Sir Eyrie Coote (1726-1783)
British commander who made his name in India. He arrived in Indian in 1754, and by 1757 he was significant enough to be present at Sir Robert Clive's council of war before the battle of Plassey, at which Coote was the main advocate of an immediate attack, the tactice that was eventually followed with great success. Afterwards, he was promoted by Clive to lieutenant-colonel, and given command of a newly formed regiment. He played a key part in the British successes in southern India that followed, starting with his capture and defense of Wandiwash, which peaking in the battle of Wandiwask (22 January 1760), where he defeated the besieging French army under the Count de Lally, and breaking French power in southern India. He then went on the offensive, capturing first Arcot, and then laying siege to Pondicherry, the last French stronghold in southern India, which surrendered on 15 January 1761. On his return to England in 1762 he was richly rewarded by the East Indian Company. He briefly returned to India in 1768, but did not return for any duration until 1779 when he returned as commander-in-chief in India. By this time, his main opponent was Hyder Ali, ruler of Mysore, who had held off the East Indian Company in the First Mysore War (1766-1769). When France and Britain went to war in 1778, Hyder Ali joined the French, and invaded the Carnatic (1780). Coote was sent to campaign against Hyder Ali, and after an indecisive campaign, Coote with 8,000 men defeated Hyder Ali's much bigger army of 60,000 men at Porto Novo (1 July 1781). By 1782 he was forced to relinquish command due to illness, and after a encounter with a French warship while traveling from Calcutta to Madras, died of a fever.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (8 November 2000), Sir Eyrie Coote (1726-1783), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_coote.html