ELLIOT (Elliott), ROBERT, army officer; probably b. c. 1715; married (his wife’s name is unknown); fl. 1740–65.
Robert Elliot purchased a lieutenancy in the 43rd regiment on 27 Jan. 1740 and a captaincy on 26 May 1746. In 1754 he was quartered with the regiment at Athlone (Republic of Ireland). He was promoted major on 2 Feb. 1757. He probably arrived in North America with the regiment in June that year and wintered in Nova Scotia, since in the following May he went by boat from Fort Cumberland (formerly Fort Beauséjour, near Sackville, N.B.) to command at Annapolis Royal, where he remained throughout the summer. After he had returned with his detachment to Fort Cumberland on 6 Dec. 1758, he and other officers of the 43rd petitioned the regimental commander for employment in the campaign against the French planned for the following year.
On 24 May 1759 Elliot and his regiment joined the force assembling at Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, for Wolfe’s assault on Quebec, and by 27 June they had landed on the Île d’Orléans. Elliot and a party of 200 men made an abortive attempt on 11 August to join the British troops already above Quebec by working upstream in boats past the city, but they were beaten back by fire from its batteries. On the 27th they succeeded in reaching a point on the south shore immediately across from the Anse au Foulon. The regiment took part in the storming of the heights of Abraham on the night of 12 September, and under Elliot’s command occupied a position in the centre of the British line in the subsequent battle. Following the capitulation of Quebec, on 18 September Elliot was sent with a detachment to dislodge the French from a strong entrenchment north of the Saint-Charles River and to disarm the inhabitants of Beauport – two operations he performed with few losses. The 43rd wintered at Quebec and took part in the battle at Sainte-Foy against the forces of Lévis* on 28 April 1760, and in Jeffery Amherst*’s attack on Montreal that summer.
After the capture of Montreal the regiment moved to winter quarters at Quebec, but on 23 September Elliot sailed from Quebec with a detachment of over 100 men to receive the capitulation of the French garrison at Restigouche, on the Baie des Chaleurs. He accepted the surrender of the French commander, Gabriel-François d’Angeac*, on 21 October and sailed for New York on 5 November. Nine days later his ship was wrecked on Sable Island. He and his crew built shelters using the yards and sails of the vessel, thatched with sedge; they subsisted on the few provisions they had been able to save and on the cattle and horses they discovered on the island. On 20 Jan. 1761 a New England schooner rescued them and took them to Halifax. Being in “no very good condition for a voyage” Elliot remained there with his men.
On 23 March he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the 55th regiment. Amherst intended him to command at Crown Point, New York, and Elliot arrived at New York on 2 July 1761 en route to this post, but he was “extreamly ill” and did not join his new regiment until 21 November. At Crown Point Elliot spent his time repairing the fortifications, recruiting provincials into the regular forces, and facilitating communications between Montreal and Albany. He was transferred to command at Albany in October 1763. In a letter of April 1764 he mentions returning to England and had in fact done so by the following January, having left the regiment the previous month.
Elliot appears to have been a competent career soldier, whose services at Quebec led Major-General James Murray* to consider naming a Canadian county after him.
PRO, CO 5/51, f.102; Ind. 5436, f.115; 5438, f.343; 5441, f.82; 5444, f.18; 5449, f.113; 5455, f.109; WO 1/1, ff.354v–55; 12/6470, ff.42, 52, 82, 112; 34/12, ff.84–85, 42–49v; 34/13, f.44; 34/51, ff.152, 218, 339–39v; 34/52, ff.132, 233, 239, 316. Knox, Historical journal (Doughty). Army list, 1765, 109. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.). H. J. Newbolt, The story of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire light infantry, the old 43rd and 52nd regiments (London, 1915), 4, 17, 20, 25–26.