of his exertions gaining him the honour of special notice in the general orders.

The rank of Lieutenant Colonel was conferred upon him on the 2nd June, 1825. On the 1st of December following, he distinguished himself in the command of the 1st Brigade, repulsing the Shauns and the Barmose at Prome, and attacking the lines and heights in the neighbourhood of that place on the succeeding day. He received a severe wound on the 18th January, 1826, in storming Malown, or Melloon; but his gallant conduct was immediately acknowledged by the Commander-in-Chief, and he was presented with the badge and riband of a Companion of the Bath. On the 28th June, 1831, he became a Colonel by brevet.

The advance throughout the campaign in Affghanistan was confided in the 1st Bengal Brigade of the army of the Indus, and from October, 1838, the command of this brigade was held by Sir Robert Sale. He likewise led the detachment of 2,500 men who were sent to Girisk I May, 1839; and on the 23rd of July he commanded the gallant band which stormed and carried the fortress of Ghuznee. A sabre-wound in the chin and musket-bullets in the chest and shoulder were top Robert the results of the formidable conflict; but not the only results for his services were suitably acknowledged in the general orders of Lord Keane, and her majesty conferred upon him the local rank of Major-General, with a Star of the Knight Commander of the Bath; while Schah Soojah-ool-Moolk added his name to the list of those Eastern knights who constitute the Order of the Dourance Empire.

His subsequent career – his capture of Dost Mahomed – his defence of Jellalabad – his receiving the thanks of parliament – and, lastly, amid the disasters of Cabul, the heroism of himself and his admirable wife – are so well known and familiar to our readers, that it becomes unnecessary here to repeat the brilliant narrative. He returned with Lady Sale to this country at the close of that war, and they were everywhere received with demonstrations of honour and respect. He had attained an age, at which, from his wounds and length of service, he might have well retired from an active military life, and sort the repose so congenial to advancing years; but he was devoted to his profession and again embarked for India, again commanded in the British force that advance upon the Sutlej, and there died in battle, falling like Sir J. Moore, almost in the moment of victory. Towards the close of the action, he was struck by a grape shot, on the left thigh, which was so dreadfully shattered, that he did not long survive his wound.

1. Mudeford House was situated in the small fishing village of Mudeford, near Christchurch, on the south Dorset coast. It is now a hotel. This part of Dorset is very much Sturt country and where the family, at the time, resided. Thus it is most likely that General and Lady Sale and their daughter Alexandrina Sturt were visiting the family of Alexandrina's late husband.