James Thomas Brudenell Cardigan, seventh earl of, a British general, born at Hambleton, Oct. 16, 1797, died at Deene Park, Northamptonshire, March 28, 1868. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and entered the army May 6, 1824, as cornet in the 8th royal Irish hussars, under the courtesy title of Lord Brudenell. His family influence and wealth in England procured for him rapid promotion, and on Dec. 3, 1830, he was made lieutenant colonel of the 15th hussars. He was soon after tried by court martial on a charge of tyranny and espionage made by the major of the regiment, and removed from active service. In March, 1832, he was restored to the service, being appointed lieutenant colonel of the 11th hussars. Lord Brudenell was a member of the house of commons from the period of his coming of age in 1818 till August, 1837, when on the death of his father he became earl of Cardigan. He retained the command of his regiment, and became involved in quarrels with several of his subordinates. In 1840 he fought a duel with Capt. Tuckett, who had censured his conduct in a newspaper. Capt. Tuckett was wounded, and Lord Cardigan was tried before the house of lords and acquitted, but public opinion was against him.
His reputation, however, as an accomplished cavalry officer, and the satisfaction which the duke of Wellington expressed in 1848 with the efficiency of his regiment, led to his promotion. On the outbreak of the Crimean war Lord Cardigan was raised to the rank of major general, and appointed brigadier in command of the light cavalry brigade. This brigade constituted the celebrated "six hundred" who were led by Lord Cardigan in the " death charge " at Bala-klava, Oct. 25, 1854. On that occasion he is said to have received from Lord Lucan, his brother-in-law, an order to capture certain guns from the Russians. A mile and a half had to be traversed under fire before the enemy could be met, and the Russian forces stood in formidable array in every direction. The enterprise seemed hopeless. Cardigan, however, led on the charge and actually took the guns, his men cutting their way through the infantry support and through the cavalry, and then back again, under the play of the Russian batteries, but with fearfully diminished numbers, nearly three fourths having fallen.
As the hero of this daring exploit, Lord Cardigan was received with great enthusiasm on his return to England, was created a K. C. B., and appointed inspector general of the cavalry, which post he held from 1855 to 1860. In August, 1859, he was made colonel of the 5th dragoon guards; in August, 1860, colonel of the 11th regiment, or Prince Albert's own hussars; and in February, 1861, lieutenant general. He died in consequence of being thrown from his horse.