Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FRASER, Simon, British soldier, born in 1729" died in Saratoga, New York, 7 October 1777. He was the youngest son of Alexander Fraser, of Balwain and Glendo, of the Lovat family, by a daughter of Angus Mackintosh, of Killachy. from whom the celebrated Sir James Mackintosh was directly descended, He entered the army at an early age, became lieutenant of the 78th foot, 5 January 1757, captain, 22 April 1759, major, 8 February 1762, and lieutenant colonel, 14 July 1768. He served with distinction in Holland and Germany, was in the expedition against Louisburg, and accompanied General Wolfe to Quebec. He did garrison duty at Gibraltar for several years, and was afterward stationed in Ireland, whence he embarked for America with the 24th regiment, 5 April 1776, arriving at Quebec on 28 May.
Soon after his arrival in Canada Carleton, appointed him 10 June 1776, a brigadier general for America only. His last commission was that of colonel in the army, his appointment being gazetted 22 July 1777. He assisted in driving the Americans out of Canada in 1776, and was in command in the severely contested action at Three Rivers. Having acquired a high reputation for judgment and cool daring, he was selected by Burgoyne to command the light brigade, which formed the right wing of the British army. He thus was constantly in the advance, rendering most efficient service, and, had his advice been followed, the blunder of advancing on Bennington with heavy mounted German dragoons, on an expedition requiring the greatest celerity of movement, would never have been committed. After the evaluation of Ticonderoga he pursued the retreating Americans under St. Clair, and, assisted by his German ally, General Riedesel, gained a signal victory at Hubbardton, 7 July 1777.
He opened the battle of 19 September by engaging Morgan's skirmishers, and in the action of 7 October was shot and mortally wounded by "Tim Murphy," one of Morgan's riflemen, in obedience to special instructions from that officer. During the succeeding night the Baroness Riedesel, who did all in her power to alleviate his sufferings, tenderly ministered him and at eight o'clock of the following morning he died. He was buried at sunset, by his particular request, on a knoll overlooking the Hudson, Chaplain Brudenell officiating. As the funeral cortege moved up the hill the American batteries opened fire, but ceased as soon as the nature of the gathering was known.
To Burgoyne the loss of Fraser was a severe blow, and contemporary military writers affirm that, had he lived, the British would have made good their retreat into Canada. It was said of him that he had always shown as great skill in conducting a retreat as bravery in leading an attack, having, during the seven years' war, brought off in safety 500 chasseurs in sight of the French army.
General Fraser's temper was warm, open, and communicative, but reserved in matters of confidence. Burgoyne paid him a touching tribute in his "Narrative," and in his report to Lord George Germaine, dated Albany, 20 October 1777, said: "The extensive merits which marked the public and private character of Brigadier General Fraser will long remain upon the memory of this army, and make his loss a subject of particular regret." He married in 1769 Mrs. Grant, of London, who survived him, and who, in 1781, married at Edinburgh an advocate named George Buchan been appointed superintendent of the coast survey, mitred to the bar of Lower Canada in September his vacant chair of chemistry and natural phi 1864. From 1866 till 1871 he resided in Chicago, Hepburn. The statement that the remains of General Fraser were removed to England after the Revolutionary war is without foundation.
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